Little Melbourne Reviews
Melbourne parent bloggers have captured our attention with mag-worthy stories on the highs and lows of raising kids. Unlike long-winded features on Justin Bieber’s new tattoo or Labor infighting, parent bloggers write stories that fellow kid wranglers can relate to.
We’d like to introduce you to a few of our favourite bloggers. We even had them hand pick their top posts for time pressed parents looking for a good read. And if this crop of writers inspires you to start your own blog, check out Digital Parents’ upcoming blogging conference for tips.
Planning with Kids offers something parents want: Less stress and more time to hang with the kids. With some 75,000 unique visitors, Planning with Kids has also attracted a publishing house and advertisers wanting to connect with parents. The blog by Nicole Avery is about how to make family life more harmonious. It was ranked No. 1 by blog network Nuffnang for its audience reach and influence.
How did she get so popular? Well, @planningqueen is something of a social media fairytale. Nicole says tweeting was the turning point.
“On twitter I was very conscious of not being ‘all about me’ and made sure I shared other great info and built up my profile as an expert in my niche. Twitter was how my book came about, as an editor found me on twitter, followed me to the blog, liked what she saw and contacted me about writing the book.”
He’s a weightlifting stay-home super dad, captaining a team of four boys, including a four-month-old. To this relative rookie mum of one, RD’s a bit of a guru. He doesn’t see himself as an expert like I do and is reluctant to dole out parenting advice. But I managed to wrangle this out of him:
“I think the best way to learn about parenting is to parent your own children and learn about them.” The next step is to develop a consistent approach – “key to keeping you from flipping your lid and doubting yourself.”
“After my time so far in the top job, I’d say that 90% of being an effective parent to my children is simply loving them. The other 10% involves not overreacting to their many normal – but often challenging – behaviors.
“If I was going to give this a name it would be anchor parenting. I am here for my kids forever. As they develop courage and grow they will let more chain out and sail further away. Eventually they will sail out of sight. My job is to be here for them when they follow the chain home.”
TOP Post: A post about purchasing a Tarago is a hilarious standout from the gorgeous Wednesdays from the Womb series that leads up to the birth of baby Maki.
t&l is a seriously pretty online mag and blog designed to inspire parents-to-be and families with young kids. What I love about t&l is that creator Nat knows that parenting isn’t about Visa and accessorizing on a whole new level. She taps into a really fun aspect of the gig: Getting creative and making things with kids.
“There's a real pleasure that comes from making things together or getting a child's input for things that are made for them. I like to come up with ideas that families can do together, like art, craft and cooking,” Nat says.
One popular example from Nat’s idea bank was a big hit on her blog last year: Edible finger paint!
“I played with ingredients in my own kitchen until I created a recipe that was safe for my toddler who was at the putting-everything-in-his-mouth stage. It is a recipe that's so simple the little ones can make it themselves or make it with a parent, then go on to create their own masterpiece.”
Karen Andrews’ MM began as a way to keep in touch with family living interstate and as a sort of “writing therapy” as she found her way through severe post partum anxiety.
MM has since evolved into quite a brand with a publishing arm that has produced two books. Andrews has received much critical acclaim and was recently appointed program director of the Emerging Writers Festival.
Andrews says that blogging has enriched her life bringing “opportunities, self-confidence, an ever-growing skills set, friends, a community, the chance to recognise that ambition and purpose are healthy things... the list could go on!”
She has inspired many women to start their own blogs and watched the scene grow dramatically.
“From a time when it was seen as 'peripheral', now it is powerful and quite mainstream. There are some difficult periods: it's natural to wonder on occasion if you're on the right path or if you should be making it work for you differently; it is getting more and more competitive; but the positives far outweigh the negatives.”
Top post: An Absent Mother Apologises is a letter to Andrews’ son on his fifth birthday, documenting the difficult months she had starting at his birth.
Jolie at Hey Bambini is the rare mum of two littlies who enjoys eating out two to three times a week!
Her great site Hey Bambini is making it easier for the rest of us to take the kids out for a bite without losing our minds. It features unique eateries that cater to young families.
Jolie receives emails from people all over Australia asking when Hey Bambini is coming to their city. Sydney is first up in the site’s expansion plans. Jolie is taking the whole family this month for a café crawl. We can’t wait to hear about her top picks!
Luckily for Jolie, her kids adore eating out.
“Oscar is so accustomed to cafes now it’s like visiting an old friend, he always asks where the toys are and pretty much orders before he even gets out of the car – strawberry milkshakes and cupcakes are his favourites. For my youngest it babyccinos and gingerbread men.”
Top Post: For the Melbourne families, Jolie’s No. 1 pick is Ceres Café in Brunswick East. Not many urban restaurants have a nearby chook pen, sandpit, organic nibbles and great coffee!
Writing Out Loud is about parenting, as well as travel, food, renovations, and finding work/life balance.
Megan Blandford began this award-winning blog after her daughter Abbey was born. She was unemployed for the first time in a long time and a bit bored. In that empty space she got to reading parent blogs and was inspired to start a blog of her own – something that has changed her life.
“It took a lot of courage to do that, to say ‘I want to be a writer’ and move away from the corporate world. But it’s one of the best things I’ve done: I’ve made lots of new friends through blogging, I’ve created a new career, and it’s helped me through some really bad times too.”
If you’re thinking about starting your own blog, Megan has some advice:
“My top tip for would-be parent bloggers would be to just jump in. Forget any ‘rules’ or ‘how-tos’, be yourself and have fun with it.”
Top Post: The insightful piece Why do we label our children? is about resisting the tendency to put kids in a box by describing them as shy or wild.
With big thanks to our special guest contributor, Amy Carmichael, Melbourne writer and mum to baby Frida, whose recent bedtime stories have been derived from the aforementioned blogs. Both were both happy for the break from Gossie.