Every week I feature an interview with a blogger, so that whether you know of them or not, you can get to know them a little better! This week we meet the lovely Cath from BattleMum. Thanks so much for taking part Cath 🙂
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family
I’m Cath, heading quickly towards 40, although I’ve no idea how that has happened, and I am originally from Dublin. I’m wife to BattleDad, mum to BattleKid and we have a black German shepherd, BattleDog. We currently live in South Wales on the edge of the Brecon Beacons but are about to move country again.
Both my hubby and I are one of 4. I have 3 sisters and my Dad is slowly collecting son-in-law’s. BattleDad’s family are even-Stevens with 1 brother and 2 sister, both of whom are successful bloggers in Ireland and were where some of my inspiration came from.
I was born in Botswana and raised in South Africa until I was 9, and although I didn’t like it at the time, my parents moved us back to Ireland just before the troubles started prior to the release of Nelson Mandela. I’d like to go back at some stage and would love to go on Safari in Botswana with BattleKid.
BattleDad and I actually met online on ICQ (similar to MSN messenger) back in 2000 and neither of us could have imagined the life we had before us. We spoke for about two months before meeting in person and he actually checked me out before sitting himself down beside me at our bar of choice! He didn’t tell me that until a few months into our relationship, cheeky sod.
What do you like doing to be you, when you are not parenting, working (if you do), or blogging?
I enjoy photography, having completed some courses, pre-BattleKid, but it can be hard to find time to do it for the love of it rather than for the blog these days. I will admit my poor DSLR is quite neglected and has only come out once since the start of the year for BattleKid’s cake smash.
Aside from that I used to enjoy swimming before Waterbabies took over our lives and when we move we will have access to a pool every day during the summer so I am hoping to get back to it. I used to swim competitively when I was younger so am a good swimmer and have always enjoyed it.
I also enjoy shopping, clothes and toys shopping, not the food type. A bit of retail therapy is always a nice thing, especially when you are not looking for anything in particular. I end up coming home loaded with bags in that instance. However, I’m sure some readers will agree that when I am looking for something in particular I always come home empty-handed and deflated. Sods law!
What is your biggest achievement to date?
I guess there is one aside from BattleKid, who is most definitely my biggest achievement, and that is finally completing and graduating with my PhD back in 2004. It was a big achievement for both me and the college I attended as I was the first ever student to go all the way from first year of a degree to graduating with a PhD without taking a break at any stage. The college only opened 4 years before I started so this was a huge thing for them. It did take me a bit longer than some people to complete my PhD but I did it and I am very proud of that fact. And for anyone wondering it was a PhD in Organic Chemistry.
From your own experiences, what do you find the hardest part of parenting and what is the easiest/most rewarding part?
The hardest part of parenting for us at the moment is dealing with the tantrums and meltdowns that are part and parcel of having a confident, strong-willed 3 year old boy. We love his confidence and hope he keeps it but boy does it make dealing with his tantrums difficult. We know a lot of it is down to development as bad spells of tantrums are often followed by surprise changes in him, but it still doesn’t make those moments any easier to deal with. Sleep-deprivation in the first year was also hard, one of the hardest things for me, as I was often on my own during the week with BattleDad working away.
One of the most rewarding parts of parenting for us is watching our boy grow up happy, confident and healthy, and knowing a lot of it is down to us. When he says, unprompted, “I love you”, or throws himself into our arms for a hug, it makes everything else seem insignificant. One of the other most rewarding things for me in the last year or so has been the compliments we’ve received about BattleKid’s manners. Strangers have commented on them, as have the girls in nursery and it’s something I wrote about on my blog. In my mind, manners don’t cost anything but can mean everything.
I’m not sure I can pinpoint an easy part of parenting as I don’t think it’s easy at all. All I can say is that with each passing birthday things have gotten a little less fraught and a little bit easier as BattleKid’s sleep settled down (year 1), his speech has come along (year 2 and 3), toilet training is done (year 3) and he gets more playful and caring. As we become better able to explain things to him and talk to him we have found parenting a bit easier now we can communicate better with one another.
Parenting in itself is no mean feat; how do you juggle everything you need to in order to get everything done on a daily basis?
Time-management and planning. I sound like BattleDad does in his work mode but it’s true. Before I gave up work I had a strict routine for weekdays which ensured we got everything we needed to done. Sometimes that went out the window with illness or having family visit from Ireland but for the most part I had to stick to it or things would slide.
Since finishing work a few weeks ago I’ve been busy sorting and packing up our house ready for our move but evenings have stayed pretty much on track as they were before. I do find I’ve had more time for blogging in between the packing which I am happier about.
Why did you decide to start blogging?
