Our favourite Ottawa parent bloggers – Part 2

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Why I blog: Patricia Roy-Papineau
Today’s parents are at a huge advantage over past generations because we have a wealth of information at our fingertips… literally.

You can find just about anything you need to know online. Whether it’s an entire website dedicated to the obscure and random or forums where total strangers answer your questions, it’s all there, neatly filed away

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in the information superhighway’s rolodex.

Then the wonderful phenomenon of blogging entered the scene. There seems to have been an explosion of parenting bloggers, and I am very lucky to be part of this group.

After my daughter was born, I thought I would blog about all the crazy adventures we would have together, like if she ever tried to flush my Prada shoes down the toilet. Problem was, when I started thinking about blogging, she could barely lift her head up, let alone a shoe, and I don’t own anything Prada. So I put the idea aside, thinking I would revisit it in a few months.

I finally started blogging when I opened momstown Ottawa in June 2012, as part of the bigger picture. It was a way for me to share what we do at momstown Ottawa and how having a social support network is so important as a mom, whether it’s your first or fifth time around.

At first I had no idea what to write about if it wasn’t a craft or one of our 20 monthly activities and I wasn’t even sure anyone wanted to read what I had to say. But I wrote it anyway.

I wrote about difficulties I was having with my daughter’s “selective” eating or my daughter officially entering toddlerhood (i.e., the emergence of tantrums).

I wrote about my experience becoming a first-time business owner, and personal experiences that have shaped the person I have become. And people actually

read it. Not only were they reading it, they were actually coming back to read more!

It didn’t take long for me to get hooked and wonder how I can turn my latest experience into my next post.

I like to think that people enjoy the personal posts because it’s usually something they can relate to. It is usually something that as a mom or parent we have all experienced, and can sympathize with the writer.

While nothing beats in-person, face-to-face relationships, blogs can reach out to anyone, anywhere. It connects people, which is what momstown is all about.

Real moms. Connected.

Patricia Roy-Papineau, mother to one beautiful little girl and a big furry pup. Love books, sarcasm and impromptu dance parties with mini me at the house, grocery store, etc. Married to the best husband a girl could ask for. Blog: www.momstownottawa.blogspot.ca

www.pinterest.com/momstownca
www.facebook.com/momstownOttawa
www.twitter.com/@momstownOttawa

Photo: Anita Woo Photography

Why I blog: Rebecca Stanisic

parent-blogger-rebeccaI started my blog, A Little Bit of Momsense, shortly after my second child was born. I had spent many months with my firstborn reading blogs online (in between feeding sessions and naps!), but mostly from the sidelines.

When I finally decided “I’m going to do this,” it was initially just a place for me to write stories that I could call my own.

More than four years later, I wouldn’t change anything. I am having fun and meeting wonderful people. Topics on my blog vary greatly and changes as my children age and grow.

At its core, my blog continues to reflect parenthood and my love of life, family and food. It’s fun to write about anything and everything to do with being a mom, living in Ottawa and just being me.

As a stay-at-home mom, being online has created a community for me. Not only was the blog a fantastic way to connect – sharing other people’s stories, sharing my own, celebrating accomplishments together – but I found another source of online community with Twitter.

Twitter became a way for me to meet other parents who were practically in my backyard, and no matter how often I may have seen them at the park, meeting people and chatting them up in person is far different than online. For me, online is an easier ice breaker.

I have received a tremendous amount of support and guidance online, and met some of my closest friends there. These are friends I can count on when I really need them or friends to share a laugh with.

In addition to the blog, I started writing on various other websites and help other bloggers and small business owners navigate their way into the social media sphere. This has been a really great way for me to meet local business owners, entrepreneurs and fellow parents.

I also try to give back to the community as much as I can, which is one of the reasons I co-organize the Ottawa charity event Shopping and Sweets.

Looking to strike up a conversation with me, but aren’t sure where to start? When in doubt, I am always more than happy to chat about television shows that I am obsessed with (that’s a long list) or books that are keeping me up past midnight.

Rebecca Stanisic is a lifestyle and parenting blogger in Ottawa with an intense love of coffee and maple syrup. She blogs about being a stay-at-home mom, family-friendly recipes, fun activities to do with the kids and her love of life.

www.bitofmomsense.com
www.facebook.com/bitofmomsense
www.twitter.com/bitofmomsense

Photo: Sara McConnell Photography

parent-blogger-danielleWhy do I blog: Danielle Donders

I’ve been writing Postcards from the Mothership (www.danigirl.ca), a blog about raising a family in Ottawa, for most of the last decade. It has been called one of Ottawa’s best blogs (and not just by me!) and has received nominations and awards for humour, photography, writing, and discussion of parenting issues over the years.

