Chicago-based writer and lawyer Christie Tate has made a career from sharing the intimate details of her life from her wedding to how she parents her children.
Writing about topics from toilet training to navigating her children’s fights with their friends, the mother-of-two has written for titles such as The New York Times, Motherwell and the Chicago Tribune, and she’s even currently working on her memoir, ‘How to Change Your Love Life in 800 Therapy Sessions’.
However, her latest opinion piece for The Washington Post, titled, ‘My daughter asked me to stop writing about motherhood. Here’s why I can’t do that,’ has sparked controversy around child privacy laws and parenting ethics around social media and the internet.
In her article, Tate described the recent moment in which her fourth-grade daughter (which puts her age at around nine to 10 years old) googled her mother’s name and found several blog posts and essays containing photos from when she was baby, toddler and preschooler.
She demanded an explanation, and Tate knew she had to give her one.
“She wanted to know, and she had a right to know,” she wrote.
However, when her daughter asked if she could take the articles and photos down, Tate refused.
“I remember thinking that one day I would have to answer for my work. Yet when the day finally arrived, I had no response prepared,” she wrote, describing the situation.
“Could I take the essays and pictures off the Internet, she wanted to know. I told her that was not possible.”
“There was heavy sighing and a slammed door.”
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Justifying her decision to continue writing about her daughter, Tate said she tried to come to a compromise.
She said that now that her daughter was older, she would be given veto rights on “the pictures or on portions of the content.”
“I have agreed to describe to her what I’m writing about, in advance of publication, and to keep the facts that involve her to a minimum,” Tate explained.
“I have not yet promised that she can edit my work, but we acknowledged that is a future possibility.
“She also requested that instead of using her name, I call her by her self-selected pseudonym, Roshelle, and I’m taking that under advisement.”
However Tate was adamant that she would continue to write about her own experiences of motherhood, which would inevitably include mentions of her daughter.