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 Helen from Welsh Mum Writing. Thanks so much for taking part Helen 🙂
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your family
I’m Helen and I’m a forty something first time Mum from South Wales. I live with my two year old son Small Boy (that’s not his actual name!), husband and a rescue cat with OCD. My day job, other than parenting, is in communications and public affairs. I work flexibly which means I manage to juggle just about everything. I’ve also written a few books, but baby brain has yet to leave so I limit myself to a few blog posts a week instead.
What do you like doing to be you, when you are not parenting, working (if you do), or blogging?
At the moment, I don’t feel like there’s much time when I’m not parenting, working or blogging. I’ve recently reduced my hours in my day job though so I’m hoping to get a little more “me” time back. Sleep deprivation has caught up with me now, and mostly I just like to read or listen to a podcast. That’s usually done when my son is asleep behind me in the car seat but you have to grab your moments when you can.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
My son. I can’t believe that such an amazing little thing is in the world – and I made him. With a few medical issues and being in my forties, I’m proud of him, but also proud that I found the strength to have one last try and having a baby.
From your own experiences, what do you find the hardest part of parenting and what is the easiest/most rewarding part?
The hardest is sometimes staying cool headed and calm when you have a toddler doing something you’d rather they weren’t – like repeatedly throwing a ball at your head or bouncing up and down on their bed at 3am shouting “boing, boing”. The rewarding part is when my son does something that amazes me. He often gets anxious in new situations, so when we go to a party or a playgroup and instigates play with another child I feel on top of the world.
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?
On a practical level, I use an app called Asana to keep track of everything for my blog and day job and to help me prioritise. I’ve recently reverted to a physical diary for my family stuff as the constant binging of a phone with reminders was distracting. When I see it written down without the endless stuff that Facebook and other apps populates my calendar with, it doesn’t seem quite so daunting. I also meal plan and write a weekly shopping list for it so I don’t have to waste time thinking about cooking in the week – I just need to do it.
More often than not I batch cook. I also try to keep at least one day a week free from appointments, work or organised activities so I have some slack. On a psychological level, I know I’m not going to get it all done. You can’t, not without a PA, cook, cleaner, chauffeur and a whole heap of staff. Accepting that makes it a lot easier. I just focus on what I need to do that day which is essential. Anything else is window dressing. Let it go.
Why did you decide to start blogging?
I wanted a creative outlet. I also felt that I had some stories to share and hoped that perhaps a few people would comment and say “hey, I know how you feel.” When you go back to work after maternity you can lose some of that as you aren’t in the “playgroup” loop as much.
Tell me a bit about your blog?
It’s a mash up of things about my life and observations on motherhood, and some of the practical solutions I’ve found to create more money or time so I can spend it doing things I want, which in my case is spending more time with my son or giving myself the occasional treat.
What do you want your blog to achieve and where do you hope to see it go as it grows?
At this stage I’d just like to keep blogging and have something useful to share. If someone feels a little less overwhelmed by something I’ve written, I’ll be happy.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting a blog?
Grab yourself a free WordPress or Blogger account and give it a whirl. Go for it, but be authentic and write for you. If you’re thinking of blogging as a commercial venture or because you want to reach or build a community of follows, then you need to think about what that looks like, what your audience needs, some consistent branding and social media presence. If you get some of that right at the beginning, then it will save you time later on trying to fix things and tidy them up. There’s a lot of friendly Facebook groups dedicated to bloggers. It’s worth hanging out in them and seeing what people are up to and talking about. On the whole we’re a friendly bunch.
If you could have dinner with three people (dead or alive), who would it be and why
1) Jillian Michaels as I love her no nonsense approach to having a better life, as well as her practical advice on health. I’ve seen her do a live show “Maximise your life” and it was incredible. I listen to her podcast every week, usually in the car, nodding in agreement with most things.
2) Victoria Wood, because she is one of the most talented comedians the UK has ever produced. I loved her in my teens and was genuinely upset when she died.
3) Jesus. There’s so many levels in this one for me. It would be amazing to question him on his thoughts and beliefs. Whether you are a Christian, see him as a prophet or something else entirely, it would be an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
Tell me three random facts about you
1) I once sang in a supermarket with “Rita Fairclough” from Coronation Street to promote a bingo hall.
2) I’m unable to say cafetière.
3) I’ve had three novels published.