When I started blogging way back in 2005, I was looking for a place to share the story of our family. I’d tried scrapbooking, but didn’t have the patience for the fancy scissors and bits of paper, and I’d given up maintaining our original family website.

The idea of a blog seemed to capture the best bits of both of those worlds – a sort of digital scrapbook for collecting stories and ideas culled from and inspired by our lives. What I didn’t anticipate back then was the incredible sense of connection and community that would grow from the blog.

I’m not exaggerating when I say blogging has changed my life. I was an early evangelist for social media in government communications and now I manage the social media channels for a big government department.

With a photo-a-day project on the blog, I rekindled my love of photography and launched a successful commercial and portrait photography business. Through the blog, I’ve had commissions for articles and photography and been invited to speak at several social media conferences.

My blog has been featured in national newspapers and magazines, including Chatelaine and Canadian Living, which called it the blog of the month in September 2011. Yet, the things about blogging I still love the most are the storytelling, the sense of connection and community, and trading ideas and opinions

One of my favourite categories on the blog is Life in Ottawa. I love to write about our adventures (and misadventures!) raising three boys here in the nation’s capital.

Some of my more popular posts are about the best places for kid birthday parties, free things you can do with kids in Ottawa, and an ongoing series on Ottawa’s “hidden treasures” – places you might not have heard of even if you’ve lived in Ottawa for years.

I also write about parenting issues, balancing work and family, photography, random bits of geekery, and pants. I seem to have an ongoing obsession with pants.

Ottawa is an amazing city in which to raise a family, especially if you have a strong sense of fun and play, and I never seem to run out of inspiration or ideas for the blog. Drop by some time and say hello, I’d love to hear from you!

Danielle Donders has been blogging about raising her family of three boys in Ottawa at danigirl.ca for most of the last decade. She is also a portrait and commercial photographer. In her day job, Danielle manages the social media channels for a big federal government department.

www.facebook.com/postcardsfromthemothership
www.facebook.com/mothershipphotography
www.twitter.com/DaniGirl

Photo: Danielle Donders

Why we blog: Erin Blaskie & Crystal McLeod
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It all started after one of our weekly play dates.

We were moms, getting our babies together for play dates every Friday and dishing on the trials and tribulations (and joys and celebrations!) of motherhood and all that came with it.

We would laugh, we would cry, but mostly we would connect and through that connection, we realized how much we weren’t alone in this journey.

In July of 2012, the idea came together for Ottawa Valley Moms and the site was launched shortly thereafter. Since not all of our readers are moms, we wanted to combine the spirit of motherhood with the excitement of our much-needed girls’ nights out, so we kicked off the site launch with a fabulous party at the Brookstreet Hotel. Local businesses stepped up to support us, and the response was overwhelming.

After blogging for a few months, we realized how much of a need our website was filling. There are a lot of fabulous Ottawa-based bloggers and group blogs, but because we focused on the city as well as the Ottawa Valley, we brought a unique perspective to our audience.

We were able to tap into some of the challenges that parents face when living in a more isolated area and we were able to bring them that sense of community and connection we felt when getting together for our weekly play dates.

Blogging for us has become therapeutic, cathartic and uplifting. It has allowed us to have an outlet through which to share the good days, the bad days and the downright awful days and it’s allowed us to realize that we’re not alone in the journey we are on. Mostly though, it’s allowed us to hear other people’s stories and that has been an eye-opening experience.

Whether blogging about being a young widow, the decision to get a vasectomy (or not!), our pregnancies and miscarriages or reminiscing about the sweetest moments of parenting, we keep one thing top of mind: be real, be honest and speak from the heart.

As the site continues to grow, our reasons for blogging are continually evolving. The one constant, though, is to ensure connectedness and community is always present and thriving.

In a highly digital world, opening up this virtual community offers up a whole new set of opportunities for all of us, as people and parents. It is our hope that we can help someone feelconnected, even if they are physically far from an urban hot spot.

Stop by the site and share your story. We’d love to hear it!

Ottawa Valley Moms was co-founded in July of 2012 by Erin Blaskie and Crystal McLeod. The blog features new blog posts every day, a virtual book club, an online video show and a weekly podcast. The women also coordinate and host various events in and around Ottawa and the Valley.

www.pinterest.com/ottawavalleymom
www.facebook.com/ottawavalleymoms
www.twitter.com/ottawavalleymom

Photos: Erin Blaskie