Local moms blog about their parenting experiences
In an age where sharing our experiences via the Internet has become mainstream, one of the groups to come together in full force as only moms can are moms.
According to emarketer.com, by 2014 there will be more than 4.4 million moms nationwide who blog. And in the Lowcountry, there's a variety of mommy bloggers covering everything from recipes and crafting to life with special needs children.
Tips for mom bloggers
Local mom bloggers Angie Mizzell, Shara Ray and Courtney Buxton offer these tips for moms who want to blog:
Don't promote yourself on another blog.
Participate in blogger link-ups.
Comment on other blogs.
Write when you want. Some are night owls, others write before their children wake.
Use your own voice.
Don't focus on numbers and statistics.
Provide quality content, be entertaining and consistent.
If using social media, remember your audience.
Know the basic rules of grammar and punctuation.
Less is more: Use short paragraphs, photos and bullets.
Use free sites such as Blogger.
Don't be scared to share your real feelings.
Local mommy bloggers
Some local mom blogs have huge followings such as Robin's Chicks (www.robinschicks.com), which is written by stay-at-home mom and best-selling author Robin O'Bryant (“Ketchup is a Vegetable”).
“Ketchup” is a collection of essays taking a comedic look at motherhood, misunderstandings and more.
Following up with a second book, “A Second Helping,” O'Bryant's blog discusses what most moms think about and even asks her followers to help name her family's new dog. And that's the appeal.
For Mount Pleasant blogger Courtney Buxton, a career as a medical malpractice defense attorney left her wanting more after her sons, Hugh, 5, and Julian, 3, were born.
“I really enjoyed writing and blogging, and I felt like I could take it to the next level to the public,” she says of starting her blog, A Work in Progress (mamaworkinprogress.blogspot.com).
Having children was her turning point, she says, which is when she began tending to her spiritual side.
Certain posts highlight religious devotionals and inspirations, while others showcase family events and outings.
“My goal is to be encouraging to others. I don't look at stats, it's just great when readers approach me personally and tell me they feel like they can talk to me.”
Summerville's Shara Ray started her blog as a way to share photos of her two daughters, Jayna and Amelia, with family. A former special education teacher, Ray's Palmettos and Pigtails blog (www.palmettosandpigtails.com) showcases her crafty side along with her organized side.
Blogging three times a week, Ray says it's a great way to stay in touch with family and friends and keep track of her daughters' milestones.
Posts about new handmade curtains, a monthly cleaning calendar on her fridge (yes, she's that organized) and pictures of her daughters celebrating July Fourth are mom-isms that keep her readers entertained.
“For me, I'm proud of my crafty adventures,” she admits, but warns future mom bloggers to not compare themselves to other bloggers that earn money and do it full-time.
“Don't feel pressure to do it every day. If you go into it wanting to earn money, you may be going for the wrong reason. If that happens, great, I would be thrilled to have an advertiser. But be a mom and wife first; live your life.”
Buxton believes that social media rules apply to blog etiquette.
“Don't go to someone else's blog and promote your own blog. Don't use it as a chance to advertise yourself,” she says.
And Buxton thinks participating in blogger meetings is vital. Groups such as Works for Me Wednesday or Top Ten Tuesday allow bloggers to link up to other blogs and share ideas and stories.
Using Facebook and Twitter also helps get the message out.
“I post links to my blog on Facebook and remind myself that professional contacts, friends and family, and former school teachers are reading,” says Angie Mizzell, a former television journalist-turned blogger and mom of three.
“A blog is not a diary. Figure out where your line is between being real and being relatable.”
Sense of community
Mizzell, one of Charleston's well-known mommy bloggers (angiemizzell.com), started in 2008 when she left television to become her own boss. Her blog has helped her land other writing jobs, including Lowcountry Parent, media exposure and speaking engagements, she says. It's also given her a sense of camaraderie.
“Blogs written by moms remind me I'm not alone. If the kids are driving me to crazy town, I know I'll have company when I get there,” Mizzell says. “Reading other blogs has made me a better writer, and I've made some good friends and professional contacts, too.”
Other local mom blogs have one theme in common, the trials and tribulations of being a mom.
From Jana Debney's daily challenges in Just Makin' It (janasjustmakinit.blogspot.com) to Diana Thornley's chronicle of adopting children from around the world in Blessed Big Time (blessedbigtime.blogspot.com), each mom has her own story to tell and is willing to get out there to let other moms know that they're not alone.
And Mizzell agrees. “Mom blogs are shattering taboos. We're talking about things that were not socially acceptable to talk about before. Parenting is rewarding, but it can also be a very isolating experience. Blogs allow moms to interact with other adults without having to leave the house, or take a shower for that matter.”