Do you ever get the feeling that the book, I Don't Know How She Does It was written about a style blogger you know? A woman who manages to work, blog, socialize, exercise and live life – seemingly without missing a beat or breaking a sweat? We talked to a few of our favorite super-productive bloggers last week, and got some insights into just how they do it. To-do lists, cool apps and taking time away from the computer all seem to contribute to a more fruitful work flow, but what happens when you throw a kid into the mix?
We all admire our own mothers for raising us and being wonderful, and I think maybe we should also take a second to admire some of our favorite style bloggers who are also parents – talk about a balancing act! From Rockstar Diaries and The Day Book, to Jen Loves Kev, Oh Joy and Adored Austin – different bloggers share different pieces of their lives, sometimes gushing about parenthood, and other times leaving it to the imagination. It's all about what feels right for each individual (and their family).
IFB chatted with a couple of our favorite bloggers, Jordan of Ramshackle Glam and Ann of Holier Than Now, who are also moms. We asked them about personal style, time management and the perception of the whole “mommy blogger” community. Whether or not you're a parent, every blogger has to decide for themselves how much to share or withhold from their readers. No matter what your family or dating or marital status may be (all the single ladies, all the single ladies?), these women are fabulous examples of striking a balance that works for them.
On balancing work, blog and family:
Jordan: “The most important thing that I've found is that I have to be extremely flexible. I used to be very rigid about my schedule, working more or less steadily from about 8AM to about 6:30PM, but now I have to work for thirty minutes here, an hour there, all during naps or Yo Gabba Gabba episodes. This was definitely a challenging shift to make, but it also forced me to be extremely focused and productive during the times when I am able to work – I don't have time for anything extraneous, which in some ways in a plus. My new schedule also means that I now have to get a bit of work done during the evenings and on weekends, whereas before my son's arrival I had a strict no-work-on-weekends policy. I still prioritize family time on weekends and keep work to a minimum, but sometimes it can't be helped.”
On how having a child affected what she shares on her blog…
Jordan: For a short time after giving birth I pulled back from talking about “personal” topics because I was very nervous about sharing anything about my child. There were many reasons for this, including questioning whether or not my readers would be interested in reading about pregnancy and motherhood…but it was mostly because it was important to me to convey that the site is not about my child or his life, and, as such, his life and self are not topics that are open for discussion the same way that mine is. So while I'm excited to share photos and stories with my readers and definitely do, I am extremely selective about what I put out there, and only share things that both my husband and I feel comfortable with.
On the other side of the coin, I've felt an intimacy develop between myself and my readers since I gave birth that wasn't necessarily there before, and in many ways I share much, much more than ever before. My readers saw me through the biggest transition I've ever gone through and gave me enormous support and comfort during times when I doubted myself very much, and I feel very close to them because of that.
Ann: “I think if I had started blogging while I was single, I would have shared a lot about my personal life because there was so much happening, so much drama and excitement. Crazy times really. I’m much more private about my personal life now out of respect for my family, and that’s probably a good thing – thank god all those stories from back in the day aren’t on the internet.”
On how your perspective on life (and blogging) changes with kids…
Ann: “I think anything in your life that really brings you joy in a solid way – whether it’s a personal achievement, a child if that’s what you desire, a relationship etc. – gives you a foundation of confidence to be yourself and not care what people think. You can take away my career and readership and all that stuff but I can always take my family and move to a beach shack somewhere and be happy.”
On how your personal style evolves with parenthood…
Ann: “For one thing, I have a much better casual wardrobe because I work at home a lot, and it was important to me not to live in my pajamas. I think overall I started caring more about my wardrobe and being somewhat brazen in my choices because I refused to give in to that notion that “it’s all downhill from here.”
Jordan: “I've always been pretty into simple, comfortable clothing, but now I think about things like “do I care if it gets stained?” Dry-clean only clothing just doesn't really get worn these days (other than for shoots), and now I'm all about cute, comfortable flats that make it easy for me to tote around my son, whereas before you had to pull me away from my heels kicking and screaming. On a day-to-day basis I generally stick to well-made basics in solid colors or stripes that I can throw on and feel good in without much thought.”
On the term, “mommy blogger” …
Ann: I think at first blush that term sounds somewhat belittling, but parents writing about parenting drive a lot of traffic and business, and for good reason. If you are a trusted voice in the mom or dad-o-sphere, I admire you, because it is very difficult to talk about your personal parenting choices and open yourself to the opinions and critiques of other parents!
Jordan: “You know, a couple of years ago I went on a blogger trip to Mexico that included a bunch of “mommy bloggers,” and that was both the first time I heard the term and the first time I realized that it was pretty loaded, with mostly negative connotations. The truth is that I'm still not entirely clear on what's going on with these blogs and their detractors, so it's tough for me to land on one side or another of an argument that's fairly opaque to me. I do write about my experiences as a mother, so of course that's part of how I characterize my site…but I don't define myself or my site by my status as a parent.”
We'd love your feedback on balancing family life and your blog! How do you do it, whatever your dynamic may be?