Have you ever read a magazine article about being a parent and thought, 'I could write better than that!'?
Or do you roll your eyes at so-called experts and wonder how they would cope if they ever met a real-life toddler in the middle of a tantrum?
If so, then perhaps you should join the growing ranks of the British parent bloggers – mums and Ddads using the internet to record and share real stories about their lives. Whatever you're interested in, there is bound to be a blog to entertain and inspire you – from gardening and photography to natural parenting, politics and potty training!
The MAD (Mum and Dad) Blog Awards, held in association with Parentdish.co.uk, is an annual awards scheme that celebrates and recognises the very best British parent blogs.
Over the last month, thousands of blog readers have been nominating their favourite blogs in 15 award categories, and this week we revealed the finalists in the 2011 MAD Blog Awards.
The finalists offer great writing, stunning photography and memorable stories that will strike a chord with all parents – and maybe even inspire you to look at the world in a new way. Why not start by checking out this selection of MAD Blog Award finalists:
Many parents secretly think they should be doing more crafting and art activities with their children, but sometimes it's hard to know where to start. If that rings a bell with you, then Nurture Store, The Imagination Tree and Red Ted Art are all jam-packed full of craft projects for all seasons, and for all ages – you'll never need to be bored on a rainy afternoon again! Most of the activities are free or very low-cost, and use materials you'll probably have lying around the house.
Looking for inspiration on getting out and about with your kids over half-term? There's nothing better than getting ideas and inspiration from other parents who have tried out the UK's various family-friendly attractions for themselves.
A perfect place to start is Thinly Spread, written by a mum of four who has the kind of tranquillity and beauty that I like to imagine will one day be mine – there are gorgeous photographs of cooking, trips out and things to do at home.
A Mother's Ramblings, meanwhile, is full of hilarious reviews and stories about days out and activities in the Milton Keynes area, including woodland walks, theme parks, nature reserves and much more!
If you have younger children, then there are dozens of parent blogs about ways to keep your pre-schooler active and entertained, including Transatlantic Blonde (an American Mom in Glasgow), Flower Fairies and Fairy Cakes (a London Mum transplanted to the country) and Mummy's Busy World (a busy working Mum in London). These blogs will also reassure you that whatever your toddler is getting up to – someone else is going through exactly the same thing!
Are you a new Mum? There are blogs written by other women going through those early sleepless nights and worries that are brilliant if you need some reassurance – check out Leon McCarthy, Edspire, Bloggomy, Diary of the Dad and Mother's Always Right. Past the newborn stage but terrified in the face of a new toddler? Mummy Central, Mammy Woo and SAHM Loving it share their experiences with warmth, humour and lots of cuteness!
We hope you enjoy exploring some of these sites and getting to know the British parent blogging community.
Next we'll be introducing some of our favourite food, gardening and photography blogs – just in time for you to get inspired for summer!