Bits from a Brit & Parents with Style in the Grand Rapids Press & MLive

9:40 AM Posted by Bits from a Brit

Thanks Grand Rapids Press and MLIVE.com for this feature story on us!!!

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Two generations ago, when moms got their kids on the school bus for the day, they gathered for coffee from 9-11 a.m.Today their granddaughters are tucking their kids in bed, and then firing up their laptops for mom blogging from 9-11 p.m.

They're still solving all the mom problems, though."I think it's our way of socializing," said local up-and-coming blogger, Shanda Bauman, of Wyoming.

Her year-old blog, Parents with Style (parentswithstyle.blogspot.com), is part of two elite groups. The first is Mommies United, a consortium of four moms who review parenting and children's products. She also is listed as a favorite on Role Mommy, a New York City-based blog frequently tapped by journalists looking for a mom's point of view.The blogging women Bauman works with are some of her dearest friends, although not your typical close friend. "I have never met them except for e-mail and by phone," she pointed out.Bauman, whose day job is with Ryerson Metal Sales, gets daughter Nevaeh, 3, and son Korbyn, 1, in bed and then puts in a couple of more hours writing about products manufacturers have sent her to try for free."It is fun, and it is addicting but I'm not going out, and I'm earning a little bit of money," she said.

Like Bauman, Claire Roys works at Ryerson during the day and blogs at night."I work to pay the bills. I do enjoy it, but I do the blog for me. And for Alex. She loves it when things arrive in the mail," Roys said.Roys' blog, Bits from a Brit, (bitsfromabrit.blogspot.com) has the attention of manufacturers who send her things to test, usually involving husband, Steven, and 18-month-old daughter, Alexandria. Roys, who is from England, has a built-in audience in Europe and Australia.

Manufacturers have discovered blogs are a good form of advertising and marketing, said Role Mommy creator Beth Feldman, whose company BeyondPR, links journalists with the best mom bloggers out there.Bauman and Roys "are really talented and write really well," she said.While Feldman was a vice president for marketing for CBS, she convinced the network to bring in mom bloggers to screen "The New Adventures of the Old Christine." Word of blog was a key to launching the show.Women don't mind writing in exchange for samples, and the companies are quick to dole out products -- including electronics -- if the blog is influential enough.For the moms who write "it's the freedom of being able to write what you want to write in your own way," Feldman said. "If you have a client, you have to write what they want you to write. But if they're writing as a mom blogger, they're writing from their heart. That's what manufacturers hope for."The consumer-based blogs are a small part of the mom blogging trend."That's the beautiful thing about mom bloggers," Feldman said. "You have moms writing about politics, moms writing about products, moms writing about celebrity babies, moms writing about health and fitness," she said.

Mom bloggers also are seeing the value of philanthropic work online. Many sites feature virtual fundraisers and charity work. Roys said that's a key to her enjoyment of her fellow bloggers work."I love it when I see someone else doing it," said Roys, whose own site promotes the Gal to Gal Foundation to aid women with Stage IV breast cancer. "You want to go the extra mile for them."

Even if they're just a click away.

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