Helping a community of new moms

Stephen Romano

As a new mother and resident in Port Washington, Amanda Khalil didn’t know what parents did with their children around town, she said.

“I talked to other mothers on the playground and they felt the same way,” she said.

In 2012, she started Port Washington Mama, a website that compiles information for parents in Port Washington and surrounding areas, including things to do, classes and sports, camps and workshops, places to eat, a lists of doctors and day care centers.

“I got a lot of feedback from moms in the area to find out their favorite restaurants to bring young children, or their favorite pediatric dentist,” Khalil said. “And it began to grow tremendously.”

Researching local activities, Khalil said, she first needed to figure out what content she wanted to share with other mothers.

“I didn’t really have a game plan or a business plan, it was just something that I knew people wanted,” she said. “I had no plan for expansion. It took off on its own.”

Khalil, who is a stay-at-home mother, said the site’s traffic continues to grow, and the Port Washington Mama Facebook page, which is updated daily with events around town, pictures and information on coming events for parents and children, has over 2,100 followers.

With a background in private wealth management, Khalil said, she had no blogging or website building experience before creating Port Washington Mama, but did everything herself.

“I’ve always been good at developing markets and it was really fun designing the site and figuring out content that I wanted to put on it,” she said. “It all kind of came together, and it’s great. The site is on WordPress and it’s pretty intuitive and I learned it all myself.”

Khalil also produces a monthly newsletter that reaches more than 600 people and outlines the town’s top 10 picks of the month for children and parents.

“Parenting is so hard and when you’re isolated at home with your kids, it’s even harder,” she said. “But when you have a community around you and a support group, I can’t express how much easier it becomes. I found that through the Port Washington Mama website.”

Khalil, a Port Washington resident of six years, grew up in Garden City and lived in New York City before moving to Port Washington, where she lives with her husband and her daughters, Layla, 5, and Olivia, 3.

Presenting information mainly to young parents, Khalil said, she’s reaching a niche audience of people between the ages of 20 and 45, from those who are pregnant to those with children around age 10.

“I have a lot of followers on my site that keep coming back,” she said. “I recognize a lot of the parents and it’s really nice sometimes because we’ll be out and a follower of the site will come up to me and introduce themselves, and it makes it really nice.”

Khalil also created private Facebook groups for parents to list babysitters and sell old baby gear, she said.

Port Washington Mama focuses mainly on children and parents, Khalil said, but she has been working with local businesses and community leaders to use her platform for other causes.

“It’s still heavily focused on things to do with kids, but I’ve done some small-business spotlights, which feature local businesses and show why they do what they do, and I have started to work with local community leaders,” she said.

“I spoke with Port Washington North Mayor Bob Weitzner about the new Bay Walk and Dina De Giorgio about the town’s streetscape project,” Khalil said, referring to the Town of North Hempstead councilwoman.

She also worked with U.S. Rep. Steve Israel on issues, including a project for families to know what chemicals are in household cleaning products and a project focused on gun control, which was discussed when Hillary Clinton visited Port Washington in April.

She said she never expected the growth of the Port Washington Mama website, monthly newsletter and Facebook page.

“Port Washington Mama has been so satisfying and I’ve met so many wonderful people from our community and so many young parents,” she said. “We live in a wonderful town.”

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