Remember that saying about sticks and stones? The one about names never hurting you? It’s rubbish, I've decided. Thoughtless remarks are often more wounding – and the injury longer-lasting – than any slap or punch.
I can still remember the time when I was about 14, and my mother said that of course she loved me, because she had to, but she didn’t much like me. With hindsight, I can see where she was coming from – I was a spectacularly horrible teenager and I seem to recall I was being kicked out of school at the time. But it’s interesting that 20 years on, I still remember her saying she didn’t like me, and how devastated I was to hear it.
What’s interesting is that my Mum has her own version of that experience. When she was a teenager, she was pretty and popular, and dated lots of boys. My grandmother, presumably worried my Mum would get big-headed, said: “The reason you have a lot of boyfriends is because boys like girls who are plain.” It was 30 years later when my Mum told me that story and she still remembered the conversation word for word.
Maybe it’s inevitable that we all have a version of the story – and Flea will have one, too. But what I’ve been wondering is whether blogging could make it worse.
When I blog, I censor myself to a certain extent – I try not to blog about my relationships, and I’m always conscious of clients and colleagues potentially seeing what I write. When I post, I often edit details if I’m describing some conversation I’ve had with a friend.
But perhaps my censoring should be more focused on Flea. When you are exhausted and frustrated and want to kick something, it’s very easy to write a blog post with a throw away line about how you don’t like your child, or to Tweet that some days you wish you’d never had a baby. But should you? Where’s the line between blogging honestly about the reality of parenting, and protecting your children from seeing something that might upset them in years to come? What do you think?