Babble.com is an online parenting zine with a hipper, more sarcastic edge. They bill themselves as "the magazine and community for a new generation of parents," and focus on parents of the infant to toddler age range. They launched in 2006.
Babble's most popular column has been "Bad Parent." They used to publish it once a month or so, but they've recently decided to post a new one every week. So they'll be looking for first person essays from lots of writer parents. They also want more dad perspectives.
The columns are essays admitting to kid-raising strategies that "the rules" might diagree with: not babyproofing, losing your temper, or walking around the house naked.
Their rate is around .50 a word, (if you're a new writer you may get less). They sometimes pay more if the article requires extensive research. They also pay a kill fee of 25%.
Caution: Their voice is very distinct, and it can be hard to get an acceptance. I got lucky with an essay on breastfeeding for "Bad Parent," but I haven't had much luck since (but my kids are also older and it's harder for me to remember those days). You may have to submit several essays before you hit the right tone/topic. Just be sure to do your homework and study them before submitting. In my experience they pay promptly are lovely to work with.
You'll need to write the whole essay and send it with your query. My query was very short (see my example below) Let the writing speak for itself in this case. Check their submission guidelines for more information.
Example Query Letter
Dear Ms. Calhoun:
Enclosed at the bottom of this email is my 1,150 personal essay against breastfeeding. I'm not a radical, and I have no grassroots organization. I just know there are other mothers like me who didn't find a madonna-like satisfaction in nursing their children. In fact, we nearly lost our minds. (Briefly summarized the topic of article and the length is in their range)
I love the honesty and humor of Babble, and its edgy tone is a perfect fit for this essay. (Showed them I've read the magazine before submitting)
I am an English instructor at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO and a freelance writer. I'm currently working on articles for Missouri Life Magazine and Fiery-Foods & BBQ.com. (I don't think you have to be published to break in to Babble - the essay is what counts)
I look forward to hearing from you.
(include contact info)