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 Jules from Pondering Parenthood.
Here’s Jules with more about her blogging life:
Where did your blog name come from?
My blog name is Pondering Parenthood. I chose it because I am a chronic over-thinker, so something related to thought needed to be in there somewhere. My blog was initially about our journey trying to conceive. I love a bit of alliteration, so Pondering Parenthood was born!
When did you start your blog and why?
I started my blog in September 2015. I had just left my job as a full time teacher to work as a part time supply teacher. I’d also just got married to Matthew, and we had decided to start trying for a baby. Due to my aforementioned over-thinking and a vastly reduced workload, I found myself thinking and talking about trying to conceive almost constantly. I decided to start writing a blog essentially to avoid driving poor Matthew mad with my constant string of thoughts on the subject!
As it happened, our TTC journey happily turned out to be rather shorter than I had feared and at the end that very month, I discovered that I was pregnant with M. As a result, my blog very quickly became a pregnancy and parenting blog. Now that I have two children, I write about life with a baby and a toddler. I put my teaching experience to good use with a fortnightly EYFS activity series, Pondering Playtime and I fulfil my need to be helpful by writing regular reviews of products and days out.
What did you do before you blogged?
I was a full time primary school teacher. It’s a job that I loved and loathed in equal measure. I absolutely adored the business of teaching, of working with fabulous children and helping them to discover new things. The endless paperwork, long hours and pressure to achieve results that only measure one aspect of a child’s development; not so much!
The move to teaching supply was immensely positive for me; it allowed me to continue to enjoy all of the best aspects of teaching without the stress.
What was your first post?
My first post was entitled, ‘The beginning’ and was a rambling outpouring of why I was starting a blog. I’m not sure anyone has even read it!
What inspires you to blog?
I think my main priority is to help people. I’m a helper. I love the idea that someone might read something on my blog that they find useful, be it a review of a product they were thinking of buying, or an activity idea to try with their children.
What post has had the best response, which post are you most proud of and which post did you enjoy writing the most?
Oh gosh, I’ve had to delve into my Google Analytics stats for this! My most-read post is this one about going for a scan a 36 weeks pregnant with my first daughter, and discovering that she was still breech, meaning that I’d need to have a C-section rather than the natural birth I had hoped for.
I suppose in many ways, this is also the post that I am most proud of, as I like to feel that other women who have had this news and read my post feel less alone and a bit more pragmatic about the whole situation. In blogging terms, it’s a terrible post, though. It has no images other than a terrible little square text-on-a coloured-background thing, which I thought was the done thing back in 2016! I really must update it to improve it, as I’d never hit publish on a post like that, these days!
The posts that I enjoy writing the most are my Pondering Playtime posts. I love looking back at the
photographs of M having a pretty wonderful time doing whatever activity I’ve set up for her. Whenever I tell her that I’ve set up a tuff spot or we’re going to be doing some baking/crafting/whatever, she shows such joy and interest. I started my Pondering Playtime series for her, really, to make sure that she stayed at the heart of my time, with the blog as a by-product, rather than the focus. Now that B is getting a little older, I’m looking forward to her joining in, too.
Have any of your posts not had the response that you expected?
Not especially. I’m fortunate that I’m yet to have been the victim of any internet trolls! I did write a Facebook post with a really dull picture of a washing up bowl about how my dishwasher has broken down, which got a lot more interaction that I was expecting! I guess it shows that people relate to the mundane perhaps even more than the exciting times in life. I think sometimes it is easy to think that people aren’t interested in everyday life but actually, we all want to know that someone else is going through the same little daily challenges that we are.
Where do you see your blog in a year’s time?
Now that B has arrived and I won’t be going back to teaching at all, I’m hoping that it will continue to go from strength to strength and provide me with a regular income. I’ll be interested to see in a year’s time if I’ve managed to achieve that, with two small people to look after and entertain!
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
My favourite thing about blogging has to be the ability to help other people. I have Polycystic Kidney Disease. I wrote a post after I had M about how my kidneys had survived my pregnancy and that my consultant had given me the all clear to have another baby. A lady messaged me to say that she had recently been diagnosed with PKD and that until she’d read my blog, she had thought that it would mean that she couldn’t have children. My blog had given her hope and I’m so proud that it made a difference to her.
