Today I’m delighted to introduce a mom blogger whom I’ve met through a Facebook blogger’s group. Renata writes Keeping the Me in Mommy and lives in Coquitlam, BC, with her husband and two children. I love her advice about writing and being creative after having children.
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TKM: First, tell us a bit about yourself.
Renata: Hi, I’m Renata. I am the imperfect mother of two attempting to keep my sanity and a bit of myself along this wonderful road of mommyhood. A huge part of being myself includes being a mommy and wife and I love those roles wholeheartedly. That said, I also loved my pre-mommy me and want to keep some of that artistic, multi-interested girl around as well.
I am an artist at heart. I love to paint (mostly acrylic, though I have dabbled in watercolour) and draw. I love to write stories for children, poetry for adults, and to blog at Keeping the Me in Mommy.
Before children it was easy to find big chunks of time for creativity but with children I have had to learn to take the time I have and make it work – often in 10-20 minute snatches. I have also been fulfilling my creative drive by sharing my love to craft with my son.
TKM: When and why did you start blogging?
Renata: The short and easy answer is that I started blogging at Keeping the Me in Mommy to have an outlet in a different form for my drive to write.
The longer answer has to do with a sense of community. Community is important to me because it provides a sense of connection. I first sought out blogs when I was struggling to deal with a brain tumour. It was removed 2 ½ years ago now and it was a really difficult time. The blog of a woman who had a similar brain tumour helped me tremendously. I wasn’t alone. It was a profound feeling.
When I was about to start my second mat leave, I knew I wanted to make the most of it (I was kind of banking on health issues not being so prevalent this time around). I also decided I wanted to make 2013 my year of writing. With these goals in mind, I thought blogging would be a way to record and reflect on my experiences of being a mom and of trying to balance the mommy-me and other aspects of me.
I got it together and after months of prep and set up, finally launched my first post May 8, 2013. Keeping the Me in Mommy was born. Since its start up, my blog has evolved to included posts on writing, painting, mommy adventures, and crafting with kids.
Through blogging I’ve found an online artistic community and online mommy community. We share methods, stories, and knowledge (or lack thereof). The blogging community is a very supportive, caring bunch. We follow each other, share info, and support each other. I’m so happy to be part of these communities and to be a blogger.
TKM: How did you come up with “Keeping the Me in Mommy” for your blog name?
Renata: Through my blog name I was trying to reflect my goal: to be a good and engaged mommy while also keeping the creative (pre-baby) me alive and kicking. I lost myself a bit after the birth of my first child and I missed creating with an ache. I realised that to be the best me and therefore the best mommy, I had to take care of my creative soul as well. Being a mommy didn’t have to be the only thing that defined me. I could be a mommy and find time to be a creative individual.
TKM: Do you have a blog schedule or do you post when you feel like it?
Renata: My goal is to post at least twice a week on Keeping the Me in Mommy. I am not strict about days because it depends when I can find time.
TKM: What is your favourite part of blogging? Your least favourite part?
Renata: I have two favourite parts about blogging. The first is when you write on a topic that stirs up response. I love that feeling of connection—what I wrote struck someone enough that they took the time to respond. The second is the writing when it connects to me. For some topics, my writing doesn’t flow as well. I struggle to find words to express what I’m trying to get across. For other topics, the words just come together perfectly and easily. I’ve connected to my own writing on those occasions and I love that feeling.
My least favourite part of blogging is that flip side of writing – when the writing doesn’t flow. I know what I want to say but when I try to get it on paper it doesn’t translate for some reason. Oh and how I create the most awesome posts just before falling asleep when I’m too tired to get pen and paper. Then, when I wake up, the idea is long gone. It’s so frustrating!
TKM: What advice would you offer to other bloggers?
Renata: I’m a book girl. If I want to learn about a topic, I read about it.
Two books that helped me were The Digital Mom Handbook (Audrey McClelland and Colleen Padilla) and Blog, Inc (Joy Deangdeelert Cho). There is a lot about monetizing your blog, which is not my aim, but I did like the advice on how to hone what you want to write about and how to find your angle in the swarm of mommy blogs.
TKM: What’s your favourite social media channel and why?
Renata: I guess Twitter (though I haven’t been on it in weeks). I like Pinterest too but again I don’t have time to go on it much.
If you enjoyed this interview with Renata, check out my interview with Louisiana blogger Emily Babb.
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