October 05, 2012

About Ann Douglas

Twitter @anndouglas
 The Mother of All
 Online Profile  
Pinterest annmdouglas

Blog (parenting) Having-a-baby.com/news/



I 'm the author of 28 books, including The Mother of All Books series (a bestselling series of pregnancy and parenting books)and numerous other non-fiction books for children and adults. My essays have appeared in respected anthologies about politics and motherhoodmothering and bloggingraising a child on the autism spectrum, and raising a daughter and on the literary website LiteraryMama.

I write The Mother of All Baby Columns for The Toronto Star. I am also a contributing editor to Canadian Family magazine and a radio host and producer for Trent Radio. My shows are called Citizen Parent and This is Your Writing Life.

I am frequently featured in the print, broadcast, and online media as a parenting commentator and consultant; and I have had the opportunity to develop customized parenting materials for some of North America's most respected media companies.



I speak to groups of parents at consumer shows, education fairs, and community forums on topics ranging from preparing for parenthood to life after baby to parenting in the real world. I also design and deliver customized workshops for parents and those who work with parents and parents-to-be (doulas, childcare professionals, childcare providers, health care professionals, communications professionals).

And I speak to groups of writers about what it takes to thrive as a writer today.



I'm the mother of four kids, ages 13 through 22; and an active volunteer. 

I also spend a lot of my time working for change. The causes I am passionate about include social justice, media literacy, media concentration, freedom of the press, mass consumerism, the environment, creating an informed and engaged electorate, political reform, political accountability, and social justice. (And that's just for starters.) If you read my blog about social justice and political change, you'll get a sense of what really matters to me and why.



I am passionate about the indie-craft movement (particularly where it overlaps with activism to become craftivism: too cool!); the buy locally movement; the citizen journalism movement; the indie music and indie film movements; and the new models of book and periodical publishing that are being explored right now. I also enjoy experimenting with photography, online media, and different types of writing.

My current (active) websites include



Citizen Parent

This is Your Writing Life

Contact info:

Page One Productions Inc.
3108 Frances Stewart Road
Peterborough, Ontario.
K9H 7J8
(705) 742-3265 

April 16, 2010

A is for Anthology, C is for Collaborations, P is for Projects (and Passion)....

 I recently received my copies of Kyra Anderson and Vicki Forman's amazing book Gravity Pulls You In -- a collection of essays about parenting kids on the autism spectrum. The book contains one of the most personal and passionate essays I've ever written (As Great as Trees), an essay about the difficult time leading up to my youngest child's diagnosis with Aspergers syndrome. Once we had the diagnosis, we could start stumbling towards a new normal.

This is thBlueskye fourth time I've had the opportunity to contribute to an anthology. I've discovered that I'm totally hooked. I love being part of the collaborative process that results in the birth of a multi-authored collection of writing. 

 So if you're planning an anthology and you think I might have something valuable to contribute, let me know. I'd love to do more of this type of writing. 

I'm also eager to collaborate on other projects (in a variety of media). So if you have a project that screams out for a writer who cares passionately about people and trying to do her bit to fix this imperfect world of ours, give me a shout via this link (which deliberately contains a very obvious typo in an attempt to slow down the spam-bots just a little).

It's BabyTime Again: April 30 to May 2, 2010, International Centre, Toronto


BabyTime is back -- and for the ninth year running, I'll be part of Canada's biggest show for parents and parents-to-be. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with those parents who come back show after show (to introduce me to a baby or toddler who was a bump at an earlier show; to let me know that they're expecting again; or to ask a parenting question or two).

Once again, I'll be hanging out in the "Ask Ann" booth when I'm not speaking on the main stage or delivering workshops in the show's seminar rooms. Note: The speaking schedule should be going up any day now. I expect to be speaking once or twice each day.

This year, I'll be speaking on the following topics:

The Dirt on Discipline and Other Secrets to Successful Parenting
You swore you'd never end up with one of those kids – the kid who wriggles out of his booster seat in restaurants and steals toys from other kid
s at kids at daycare – but now that you're the parent of a toddler or preschooler, you're discovering that discipline isn't quite as easy as you thought it would be before you became a parent. In this fun and fast-paced presentation, bestselling author Ann Douglas (The Mother of All Toddler Books) shares discipline techniques that are both parent-proven and child-friendly while addressing your toughest questions about life in the toddler trenches.

