Sometimes motherhood can be lonely. In search of advice and a little camaraderie, Mary Ware launched her blog The Mom Friend. The site offers a safe place for moms/parents to feel a little less overwhelmed (and isolated) by sharing in Ware’s own parenting experiences, challenges and gaining insight from her helpful words of wisdom.
What made you want to start your own parenting blog?
When I became a new mom, I spent hours while nursing and rocking my newborn trying to find answers and tips for life with a baby online. I was desperate to feel a connection with other new moms. It took almost a year before I was able to develop close mom friends who lived nearby. The encouragement I gained from those friendships; and the chance to not feel so alone in my struggles- made me want to help other new & first-time moms, and moms-to-be to feel a similar connection. Despite being an amazing and life-changing experience, motherhood can also be a lonely and frustrating time, and yet we all go through similar situations. I want to help other moms in their journey, and build a community of mom friends who are there to support, give tips on what has worked for them, and to laugh at life’s crazy moments with kids.
What three words would you use to describe your blog?
Friendly, helpful, genuine
What is your favorite blog post to date?
My favorite post (and my readers favorite) is “Tonight I Nursed You for the Last Time.” I wrote it the night I finally finished weaning my daughter from breastfeeding. At the time of writing, I was in an emotionally confusing state and felt the need to get the words out to try to make sense of how I felt about the end of our breastfeeding journey. I poured my heart into the page in a letter to my daughter and published it. The reaction I got from readers was incredible- so many moms came forward to tell me how they connected with it and shared how they felt regarding their own personal journey (some nursing, some not). It was my first experience of really connecting with moms all over the world, and it soon went sort of viral on Facebook. Hundreds of moms opened their hearts to me in comments and emails, and thousands shared it with their friends. That is truly the type of supportive community I am trying to build with my blog, and it just amazes me that it came from something I felt the need to write for personal reasons.
What’s your go-to tip for balancing blogging with parenthood?
It is tough for sure, especially in addition to working full-time as well. At the beginning, I struggled with feeling overwhelmed with information and felt the need to participate in everything that seemed like a good idea, and was spread too thin and it crept into my time with my daughter. I started waking up an hour before she gets up most days (even though I am so not a morning person), which gives me time to get organized and create a plan for the day and do a little blogging, but most of it is done after she goes to bed. I also schedule my week for when I will be most productive and try to be mindful of not getting sucked into social media constantly now. I select a few things that work well and will add others later on.
What is the best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever received?
If you are feeling overwhelmed, just stop and take some time to breathe, evaluate and reset. Whether that be placing a crying baby in a crib for a few minutes where you can shut yourself in a bathroom, or giving yourself a break if you haven’t completed everything (or anything) on your to-do list because of a clingy toddler. It is important to have realistic expectations about what you can do and control, but those feelings of overwhelm will continue to grow and fester unless we slow down, evaluate what the root of our frustrations are, and see if we can make simple changes to adjust the situation or our attitude towards it. That always makes me feel better, even if it doesn’t immediately fix the problem.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I try (unsuccessfully at times!) to be up by 5:30 on weekdays to give myself about 45 minutes to have coffee and breakfast while sitting at my computer doing easy blogging stuff. I get ready quickly and pack my daughter’s lunch (while trying to keep my dogs quiet) before waking her up and getting her ready for daycare. We head out the door by 6:40 to get to school/daycare. I teach in Special Education (Adapted Physical Education) during the day, and then typically spend an hour running errands or working on my blog before picking her up at daycare (she loves to stay for snack time!). Other days I’ll pick her up earlier and we will do fun things or run errands together. That extra hour helps me tremendously though, so I am able to focus on just playing with her at home until dinner. She eats around 5:45pm, and then it is bath and bedtime routine of numerous hugs for the dogs and at least 5 books before bed around 7 or 7:30pm. After she goes to bed I eat dinner with my husband, work on the blog, or just hang out and watch tv. I have a hard time going to bed early because there is so much I want to do and feel I need to stay up late to get “me time” (the mother’s curse), so I often go to bed too late around 11pm. It’s a long day and by the weekend I am ready to crash!
What’s the best insight you can offer other parenting bloggers?
Find a few Facebook groups with like-minded bloggers that you can connect with, and spend most of your social media time there. I have learned so much conversing with and even just being a silent observer at times in those groups, and it is great to have a cheering squad for little success or to get questions answered. I was pleasantly surprised at how supportive other bloggers are, and how it is more of a community than a competition amongst bloggers. And if you are delaying starting a blog, just do it! I wish I had started a year earlier when I first took interest in blogging. I’d love to help anyone who needs it- it has become something I am really passionate about and enjoying doing!