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Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Courtney Barnum

Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Courtney Barnum

Courtney Barnum is a stay at home mom blogging about her experiences with a special needs child at A Legion for Liam. She tells it like it is, with a healthy dose of compassion and humor. Read on to learn more about what motivates her to blog, and the best parenting advice she received.

What made you want to start your own parenting blog?

When my son was first diagnosed with Autism, I needed a way to release my thoughts and feelings. It’s easier for me to write than it is to speak, so I turned to writing.

What 3 words would you use to describe your blog?

emotional, loving, sarcastic

What is your favorite blog post to date?

What’s your go-to tip for balancing blogging with parenthood?

Take notes on your thoughts and feelings. When and if your child sleeps, sneak in some writing time. The house will always need to be cleaned. Take time for yourself, because your mental well being is important.

What is the best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t yell at your kids. Lean in real close and whisper. It’s much more effective.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Hectic. Between home school lessons, in home therapies, out of home therapies, and doctors appointments, we’re always on the go. When I’m not doing those things, I work part time for a review blogger, and clean my hog hole house.

What’s the best insight you can offer other parenting bloggers?

Write from your heart. Be real. Stay true to yourself.
Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Billy Kilgore

Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Billy Kilgore

This week we catch up with Billy Doidge Kilgore (aka Wrap Daddy) to find out how this stay-at-home parent uses blogging as a creative outlet, in addition to caring for his adorable son Henry. Every day on the blog he invites readers to join him on the parenting learning curve, and maybe find a little bit of humor in everyday life.

What made you want to start your own parenting blog?

I started my blog because I needed a creative outlet and a parenting blog seemed like a logical choice because it allowed me to write about the thing that dominated my time. It is a great tool to keep me writing and reflecting on experiences with my son. Also, writing for my blog has inspired me to write lengthier articles published on websites like Mamapedia, Scary Mommy, and Washington Post On parenting. Most of all, it has kept me sane as a stay-at-home father and given me something constructive to do every week.

What 3 words would you use to describe your blog?

thoughtful and reflective with a touch of humor

What is your favorite blog post to date?

What’s your go-to tip for balancing blogging with parenthood?

Before you launch your blog, decide how much writing is realistic for you. Don’t attempt to write everyday unless you know you call pull that off because if you can’t it will lead to quick burnout and an abandoned blog. Set a reasonable goal like one to two quality posts a week. Also, plan to revise your writing. Try to find a system that allows you to write drafts so that you have a chance to revisit your work before you hit the publish button.

What is the best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever received?

Breath deeply. Parenting is overwhelming, especially when caring for small children. Make sure you step away from your child a few times a day and take deep breaths to regain perspective. This is what gets me through the day.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I wake with my son around six o’clock in the morning and, typically, spend the entire day with him until my wife gets off work at five o’clock. We spend the early morning around the house eating breakfast and reading books and playing. Around mid-morning we go to the playground, library, or park for a change of scenery and stay there until lunch time. After lunch, I do a quiet time with him in the bedroom, which is followed by a trip to the grocery store to get a few ingredients for dinner. I start cooking dinner around 4 o’clock and we eat together as soon as me wife is done with work. Between the grocery and dinner my son plays in the backyard. When do I write? In the evenings after my son is asleep or on the weekends.

What’s the best insight you can offer other parenting bloggers?

Try to avoid diary writing and shift towards topical writing. If you want to engage others you need to find points of shared interest (toddler discipline, sleeplessness, coffee addiction) and use them to give your unique perspective.
Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Yanique Chambers

Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Yanique Chambers

This week we catch up with Yanique Chambers, of Kiddie Matters. Chambers is a mom of three and a clinical social worker dedicated to sharing creative ways to help develop children’s social skills, emotional skills and quality of character.

What made you want to start your own parenting blog?

I started my blog because I missed working! My passion has always been to work with kids to build their self-esteem and confidence. Prior to becoming a stay at home mom I was a school social worker and I enjoyed it. My blog allows me to continue sharing information and activities that help children develop good social skills and positive character traits.