Less Stress, More Fun: The Secrets of Calm and Confident Parents
We all have a friend who could be the poster mom or poster dad for parenting serenity. Nothing seems to rattle them. And as for the rest of us? We survive on adrenaline and caffeine. In this presentation, bestselling author Ann Douglas (The Mother of All Parenting Books) offers strategies for zapping stress and having more fun as a family, regardless of your schedule or budget. Her engaging mix of stories and practical strategies make this a can't-miss BabyTime event.

Exciting News! I'll Be Contributing to BAM! Radio

Just a quick post to let you know that I've been invited to become a contributor to BAM! Radio (Body and Mind: Child Radio), the largest educational radio network in the world.

Bamradio BAM! Radio focuses on all aspects of raising a healthy, happy child. The shows carried by the network are hosted by executive directors of some of the most respected educational associations in the US.

The network's contributors include authors, parent advocates, researchers, and clinical staff working in the fields of early childhood education, physical education and motor development, play research, child development, the neurosciences, and related fields.

Becoming involved with BAM! Radio will allow me to advocate on behalf of parents and children in a powerful new way and to share what I've learned about pregnancy, birth, baby, and beyond over the past 22 years. I'm very excited.

I'll let you know about my upcoming BAM! Radio appearances as soon as I get the word. Stay tuned!

December 03, 2009

Poll results: How do you feel about contests and giveaways on Twitter?

About 10 days ago, I decided to conduct a poll asking how people feel about contests and giveaways on Twitter. I invited people who follow me on Twitter at either @themotherofall or @anndouglas to respond to a survey using Survey Monkey. I didn't participate in the poll myself. The poll was set to allow only one response per IP address.

  • 76.5% of the respondents were parents; 23.5% were not.
  • 51 people responded to the survey, with 49 answering the question.

Here are the results.

QUESTION. How do you feel about contests and giveaways on Twitter?

I love them. I wish there were more contests and giveaways.
20.4%            (10 responses)

I don't mind them. Sometimes I participate in contests and giveaways, if I have the time.           

46.9%            (23 responses)

I ignore contests and giveaways. I'm simply not interested.           

8.2%            (4 responses)

I don't like contests and giveaways. They clutter my Twitter stream.           

22.4%            (11 responses)

I hate contests and giveaways. I do anything I can to avoid them.           

2.0%            (1 responses)

The 13 comments that people provided offer further insight into how people feel about contests and giveaways:

  • I have done one and I wish I hadn't. I feel like most of them are just an invitation for spam. That or they promise more than they will actually deliver.           
  • I'm of the "I don't mind" group as long as they are not continuous. Twitter Tuesday for a weekly giveaway is too much, but a special contest or a 2-3 times a week reminder of a giveaway/contest are fine if it's a special or unique event and not an ongoing thing. I don't like clutter in my stream so as long as it's not excessive, I'm okay with it.           
  • I love to check for new ones several times a day.           
  • I unfollow people who tweet to much about contests and giveaways           
  • I hate them and they clutter the stream, when everyone I follow then posts about the same contests. Ugh! Maybe if I won I'd change my opinion. :)           
  • It was fun at first, but now I'm just annoyed and I don't want to help shill bloggers' swag.           
  • Seems like I always miss the contest. Only see winner announcements so I constantly feel like I've missed out.           
  • Repeatedly RTd contests and giveaways I consider spammy though. (No more than once / day please!)           
  • Eh.           
  • I don't mind contests when the contest creator tweets about it, but it bugs me when they make tweeting about it a mode of entry, so dozens of other people are tweeting. That's sort of annoying and tedious.
  • It depends on the contest and I try to keep my participation from annoying others who follow me.           
  • I don't mind them, but they shouldn't be in your face like the [brand name deleted] contest. I ended up unfollowing people because they would. not. shut. up. about the [brand name deleted].           
  • Kind of a combination...