In truth, BattleDad had started a blog of his own (he no longer blogs) not long after BattleKid was born and I took inspiration from both him and my blogging sisters-in-law. I had kept a diary up until I was about 20, so knew I could do it, although those first few months were very much hit and miss. I also wanted to start one to document things for BattleKid to look back on in the future. I’m sure that’s what many parent bloggers main reason for blogging is. It will now take on a new meaning as I begin to write about our forthcoming move.
Tell me a bit about your blog?
My blog is now two and a half years old and although my stats are low compared to some people who have been blogging for the same period of time, they’re not important for me. I blog for us and for myself. I am playing catch up at the minute with regards to things we did last year as work took on a new routine for me for the latter six months of last year and I found it hard to blog as often as I wanted. But I am thankfully getting a bit more time to write things up to document our family life and trips.
I do reviews, as many bloggers do, but I do find they take up a lot of time. I am starting to become choosier with things I agree to review simply down to the fact I want to dedicate more time to our family trips and life. I am ever so grateful for the opportunities that have come our way to date and the things we have received which BattleKid has enjoyed, and I hope those types of review keep coming our way.
To date I have not made any money from my blog, and truth be told, I’m not really that bothered. I would love to replace some of my salary through the blog to help contribute now I’m not working but I refuse to sell my soul to the devil in the process. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had opportunities offered for sponsored work and blog posts but they all require do-follow links and that’s something I’m not prepared to risk my blog for.
What do you want your blog to achieve and where do you hope to see it go as it grows?
This is a hard one for me. Part of my aim is to document days out, so I would hope that the information I try to include in those types of posts will be helpful to someone. Likewise with my review posts.
Part of my aim in the forthcoming months is to document our move to another country and I would hope that it may help another family considering doing the same. By reading about our experiences, I hope they will be better informed about decisions they may make in terms of a big move. It’s a huge decision to up sticks and move a family to another country, especially one whose language you will need to learn, and I hope that someday my posts will be of benefit to another family making the same or similar move.
In terms of growth I’ve been quite happy with the growth of my audience and views and my only hope it that this continues in the future.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting a blog?
First and foremost, think of a name for your blog. Then check to see if the domain is free and if so, buy your domain name and go self-hosted immediately. I waited quite a while before actually starting my blog until I could nail down BattleDad to set it all up for me. That way I was self-hosted from the start. I’m glad I did as I have seen countless bloggers going through the changeover and the confusion and frustrations it can bring. By doing it from the off you never need to worry about it again.
My second piece of advice is blog for yourself and worry about the stats later. You need to build content and presence before the opportunities will come but they will, just be patient. Don’t sell yourself either to the first few opportunities that are offered either. Make sure they are in keeping with your blog and audience or else you risk losing that audience if the content doesn’t match your blog niche. Oh and while we’re on the subject, if you can narrow down a niche great, but if not don’t stress about it too much. There are plenty of bloggers who don’t fall into one niche who are doing just fine. While it is preferable, you can always narrow it down in the future.
If you could have dinner with three people (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
1. Sean Connery, although technically I did have dinner with him once, just not at the same table (see point below). He is the original Bond and for me the best one.
2. Steve McQueen. I simply loved him in The Great Escape and would love to see if he was cool in real life as he came across in that film. He’s definitely one of my crushes.
3. Sally Mann or Eve Arnold. Both brilliant photographers in their own genre. Eva Green famously photographed Marilyn Monroe and captured some of the most iconic pictures of the movie start. Her pictures of Monoglian herdsmen are also some of my favourites. Sally Mann is a photographer famous for her pictures of her children. She came under heavy criticism for her body of work entitled “Immediate Family” and it is understandable to see why. Were we as parents to publish photographs such as Mann’s in this day and age we’d be more than criticised.
Tell me three random facts about you
1. I once ate dinner two tables away from Sean Connery. My husband and I were in London one weekend in pre-BattleKid days and were having dinner in The Boxwood Café, one of Gordon Ramsey’s at the time. Sean Connery came in not long after we had been seated and had dinner two tables away from us. I was completely star-struck as I love the 007 films, particularly his.
2. I spent two months of my summer holidays in Saudi Arabia when I was 10 as my Dad was working out there. I experienced daytime temperatures over 45C (I never thought that was possible) and experienced quite a few sandstorms, one of which closed the local pool for weeks due to the clean-up operation which my sister and I were not happy about.
3. I was born on a De Beers diamond mine in Botswana (again due to my Dad’s work) and the Christmas after BattleKid was born, BattleDad bought me an eternity ring from De Beers to celebrate our son and to commemorate where I was born. It’s the best Christmas present I’ve ever received.