Sunday, February 27th, 2011
We read A Child Grows in Brooklyn every single day. We always admired founder Karen Connell for her ability to curate such incredibly useful and timely info. On Sunday, March 13th, Karen and her team of experts is throwing the first ever Brooklyn Baby Expo! This is going to be an awesome event for all New York City parents to attend. Whether you are an expecting parent, a new parent, or a just a curious parent, this is the event to check out this Spring! We sat down with Karen and asked her a few questions:
1. You launched A Child Grows in Brooklyn in 2006, almost 5 years ago (a lifetime in the blogger world). Please tell us about your journey.
I joined a mom’s group in Ft. Greene Park when I had my first child. New moms came in and asked the same questions that we had: “who are the best pediatricians, the best Lactation Consultants, etc” . I had this sudden fear that if we didn’t put this information down somewhere, it would be lost and that other parents who weren’t in a mom’s group anywhere were missing valuable word-of-mouth recommendations.
I used to teach website design, so I mentioned to the group that I would type up the resources and throw a site together to which we could all contribute. Well, no one else wanted to write on it but me, although everyone was happy to give me their reviews. That’s how it started. It stared just being for 15 of us and then it grew.
I’m never sure where this blog will take me, it seems to have a life of it’s own. Although I try to be purposeful about guiding it, sometimes outside needs demand where it should go. For instance, parents asked for a daily calendar- so I did one. Businesses wanted to actually meet Brooklyn parents and tell them about their services, so I started the first-ever Brooklyn Baby Expo.
2. The Mommy Blogger Community has literally exploded in the past few years. Do you think there was a societal shift that lent itself to this kind of movement?
I think there are 3 reasons.
I think some part of the explosion has been to the media hyping up “mommy bloggers” who are turning a large profit and getting unbelievable freebies. Well, yes, there is evidence of both, but the majority of us make a few dollars a month or nothing at all. As one male publicist (who shall remain unnamed) said to me, “In my next life, I want to come back as a mommy blogger so I can get all sorts of free stuff.” I won’t report how I responded, but suffice it to say, that I hope now he sees things a little differently.
The second reason is that marketers and publicists have recognized the power of “mommy bloggers” in boosting or boycotting a product and influencing other moms, who are statistically the decision makers and buyers in the family. Companies actively search mom bloggers, court them and then, in turn, give them freebies. I think it’s appealing to a lot of moms, so as they tell their friends and as a result, mom bloggers proliferate.
Lastly, moms have recognized how blogging can give them a new access point into the working world, on their own time and on their own terms. Many mom bloggers have used their blogs as springboards for entrees into new careers. They are actively creating their own position for employment. It’s totally empowering to see that and other moms are joining in.
3. We are raising our kids in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. What kind of impact do you think this will have on their lives, in the big picture, and in the here and now moment of childhood?
I think being in a city like Brooklyn forces you to see what other people need, feel and want. We certainly can’t coexist harmoniously here without that cultural empathy- and kids pick up on that. I feel that cultural empathy becomes sewn into their mental fabric growing up here. I like that. When I see older kids in Brooklyn and hear them talk, I am so impressed with their sense of the world outside of their immediate selves.
4. You are my go to site every morning. What do you think sets A Child Grows in Brooklyn apart from the plethora of information sites that are now available?
Gosh, that’s exceedingly nice. It floors me to hear you say that. I am always surprised people read my blog- at all. I feel like I should ask you why- and maybe that tell me how to answer this question. I’m going to give it a stab though since this is email (but maybe you can write back and tell me too!) I try to do something for everyone every day- the expecting parents, the new parents, the parents with kids- and then something meaty- like a parent coach helping us to understand why we don’t have to force our kids to share.
5. You have some truly A-List Contributors on your site. Please tell us how that all came to be and the benefits your readers reap from such experts.
I used to get a lot of parents who would write in asking me for advice. I tried to answer them the best I could as a parent, but I was not an parenting expert. It became a mission of mine to get Brooklyn and NYC experts to help these parents instead. I thought I might as well shoot for the sky and ask for the best, and, to my astonishment, every one of them said yes. I learn so much from them too. I’m taking them to a spa day next month to thank them for 3 long years of fabulous work. Most of them have never met each other and I can’t wait to see them all together in one room- in their bathing suits, nonetheless!
6. Do you find that social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter help you reach a broader audience?
Yes. I’ve become friends with a lot of bloggers and readers in California (go figure, think it’s the liberal thing). I have met tons of new friends through Twitter- and we’ve bonded over everything from breaking news to lamenting the spouse choice the Bachelor makes. Facebook is my favorite way to communicate with readers- I get to see their kids’, what they are doing and what I should know about.
7. With the flood of information all parents must sort through on a daily basis, how do you choose what you are reporting & covering every day?
Every day I go through about 185 emails and then I look at my RSS reader. I am an information junkie. For events: I choose what I think will be a quality event, where a parent will come back saying, “yes, that was worth it.” For information: I choose that which I think a Brooklyn parent needs to know.
8. What is your ultimate goal with A Child Grows in Brooklyn?
I love what I am doing right now- the Brooklyn Baby Expo, though I’m wondering if the sleep deprivation is slowly killing me. I am so so excited to have parents meet all of the great services and resources that I have brought together for the event. My original aspiration for the blog was to help parents find solid, recommended information and resources, and I believe the Expo represents that in the “live” world. I feel like this will be the ultimate satisfaction for me.
9. I feel a great sense of community amongst the Mommy Bloggers. Why do you think women are so willing to support and advocate for one another?
I think it’s because the field is wide-open and it’s all exciting and fun and we are all learning from each other. What’s more equalizing than that?
10. Tell us something you would want your children to read in the future? This can be ANYTHING.
I would like them to read both of these books: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and then the author, Roald Dahl’s autobiography, “Boy”. Strange, but true. I think “Charlie” is full of hope, empathy, morality and enchantment . Dahl’s autobiography is about his life as a privileged boy who, though he had a loving, close family, was maltreated by his school teachers. Adults everywhere stamped out his creativity and yet, he prevailed. I think his story of love, hard work, belief in himself and how those virtues ultimately paid off in his life is inspiring.
Thanks Karen and see you at the Baby Expo!
Photo Credit : Justine Cooper Photography
Saturday, February 26th, 2011
I am totally hooked on my new fave website, Poshbrood.
Poshbrood, a hip and chic upscale family travel website, was started by Elizabeth Thorp, a writer and mom to three little divas: Isabelle, Lucy and Penelope. Elizabeth has published travel stories in Washingtonian Magazine, Huffington Post, Capitol File Magazine and Momlogic.com and had amassed a ginormous folder of fantastic family hotels, resorts and villas along the way. Some savvy girlfriends suggested corralling the family travel findings in one spot et voila! Poshbrood was born.
They are also fellow Cribsie Awards Finalists under the “Smartest Family Travel Tips”, so go on and vote some more!
Saturday, February 26th, 2011
Completely obsessed with these leggings.
Available at Masala Baby
Saturday, February 26th, 2011
Straight out of Amazonas, Brazil.
Dress/ Gap Kids
Leggings / Bella Maya
Shoes / Lucky Top
Photo Credit / Beatrice Leong
Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011