Here’s this week’s instalment of Blogger Behind the Blog where I interview a blogger all about their reasons for blogging and what it means to them. This week I’m joined by Kate from The Motherload.
Here’s Kate with more about her blogging life:
Where did your blog name come from?
My husband! *groans*. The site started life as a Facebook group called ‘The Sandpaper Eyes Club’ and well, that was naff, so Matt suggested a couple of even worse suggestions and then had a eureka moment where he basically screeched at me in the car, “I’VE GOT IT! CALL IT ‘THE MOTHERLOAD!’. I told everyone I had come up with it, naturally.
When did you start your blog and why?
The group quickly evolved and I’d been toying with the idea of growing it into something else. After meeting Alison, our Editor, we discussed a podcast, then a community platform and finally combined the ideas into the site that we currently have. Laura, our Tech Director came on board and built us our site using WordPress and that sealed the deal that we would lead with blogging.
We all blog on the site regularly, and have a team of 33 talented writers who blog with us on a monthly basis.
What did you do before you blogged?
I worked as a project manager in the public sector. Then I had the kids, childcare crippled us and so I decided to stay at home until both of the girls were in school.
What was your first post?
‘This is The Motherload’ – it was the first post on the site on launch night and explained the journey from PND to setting up the site. It was difficult to write; it had been such a hard couple of years to get through and putting it ‘out there’ was daunting. The group were familiar with my ‘story’, so to speak, but making it public on launch night was a heart-in- my-mouth moment. Of course, like most bloggers I’m now numb to what constitutes ‘over-sharing’… !
What inspires you to blog?
All sorts of things; memories often, the kids frequently and I like to write responses to current affairs and news items that provoke a reaction in me. More than anything though I find it so fulfilling to write. I kind of wish I’d pursued this earlier, but c’est la vie.
What post has had the best response, which post are you most proud of and which post did you enjoy writing the most?
The post that had the best response was a letter to my children about the referendum result. I was devastated, I cried a lot that morning and then I figured a good way to channel that emotion was to honestly write it all down. I think the rawness of despair really came through and resonated with a lot of people.
The piece I’m most proud of is about that moment when you check on your children as you go to bed, and they are fast asleep, and they are so utterly delicious and quiet and snoozy that your heart just bursts with love and every emotion washes over you. I think I love it because it was the first piece I’d written truly from my heart – I realised then that being completely and utterly truthful was the best way to blog, not only for you, but for the reader as well.
The piece I have enjoyed writing the most is entitled ‘I Pooed Myself In Labour’. It’s all truthful (and I completely overshare, obviously) but I think it’s a. a taboo subject no one truly discusses and b. I love the thought of my mother’s face when she reads it. Ha!
Have any of your posts not had the response that you expected?
Not so much mine – but we have had responses for other writer’s blogs on the site that haven’t been received the way that we expected. A blog about why one of our team voted for leaving the EU went utterly bonkers, and it’s still our most read blog by a mile with over 13,000 unique views.
Where do you see your blog in a year’s time?
I hope to have established The Motherload brand, and for us to become an influencer. Is that too ambitious or arrogant? I hope not; I hope that it’s realistic and we achieve it but of course, it’s no easy process. We have a really super team of writers, and I hope that we will have grown that at least five times over. I’d like us to grow our relationship with PND & Me, and I want our Store and Directory to move onto an e-commerce platform, with our own merchandise.
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
The cathartic, honest and complete unravelling that you do when you write. I love the connection between writer and reader, and I love the community. I completely underestimated the power of the blogging community when I first started, and even saw other bloggers as competitors. I couldn’t have been more wrong; other writers are so supportive, and so keen to share knowledge and tips.
…and your least favourite?
Some of the cheekier PR requests, probably. And the tech stuff. I don’t mind that to a certain extent but SEO completely burns my brain.
What’s the best blog post you have ever read?
Oh god, I’ve read so many and I love the vast majority more than the last. This one, on Selfish Mother, stands out though. We all attempt that perfect crapola of uploading glossy pics to IG, and only posting the cute or the funny, or the successful side of motherhood. It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable with talking about the ‘other side’ of motherhood, especially as PND caused me to have OCD too, and that claws marks of that still twinge every now and then and remind me what I failure I am for not having an immaculate house every minute of every day, or allowing the ‘failures’ to be the truth of my journey through motherhood.
What blog do you love to read and why?
Do you do anything differently now to when you started blogging?
I’m quicker. I purge when I write and once I’ve shaped it up, I leave it be and come away, and move on with the next one. That’s taken a lot of discipline and time to do though.
Is blogging what you expected it to be?
No – but because it is more than I expected. I thought ‘bloggers’ were just loads of lone wolves writing manically about their day to day lives. I didn’t even consider myself to be a blogger at first, oh woah, now that’s a different matter. This is where talent lives and grows and is nurtured and explored. I’m a PROUD blogger, and I’m passionate about this brilliant community and network of support.
Are there any brands you would love to work with, why?
I want to work with Frank PR, for personal reasons; I studied Fashion Promotion and Marketing at The London College of Fashion and we studied Frank in DEPTH during my course. Lynn Franks is a personal hero for all sorts of reasons so working with her agency would be great. In terms of brands; some of the beautiful children’s clothing companies that I love to dress my girls in would be brilliant, like the wonderful Ilovegorgeous. I’m a big pramaholic, so Bugaboo et al would be rather exciting. And Majestic Wine. For obvious reasons.
Have you had any blogging fails so far?
We were in a bit of an amazing position where we attracted some early investor interest, and we were not prepared at all! There was a lot of bluffing going on and I quickly learnt that you Don’t Bluff It. Be honest, everyone starts somewhere, and it’s ok to say you aren’t ready. You don’t have to grab every opportunity; listen to your gut instinct, do your research and get to know what you are doing, and why, Other opportunities will come.
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
Working on the site, mainly. But I’m a mum of two lovely girls; Bess and Maggie, who are 4 and 2 respectively, and keep me on my toes. I love to cook, and I love interior stuff too. I get a bit obsessive about decorating my home and I love antiques shops and markets. I also like drinking wine, a lot, eating curries and not exercising them off. Oh! I also have a shameful penchant for crappy TV. Think Real Housewives, Million Dollar Listing, and er.. This Morning.
and lastly, tell us all a random fact about yourself..
Boy George once snogged a guy I was dating… and told me that I might as well go home! Charming.