Mom Blogger Profile: Candace Lindemann and Debbie Bookstaber of Mamanista
What made you two decide to launch a blog together? Tell us a bit about your backgrounds.
Candace: We met at Yale where we worked on a number of volunteer projects together, and we were both members of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Following graduation we bonded again over being married to military men–Debbie’s husband had been in the Air Force ROTC program at Yale and was stationed in Boston as a scientist, and my husband ended up joining the Army and deploying to Iraq as a platoon leader, following his law school graduation.
After earning an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I became a classroom teacher. Currently I work as an educational consultant to create custom strategies, textbooks, and lesson plans for school districts across the country that promote and support each district’s education standards and objectives. And I am a freelance writer, too. In addition to work and parenting, I also volunteer extensively in my local community and have won several service awards for my efforts with at-risk children as well as for families of deployed soldiers.
Debbie: I graduated with a BA and MA in History and planned to enter a PhD program in order to teach. But what I viewed as a temporary gig at a small startup turned into a career in online marketing, when the company was acquired by Travelocity. Since then, I’ve worked for other startups as well as established companies such as Travelocity and Expedia. I went on to manage Travelocity’s white-label affiliate relationships as well as Expedia’s marketing programs. Currently, I work fulltime for www.thejargroup.com as their Directory of Strategy. I also serve as an elected member of my local school board. Volunteering is a big part of my life. I volunteer with several charities focused on education and at-risk families.
Candace: We remained friends over the years. Then in 2006, I had my first daughter while my husband was deployed. I have a son now, too, he’s almost eight months and my daughter will be three in August. My daughter was born with a congenital heart defect and was colicky so I literally tried hundreds of slings, bouncy seats, swaddlers, whatever I could find, that might help. I found myself constantly typing out e-mails online and off to help friends who were also searching for the best baby products.
Debbie: At the time, I was getting ready to start my own family–I now have a one-year-old baby boy. I suggested we star Mamanista to combine Candace’s work as a writer and new-found interest in parenting product experimentation and my experience in online marketing with our passion for motherhood and volunteer work. Our initial goal was to raise money for heart defect and disease research and children’s charities through ad sales and affiliate marketing. Mamanista grew rapidly, and we’ve been able to donate thousands to various charities.
What do you feel makes your blog different from other mom-run blogs?
Debbie: Candace and I have such different styles. Candace would describe her parenting style as attachment parenting. Neither of her babies would even accept a bottle, and she nursed her daughter until toddlerhood and also co-slept. I nursed for the first few months, but I switched to formula when I returned to work. And co-sleeping just didn’t work for me at all. Candace and I also differ when it comes to career paths and attitudes toward childcare. I work full time, and I rely on my mother and babysitters for childcare during the work week. On the other hand, Candace is a stay-at-home mom, who somehow manages to work part time without any childcare. Our parenting styles and lives are so different, but we respect each other. There’s no judgment in our relationship. And I think we bring that open attitude to our reviews.
Candace: And while I wouldn’t say this makes us “different” from other blogs, I am happy that we showcase thorough reviews of affordable and practical items along with fun finds like aspirational gifts and the handiwork of independent artisans. Our charity profiles are also an important part of what we do. And because Debbie and I are both so involved in education, we also highlight a lot of books and educational products.
What’s your favorite thing about being a mommy blogger (and does that term make you crazy)?
Candace: You know, it doesn’t. Because right now I’m primarily blogging about parenting. However, if I ever shift to blogging about politics, or education, or one of my other interests, and people continue to label me as a Mommy Blogger even though parenting is no longer my focus, that would be frustrating. What I love about “mommy blogging” is the strength of the community. The way everyone comes together in support of one another. We may have squabbles, but there is definitely a “family” feel.
Debbie: I value all of the friendships I’ve made via the blogosphere. When you’re a new mom, life can feel a bit overwhelming. But the mommy blogging community is supportive and informative. You can find advice on nearly any topic as well as words of encouragement, inspirational stories or humorous anecdotes.
What do you see as the future of the momosphere? Where is it going? What will change?
Candace: If I knew for sure…I’d be doing it! I think we’ll be seeing media becoming more integrated with real life and more conversational. Microblogging on the go, vlogging with Flip cameras, using geocaching. And most importantly, bloggers looking to make a big difference in their communities, online and off. There’s a lot of talent, experience and energy that we can harness for good.
Debbie: Technology has changed so much in my lifetime…and at such a rapid pace. I’ve spent my entire career in online marketing — a field that didn’t even exist when I entered college. Blogs have soared in popularity, and now many bloggers are turning to microblogging via Twitter. My best guess would be that we’ll see more video blogging–done via smartphones–or perhaps voice threading (www.voicethread.com) which is a fun way of digital storytelling. I also agree with Candace that we’ll see moms looking to make an even bigger impact in their communities through blogging and other Web 2.0 tools.
Visit Candace and Debbie at Mamanista.