Lafayette Moms' Blog
● Published by Robert Frey
New Age Parenting ResourceBy Hailey Hensgens Fleming
Being a parent, and more specifically a Mom, is hard. Yes, it’s an absolute joy and privilege, but if we’re honest, it’s also the most challenging and weighty task most of us will ever face. From tangible issues like balancing schedules and knowing how to take care of your sick child to internal struggles of do’s and don’ts and towering expectations, those set for you by well-meaning relatives and those you set for yourself, this “mom gig” is tough. Contrary to the usual dog-eat-dog mentality, however, an online community of Acadiana moms are banding together to help one another in their journeys and they’re doing so by way of the newly established Lafayette Mom’s Blog.
Seven years ago, as new moms themselves, co-founders Ashley Angelico and Elizabeth Schmelling, identified a need in their New Orleans community for a comprehensive parenting resource geared toward local moms and dads. Thus, in 2012, they began the New Orleans Moms Blog, which has since become the premier parenting resource for the city. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response, they acquired the Red Stick Moms Blog site in 2016 and soon saw a pattern. “What we were noticing was that a lot of our readers and even some of our event guests were coming all the way from the Acadiana region,” Angelico explains. It was clear Acadiana needed a site of its own and in October 2017, the Lafayette Moms Blog was born.
Although started by New Orleans natives, the focus of the Lafayette Moms Blog is on catering to residents of Acadiana and its surrounding communities, assisting parents in all walks of life with children of all ages. Their team of contributors, or writers, is made up of approximately 25 local moms, a diverse group of women who bring a variety of unique perspectives and experiences to the table. With blog posts that range from practical resources like birthday party and summer camp guides to daily “life hacks” to the difficult-to-discuss topics like infertility and pregnancy loss, the site is truly a one-stop-shop that aims to meet the practical and emotional needs of local parents.
Although striving to be the primary informational resource for all things “parenting”, the team’s ultimate goal is to create an inclusive community where everyone has a place at the table. “It’s not just about the parenting tips or the fun fluffy stuff. It’s about building communities and building these relationships between moms,” explains Stephanie Kizziar, a Lafayette Moms Contributor as well as Events and Social Media Manager. “It can be so isolating when you’re a parent. You feel like you’re doing it alone and no one else is experiencing it the way you are. Or, you feel you’re such a terrible mom because of X,Y and Z, so it’s nice when you finally realize, ‘Oh! I’m not the only one!’”
For moms like Kizziar, the Lafayette Moms Blog has successfully created a safe space for moms (and dads) to forgo the perfect parent facade and be real with one another while offering valuable advice. “Everyone has a different point of view and what’s really cool about it is that no one judges. I think that’s really important and what we try to get across in our posts,” says Kizziar. “This is what has worked for me and I don’t know if it’s going to work for you. I’m not trying to tell you how to parent, but this is what has helped me and if anyone can benefit from it, awesome.”
In addition to a virtual community, the Lafayette Moms team is also hoping to bridge the gap offline by facilitating events for local moms to get out of the house, get to know one another and foster new relationships. With one very successful Mom’s Night Out already in the books, the team is looking forward to several more events that are still in the works, including a summer play-date series and holiday events for the whole family to enjoy. Area moms looking for a good time can mark their calendars for another Mom’s Night Out on October 6th at Audi of Lafayette to celebrate the first birthday of the blog site. With local vendors, businesses and restaurants in attendance, they can treat themselves to a night full of music, dancing, shopping and fun.
For a site that is only six months old, the Lafayette Moms Blog has been met with overwhelming enthusiasm and support - a reasonable response to something that combines such a wealth of information and puts it literally in the palm of your hand. Local parents can check out the site itself or any of its social media pages to learn more and get plugged in. Moms are also encouraged to take advantage of neighborhood groups, organized Facebook groups for parents based on where they live, and chime in if there’s anything in particular they’d like to hear about.