Here are some conclusions I have reached, based on the results of the survey. Some of them may be in the ballpark; some of them may be way off base. My survey sample was small, after all. But working with the numbers I have and the comments I received, here goes:

  • Just one in five people are contest fans. 20.4 % of people love contests. 55.1% don't really care either way. 24.4% actively dislike them.
  • A contest should be something special. If you're having a contest every day, most people will start to think of your contest as spam.
  • Play fair. If you decide to run a contest, make sure you're offering something of value and don't use your contest as an excuse to create a mailing list and then start spamming people.
  • Win friends, don't alienate people. Consider how often you're promoting the same contest – and how often your followers are also retweeting those same repeated promotional messages. You want your contest to be something positive, not something that annoys and alienates people.
  • Don't flog the contest to death. It appears that some people who previously enjoyed contests and giveaways on Twitter are starting to lose patience with them. Perhaps contests and giveaways have been overused on Twitter. Maybe some fresh marketing ideas need to emerge. Perhaps people on Twitter are more interested in sharing ideas than entering contests (unless it's a really unique or exceptional contest). 

But enough from me. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

PS. Most of the time, you'll find me posting at The Mother of All Parenting Blogs at ParentCentral.ca or in my Parenting Blog at Yahoo! Canada Lifestyle.


September 20, 2009

Blog Fix Finished

I hadn't realized, until today, that I needed to do a few extra things to make Google happy after I switched a few of my blogs over to one of the Typepad Advanced Templates. I noticed recently that every entry for my blog was showing up under the root URL (not too helpful if the entry in question was very old). As if anyone was going to scroll back through countless entries until they found the entry in question....

I recently followed the instructions above for One Woman. One Blog. and that took care of the problem quite nicely. (Maybe that will even solve some of the difficulties my blogs have had in showing up at Technorati.) Every once in a while I try to trouble-shoot these technical issues on my own blogs. Then I get busy again and move on.

Good thing there are technical gurus who troubleshoot these issues on my blogs at ParentCentral and Yahoo Canada Lifestyle, or you'd never be able to find anything I write....

August 07, 2009

A Postcard from Cottage Country

Today was a frustrating day. Everything I wanted/needed to do on my computer really required a high-speed Internet connection -- and such a connection simply isn't to be had here at the cottage. My options are dial-up or an Internet stick (core network, two bars).

I'm trying to keep a sense of humor about the situation by selling myself on the so-called benefits of slow-speed Internet.

  • It's forced slowness. I can't spend too much time online. It's too frustrating.
  • I'm getting to experience the frustration that motivates young children to keep at a task until that glorious moment when they master it. (Staying in touch with her inner toddler is a good thing for a parenting author, don't you think?) Mastery when you're working with a slow Internet connection = completing the simplest of tasks. Writing a blog post, uploading an image, paying a bill, or (gasp) attempting any task involving video.

Sometimes my sense of humor goes AWOL, along with my Internet connection. The chipmunk-powered connection can only handle so much.

So now I'm trying a new approach. I'm reminding myself that I can "have it all" -- just not necessarily all at once. At least not in this part of Ontario quite yet.

I can have gorgeous surroundings and a break from my regular routine -- or I can have a high-speed Internet connection.

For now, I'm going to enjoy cottagey things. The Internet can wait.

August 04, 2009

Mom 2.0: Meet the Mommyblogger: An Overview of My Essay in Mothering and Blogging: The Radical Act of the MommyBlog

My essay "Mom 2.0: Meet the Mommyblogger" appears in Mothering and Blogging: The Radical Act of the MommyBlog, edited by May Friedman and Shana L. Calixte (Toronto: The Association for Research on Mothering/Demeter Press, May 2009). Here's a brief excerpt which highlights some of the key points raised in my essay.

MotheringandBloggingLg "The online world of mothers is being transformed by marketers with their own specific agendas. These marketers—who are eager to tap into the $1.7 trillion market that mothers represent—have the budgets to ensure that they are able to tap into the conversations of mothers, wherever those conversations happen to be taking place online. Web 2.0 sites are eager to find ways to generate revenue from their operations and marketers are the source of that revenue, so their needs will often eclipse the needs of mothers in online communities....