…and your least favourite?
I think my least favourite thing about blogging is that non-bloggers don’t really get it. I always feel a bit nervous to say that I’m a blogger as some people seem to think that bloggers are just blaggers who get given free stuff for nothing. I can understand why people feel that way, as from the outside it can seem like an accurate assumption, but there is so much work that goes into that ‘freebie’. I often think I’d be better off just buying the things myself and saving myself the trouble!
What’s the best blog post you have ever read?
Oh gosh, I can’t think of one individual post! But I really enjoy reading posts that make me think. It might be about an aspect of parenting, friendship or a political issue. Before I started blogging I used to love reading Mother of Daughters’ blog, Gas and Air. I loved to read the birth stories – I learned so much from them about the birth process and found it fascinating. Of course I went on to have two elective C-sections as I appear to make breech babies, so natural birth is still as much of a mystery to me as it ever was!
What blog do you love to read and why?
This is going to make me sound like a fan-girl but I really enjoy reading What the Redhead Said. I’ve been reading Donna’s blog since it was Redhead Babyled, long before I even thought about blogging myself. I enjoy the variety of different topics that Donna writes about the fact that she publishes content so regularly, so there is always something new to read. I think I need to take a leaf out of her book and write more, myself!
Do you do anything differently now to when you started blogging?
Oh yes. I spend an awful lot more time on each post, trying to make it SEO-worthy and making pinnable images, etc. I also use a lot more images in my blog posts and have become far more picky about which photographs I use. Fortunately, I love taking photographs and like to think that I’m a bit of a natural, so photography has become more of a hobby for me since I’ve had my blog. I do sometimes miss just writing an outpouring of my thoughts and hitting publish without even proofreading or even uploading an image, but I don’t think those posts would be as enjoyable for people to read. I love seeing lots of images to illustrate someone’s thoughts.
Is blogging what you expected it to be?
Yes and no. I think social media plays a much bigger part in blogging than I had expected it to, and I find it difficult to keep up with all the different platforms. Blogging really is a full time job if you want to do it ‘properly’ and I don’t really have time for that with two little ones at the moment. There will be time for more social media when they’re at school; for now, I want to allow myself to have time to enjoy them!
What’s been your favourite blog collaboration to date?
I’m a bit of a pram obsessive and have loved working with BabyStyle on their new Oyster 3 pushchair. It isn’t released for sale until later in the year and I love going out and about and having people ask me about it or having a good look!
Are there any brands you would love to work with, why?
I love dressing the girls in beautiful clothes so while there isn’t one brand in particular, I’d love to work with more independent children’s clothing brands. M is a bit of a fashion connoisseur, so I think she’d love it even more than I would!
Have you had any blogging fails so far?
Not that I’m aware of! I guess it depends on what constitutes a ‘fail’. I think all bloggers probably have some posts that don’t do so well or that Facebook shows to a whole 0.05% of your following. It’s just a case of try, try and try again until you find what works, while staying true to yourself and the essence of your blog. I still haven’t found the magic formula but hopefully I will, one day!
What is your biggest blogging hope, dream or ambition?
My blogging dreams are probably quite modest, really. I’d like to be able to earn a decent part time wage from the blog to enable me to stay at home with the children as I won’t be returning to supply now that we have two. Regular childcare and supply teaching don’t really mix as my working days are so random. I’d like to earn enough to top up Matthew’s wage and cover the odd holiday and my love of children’s clothing.
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
Run around like a loon after a toddler and a baby! Send help once the small one starts walking, too!
and lastly, tell us all a random fact about yourself
I’m a long-standing Neighbours fan and still watch it regularly now. I’ve got it series linked so I don’t miss an episode. When I was a child I used to collect Neighbours cards in a red plastic Snoopy lunchbox. My favourite was of Scott and Charlene, obviously!
Now that you know all about Jules from Pondering Parenthood, make sure you go and read her blog. Make sure you follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram too. Thanks so much Jules for being involved!