What 3 words would you use to describe your blog?

Informative, Creative, Professional

What is your favorite blog post to date?

Childhood Emotional Abuse:Signs We Often Miss

What’s your go-to tip for balancing blogging with parenthood?

When you feel overwhelmed, give yourself permission to take a break and regroup.

What is the best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever received?

Cherish every moment because it goes by very quickly

What’s a typical day like for you?

My typical day includes me getting the kids up and out the door for school on time. Once they’re gone I take in the quietness and indulge in reality TV or Dr. Phil. Then I break out the pen and notebook and let the creative juices flow until it’s time to make dinner and get the kids from school. There’s also a decent amount of time wasted surfing the internet and promoting blog posts.
What’s the best insight you can offer other parenting bloggers?
Stop trying to figure out social media algorithms and focus instead on creating awesome content. Content is still king.
We recently removed Lists from Mamapedia

We recently removed Lists from Mamapedia

Regular visitors to Mamapedia may have noticed we recently removed Lists from the site.  There were a few reasons for this decision.  First and foremost, we want to keep the community focused on questions and answers and Voices posts.  Reviewing site usage and page visits revealed Lists only made up 0.02% of the site’s pageviews.  Put another way, for every 10,000 pages viewed on Mamapedia only 2 of them would be Lists.

Secondly, the Lists were a prime target for spammers.  By removing the Lists we reduced the ability of spammers to affect the items appearing on your homepage.  The “Moms Are Talking About Right Now” section of the homepage previously displayed any recent List activity, which was almost always spam.  We removed those items and replaced them with more questions and one additional Voices post.

Article Submission Guidelines

Article Submission Guidelines

Do you have something you would like to share with our Mamapedia community?

Whether you are a professional author, blogger, or even if you’ve never been published before -if you have something interesting and relevant to say we’d love to hear from you!
Here are some guidelines you should carefully follow when submitting your article. When you’re ready simply click the link at the end of this post.

Article Submission Guidelines

  • We are looking for articles written in a strong clear voice that offer a unique and interesting perspective. All articles should be family friendly and of interest to our parenting audience, but otherwise potential topics are limitless. As to tone, positive and upbeat is generally preferred, but serious or reflective articles will certainly also be considered. Well written with a clear point of view are the most important considerations.
  • Ideally, feature articles should be 300 to 750 words in length. Generally speaking however articles on the shorter side, closer to the 300 than 750, are preferred.
    • Before submitting your article please make sure to carefully review and edit it for grammar and spelling. We do edit for format and any obvious typos, but beyond that we must rely on you to carefully review your own copy. On occasion, we may wish to edit an article for length -however we will discuss this with you before publishing.
    • Please make every effort to include with your article a relevant corresponding image. You may submit an article without an accompanying image, however articles with images are processed more easily and are therefore more likely to be accepted. Images should be family appropriate and of sharp quality. Preferred size is 775×300 pixels. Acceptable formats are either JPEG or PGN. Almost any picture editing software programs can help you to to size and format an image, including, but not limited to, PicMonkey. Original images are also accepted, however if you use a non-original image, please make certain to credit the source for your image (e.g. istock.com).
    • Your article should NOT include any sponsored links or promote or sell any product or service, unless previously agreed upon.
  • Mamapedia does not pay for articles. However, there are still several valuable incentives to having your article published on Mamapedia.

> Bring your point of view to the attention of a vast community of Moms eager to      read and discuss your words.

>  Bring site traffic from our site back to yours -allowing new visitors to discover         you and your site.

> Raise the stature of your site by being published on one of the largest, most            reputable, and most active Mom communities on the web today.

  • If your article is published, we will also be cross promoting it on our social media sites. We ask that you do the same from your end. Please feel free to post links to Mamapedia on your own site and on any of your social media pages.

Once you are ready please submit your article by clicking on the link below. We will review all submissions and notify you within 30 days if your article has been accepted.

