For many of us bloggy/mum types, The Honest Mum is one of the very first blogs for which we clicked the “follow” button.
Known for her down-to-earth demeanor, online creativity and (dare I say it!) honesty, Vicki has been winning hearts since 2010 when she first began the project whilst on maternity leave.
(Confession: I am a little bit in love with this woman.)
It is therefore with a goofy grin and an over-enthusiastic fist pump that I present you with the Honest Mum Interview, specially written for Celebrating Mothers Week.
Thank you Vicki for taking part. What are you doing to celebrate Mothers Week?
V: Hopefully sleeping! It feels like we’ve been hit with endless bugs here so the best gift I could receive is undisturbed sleep, and failing that a move to LA to live on the beach. Is that too much to ask? Seriously, we will be away for a weekend that my kids and husband are planning so I’m excited to see where we go. I’ll also be spoiling my own mum with a girlie spa day when we get back.
What is your sweetest Mother’s Day memory?
V: When it came to my own Mother’s Day, it has to be my very first one in March 2010. I was still in shock that I was actually a mum to be honest, and whilst I was dealing with a traumatic birth at the time and felt awful, I do also remember feeling incredibly proud to have this bouncing, smiley baby in my life. It marked a huge milestone for me. I was a mum.
As a child, a memory of my own mum’s Mother’s Day has to be seeing her burst into tears at words I’d written in a card for her. She’s not someone who cries often, so it’s stuck in my memory.
You wrote a beautifully lighthearted article on the ten things you have learned from your mother One of my personal favorites from the list was to “always remove the price stickers from under your shoes” ☺. Have you always been able to laugh with your mother? Was there a particular age at which your relationship grew into friendship?
V: My mum has always been my best friend and I’m grateful to have such a strong bond with her. She was a teacher and university lecturer before opening restaurants with my Dad, and has and continues to have, a huge impact in my life. She’s an incredibly fair, objective and compassionate person. A proud feminist raising a feminist (me), she gave me a badge to wear as a child, which read ‘Women, together are strong’. That’s a through-line in all I do.
I’m lucky to have had her as a blueprint for all the other female relationships which came after. She’s the first person I call with a problem and along with my husband, is probably the person who knows me the best in the world.
And a few questions from UK parent bloggers:
Do you think a parent can have it all? The successful career and being the best parent you can be? –Nature Mum Blog
V: I think it’s about accepting you can have it all just not all of the time, and that, that ‘all’ differs from person to person. When it comes to career and motherhood, there will always be compromises, as with everything in life. Some days I feel I’m winning at life, that I’ve got the juggle nailed, other days I feel (often wrongly) that I’m failing at everything. What I do know and what drives me, is that to be a happy mum, personally, I need and love to work. Writing is like breathing to me. I do have strict boundaries when it comes to work and family life because if I feel I’m not working enough or seeing my kids enough, I’m off balance. Blogging has allowed me to work in a flexible, liberating way around my family so I don’t miss out on being there for my kids or making my deadlines. I schedule a lot of social media posts and write prolifically so that helps with online visibility. For eg a post will go live but I’m actually doing bath time. I think when you love what you do, you find a way. I’m currently writing my book in the evenings once my kids sleep. The key is being organised and consistent. It’s important to be kind to yourself too.
When it comes to managing it all- what is your secret? –Me & B Make Tea
V: Organisation. I’m lucky that I have a great manager and publicist who make my life easier. We are also moving back South this year as I travel to London from Leeds weekly and it’s time to move. My youngest is in nursery 2-3 days a week and is with me 2 days, and my eldest is in school so the structure is there for them. They have after school drama and IT classes and swimming on a Sunday. My husband and I share family duties equally (as it should be) and I’m lucky that I write quickly. My career as a screenwriter and director meant writing prolifically and on a crazy schedule was part of the job so that put me in good stead for my blogging and vlogging career.
What do you think is the one thing that only you have that makes you stand out from the blogging crowd? -Mind Your Mamma
V:I don’t think I have that one thing, but thank you so much. I think we all have something special which helps us to stand out, our voices are unique and that is our power. So much of what I do is focused on inspiring others to seize this gloriously democratic digital space and share their voice and view of the world. I think hard work, tenacity and a commitment to honing your skills and pushing out of your comfort zone is the key to success for all. I do think being a filmmaker pre-blogging has helped me. I’m a storyteller. You don’t have to have a career in the media to shine in blogging though and that’s the beauty of it.
What has been your greatest challenge in motherhood so far, and how have you overcome it? –Motherhood The Real Deal
V: Suffering from a traumatic birth was the greatest challenge but I overcame it thanks several things: the help of a great therapist, starting my blog Honest Mum and moving closer to family. It took 5 years to write a post about it which has helped many women, and is also a topic I’m covering in my Mumboss book out in March 2018 .
A huge turning point for me confidence-wise was being a finalist in the BritMums Briliance in Blogging Awards in 2010, 4 weeks after starting my blog. I was truly honoured to win Best of the Best and Best Social in their awards last year.
In what ways, if any, has blogging enhanced or been a hindrance to motherhood for you? –Adventures of a Novice Mum
V: Blogging has been such a present part of my journey as a mother as I started Honest Mum in 2010 when my first son was 10 months old. It was thanks to my blog and having a space online to call my own that I was able to grow in confidence from feeling utterly broken. It gave me a platform, a means of expression at a time I felt completely lost. I think the fact I reflect a lot as a mother in my posts on the blog and social as well as using it as a memory keeper enhances motherhood. Pre-blogging we had physical baby books and photo albums, now many of us share our lives with the world. I feel so supported too because the online community is amazing. Twitter, particularly in 2010 was a lifeline to me. Of course the internet never sleeps and there’s always something else to do, so I have to strict to have boundaries in my work and home life.
What does motherhood mean to you? –Dear Bear and Beany
V: Unconditional, all consuming love. My kids are my world. Motherhood is also bl**** hard work too. Thanks to blogging we can be honest about the tough and the wondrous parts so we don’t feel so isolated and alone.
Mother’s Day is all about treating us hardworking mamas. What do you do for “you time”? –Wishes and Wellies
V: I love a great book in the bath and I’m getting a lot better about self care. I even wrote a post (for myself as much as my readers) on it. I love running and yoga too and try and run most days.
Thank you Vicki… and happy Mothers Week!! ♥
Vicki’s book on being a Mumboss is being published by Piatkus/ Little Brown and will be out in March 2018. For family, food, style, travel and life, click here for the Honest Mum online magazine.