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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ah Ha!

I had a flash of insight about why it is I can never, never catch up enough to be the ideal "two to three months before due date": it's because even if I were to catch up right now and be working on January due dates, questions would continue to come in for October, November, and December. Since I go in due date order, I would tackle the new questions--and by the time I was once again caught up to January, it would be back to "two to three WEEKS before due date."

So possibly what I need to do is CLOSE months: I've finished October due dates, so perhaps now I could say "no more October due dates." Then when I finish the November questions, "no more November due dates." The problem with this---and it's a big problem---is that many questioners NEED help at the last minute.

Well. Still without a solution, aren't we? I'll continue to mull. I found your suggestions on this post very good mulling fodder.

14 comments:

Jessie said...

Hey swistle. Sounds fair enough. There's plenty of message boards out there that can help the last minute namer too. Maybe you can direct those late comers to a community you like via link or form email? You can't do it all girl. You've gotta set your boundaries : )

StephLove said...

Or you could say, you personally are finished with the month and through it to the commenters.

The Schwant Family said...

That makes sense! For planners like myself I think the three months from due date thing is ideal. I could never wait till weeks before to name a baby so I'd loose the option of your wonderful help because I'd need the peace of mind that this baby had a name! Have you seen the new option on the blogger template where you can use tabs at the top of the page? Maybe once you close for a month you could post the last minute help questions under a "last minute help" tab and just let the commentors deal with it.

SheLikesToTravel said...

Here's another thought... maybe you could work on the requests in the order received. If a request comes in and it's too far down the list to make it by due date, then post immediately for commenters to work on.

Alison aka Baby B said...

I like the idea of posting last minute queries under a specific tag without your commentary and just letting readers help. Or instead of tagging, title it "DUE DATE SOON Baby ________" or something like that. A last minute baby name question does deserve attention or help, but if you have received X emails ahead of this one, there's only so much you can do.

Jessie said...

Yeah, but who has the time to post them all?...title, copy, and paste?...I imagine you get alot. It would be time consuming to even post all of them, I'd think.

I say set a boundary that works for you and don't feel bad about it. You get to say, "no".

Sarah said...

I think that cutting off requests a week or two into the month is perfectly fair. Like, on October 10th you can close all requests for that month.

Or if someone is writing and their due date is TOMORROW! And I need help NOW!, well, you could just let those go. It's like writing to Dear Abby--you can write, but she can't answer every letter every time.

Patricia said...

I can imagine how difficult it would be to turn away someone who writes to you for input on naming their baby, even if the due date is fast approaching. As someone said, that may be the expectant parent who needs help the most. I think it's a good idea for you to 'close' a month and then move on to the next. But as others have suggested, if you get some late requests for a month you've finished, just post them for us commentators to have a go at, perhaps with an "Alert: Baby due Oct. ___" heading.

You seem to be doing a good job of getting through your requests faster than usual. And I think we're doing well with keeping up with you. A pat on the back for you and for all of us who give our time and consideration to these naming dilemmas.

Lisa said...

I say do what you are doing, by moving on to November, but if October questions pop up, stick them in. I'm okay with Novembers, then having a few due soons pop up. This is fun for me! :)

Anonymous said...

Last minute problems can be posted for the readers to mull over, perhaps? Just post the questions with the due date. I'm expecting, not due until May, and I'm already considering names. It's my feeling that people already know they're struggling with names before the last minute crisis point, so hopefully you'll get more timely questions. But, for those who do feel the last minute panic, readers can help!

Anonymous said...

Do you know what percentage of those seeking name ideas let you/us know what they named their baby? I wonder if there's any way to encourage more parents to let us know. One incentive might be a policy of only accepting requests for helping naming their next child from those parents who sent an update on the baby name they chose this time. Having more updates might encourage more of those who read your blog to participate. It's disappointing to hear back on so few baby names that were worked on so diligently by you and others.

Swistle said...

Anon 8:32-- I agree, so disappointing. I'm not sure what the percentage is; I see there are 186 name updates, which is...not too bad, but nowhere near as many as we've done.

Patricia said...

Hi Swistle, That was me above... I really enjoy your blog -- the emails from the parents seeking name help, ideas, or just confirmation that the name they really like is a "good" one; your well-written, thoughtful, and informed responses; and getting to be a part of the discussion too. But then due dates come and go, and with so many of these parents, we never know what they named the baby. That doesn't seem fair! I think there needs to be a way to impress upon the takers (expectant parents needing help finding the best name for their babies) that it would only be considerate for them to let us know what they decided. I don't think this blog would work as well if NO ONE ever sent in an update, but really, they all "should" -- to show their consideration and appreciation for the time and thought we gave to their name dilemmas.

So, maybe, adding that expectation to your "Put us to work!" sidebar, with an explanation that without feedback through updates, commenters lose interest in participating in the blog and you too wonder if your help is really appreciated. Thus, to keep this blog going for other expectant parents, everyone who has their letter posted needs to send a brief email letting us know what name was chosen. I like your, "Giving a due date earlier than your actual due date in order to get bumped ahead makes the baby Jesus cry." You might mention the Golden Rule in regard to giving back to those who helped by sending in an update.

You might also have a standard response to queries as soon as they're posted: that the parent's letter has been posted, that you hope our responses are of help to the expectant parent, and then making it clear that the other part of getting this help is their responsibility to send you an update.

A third idea, in addition to the two suggestions above, is to write a post just on the subject of updates. It's not only "nice" to hear what a baby was named, but, really, a courtesy to let us know, a consideration of our help in this most crucial matter. Some of the letters mention having read through the blog, so maybe a post like this now and then would help those who write to you understand that it really is important to send an update with their baby's name for the sake of keeping this blog going for other expectant parents.

Patricia said...

One more idea: how about sending out update reminders every 3 months(APR,JUL,OCT,JAN) to those whose letters you've posted more than a month before who haven't 'yet' sent in an update? A computer savy person (more so than I) could probably set up a way to accumulate the email addresses as the requests come in so they're ready to go each time you send this out. In fact, if it's easier you could send a form response to everyone in that 3-month time period (eg., those who had Jan-Mar parent posts would be in your APR reminder batch, etc.) -- reminding them that you and your commenters are waiting to hear back from them (however you think best to word it) and thanking those who did send an update. I'm sure there are some parents who intend to let us know, but forget to do so/don't get around to it for whom a gentle reminder would be enough to generate a quick update in response.

[If you start being able to respond to baby name help requests from parents whose due dates are further out, you might need to adjust the scheme above accordingly.]