CALawMama's Blog


Experiences at the interface of life, law, and motherhood in Cali

The Blogger’s Dilemma

I read a blog post recently that was so categorically inflammatory, that I simply could not believe what I was reading. Then, ironically, one of my tweets in response to the initial piece was picked up in an article published by a Yahoo blog.

Whenever I tweet something, I never assume that anyone beyond my followers, or maybe some others will read it. Therefore, I don’t necessarily anticipate a wider audience, or expand my prose beyond whatever the 160 or so character limit  will allow.

Following my brief statement on the article, I did a brief perusal of some of the comments on the piece. I saw several comments along the lines of the article being intentionally bad, so that it could garner clicks for ad revenue, a so called bait piece. Now :that: made sense to me. This perspective, along with the information that the blogger refused to reveal any personal information, such as “her” age or other details was sufficient enough for me to assume that this article suffers from what I like to refer to as the bloggers dilemma. As a paid blogger, you have to produce a certain amount of content by your deadline. Additionally, employers keep track of SEO (search engine optimization) data, some moreso than others.

To be honest, I have never heard of the parent (in the corporate sense of the term) company which hosted the initial piece. However, assuming they are some sort of lifestyle blog, I assume that they are much more interested in articles that take advantage of SEO and other traffic driving measures to increase ad revenues as opposed to articles which focus primarily, or mostly, on the underlying substance.

Political sites are a great example of this SEO vs. substance debate. They want to capture enough of an audience, but don’t always focus primarily on the facts, those things which can be readily verified by an objective third party.

Blawging differs somewhat,  in that it is primarily based upon legal developments, both statutory and following individual case decisions, which are constantly developing. However, I have done non law related blogging, and I therefore understand the nature of the dilemma: I don’t have anything particularly interesting to write about, yet I have to write something sufficiently interesting for people to actually read. 

Blog posts relating to parenting decisions, then, allow for the perfect storm to drive traffic through the roof. It’s simple, all you have to do is choose anything related to children or parenting, arbitrarily decide what you subjectively think is the correct answer or philosophy, in any case and for everyone, and then dispense with saying why everyone else is wrong. Sound familiar? An article about cosleeping in which an infant was depicted as lying next to a rectangular butcher’s knife comes to mind. Or the TIME magazine cover featuring a mom breastfeeding her 4 year old child. (For the sake of transparency, I did not read the TIME article, as I do not generally subject myself to sensationalist journalism, if you can even call it journalism to begin with).

I know the blogger’s dilemma well, because since having additional free time with which to produce content for this blog, I have not been extraordinarily motivated to write on anything in particular. Generally speaking, those news items in which I am interested, I share via Twitter, and more often Facebook, with my literal 2 sentence opinion on the matter. This works well because I am friends with people who understand my background, political stance, legal training, and general philosophies on things. Therefore, the discussions that flow from these topics are interesting because they allow for an open forum whereby I am familiar with the general political perspectives and backgrounds of my friends. Also, perhaps due to my legal training, I do not feel personally insulted when someone disagrees with me. It’s a little reported on fact that not all people think about things in the same way. Go figure!

This time, however, as my reach went beyond those who know me personally, or at least from social media contact, I received a string of tweets which so eloquently demonstrated what I personally believe to be at the root of the problem with all pieces related to parenting that follow the “this is the best: here’s why everyone else is wrong” approach.

Namely, I honestly do not care how other people choose to parent their children. I do have some caveats, and I will get to those. However, generally speaking, so long as your children are fed, safe, and not neglected or abused, your parenting does not affect me in the slightest. I know for a fact that no one is parenting at me.

Of course, in the case that your child hurt’s my child or says unkind things to my child, I will even go so far as to give you the benefit of the doubt, and assume that your child is engaging in typical developmental beahvior, but not without helping my child to advocate for his or her position, and I will not ever allow my children to be bullied nor become door mats. The only other time I will ever question another parent’s decision is in the case of abuse or neglect.

However, those incidents are few and far between, and as such, I tend to stray away from articles that engage in this sort of bombastic display of superiority, even in those cases when I may agree with a particular parenting school of thought.

Formula feed or breast feed; stay home or work at home or outside the home; tough love or coddle; helicopter parent or free range– our country has yet to internalize that if it is your child, you and only you (and your relevant spouse/partner/co-parent) are the ONLY ones who should have input on your decisionmaking. For the record, those negative tweets which I received seemed to accuse me of the corporate attorney lifestyle which I outwardly rejected, and continue to reject. I am a full time homeschooling caregiver. The professional blawg work that I did/do, is completed during the time of day when my children are sleeping. That being said, I do not feel any need to justify my choices to anyone, just as I wouldn’t if I were truly in the corporate legal world, as so many of my friends are, because it is simply none of anyone else’s business.

Anyone can say what they want, but nobody outside your nuclear family knows your dynamic as well, or what other factors go into the decisions you make. Those who wish to impart the wisdom of their parenting philosophies are more than welcome to use them on their own children and adjudicate whether it is best to impose themselves on others who are simply trying to do the best that they can. If you really want to help someone, in the truly altruistic sense of the word, then actually offer your help to them rather than attempting to put them down by assuming you know anything about their child or their parent:child relationship.

In sum, rather than artificially inflating the level of content on this blog, I refrain from writing anything. However, I do realize that a blog cannot be built upon nothing, and so, I leave you with those things with which I have been the most interested lately, and encourage my readers to engage in the path that brings them the most happiness and meaning in their lives. I assure you that regardless of the individual course, it will not be built upon stepping stones of putting down or otherwise chastising others.


Slow parenting in the age of instantaneous-ness, what a concept.

See also, How Legos Are Made.

Photo: Fans have asked what I think about the Justin Bieber controversy. This about sums it up.

This one just made me laugh, from George Takei’s facebook page. I often lament that so much of what is reported these days does not constitute actual news.



Filed under: Parenting, , , , , ,

Doctors “Googling” Patients

One of my facebook friends, who is in the process of becoming a doctor (TBH I don’t really understand what happens after the medical school part ends, I mean I sort of do, but then I forget–anyway!), posted this article about doctors googling their patients. My response was, I would never have guessed!

Of course it makes sense. Additional, readily available, information can be helpful in proscribing care, as the article points out, and I would imagine. It reminds me of a sort of digital version of the highly skeptical practices in the show House, whereby the doctor goes to the patient’s home (or scene of the injury?) and investigates the potential cause of the problem. I think it could also serve as a sort of litmus test for honesty. 

I have googled my doctors, but not necessarily for personal information, moreso to garner what other patients have to say about them. With a plethora of specialties, and having had to change medical practices, choosing a doctor can literally be akin to throwing a dart onto a board, and hoping for the best. Also, and probably not surprisingly, as medical professionals, I would venture to guess that most doctors have their personal lives on an internet lock down– as they well should. It seems much more likely, statistically speaking, to have a patient use private information to wreak havoc against a doctor when things do not go their way (or there is a simple misunderstanding) than the other way around. My gut feeling is that most attorneys, particularly those in larger firms whom are more susceptible to firm politics, do so as well. I revel the luxury of not having to worry about my words being used against me in an inter-office hearsay battle, or being accused of making someone else look a certain way. I also try to avoid putting myself into positions where anything I say is patently offensive of unfounded– but that, of course, has only come after a digital trail of simple mistakes, that were a factor of my naivete or simply not knowing better. It only takes one (albeit unfounded IMO)threat of a defamation lawsuit from a major corporation to learn that you should use the words “alleged” “purported” “as claimed” and “accused of” liberally. 

The only fear I would personally have in a doctor:patient Google relationship, would be any affiliation that I may have with malpractice blawg posts, as a part of my professional work. I would hate to miss out on a wonderful doctor solely because I have been assigned to write about things such as operations gone awry, or birth injuries. It is out of motivation to avoid these potential miscommunications that I am always upfront about these sorts of assignments, and sometimes I bring them up in the course of conversation, since the cases that actually make it to court, and are thus published, and capable of being written about, are usually so egregious, that they aren’t imputed with the same disdain that at least some people have given my past work on topics such as Liebeck v. McDonald’s although I still do not see how anyone could side with McDonald’s on that one. 

Additionally, in regards to potential personal privacy claims, the results indexed in a Google search are by their very nature public. If you feel uncomforable having your doctor privvy to them, you should take steps to have the results unlisted, such as by making your various social media profiles private, or removing material you would prefer kept private. I assume I needn’t mention the potential for actual catastrophe in regards to searches in the course of detrimental searches, such as in regards to divorce litigation, and the like.

Lastly, I’d venture to guess that most practicing medical professionals are not graced with an inordinate amount of time to pour over their upcoming appointment calendars, googling as they go. I think the article is exaggerating the prevalence of the practice, though I could be wrong. I would guess a search after an appointment would be much more common. 

Anyway, thought that was somewhat of a trip. 

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , ,


SO, due to personal circumstances, I now have some time to blog for fun, rather than work, and I look forward to it. Finding blawging as a passion began with our law blog back in 2008!!!

I look forward to being able to analyze currently trending legal topics and other related matters as they arise and appear interesting. 

I have had so much fun on Twitter, my hope is that I will be able to build this blog into a parallel structure. 

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!

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“I would love to teach but…”

Found this interesting article in WaPo about a teacher who reached her breaking point with dumbed down curriculum and misguided parents.

It screams of the entitlement and praise heavy culture, the likes of wish have been righteously lambasted in books such as NurtureShock (Bronson) and How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character (Tough), and also somewhat in Parenting for Authentic Success (Levine).

Essentially, parents expect their children to receive high grades, regardless of effort, and when they do not, it must be due to some failing of the student.

This affects all parents, because it seems to me the saying that the squeaky wheel gets the grease rings true– if you do not similarly harass the teacher, your child may be disadvantaged in some way. And this has nothing to do with teachers, it is a commentary regarding affluent parents who raise their children to believe that they are uniquely special and ENTITLED. Oh the entitlement.

The influence of children who believe they are the center of the universe, and have not been taught the principles of respect for others, hard work, perseverance, and failure. I have seen :many: adults who have yet to learn these lessons. I cannot stand a lack of character, and thus, we have chosen a path which allows us to focus on encouraging these positive traits in our children, and isolate them from the potentially poisonous culture of entitlement and things like this.

Additionally, there is the obsession with the notion that overachievement in academics is the only way to be successful in life. I will save you my personal opinion, and point you towards Levine’s book linked to above. The Cliff Notes version: there is not one way to be successful in life, and an obsession with Tiger Mother like tactics can have extreme consequences.

So anyway, rant (?) over.

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