Wednesday, August 8, 2007

New England Mamas, Blogging

Eighteen moms. From four different New England states. Working moms. At-home moms. Writers, educators and a professional dog trainer. Moms of babies through moms of grown kids. Boston Red Sox fans and at least one New York Yankees fan. Blogging about everything from casino gaming and gay marriage in Massachusetts, to childcare issues.

Since May, Massachusetts blogger Tania (her last name was withheld per her request) -- who goes by the name “Mrs. Chicky” on her two-year-old blog, Chicky Chicky Baby – has been their ringleader for a group-written blog called New England Mamas. Mrs. Chicky agreed to field questions about the blog:

Meredith, Suburban Mom Blog: Why did you start New England Mamas and how is it different than other blogs?

Mrs. Chicky, founder of New England Mamas: It was started to connect all the New England women whose personal blogs I was reading into one space where we could discuss regional topics that may not have been of any interest on our personal blogs. We've discussed ideas on where to finally meet in person -- beyond the blog, as it is -- as well as places where we might have play dates with our kids. But I think we can do more than just talk amongst ourselves. The New England Mamas are a group of very dynamic, intelligent women who have strong opinions that deserve to be heard and I think there's a real need for that beyond our own computer screens.

It's not so much different from other blogs as it is different from any form of communication for mothers in New England currently available. There are message boards and meet-up sites and all that, and they're all great for what they do, but through blogging we have the incredible power of free media to reach out to those who may not know how to find others like them. It's incredibly empowering to do a Google search for a specific topic, maybe related to parenting or maybe not, and find yourself on someone's blog and make that instant connection. Especially when you're a mom who believes that no one out there thinks the way you do.

It may sound trite, but when you strip away everything but words it's much easier to get to know the real person behind them. We believe in what we write and we'd like to share our knowledge on a wide number of topics, for good or bad, with others.

Meredith: What are the concerns of New England Mamas right now? What are people talking about?

Mrs. Chicky: The last three really interesting posts were: The proposed casino in Middleborough [MA] and its possible impact on the area, the sunflower sale at Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream Stand in Griswold, CT to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation, and the Edward Hopper exhibit at the MFA. And, of course, the Red Sox.

We're all mothers but we have interests beyond diapers and playgroups -- though we discuss those too -- and we want to use our knowledge and experience to help other parents in the New England area. We have a very important national election coming up, for instance, and the outcome could have a major impact on important topics to us, like health care, child care, and woman's reproductive rights.

We also want to connect mothers to other mothers through our blog. Motherhood can sometimes be an isolating and downright scary experience, as I sort of alluded to before. We want moms to know they're not alone. I know I've personally met some incredible women through blogging, women I may have never had the chance to meet without my blog, and it's changed my life.

Meredith: Who are your fellow New England Mamas, and do they have any areas of expertise?

Mrs. Chicky: Currently we have contributors from all over New England except Vermont and Maine, and we are looking to fill those spots as soon as possible. The New England Mamas are published writers, educators, graphic designers, and other professional or former professional women from different walks of life who are passionate about everything from the Red Sox to cooking to education and health care reform. And each one has their own personal blog outside of the New England Mamas.

We are extremely diverse in our passions as well as in our areas of expertise. I mentioned the educators in our group of bloggers so I believe we'll have some interesting discussions about education standards in New England. We also have a couple of women who formerly worked in the beauty industry, which is very exciting because what mother doesn't want tips or product reviews that will help them look and feel better? There are some serious political junkies in our group who will, no doubt, be covering the upcoming national election from a parent's perspective. Our moms are very interested in the skyrocketing costs of child care in New England as well as the state of our national and state health care systems.

And, just to rattle off a few more, we have: Animal rights advocates, moms with disabilities, women who work in the field of law, and SAHMs [stay-at-home moms] who are breaking down the perceptions of what it means to be a mom.As a matter of fact I just found out that Alex Elliot one of our contributors who also blogs at is flying to NYC today to be on the Mike and Juliet show to discuss a blog post from her personal blog on formula
feeding. We're all extremely excited for her.

Meredith: What has been your blog's most popular, or controversial, post thus far?

Mrs. Chicky: By far it was a post written about the seventeenth Constitutional Convention in Massachusetts to consider the amendment (H 4840) that would have banned same-sex marriage (which was defeated). Not all of our contributors, or our readers, consider themselves to be liberal so there was an interesting back-and-forth discussion in the comments about whether or not marriage was a civil or a human right. It was extremely respectful and I know I took a lot away from it.

Meredith: Are the New England Mamas Red Sox fans, or do you think there will be any infighting when the baseball playoffs come around and, inevitably, the New York Yankees will face off with the Sox?

Mrs. Chicky: I'm a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation so I love this question. I took a poll of our Mamas and it seems like most of us are hard core Red Sox fans. There are some contributors who have no allegiance or even particularly care for sports -- and we love them anyway -- and I believe there is one woman whose husband is a Yankees fan. Now that should make for interesting reading! Go Sox!

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