By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | April 25, 2012
Today’s article is my 100th post on the Soup to Nuts blog and I am celebrating!
A little over a year ago I did not even know what a ‘blog’ was. (It still sounds like ‘blah’ or ‘eggnog.’) Now I know it is short for ‘web log.’ Okay, I can live with that. After more than twenty years as a volunteer and advocate for my family, parents and children, I was looking for another way to get the word out there about Parents Anonymous and thought his might fit the bill. With each post I could add contact information for the New Jersey organization. Every time the articles were read, they could see the name and contact information.
Any time I had to do anything scary or new, I always imagined the members of my group standing right behind me, giving me support and encouragement. Advocating for my daughter in school, appearing on television shows, flying to California for training, meeting with community leaders, visiting legislators in Washington— my group members were right there with me— in spirit. Those same group members are still behind me, pushing me forward, giving me ideas and cheering me on today. This isn’t as much my blog as it is ‘our’ blog.
After blogging for a year, this past month I bought a how-to book on blogging.
In many ways, I see similarities between me learning to blog and me as a parent. It is hard when you are a new parent and don’t know what you are doing. You make mistakes— I sometimes made them over and over— but you don’t quit trying. The same applies to this Soup to Nuts blog; I will keep trying. My ‘views’ numbers are low and my ‘Likes’ are even lower. But at some time, somewhere, a parent may read something I write to encourage them to make a change in their parenting for the better. That is my goal.
Before the Blog: A Brief History
Parents Anonymous of New Jersey piloted the first online support group more than ten years ago for parents who could not get to a brick-and-mortar group. They asked me if I would facilitate the online group and I jumped at the chance to help parents. Getting the group going was slow at first but parents began to learn of its existence and others searched online. Gradually the group grew and parents came and went.
This blog is the child of the ‘Reminder’ that began as a simple e-mail to the Parents Anonymous online group members. I attached parenting information every week, choosing topics from the previous week’s meeting. Later I added fun activities because parenting should be more fun and bring kids and parents together to work on short, simple projects. Quotations were added to offer insight and encouragement. I began making cryptograms, word searches, scrambled words, and other puzzles to remedy anger or boredom. Parenting and craft e-books (free of charge) are the latest addition; I list a few books in the Reminder each week, parents’ request the books then I e-mail them individually to prevent overloading e-mail providers.
The Reminder is subscribed to by parents and professionals alike; child protective service workers, non-profits, educators, therapists, counselors and others. The Reminder is sent to parents in New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Alaska, Ohio, Colorado, Ireland and more. I manage the subscription by hand; if you would like to receive the Reminder, send me your e-mail address. My e-mail address is included in every Reminder.
Questions & Answers
Q: Why do you use your real name?
A: I have never been ashamed of my name or anything I have ever done. That name belongs to me, I own it and all it stands for.
Q: If Parents Anonymous is anonymous, why do you use your children’s and members’ names?
A: My name is real, all other names are fictitious. I talk about “Katie” and “Chelsey” but those names are not my daughters’ names. I respect their privacy as they begin careers. I refer to my husband as “father,” “dad” or what I call him all the time, “Mr. Ramirez.” I use the same names to represent members of the group any time I mention them. I hold a great respect for every member that has ever joined the group and protect their privacy. Only once have I ever used a real name in a post… and you could be there for weeks and still never know who it is.
Q: What do your children think about this blog and you writing about them so often?
A: They love it; it keeps me out of their hair. Because I tell our stories with such detail, they remember the event and we usually laugh about it. On occasion I will inquire about details as they remember them and it is always surprising how different we remember things. It’s like when you think of the house you grew up in, you remember it much larger than it really was.
Q: What are your plans for your Soup to Nuts blog?
A: My plan is to try to keep up with the current schedule, twice a week is a lot of work. I write for the Reminder e-mail then pull the part out for the blog. The Reminder requires a lot of work organizing and updating. I’m not sure I could handle a third in a week. I want to update the “About Me” page. I’m still working on the ‘short bio’ but it’s not that simple. I am still reading the how-to about blogging; I want to improve it for parents.
Q: Is there anything you would like tell us?
A: Yes, two things… (1) Like us on Facebook, “Parent Rap – Soup to Nuts,” where I post online resources and a few activities for families in New Jersey. (2) Tell people about the Reminder and the online support groups for parents. A parent could be from anywhere and log into meetings; just remember we are on Eastern Daylight Time in New Jersey.
Q: Why do you do all this, do you get paid to do this?
A: I don’t get a paycheck per se, my ‘pay’ is giving parents the help I needed with my first two kids. I didn’t even know that a baby needed the formula warmed back then. The only parenting tools I knew were the ones my parents used: a belt, switch, a flip flop, fly swat, etc. There is a better way; everything I do is for parents.
Now… back to work.
Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.
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