Interview with: Linda Hobbis
Linda Hobbis is a writer and family lifestyle blogger at www.motherdistracted.co.uk
What first inspired you to start blogging? Describe your career/lifestyle beforehand?
Prior to blogging I spent over 20 years working in marketing at various places in Cardiff. 13 of those years were spent marketing legal services and I left my last job in 2007 – marketing director at a Cardiff law firm – to have my kids. I met my husband in 2005, having been happily independent and single and was, I suppose, dedicated to my work and a lifestyle which revolved around marketing events, business clubs and social functions. I had my daughter Caitlin in 2007 when I was 43 and Ieuan came along in 2009. Mathew and I married in 2011 and I was certainly an older first time bride at 47!As an older mum, I wanted to make the most of the experience and was lucky enough to be able to be a stay at home mum whilst Mat continues to work in a global role for a telecommunications company. He travels a lot and my parents are elderly so I had a steep learning curve, never having changed a nappy before my kids appeared! Caitlin and Ieuan are only 20 months apart so they were both in nappies together. My parents help where they can but most of the time it’s me running round like a mad woman. It’s a LOT easier once the kids are in school. What is the premise behind your blog and how does it differ from other popular parenting blogs/vlogs? I talk a lot about the experience of being an older mum, however, generally the issues we face whilst our kids are young are the same for mums at either end of the age spectrum. Where things are different, I think, is parenting tweens and teens for us older mums. Mums and daughters are at the end and beginning of their fertility respectively and that raises all sorts of issues relating to age, the challenges of menopause and the onset of puberty.
I think there is a lot of negative judgement of older mums which needs debunking. I read recently that my generation (1964) is the first where 25% of women are childless and the average age for a first time child has, apparently, risen to early 30’s.
We are no longer an anomaly but a new fact of life. i also talk a lot about relationships and write a weekly problem page based on questions put to me on Quora.com. At 53 and with a fair few relationships under my belt (not all of them successful!), I can answer dating questions with the benefit of the wisdom I hope I have gleaned along the way. The whole dating landscape has changed dramatically and social media and texting seem to be the new playground for romance. Despite that, I think the ‘rules’ and the way we relate to each other are pretty much the same as ever.
Lastly, since we live in Dinas Powys, in the Vale of Glamorgan and are close to Cardiff, I love to write about the local places we visit and we are blessed with a lot of surrounding natural beauty and a fabulous capital city to explore. And, even though I’m English by birth, after 49 years in Wales I consider myself a fully paid up Welsh rugby team supporter.
What is your current following?
I currently reach about 6,000 visitors on the blog every month but over social media my following is around the 25,000 mark.
How do you work running the blog alongside motherhood and your other commitments? I’m tempted to say with occasional shouting and frequent wine but I do try to be disciplined and to make the most of the school hours. In reality I find myself working till 10 pm most nights. Because I work at home, though, it does mean that persuading the kids to put their iPads down is more of a challenge when they see their parents constantly on their PCs! There’s no easy way round that one.
I think non-bloggers often think it’s just about sitting down and writing but the skills I have had to learn since leaving full time employment have been many and varied – copywriting, photography, social media management, pitching, SEO…the list is endless.
That said, for any mums who are looking for a new career or who want to develop a new skill set whilst their little ones are growing up, blogging is ideal. It’s not a quick fix though but I know loads of great bloggers who combine full time employment with their blogs.
What do you enjoy most about what you do? Are there any perks/downsides?
I love all of it to be honest but I think that’s because I am my own boss and can decide which projects are worth dedicating time to and how much to invest. I’m sure many marketers in legal services while understand that grand plans are required on usually extremely small budgets. It’s nice to work without knowing that your contribution is viewed more as an overhead than a contributor to profit!
We do get to visit places and receive things to review which others regard as ‘freebies’ but in reality a product review post can take around 2 hours to write, photograph and promote – and that’s without actually doing the product testing. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.
What would be your one piece of advice to any budding mum bloggers?
If you want to make money from your blog it will be a long haul not a quick fix. Decide first who your blog is for, get as specific as you can and then write for them. Once you have grown an audience then you will have the luxury of diversifying a bit. You may also need to invest in self-hosting and your own domain name. Other than that just start!