About the Winner
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Not long ago, I was a TV host in the Cayman Islands. Today, I'm writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In 2010, I traded in the sand for the snow and pursued a long-term relationship and obtained certification as a reading teacher in a high needs school outside of Washington, DC. I got pregnant five months later. During my second trimester, my boyfriend dumped me over the phone, so I moved back to Pennsylvania and lived with my sister and looked for a job. To heal from what happened and to celebrate my first Mother's Day, I launched Diary of a First Time Mom.
Although the blog is written with ALL moms in mind, many topics target the African-American community, in hopes of raising awareness about important issues, such as breastfeeding, SIDS and infant mortality rates. I want other moms to know theyâ€™re not alone, even if they donâ€™t have financial or emotional support. In my own motherâ€™s words, I tell house business! I write about getting stretch marks and receiving WIC benefits. The site also features remarkable moms, like Monique who's high school sweetheart and husband was gunned down in a random act of violence when they were expecting their first baby and Jacqueline who battled breast cancer while raising a toddler and training for a marathon.
In addition, I share funny stories to swap stress for smiles and document my adventures in dating with a permanent plus one. I pitched The Single Life, an advice column, to Black and Married With Kids. The site, which attracts 150K+ unique visitors a month, asked me to become a regular contributor and created a singles section. Recently, my article entitled "Not Everyone You Meet is Your Husband" went viral and led to a paid position on the site.
Diary of a First Time Mom also shines the spotlight on charities that help moms in need. We post articles and set Facebook goals. When DFTM's page reached 1,000 fans, a donation was made to the Detroit Area Diaper Bank. When we hit 2,000, I'll give back to the Human Milk Banking Association of North America. Recently, I visited St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, where I donate in my daughter's name because she is blessed with good health. My parenting posts led to being one of three African-American bloggers invited to a special behind-the-scenes tour. I also created a charity of my own, Caitlynn's Closet, where I donate my daughter's gently used and new clothing to my Facebook fans.
Diary of a First Time Mom has been a recession buster for me! It has allowed me to have champagne dreams on a beer budget. In exchange for professional writing services, I threw my daughter a first birthday party any celebrity child would envy! Bella Christie's created a mouthwatering dessert bar and the Children's Museum discounted rates. Other sponsors donate prizes. I've also traded services with financial advisor to the stars Rob Wilson. I'm also a part of Social Fabric, a blogging community set up by Collective Bias. This invite-only membership has led to paid promotions with companies like Walmart and Huggies. I also write sponsored posts.
I would like to grow Motormouth Multimedia to produce more fun and informative videos. I started to shoot packages about why more moms of color should breastfeed and why you shouldn't be ashamed to be on assistance temporarily. Check out this one where I was crazy enough to bring my baby to my yoga class, which was actually calming not chaotic. http://www.diaryofafirsttimemom.com/2012/05/24/video-diary-mommy-me-yoga/ I also would like to expand my services to include event planning and promote social change by securing sponsors for charitable campaigns.
Recently, someone asked me if I wished I didnâ€™t leave Cayman. I said no, because I have Baby C because I left. Sipping pina coladas on white sandy beaches has been replaced with bonding while breastfeeding. VIP parties and comp five course dinners have been replaced with late night cuddling and mastering homemade, baby food recipes (Iâ€™ll take puree over lobster any day!) And wondering where I would live next and if I would fulfill my purpose has been replaced with a love that overflows; a love that replaces any hint of selfishness with sacrifice; a love that stretches to the moon and back; a love that sparks laughter even when you are spit up or pooped on--which happened just a few hours ago! I am truly blessed and have no regrets.