Twin Cities mom bloggers still writing

  • Article by: JULIE PFITZINGER , Special to Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 25, 2013 - 2:32 PM

Three moms find an audience online for their musings.

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Jen Jamar played with a sling-shot monkey with her 2-year-old son, Levi, before bedtime at their home in Robbinsdale.

Photo: KYNDELL HARKNESS • kyndell.harkness@startribune.com ,

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In this fast-paced age of Twitter and Facebook, the idea of a “mom blog” might start to seem a little bit old-fashioned, but three Twin Cities mom bloggers firmly believe that all these forms of social media can peacefully coexist and often enhance one another. More important, blogging continues to fulfill the goals they set for themselves when they first began posting their thoughts online several years ago.

 

“My blog really started as a personal journal,” said Jen Jamar, a single mom from Robbinsdale who writes “Life With Levi” about her 2-year old son. “I saw it as a way to connect with other moms in the natural parenting community on topics like cloth diapers and breastfeeding. From there, I realized I just really wanted to talk about us and our life.”

Jamar, whose blog attracts 15,000 to 30,000 unique visitors per month, said her “sweet spot” is women age 25 to 34, who make up 70 percent of her regular readers. A business analyst by day, Jamar has cultivated ongoing partnerships with several large companies, such as Maytag, that she regularly promotes on “Life With Levi.” It’s a common marketing strategy that family-friendly companies use, although Jamar insists that she doesn’t want her site to be all about products.

She says she occasionally “overshares,” and often posts about her own social life.

“I also have a Facebook page, and that’s probably the place where I interact more often with readers because it is a quick way to respond to comments,” she said. Although Jamar has a Twitter account, she doesn’t spend much time on it now.

Friendship and weight loss

Liz Paul, of Eagan, started a blog seven years ago: “Random Thoughts of a Lutheran Geek.” She’s also on Twitter and sends out more than 20 tweets per day, allowing the opportunity for “a continuation of my voice” when she isn’t able to blog.

Now the mother of a 4-year old, Paul said the focus of her mental energy has changed and her attention has shifted somewhat to contributing to another blog called “PriorFatGirl,” where she charts her 80-plus pound weight loss (and other contributors write about theirs).

“The first blog is a real part of me. It helped me to process my thoughts and reflect during challenging times in my life, “she said. Paul, who also works in church ministry, spends about five hours a week on her blogs and recently posted on both forums questioning her future in blogging, but has since realized she’s not ready to give anything up yet.

“I’m still writing to process my own journey, but I’m also trying to figure out which direction to go,” she said, adding that she has developed close friendships with many readers who originally found her online.

Kids, lots of them

At first glance, it would be hard to imagine that Margaret Berns, of Eagan, would have a moment to put together a sentence, much less weekly blog posts. As the mother of seven children, ranging from newborn to 15 years old, she also home-schools four of her children. The two oldest attend a local school. However, her “Minnesota Mom” blog, which she started six years ago, has become a valuable way for her to document daily life with a big family.

“For me, the blog is about sharing my story with other like-minded moms,” Berns said. “I consider it a Catholic home-schooling blog, but I have many readers who aren’t Catholic or home schoolers.”

Now that her children are getting older, Berns has “pulled back” on the stories she shares with the 1,000 readers who check in daily.

“I don’t talk about anything without the kids’ permission, but if they say something funny, I’ll say, ‘Please let me put that on the blog,’ ” she said with a laugh. “But I respect the fact that the older they get, the stories are theirs and not mine.”

While she has also made several friends through her “Minnesota Mom” blog — in some cases traveling to other states to meet up — she considers her blog to be an online archive for family memories, a hobby she compares to “scrapbooking without the mess.”

 

Julie Pfitzinger is a West St. Paul freelance writer.

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