"Moms have always been generous about sharing their wisdom and ideas with other mothers, but now a third party is privy to those conversations. In the world of Web 2.0, there's a third party sitting (or eavesdropping) at the table—a marketer who is taking notes and looking for ways to use mothers' ideas to sell products back to mothers. More often than not, moms are not being compensated for these intellectual property contributions in any meaningful way. Rather than paying cash -- the traditional currency of business -- marketers and the mega-corporations that they front for offer fleeting fame and freebies. On a per-hour basis, these 'pay rates' can amount to lower rates of compensation than the rates paid to workers in third-world sweat shops --working conditions these mega-corporations to go great lengths to distance themselves from.

"Horizontal violence* between mothers online is the result of the lack of respect shown to mothers by other online users. This type of hostile activity is at its rawest in the blogging community ("the wild west") as compared to in the highly moderated (and much less authentic) world of social networking sites aimed at mothers. When horizontal violence does occur on social networking sites, the social networking tools that are built into the site architecture can be used with merciless effectiveness (at least until a site moderator steps in). Rumors and misinformation can be forwarded to an entire network of contact and on-site and off-site site a mouse click. Deleting someone from a list of friends can be accomplished with equal ease (and, in many cases, that former 'friend' won't even realize that they've been de-friended).

Perhaps the most important conclusion that web-savvy mothers must keep in mind is that horizontal violence will become less of a problem when the status of mothers and women is improved both online and in the real world. Until this happens, it's important for mothers to acknowledge its existence and to work towards collective solutions. In "Horizontal Violence in the Workplace," Carolyn Hastie recommends a series of strategies that appear to be just as practical and relevant to the world of mothers: recognizing and acknowledging that horizontal violence occurs between mothers and using the term 'horizontal violence' to name the problem; raising awareness of this issue and addressing the cultural issues that allow horizontal violence to continue to be a problem between mothers and women; speaking out against instances of horizontal violence whenever they occur; addressing individual attitudes and behaviors; and practicing self-nurturing and self-care so that each woman ins able to 'do the things that help [her] to be healthy and happy in all aspects of [her] human-ness.' Once she applies that age-old common sense to dealing with a computer-age online problem, Mom 2.0 will have more to give her Web 2.0 girlfriends. And it's a 100% product-free solution to boot."

View the full Table of Contents for the book.

*Note: The term horizontal violence is used when members of groups with low status display hostile behaviors toward their fellow group members as opposed to lashing out at their oppressors.


Mom-101: The Year that Shame Died: Mom-101 writes: "Much to my surprise however, what turned out to be the problem at BlogHer was not how the marketers acted, but how so many bloggers acted. Without pulling punches, I will say it was shameful...I am in no way saying that popular bloggers don't like free stuff or that you should be ashamed for wanting some free dish soap. I publish a site that gives away products daily and I love how happy it makes people. What I'm saying that blogging 'success' shouldn't be defined by the amount of stuff you get. It's about what you put out, not what you take in."

Mom-101: Blog With Integrity: We're Taking Our Community Back: Mom-101 writes: "We've put together Blog with Integrity, a voluntary pledge, complete with blog badge, for any and all bloggers (not just parents) who want a way to show their readers, marketers, the PR community, and certainly the press, that we are committed to integrity, responsibility and disclosure, and that a few bad apples do not speak for all of us. Not even close."

Mom-101: Yep, I'm a Mother. Got a Problem With That?: Mom-101 describes the disrespect that mothers have been receiving from certain members of the marketing community post-BlogHer'09.

July 30, 2009

Back to School Guide: A Parent's Guide to Surviving the Season of Shopping for Hot Gadgets, Cool Clothes, and School Supplies

The back to school countdown is officially on.

Hey, moms and dads, it's back to school time again -- that crazy time of year when you might as well just camp out in the mall parking lot rather than driving back and forth across town in some unending quest for all the back-to-school essentials. (Of course, if you've got a kid in that delightful "I have to visit all the malls in town before I purchase a single item of clothing" stage, you'll have to rethink your strategy a little to allow for multiple treks to multiple mall parking lots.) Just remember to pace yourself, folks: we've got the entire months of August and September ahead of us.

