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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

happy 3rd birthday, Mommy Stories!

On Sunday May 26th it was the third birthday of this blog, 
the Mommy Stories! 

THREE years of sharing real moms' stories, advice, ideas, book reviews, challenges, and successes. 

A year ago exactly there were 700 members in the Facebook Mommy Stories group. I was shocked then, since the year before there were up to 100! Now, there are 1,230 members in the Facebook group.  I don't even know what to think about that! 

AMAZING! Shocking! I started this all out for a few friends as a baby shower gift… now we're talking daily about everything in parenting, from potty training to sleep training to in-law issues, to using pacifiers or co-sleeping and which formula is best for babies with reflux… we cover it all on the blog and in the group! I LOVE THAT. 

With more people has come more challenges at times… more messages sent my way of concerns, questions, etc. One issue of having to decide whether a male father could participate in the group or not this past winter… hardest issue I've had to deal with thus far! Thankfully he was SO understanding and encouraging when we decided not a great idea to join the group. 


This past year has included many of the things that we started last year:
  • Mom in the Picture
  • several more series of posts, like that on C-sections and potty training, and a big one on Cloth Diapering 101 last summer. Then there was the series about birthday parties and another one featuring real moms who make money and make things on Etsy, etc. I LOVED that one, supporting local moms is a favorite thing of mine, always looking for local moms to feature and encourage other moms to purchase from them. 
  • so many awesome Moms of the Month - people LOVE these! 

In addition to what was started last year, I started a couple of new initiatives this year in the Facebook group:
  • What's for dinner? I've tried asking about every Sunday what moms were making for meals this coming week. There had been so many posts in the group about needing more ideas for meals, so I've found that when I post this it gives moms great, easy ideas for meals for the week. 
  • MOM THOUGHTS - a bit of randomness from my Mom Brain to yours - People are crazy over these! I get the most likes and comments on these posts than anything else I put on the blog. It's just a bunch of totally random thoughts that I put into one post. People relate, feeling like they are a bit more normal knowing at least another mom out there thinks the same totally weird things that they do about parenting! I've had such fun with these. 
  • Mom Pride! Someone in the group posted a shout out to good things moms were doing, a way to mention something you are succeeding with in this great crazy parenting adventure. I LOVE this. Too many moms feel guilty about things they are doing or not doing well enough, so instead we turn that around and every so often I'll encourage moms to share a MOM PRIDE - something they are doing well, proud of, or a success they had recently. It's good to toot our own horns sometimes! 
  • Anonymous Questions - I'd had some requests this spring to post an anonymous question, so then I put it out there to the entire group, letting moms know it's OK to send me a question that I'll post anonymously so nobody knows who the question is from. I think this option has helped many moms! I'm a school counselor in my real job, so you should trust that I KNOW what confidentiality is and won't share what you ask me to keep anonymous! 
  • New Year's Mom Resolutions - It was so fun to check back in with the 12 Moms of the Month from the previous year to ask for their New Year's Resolutions and ideas. I hope to do this again this coming January! 
  • Instagram! Oh yes, I'm even more connected this year after joining Instagram this past winter. I post real life messes (as a way to show moms, hey, I'm human, too, we're all in this together, parenting is messy, it's OK to admit it!), gratitude (things I love about being a mom), good books we read, etc. 
      • Follow me on Instagram http://instagram.com/themommystories

I'm looking forward to new ideas this summer and beyond into this fourth year of the Mommy Stories blog! I hope you enjoy these new initiatives as much as I enjoy coming up with new things for you to learn from and laugh about! 

A few ideas that I may implement this summer:
  • New Mom Mentors - I didn't get this up and running last year, but hope to look more into it this year, asking seasoned expert mamas to help answer questions to new moms, pairing them up in a mentor fashion. 
  • Group Introduction Document - With SO many mamas in the Facebook discussion group I think there should be an introduction document that new moms added should read, just to gather some ideas of what the group is all about, rules, etc. 
  • Mommy Stories Board of Trustees - I have a few moms who I typically go to for advice, ideas, or to help me sort out an issue that has come my way from the group, how to handle complaints or tough situations, etc. Some are friends of mine, others are those who I've never met before but whose opinions I really trust. I hope to make this a formal thing this summer, make them sorta official, maybe check in once a month, asking for ideas or suggestions, etc. We're a growing group, so I'm at a point of needing other eyes and ears in the discussion board, instead of watching it just myself. The more ideas, the better in my mind :) 
  • Mommy Kindness- I followed CT Moms group on Mother's Day and encouraged moms to share something nice about another mom in the group. It was so sweet reading what people wrote! I want to do this more often this coming year. It's GREAT to uplift one another.
  • Real Messes - I think it's good to show the tougher, messier side of being a parent. So I hope to post tons more mess pics on my Instagram account, as well as encourage other moms to post them to the Facebook discussion group. Point: to show we're all similar, we all struggle, and messes are OK - playing with kids is more important than cleaning anyway! 
If you have more ideas for something we should share on the blog or discussion board, please let me know! Email me at themommystories@gmail.com.

 

THANK YOU for following my parenting ups and downs, taking some advice, learning from the moms I feature on the blog, and listening… your support and encouragement make my day every time I log on to the blog or Facebook group. Thank you, thank you! 

HAPPY 3RD BIRTHDAY, MOMMY STORIES! 

Now go light a candle, make a wish, and then find some chocolate like I intend to do! :) 






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