Due to the large volume of submittals we receive we are unable to reply to each submittal. Please remember that a great many factors are considered when determining which articles get accepted, so even if your article is not accepted it is not necessarily due to quality or value -It just may be that it is not for us at this particular time.

Thanks very much for your submission -we look forward to reading your article!

SUBMIT ARTICLE

An Improved “Ask A Question” Page

An Improved “Ask A Question” Page

One of the ways we want to improve the content on Mamapedia is getting you, our users, to post questions as questions and make sure they are unique. Until recently there was no easy way to do that.  In fact you weren’t even encouraged to do that. As a result the same questions have been asked again and again under very generic titles.  For example, a search for “potty training” returns nearly 13,000 questions.  The top 10 matching search results are all questions that used “Potty Training” as their title.  Unfortunately “potty training” is a broad topic and not a question.  If you read the top 10 potty training questions, they can be boiled down to three distinct questions:  “At what age should you start potty training?”, “Can anybody recommend good potty training resources?” and “Does anyone have suggestions on how to handle potty training?”  We could probably review the 13,000 potty training questions on the site and come up with a list of ten posts that cover 80% of the actual questions.

Starting today when you ask a question you will notice a few changes.  First, you are encouraged to actually ask a question rather than post a generic subject. The text field previously labeled “Subject” is now labeled “Question” and the hint below that field now explains you should ask a question.  The updated system also requires each question to contain at least three words.

After you enter your question a list of the top five similar search results will appear.  Please take a look at those results to make sure your question hasn’t already been answered.  Doing so should help you get your answers more quickly and will reduce duplicate questions on the site, helping everybody.

screenshot of the "Ask A Question" page on Mamapedia.com with similar questions highlighted
Ask A Question Page: Similar Questions Highlighted

Finally, the text area formerly titled “My question” is now labeled “Additional details”.  Use that text area to enter additional details specific to your question.

Sticking with the potty training example, here’s how this could work.  In the question field you might enter “Does anyone have advice for potty training a 3 year old child when daycare won’t help?”.  After reviewing the list of top five related search results, if you still want to ask your question you could continue by entering the following into additional details. “My three year old son goes to day care five days a week. We’ve been working on potty training for two weeks. He does great on the weekends but when he comes home from day care we seem to have lots of accidents. It seems like day care is making him regress. Has anybody experienced this before? What did you do to solve it?

Nothing on the updated web page, other than the three word minimum on questions, will prevent you from posting your question. Even if there’s a duplicate question, you can still post yours.  We don’t want to limit your ability to ask whatever questions you may have. We’re just trying to make search results more relevant so you can find what you’re looking for more easily.

Hopefully you will find the new “Ask A Question” process helpful and easy to use. Over time we think it will assist you in getting higher quality answer more quickly and easily.

What’s next for Mamapedia?

What’s next for Mamapedia?

Welcome to the new Mamapedia blog! I’d like to extend a big hello to the entire (3 million +) Mamapedia community on behalf of Get It. For a little background I’m Jacob Peebles, CEO / Co-founder of Get It. Late last year we acquired Mamapedia, LLC with a great deal of excitement and anticipation on where we could take the community and its awesome and lively user base. 

So why the message now, many months later? Well, we’ve been heads down getting our arms around the system and putting a large amount of effort into bringing the technology from 2009 into 2015 (that’s like going from a Motorola RAZR flip phone to an iPhone 6:). It’s a large endeavor, and as many old and diehard Mama’s know, Mamapedia was once part of Mamasource, a mom-focused deals site. So there’s a lot to unravel along the way, and we are working daily towards doing just that.

We have a number of improvements right around the corner, and are listening to all the chatter on the site. Please stay patient as we work to release a new and vastly improved experience.

Again, we can’t be more excited about what’s in store for Mamapedia and its community, it’s time to give it the attention it deserves.

Thanks,

Jacob Peebles
CEO / Co-founder