Portland Moms Blog aims to build a network of moms
Tigard woman Jen Knight launched Portland Moms Blog to help moms feel connected and supported
As a new mom, Jen Knight struggled with the thought that everything she did was wrong. Was she supposed to feel this way? Was her son supposed to act like this? Was this normal?
She'd scan the Internet, seeking reassurance and suggestions, but all she got were articles telling her to stop and change what she was doing immediately.
I'm really Type A, so when I was pregnant, I read the 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' book. I was on babycenter.com and getting the newsletters every week about 'Now your baby is the size of a pear.' All that stuff, the Tigard resident said. Then when I became a parent, I thought that I was prepared. And everybody says this, but it's so true all of a sudden, here I have the most important job in the world and I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing, and I feel like I should just go back to my corporate job where I knew what I was doing.
After giving birth to her son Connor, now 4 years old, Knight didn't have parenting blogs as a resource. Living in Minneapolis, Minn., at the time, she felt isolated despite living in her hometown it seemed like every other mom knew just what to do. But after having her second child, Brielle (now 2 years old), and moving to Oregon for her husband's job as a worship pastor at Beaverton Christian Church, Knight discovered the vast online presence of mom blogs.
She loved the idea of moms sharing information and experiences with other moms in a relaxed format, a format that was relatable and real. So with the help of her 10 contributing writers, Knight launched Portland Moms Blog on March 26 as part of the City Moms Blog Network.
I think moms go to other moms to find out everything from 'Where's the best place to take my kids on a rainy day?' to 'What do I do about potty training?' the 36-year-old said. Yes, of course, we want doctors' opinions and that sort of thing, too. But at the end of the day, women just find a lot of community with each other. And sometimes as a mom, it's hard to find that community.
For Knight and other moms with toddlers running around, simply having a conversation with other adults often proves difficult. Pauses for story time, bathroom breaks, squabble stopping, question answering and problem solving are common. And if it's two moms and their little ones hanging out, those pauses double.
The reality? Building a community can be hard, but the moms behind Portland Moms Blog are working to make it a little bit easier.
We have a team of moms who are writing for the site. (We're) all local, but we're all a little bit different, too. There's moms that are a little bit more on the crunchy side, and moms that are not so much on the crunchy side. Moms who work and moms who stay at home. Moms who breast fed and moms who formula fed, Knight said. It's all about helping people make connections. It might be that (readers) need to know where to go for something in the area, or it might be that they just need to know that someone else is dealing with the same daily stuff that they're dealing with.
Since being a new mom can be so isolating, said Knight, she and the other contributors to Portland Moms Blog try to make sure they're always coming from a supportive, positive place, rather than a negative one. With 10 writers from Beaverton, Sherwood, Gresham and Hillsboro, among other local towns Portland Moms Blog is able to provide site-specific advice alongside personal experiences, giving followers multiple articles on varied topics every week.
And though Knight does contribute her own articles to the site, she said her strengths lie more in coordinating the site and contributors, and helping provide a platform for others to have their voices heard. The skills she uses often mirror what she does for her part-time job, working remotely in communications for a business travel management company that's employed her for 13 years. Of course, this job alongside running the blog and taking care of her kids means that Knight is busy, well, most of the time.
I would say that I spend more time on it than I thought I would, said Knight, noting that she often squeezes time in during early morning and late night hours. I'm kind of still learning how to fit it into everything else that we have going on, and make sure that priorities stay as they should be.
After struggling to build her own mom network during her first years of parenting, Knight is happy to have one now, and happy to help others remember that they're not alone. In addition to the site's content, Portland Moms Blog is also working to offer meet-ups and gatherings, and had its first Moms Night Out last month. Beyond sharing information, Knight believes that creating this feeling of community is just as important, and wishes she'd had something like it all along.
I think it just would have helped me understand a little bit better that there's not one way to do things, that nobody's perfect, that every mom feels like they're messing it up, she said. I think it would have helped me to not be so hard on myself.
With one child napping and another sitting silently while watching a show, Knight had a brief moment of respite one afternoon last week. But before long, it's likely her two little extroverts will be up and running again, laughing and chatting in a way that only toddlers can and Knight will be chasing after them, playing along. For this mom, it's simply nice to know that she's not the only one.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT