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Lisa Belkin

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Bye Bye, "Parentlode"! Announcing My To-Be-Named-By-You Blog Contest

Posted: 12/22/2011 8:54 am

Things can get petty and prickly in the sandbox. Sometimes there's that kid who throws the sand around, and won't share toys, and picks fights instead of playing nicely. 

What is a parent to do? 

Well, you can fight back, but the end result will probably just be more thrown sand. Or you can take your child by the hand, smile benignly at the bully, then go off to the ice cream shop and have a delightful afternoon. 

Make mine chocolate chip. 

You might have heard that The New York Times has been a little cranky about this blog lately. They seem to think I took their toy -- or something they believe sounds a little like one of their toys -- when I left the Times and moved to The Huffington Post two months ago. 

Over there I wrote a parenting blog called Motherlode. When I came here we named this new blog Huff Post Parentlode. We thought that said something the old name didn't -- that this parenting gig is not just about mothers. Parentlode had the added appeal of being slightly sophomoric, and silly, with its hint of a diaper in need of changing. (When all this is over, I am making t-shirts that say "Whatta-lode." Any takers?)

My first post was met with a cease and desist order from the place I had worked for 30 years. (And how was YOUR day at the office dear?) That was followed by a full-on lawsuit. The Times' lawyers say, in lots of very legal language, that they're concerned that readers (ie all of you) will be confused, thinking you are somehow reading the New York Times when you are here at The Huffington Post. We are pretty sure that any lawyer who thinks that has probably never actually read The Huffington Post, and we are certain that you readers are smart enough to keep your whereabouts straight. 

Still, we had a choice to make. We could keep fighting the suit, over a name that, frankly, we never really loved. It would be an intriguing fight -- a chance to address the very new question of whether a blog is its title and location, or its "voice" and content. But that would involve my hanging around town next week with a bunch of lawyers, preparing for a deposition of me demanded by the Times, rather than attending my mother's wedding in Arizona. Mom is not keen on that idea. 

It would also involve spending an indefensible amount of money, and enriching the lawyers (who are very nice; I've had a chance to get to know many of them lately, but still...) at the expense of better content. So we're going to spend instead on creating the comprehensive parenting space that I came here for in the first place. I am very keen on that idea. 

All we need now is a new name. And since I have always known that the Whatchamacallit I write doesn't belong to me, but to the readers who visit here every day, it makes sense to let you name it, no? 

For the meanwhile we'll call it something like Lisa Belkin's To-Be-Named-By-You Blog, and let you use the comments to make other suggestions. What would you name a place where parents can gather and share and gripe and kvell and wrestle this parenting thing down?

Early next year we'll take the top few contenders and choose a winner (after our lawyers clear them, so we don't have to go through THIS again.) Enter as many different names as you would like. You can read all the fine print here.

The prize? A trip to New York -- airfare and hotel included. A tour of our newsroom (including a peek at our famous and fabulous nap rooms!) and lunch in our very cool neighborhood with our HuffPost Parents team -- me, Lori, Farah and, of course, Arianna. 

Oh, and to show there are no hard feelings, we're also gifting our winner a one-year digital subscription to The New York Times.

And no, Whatta-lode isn't really on the table. Though the t-shirts still sound like fun to me.

READ THE OFFICIAL RULES HERE.