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Category: Unbelievable Moms

Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Jessica Shephard

Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Jessica Shephard

Mom and breast cancer survivor Jessica Shephard initially started her blog Rebel Soul Mom as a healing creative outlet. But what began as a means of documenting her experience and treatment soon turned into a platform for honest revelations about motherhood. Shephard shares more about her inspiring decision to share her journey.

What made you want to start your own parenting blog?

I started blogging as a way to document my journey through breast cancer. I needed a break from talking about cancer, so I quit writing for almost two years. When the dust started to settle from my treatments, I felt like there was so much I needed and wanted to say about life as a Mom, especially after everything that I went through. Reading real and honest stories about parenting is what encourages me. I want to return the favor.

What three words would you use to describe your blog?

Real, imperfect, honest.

What is your favorite blog post to date?

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

Plan out your week and have a daily list with at least 3 things you want to accomplish. A cute planner helps too!

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

Don’t get discouraged if the advice you receive may not work since every child is different.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I haven’t mastered the whole, “wake up an hour before the kids” so I start my day when the kids wake up. We have breakfast together and depending on the day I either take my little to toddler time at the library or grandma’s so I can get some work done. Then the rest of the day is a mix of cleaning, working, playing outside, crafts and cooking.

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

Don’t get consumed with being a perfect writer or worrying that you will be judged. I still consider myself a new blogger and this is something I still struggle with when sharing my stories.
Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Ghada Karam

Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Ghada Karam

When Ghada Karam decided she wanted to work from home to spend more time with her daughter, she realized she needed a way to make her dream a reality. The result? Confidential Mommy Talks, a blog and parenting resource that combines three of Karam’s passions: “Motherhood, storytelling and marketing.” So how did this mother of two and self-described “lifestyle mom” manage to build a full-scale operation that now boasts a healthy blog following, newsletters and thriving social platforms? She gives us the lowdown on how motherhood allowed her to create her dream ob.

What made you want to start your own parenting blog?

I decided to launch my blog a few months after my first baby was born. At that time, I had a full time job, and I was completing my master’s program. My schedule was full, and I had very little time to spend with my daughter. I figured that if I had the chance to work from home, I would have the chance to be closer to her. That’s when I started educating myself about blogging, as I had absolutely no clue what to expect — this entire world was foreign to me. I had to start from scratch to find my topics, discover my voice and make sure this would be a good fit for me.

What three words would you use to describe your blog?

Motherhood, Milestones, Tantrums

What is your favorite blog post to date?

I enjoy writing most of my posts because they reflect my day-to-day life with my kids, and my life as a mom. It’s really hard to choose one favorite as they all reflect a different aspect of my life. One post I particularly like was written recently: “Why I Was Late This Morning (And Every Other Morning).” This post reflects my new life with two kids and the hard work it takes to get out of the house each morning.

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

Well, that’s a hard one… Until my second baby was born, I had some free time to focus on my blog when my daughter was in daycare. However, now that I have a baby at home, I’m still trying to figure out how to best make things work. I discovered recently that on the days I really want to focus on my work, I can sit in a coffee shop and work. This way I don’t get distracted with the housework, and I can quickly take a break to assist with the baby when he needs me.

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

I’m a parenting blogger, so I constantly get exposed to relevant parenting tips and recommendations. The one I like best so far comes the famous philosopher Kahlil Gibran, who says that “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself […]And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.” I like this statement because it will always be true, no matter how technologically advanced we get. It also reminds me that I need to look at the big picture, at the future, towards the time when my kids will get older and mature and will want to have an independent life away from me. Parenting is not about us, it’s about our kids, and that’s an important point to keep in mind.

What’s a typical day like for you?

My morning routine is explained in the post that I described above. In the morning, I try to get out of the house as quickly as I can to make sure I drop my daughter on time at her daycare. After that, I have about five hours to spend alone with the baby, so I try to juggle between the house chores, my work on the blog and a little fun time with him. Then, I pick up my daughter and we come back home, where we spend some time with her before we start to our night routine: shower, dinner and the endless negotiation to get to bed.

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

I find it’s very important to prioritize the work or else things will just get postponed over and over, until nothing ever happens. I make sure to dedicate at least one hour of my day to the blog, and I prepare a checklist of the important things I need to focus on each day to avoid getting distracted. Of course, with my limited time, I can’t expect miracles, but I found that by having clear expectations I don’t get frustrated.
Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Kathryn Mayer

Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Kathryn Mayer

Kathryn Mayer’s humorous take on parenting makes for a great read, but if you think she’s only in it for the laughs, think again. Mayer’s blog Writing Out Loud serves a purpose beyond motherly advice: to help spread awareness for Newtown, CT and gun violence prevention. So how did she come to take on such a serious cause? We caught up with the outspoken blogger to learn more.

What made you want to start your own parenting blog?