(Forget what T.S. Eliot said: it's not April that's the cruelest month -- it's September!)

Here are some tips on surviving back-to-school time as a family.

Trafficjams Rethink school-year routines. We may celebrate New Year's Eve on January 1st, but it's September that marks the start of a new year if you've got school-aged kids. So take advantage of that new school year's spirit to renegotiate chores, allowances, extra-curricular schedules, clean out your kids' closets, and so on. You might also want to think about whether your own routine could use some tweaking. (As your kids move from stage to stage, your day-to-day routine generally needs to evolve with it.)

Get your kids back on a school-year sleeping routine before it's time to head back to school. Otherwise, your kids will end up suffering from what back-to-school "jet lag." (It's not exactly reasonable to expect a kid who's been sleeping in until 11:00 a.m. all summer to be functional at 7:00 a.m. on the first day of school!)

Establish the shopping ground rules before you hit the mall. Your negotiating power goes down the drain after a couple of hours of shopping. At that point, you're willing to buy just about anything your kid wants just to make the pain stop. That's why it's important to establish your kids' clothing budget long before you leave home and to mutually agree on the number and price of outfits to be purchased beforehand. Oh yeah, one more thing: avoid spending for the sake of spending (an easy trap to fall into at back-to-school time). Only buy what your kids genuinely need. The Center for a New American Dream and its sister site IBuyDifferent.org provide practical advice on living consciously (according to your values), buying wisely (buying green whenever possible and trying not to get sucked into the vortex of over-consumption) and joining with others who share your commitment to working towards a new North American dream. (Remember the old one? It was all about acquiring more stuff.)

Keep your schedule as free as possible during the first week back at school. Not only will you want to leave time in your schedule to squeeze in all those unpredictable errands that have to be run that first week -- like dashing out to pick up whatever school supplies you missed from the teacher's must-have list, or spending an hour in line (or online) trying to sign your kids up for swimming lessons -- you'll also want to be available to listen to your kids as they bring you up to speed on all those exciting first-week developments.

Keep things simple on the mealtime front. You have enough other things on your plate without having to worry about, well, what's on your plate. Order in pizza, pick up subs on your way home from work, or reheat that mystery casserole that's been languishing in the back of your freezer. The nutrition police won't book you for cutting corners in the kitchen one week of the year.

Take time for yourself. It's easy to spend the entire month of September running around at breakneck speed, picking up school supplies, signing your kids up for extra-curricular activities (here's why you might not want to overdo things on that front, by the way), and making the rounds of school open houses and picnics. Don't forget to take time for yourself during this crazy time of year. Otherwise, you could find yourself feeling supremely grumpy by the time the month draws to a close.

Set some goals for yourself as a parent. While your kids are busy setting some school-year goals for themselves (or perhaps simply starting school for the very first time), take a moment to set some goals for yourself. Maybe you want to play a more active role at your kids' school or make contact with their teachers more often -- or figure out ways to ensure that your kids have lots of time for fun and relaxation during their non-school hours? Make sure your goals are something concrete enough to be measurable and that you put your goals in writing so you can refer back to them during the school year.

Ann Douglas is the author of The Mother of All Parenting Books, The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and numerous other books about pregnancy and parenting. She is frequently featured in the print and broadcast media.

Photo Credit: Ann Douglas, 2009.

July 22, 2009

Self-Improvement Blogs, Parenting Blogs, and Twitter

Window I received a note this morning letting me know that The Mother of All Blogs has been included in a list of 100 Powerful Blogs for Your Self-Improvement. Nice to know. Thanks for letting me know, Amber.

In other blog news, I'm blogging daily over at ParentCentral.ca this summer. I'm offering tips to help you have your best summer ever with your family. You can dive in any time and catch up on the tips that have you've missed.

I'm also continuing to blog weekly over at Yahoo! Canada. You never know what I'm going to post about over there. It's as much as a surprise to me as it is to you. (I pick my topics at the last minute.)

In between blog posts, you can catch up with me on Twitter: @themotherofall (parenting news), @anndouglas (misc everything), @litmags (small and literary magazines), @bookpubs (book publishers), @writers2follow (writers to follow).

Photo Credit: Ann Douglas, 2009.

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