Interview with: Sally Whittle
Sally Whittle is a journalist and blogger at www.whosthemummy.co.uk
What first inspired you to start blogging? Describe your career/lifestyle beforehand?
Back in 2007, I was a newly single-Mum with a toddler. We’d moved from our home in Brighton to the North of England, to be nearer to family. It was great to have that support, but I missed my old friends and social life. Writing a blog really was a lifeline. It was a place to share the little stories and funny moments, as well as the challenges of raising my daughter single-handed. And in those early days there were a lot of challenges! I loved blogging because it allowed me to connect with other Mums. In the evenings, I’d often be home alone with my daughter, trying to catch up with work online. Having the blog meant there was always a friendly person to chat with, and to share a laugh with.
What is the premis behind your blog and how does it differ from other popular parenting blogs/vlogs? My blog stood out because it was about laughing at the challenges of single parenting. At that time, a lot of magazines aimed at new parents were all about picture-perfect families. Married couples with steady jobs and nice homes. I didn’t see anything that felt real, or that reflected my life. My life was chaotic and unconventional. It was sometimes really hard work and scary. I think my readers liked that I was honest about those things. My posts were about things like giving my daughter cereal in a cup on the way to nursery, or her gleefully telling shop assistants that Mummy says it’s okay to take clothes out of the laundry basket if they don’t smell too bad!
What is your current following? Over the years my blog has grown steadily. The content has changed, of course. Now it’s about my inept parenting of an almost-teen. It turns out that’s even harder than life with a toddler. I have around 35,000 readers a month, and about 25k followers on Twitter and 15k on Instagram.
How do you work running the blog alongside motherhood and your other commitments? I’m lucky that my blog has never become my job. I think that’s allowed me to keep the content very personal to me, and that means writing it has never become a chore or felt like work. To me that’s the secret of keeping a blog going long-term. You have to love telling your story, and not get pressured into feeling you “should” do this, or that. The joy of blogging is that you can fit it around other things – I can blog anywhere I have an Internet connection. Sometimes the hard thing is fitting in work, once I get sucked into Twitter or Instagram, it can be hard to concentrate on work!
What do you enjoy most about what you do? Are there any perks/downsides? I love blogging. It’s allowed us to travel all over the world and have amazing experiences, from riding camels in Jordan to visiting rainforests in Costa Rica and reading to school children in Jamaica. It’s also inspired my career, running a digital marketing company. But of course there are downsides. Blogging is a 24/7 hobby if you want it to be – so switching off can be hard. And blogging about your own life brings risks. Every time you share a story, you’re inviting the world to judge you. That can be hard when someone’s criticizing your parenting, or your baby.
What would be your one piece of advice to any budding mum bloggers? If you want to be a blogger, I say just go for it. My advice though is to be YOU and blog what you love. If you love cooking and needlework, blog that. If you can’t cook but have a passion for TV box sets, blog about that. Your passion and enthusiasm will shine through, and that’s what will attract readers to your site. Secondly, do spend some time getting the look of your site right. The best content in the world is going to get ignored if the text is too small, or the pages aren’t colourful.