Tired of bragging parents and feeling like I was doing everything wrong, I thought a more realistic, humorous perspective on parenting might resonate with people afraid to speak the truth. My blog evolves as kids grow and circumstances change. I started anonymously, as a return-to-work mom blog when I was returning to work after my youngest of four was in 2nd grade. I evolved to humor essays on parenting middle school/teens then the Sandy Hook school shooting forced me out of the shadows, and I used my blog to create awareness for Newtown and gun violence prevention. Today, I’ve found balance, bought my own url name and write about all of the above.

What three words would you use to describe your blog?

Funny, raw, real.

What is your favorite blog post to date?

I’m always surprised which essays people love. It’s never what i think, but it was with this one. While primarily a humor writer, my favorite post is not funny at all, but a tribute to my 2nd daughter.

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

Wait before posting; always make sure it’s a good idea in the morning then go for it. Never write about something you don’t want to discuss in the check-out line at the grocery store. And if posting/shared on a large site, either never read the comments or learn to laugh.

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

When kids were young: you’re allowed to be 10 minutes late per kid; I had four kids, this proved essential. As teenagers: listen more than you talk. They’re speaking volumes in their silence. Leave a costco-sized box of condoms easily accessible for the teenagers in your life. Like the fire extinguisher under your sink; they may never need it, but should have easy access just in case.

What’s a typical day like for you?

My kids are in high school and college so this will seem decadent to most: coffee in bed, exercise (use term loosely), work-work-work, review social media, log-off and write-write-write. High-school-sport-du-jour, cocktail, Netflix, rinse, repeat.

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

Always, always ask before you write about something. Give a funny/embarrassing story years to percolate before you post about it. They might not be over it yet. Also, your kids will grow up and resent you sharing so much; then they will fight over which kid you wrote about most and wish you wrote more about them. More people read you than you know; just because they don’t comment or share, doesn’t mean your words aren’t being read. You have a story to tell, tell it.
Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Marie Ericson

Mamapedia Contributor Spotlight: Marie Ericson

Mother of three and former immigration attorney Marie Ericson serves up tasty gluten-free recipes with a side of parental anecdotes on her blog Mamma’s Cooking. What started as a project for her family (particularly for her son who has celiac disease) has blossomed into a culinary space that just about anyone can enjoy. Ericson tells us more.

What made you want to start your own blog?

As someone who loves to cook, I am frequently asked by friends and family what to cook or for recipes for what I have made. I started blogging about what I cook for my family so I would have a place to write down recipes for friends and family. Now it is even more important to me to give people ideas on how to cook and entertain when dealing with celiac disease. My son has celiac, so I want him and others dealing with limitations when cooking, that the options are still endless for making good food all of your family and friends can enjoy.

What 3 words would you use to describe your blog?

Comforting, inviting and gluten-free.

What is your favorite blog post to date?

Best Recipes of 2016 is my favorite so far because it was the last in a series where I had challenged myself to post a recipe for 31 days straight! It really helped me see what readers are interested in, how far the blog had come and how much more I am excited to share.

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

Try to set specific times for blog related work (writing, reading other blogs, working on the technical part of your site, etc), so that you are not always sitting at your computer and mix up your location. I try to only work when the kids are in school or asleep, either at home or a local coffee shop. I have found that I get my best ideas when I’m doing something unrelated that is soothing and relaxing, like taking a hike on a beautiful day.

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

When my first child was born, our pediatrician told us about the “Third Child Mentality” when we asked about whether we needed to sterilize pacifiers. He said, with the first child, you drop the pacifier and sterilize it before giving it back; with the second child, you rinse it off and give it back; and with the third, you wipe it on your pants and give it back to the child. All three survive. All three methods work, so just find what works best for you and your family. I really took this to heart in many aspects of our life, especially about cooking. With the first, you try/want to make all your own baby food from scratch; with the second, you buy the jarred food or use pouches and with the third, you mash up whatever you are feeding the rest of your family. All three survive.

What’s a typical day like for you?

My husband usually gets the kids started on breakfast while I’m in the shower, before he heads off to work. I try to eat a quick breakfast, usually leftovers from last night or a yogurt, while I help find clothes, tie shoes and try to get my three kids (9, 6 and 6) out the door. After drop off, depending on the day and the weather, I either go for a hike, go to the gym, go grocery shopping or head straight home and start writing. Occasionally I go to Starbucks or a local coffee shop to write and sometimes meet up with some friends for a quick chat. then I either continue writing and reading other blog posts in between running up and down stairs doing laundry or running around the kitchen cooking and testing recipes until I have to pick up the kids. Then it is a whirlwind of activities, homework and more cooking. I’m very fortunate that my husband usually is home in time for us all to sit down together for dinner. That will change as the kids get older and more activities get in the way, but I’m grateful for it now. After dinner its baths, bedtime, lunch prep for the next day, more reading and writing while my husband does the dishes and then climb into bed to watch Downton Abbey or the latest Top Chef with a cup of tea.

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

Write what you know and be concise. Write what comes naturally to you. Don’t try to be something you are not to please someone else. Pick one topic for each blog post. I have so many ideas in my head that when I first started writing I had a hard time not putting all of them in one post! Now I pick one topic and one recipe, which hopefully provides clarity for the readers and gives me more content for more posts.