by Courtney Sirotin
Parenting blogs are nothing new, but you might be surprised by how impressive our local blogging community has become. Our bloggers are being recognized on local and national levels for the creative, heartfelt and useful content they put forth on a daily basis.
Motherhood Uncensored, Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Tech, for instance, have put author Kristen Chase on numerous top blog lists, and she’s made appearances on The Today Show, CNN and CBS Atlanta. Toulouse & Tonic author Suzanne Fleet is in the Top Ten Humor Blogs at topmommyblogs.com, and has a following that regularly checks in for a good laugh.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has partnered with a number of metro bloggers in its Mom-to-Mom Blogger program and features them on its website. “We recognized the tremendous value key mom bloggers have in sharing parenting advice,” says Patty Gregory, manager of public relations for CHOA. “Ultimately, our audiences are similar – parents looking for expert advice to help them along the journey of parenthood,” she says.
Atlanta bloggers cover it all – some blogs are service oriented (deals on baby supplies and gear, coupons for discounts on food and products), some are therapeutic (sharing common parenting problems), some focus on family entertainment, some on finding humor in family life and some are just online diaries of a family. While the slant of each blog may be different, they all have one thing in common: surviving and celebrating the mayhem of parenthood.
Laura Mayes, who blogs at thequeso.com and is co-founder of the Mom 2.0 Summit, a conference for top mom bloggers that will meet in Atlanta this May, says parenting blogs bring a new voice for families. “It’s an important voice and a present-tense connection,” she says. “When you think about it, we are the first generation that has the tools to record our experiences in this way.”
Trey Burley, a stay-at-home dad who writes at daddymojo.net, has a feature on his blog called Naptime DIY in which he shares simple home improvement projects that can be done during naptimes.
Blogs are also a goldmine for craft and playtime ideas that will keep you and your children stimulated on rainy days stuck inside. Amy Anderson, at modpodgerocks.com, has hundreds of craft ideas using Mod Podge, a glue and sealer product.
Families are always looking for ways to get out of the house with the kids to experience new things and, let’s be honest, to try to wear them out. Sue Rodman, who blogs at fieldtripswithsue.com, researches and shares plenty of things to do with kids in and around metro Atlanta and the Southeast.
The best thing about learning about a new activity from a blogger is that he or she is bound to give you practical details, such as the availability of changing tables or shade at a new park or how much cash you need on hand at a certain splash pad.
A number of local blogs offer first person accounts and insights into dealing with specific health issues in the family, from the special considerations of a premature baby to congenital heart disease and autism. Many parents gather information from these blogs and bring specific and insightful questions and treatment ideas to their health care providers.
A blog written by Nicole Pope at journeytojosie.com chronicles the adoption of Pope’s two children, one of whom has a rare heart condition. The blog is an inspirational read with helpful information for parents in a similar situation.
Blogs are a great resource for saving money, especially when they have information specific to the stores in your area. Blogger Leandrea created the site couponsaregreat.net to help Atlanta families save money one coupon at a time, and by showcasing local deals on groceries, restaurants, crafts, clothing and more. Angie Wynne, at babycheapskate.com, pulls together great deals on all things baby. Another blogger, Jennifer Maciejewski, focuses on free and cheap activities and other deals for families, at atlantaonthecheap.com. With the help of Atlanta Green Mom, it’s easier than ever to go green in Atlanta. The blog at atlantagreenmom.com written by Titania Jordan gathers research about everything green and health-related in Atlanta.
“I like to let people know that there’s a really awesome green presence in Atlanta and there are healthier choices and healthier alternatives to the conventional way that people do things here,” Jordan says. Anna Margaret Woods has been following Jordan’s blogs for over a year and values the information she receives. “Titania simplifies for me what I need to be doing. I’m very impressionable; if I read one article on the Internet about how sunscreen is harmful, I will obsess over it. Titania helps narrow down the things I really need to be concerned about,” Woods says.
Sometimes parents just need a good laugh. Suzanne Fleet, at toulouseandtonic.com, is known for her sarcastic wit and, as she jokes on her website, “Making my kids hate me one post at a time.”
“Writing is my passion and humor is what keeps me going,” she says. “I bring those two things together on my blog and, through it, get to connect with other people.” Fellow mother and blogger, Kathy Radigan, reads the blog for comic relief. “I find Suzanne’s combination of humor, heart and snark really entertaining. I think she captures the mix of feelings that motherhood and marriage bring up for today’s educated mom,” Radigan says.
There’s a misconception that bloggers are antisocial types that prefer hiding behind their computer screens to having social interactions. The 300 parenting bloggers in Georgia called the Georgia Social Media Society gather together at events as often as their parenting schedules allow to learn trade secrets, best practices, blog development ideas and, most importantly, grow friendships. Veteran blogger Krystyn Hall started reallyareyouserious.com in 2005, back when keeping personal blogs on the Internet was a fairly new trend. Hall was surprised by the community she found through blogging. “I’ve started going to more conferences and getting together with other bloggers and people really like to help each other out. I’ve even made several real-life friends through blogging and it’s really rewarding.” The collective power of parenting blogs can be credited to the simple and honest connections that form between readers and writers. As you can see, whatever your parenting style or situation, there’s sure to be a voice in our community offering valuable information to you.
Sirotin’s blog, I Am A Mess, chronicles a mother’s search to find order and happiness in her disorganized life.
With a taste of what to expect when you visit…
Atlanta Green Mom
“I’m making a commitment, just as soon as the blackberry sorbet bars are finished, to rid my house of as much sugar as possible. “
Atlanta on the Cheap
“Watching the Braves play doesn’t have to be expensive. Discount tickets and coupon codes are available for most Braves games, and fans have the option of bringing their own food & non-alcoholic beverages with them to Turner Field.”
“There are always little sales going around the cloth diaper world; a little off this brand over here, a percentage off that brand over there. All in all I have to say that Nicki’s Diapers is definitely one of the best for having the most amount of those small deals going on at one time.”
“A four-year-old is kind of like a lawyer who lives by their own laws and has a poor short term memory.”
Fieldtrips with Sue
“The Dragon Con Parade is definitely the best parade I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t matter how old you are or even if you’re a Sci-Fi fan, there is something for everyone here.”
I am a Mess
“We went out for dinner but for me it was more like going to the gym because I spent the whole meal using all of my muscles to try to contain Dylan in the booth. He was wired and literally climbing the walls.”
“A really fun and easy craft project parents can do with their kids is Sand Bottle Art … it’s the perfect activity for beach vacations, but it can also be done year round at home.”
“The beach and I are synced up like high school girls apparently because every time I go, I have my period.”
Modge Podge Rocks
“… I am hosting a play group at my house. There will be about 15 kids running around (eek!), and I honestly had no idea what project I was going to have available for them to do… painted bangles are the perfect solution to my poor planning!”
Toulouse and Tonic
“If you’re having trouble meeting all your monthly bills, use your wipes warmer as a bill pop-up. Put them inside in random order and then pull one out to pay. By the next day, the rest of the bills will have magically disappeared (or turned into one lump of unreadable paper – whatevs).”
It was tough to make this list of blogs! Go online for even more local blogs: atlantaparent.com/article/detail/3025
Blogging expert and Mom 2.0 co-founder, Laura Mayes, shares her top tips for creating a successful blog.