Mom’s confession: Yes, I overshare online

NEED TO KNOW
  • Leslie Marinelli is a writer, blogger, wife and mom of three
  • She talks about how her (sometimes too) honest writing has affected her family
  • And she explains why she still does it
Leslie Marinelli Book

Editor's note: "Generation Overshare" is a series about the blurred lines between what we share online and what we keep private. All week, HLN brings you content that examines the impact of putting it all out there, especially for a younger generation that's growing up on social media.

Editor’s note: Leslie Marinelli is an award-winning humorist, writer, wife and mother of three. She is the editor-in-chief of In the Powder Room and blogs at The Bearded Iris: A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All. She is also the editor and co-author of “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.” She is on Twitter.

Hi, my name is Leslie and I overshare on the Internet.

But before you lump me into the narcissistic duck-faced-selfies category, there is something I think you should know: I overshare because I care.

You see, I’m not out there Instagramming my atypical moles or tweeting blow-by-blow (pun intended) accounts of my children’s Bristol Stool Scale results.

I am a humorist and I overshare about my life because I have witnessed the incredible healing power of authenticity in today’s society.

Ironically, as hyper-connected as so many of us are via smartphones and social media, I believe that people today are more isolated and lonely than ever.

Parents, in particular, are so completely bombarded with information about the “perfect” way to do every single thing (and make it Pinterest-worthy to boot) that it can be incredibly overwhelming just to get through the day.

And we all have those Facebook friends who do the social media version of “Tebowing,” publicly sharing “how blessed they are that little Timmy got a perfect score on the CRCT.” (Gag me with a No. 2 pencil.)

I overshare because people crave honesty and imperfection from their friends on the Internet. My candor helps people feel more normal: “Oh, thank God, I’m not the only one whose toddler wears a bucket on his head!” or “Whose kid has never won a Principal Pal Award?” or “Whose kitchen counters look like something seen on ‘Hoarders: Buried Alive?’”

In fact, that’s always been the undercurrent of my blog -- to share my truth while helping others feel more normal and less alone.

I don’t blog about awe-inspiring Martha Stewart-esque cupcakes or how to make crocheted grocery bag hair bows that are bigger than your child’s head; I share what happens when a not-so-perfect mom tries to make a last-minute Barbie cake without all the ingredients, or attempts her own Brazilian bikini wax.

And I never thought twice about sharing the kind of not-so-flattering life lessons most people are smart enough to keep confined to their heads, until one day last year when my oldest son came home from middle school and said, “Mom, some of the kids at school know about your blog.”

{Insert sound of screeching tires here.}

That was the day I almost quit blogging.

But my family unanimously voted for me to stay on my path and keep telling the stories that make people laugh, cry and think.

Nowadays, I rarely blog about my two older kids, and I always ask them for permission first. I’ve also found creative ways to protect their privacy by altering details or using a lot of hyperbole.

But here’s what it all boils down to for me: Easing other people’s burdens.

Over the years, I have received a number of heartfelt emails and comments from readers who are truly grateful for the connection and entertainment they receive from blogs like mine. Just last week, a woman named Kristen wrote, “My son was born at just 26 weeks. We spent 115 days in the NICU with him… and every week, I looked forward to your new posts. They gave me something to laugh at and smile at and they made the time in the NICU a little less lonely.”

So, yes, I overshare.

And as long as I have my family’s support, I will continue to utilize my talents, incorrigible body hair and lack of decorum to make the world a better place, one funny story at a time.

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