This week we meet the lovely Elaine from Single Mum Speaks. Thanks so much for taking part Elaine 🙂
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family
I am a single mother by choice, which means that I conceived my son with donor sperm. I moved from London to Bristol last summer to be closer to my family, and I am currently living with my mum, who looks after my 20 month old son Piglet three days a week. It is supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but I have to admit I have got used to having the help!
What do you like doing to be you, when you are not parenting, working (if you do), or blogging?
I'm pretty much always doing one of those three things-usually several at the same time. One hobby I do have which I don't get to do so much at the moment is walking. I'm quite a keen walker, but it's quite difficult to do much rambling with a buggy as the paths aren't usually cut out for it, and carrying Piglet in a backpack is tricky as I am only 5'1" and petite so not the strongest unfortunately!
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Ooh that's a really difficult question. I'd love to say I've won numerous awards for blogging, parenting, being a great teacher and all around fantastic human being, but it would appear that they have all got lost in the post, so I will say university. I went to Oxford which tends to impress people.
Oh, and having my son! How did I forget him? OOPS!
From your own experiences, what do you find the hardest part of parenting and what is the easiest/most rewarding part?
This isn't really hard as such, but being a single mum is tough financially in comparison with having a partner, so I guess I just need to work harder. I have to work full time, and sometimes that's hard when Piglet is ill and needs his mummy, but that said, I think there are advantages to being a full time working mum too. The most rewarding part of parenthood is waking up in the morning and seeing my son's lovely smile, which makes it all worthwhile.
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?
I am lucky that I have a lot of support from my mum. On a typical weekday, I get up at 6am and my mum comes into our bedroom and gets into my bed with Piglet for a bit, until they get up about half an hour later. I leave the house at 7 and then my mum takes Piglet to nursery on Mondays and Tuesdays. The rest of the week she looks after him at home. I don't get home until just before 7pm, have dinner and then finally get Piglet to bed at around 8.30pm and feed him to sleep. Luckily he's not one for going to bed early. Once he's asleep I try to blog, so how much of that I get done depends on how quickly he goes to sleep and whether he stays asleep, which he often doesn't.
Why did you decide to start blogging?
It's a bit of a long story, but I've actually been blogging on and off since 2008-an age in the blogging world. I lived in Japan for a few years after I graduated from university, and friends commented on how funny my emails home were, and how I should start a blog, but I didn't get round to actually doing it until my friend's wedding, when her parents told me how much they had loved my emails. At that point I thought maybe other people would want to read my writing too, so I started a blog which was basically just me banging on about my life-it wasn't really focused, even though I did go self-hosted and I was pretty proud of it, and people who read it found it funny. Then in 2013, when I embarked upon the journey of trying to get pregnant, I started my current blog, which was originally a private blog called Baby Or Bankruptcy. In summer 2015 I went public, then went self-hosted and renamed it Single Mum Speaks, so if you look back over my previous posts, you can read the whole story of how I decided to have a baby on my own, and exactly how it happened, which is a nice record to have.
Tell me a bit about your blog?
Single Mum Speaks is basically the story of how I became a single mother by choice, and of my life as a single parent. Hopefully people find it funny-it's all intended to be a bit tongue in cheek.
What do you want your blog to achieve and where do you hope to see it go as it grows?
Ideally I'd like to write a book which would be helpful to others thinking of taking the plunge and having a baby on their own by donor conception. I'd also like to do some freelance writing for other publications, so my main aim at the moment is just to write and write and write, and hopefully grow my following.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting a blog?
Educate yourself on all the social media beforehand. A lot of people who write blogs seem to have backgrounds in PR and digital marketing and similar fields, so are much more savvy than me when it comes to the schmoozing and publicising that has to be done. Coming from a background in education, that wasn't my area of expertise at all, and I must admit sometimes I think to myself, hang on, I've been blogging for years here, how come all these people have been blogging for five minutes seem to know more about it than me, so I would say definitely find out as much as you can beforehand about how to best publicise your blog, engage with the community and get more readers-if that's your thing of course. I know some great bloggers who don't do that at all, and they still write brilliantly, and for themselves, and don't care if no one reads it, so it depends what you want to get out of it.
If you could have dinner with three people (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
Frida Kahlo, Caitlin Moran and Madonna. They would be fab to have a few cocktails with. All inspirational women in their fields, although Frida obviously dead so we would have to resurrect her. I imagine Madonna would have exacting standards with the food though. We'd have to get a chef in.
Tell me three random facts about you
1. I used to live in Japan (already said that above!)
2. I still can't drive and Piglet and I go everywhere on public transport.
3. I love learning new things and over the years (when I had more time) have done classes is everything from motor mechanics (even though I can't drive) to burlesque dancing.