Blogging through motherhood
If you’re a mom, you should head to Shanèy’s blog as soon as you’re done reading this article! You, Baby and I honestly hosts some brilliant content … real motherhood conversations, great parenting advice, product reviews and competitions … It’s no surprise that You, Baby and I has won and been a finalist in over 13 award categories over the past few years! ‘I began the blog at the end of 2013 but only began taking it seriously in early 2014. I got married at the age of 20 and had my first child at 21. Don’t laugh, but I met my husband, Vije via Google AdWords. I was searching the internet for a photographer and I came across his website. We have a 10-year age gap but it’s honestly never been a thing … we just get on so well.
‘When I was pregnant with my first child, all my friends were studying and partying, so I didn’t have many people to talk to about this exciting new phase in my life. I decided to turn to blogs and social media instead.
‘Becoming a mom (in 2012) was exciting but overwhelming! I’m obsessed with organising and making to-do-lists so I thought I had everything figured out. Truth is, I didn’t. A list wasn’t enough. I needed support; a group of women who understood my emotions and frustrations. Being a chatterbox, I found that talking (writing) about something I was experiencing came very easily to me.’ Shanèy believes this is the heartbeat of her blog … a place where moms can connect, share advice, learn and be honest from time to time.
‘When I first started my blog I didn’t understand what a blog was or what I needed to write about. It took me a few months to understand blogging, the platforms available, and that it is in fact a worldwide industry! The biggest challenge for me when starting was deciding how much of my life I was going to put out there for people to read. My husband didn’t have an issue with me sharing our life but the very conservative family I come from didn’t understand why I wanted to do it. Sharing your life online can get scary at times, having your personal photographs out for the world to see, but I want to make an impact on the community – I want to create a platform that will help moms.
‘Last year I opened up quite a bit about my personal life on the blog, speaking about issues that have been troubling me for years, like bullying. I never had the self-confidence until I started to write about how I felt. For me, the only way to heal is to talk about it – and writing has helped me heal.’
Shanèy said she’s always thinking about content for her blog but doesn’t plan it ahead. She prefers writing about whatever is on her mind or what she feels. Her current 34 777 users, from Africa, the USA and the UK, also inspire a lot of her writing.
One thing is certain, Shanèy is definitely doing something right as her blog has won several awards over the past three years, including Winner of the Kids Emporium Mommy Bloggers Competition 2014, Best Lifestyle Blog 2014 and 2nd Runner-up for Best Parenting Blog at the South African Blog awards, Winner of Mission Samsung 2015 for Samsung South Africa, Winner for Top Advice and Parenting Blog in Africa – African Blogger Awards 2016, and Winner of Best Parenting Blog 2016 at the South African Blog Awards – to name just a few. She’s currently pregnant with their third child. Her other children are Kitana, four, and Kiaan, almost two.
They’ve decided not to find out the sex of baby number three. ‘Kitana is a little princess who loves everything Disney, and sushi! She’s a bit shy meeting new people at first, but when she warms up she doesn’t stop talking. She has her own YouTube channel – Kita’s Corner, where she unboxes toys. She’s at the age where she lives in a fairy-tale world and has a big imagination. Kiaan is such a lovable child but has endless energy! He is a little explorer who is always on a mission. He loves animals and nature. He loves making friends and interacting with the ladies (ha-ha!). He always smiles at women in the shopping centres – a real charmer, but also a mama’s boy. He is attached to my hip most days and I still breastfeed him at night.
‘Currently the two of them have quite the love-hate relationship, which is wonderful for me to experience. My dad passed away when I was eight, so it has always been just my mom and me. As a child, I often wished I had siblings. It was one of the main reasons I wanted more than one child.
‘This pregnancy was very unexpected. I was extremely shocked when I found out as I had been on the same birth control pill for many years and nothing extraordinary happened! The full story is on my blog – as most of you might think it’s impossible. But having taken the pill without knowing I was pregnant made for a very stressful time for me. I can tell you that the day I heard our little baby’s heartbeat after not really knowing what was going on was a moment I will never forget! Despite it being unplanned, it’s still the most amazing thing.
‘Now that I’m becoming a mom for the third time, I think the biggest challenge of motherhood is trying not to feel guilty all the time. Moms end up feeling guilty a lot – sometimes because we can’t afford to buy our kids a certain toy or because we have to travel for work and leave them at home with family. Balancing all the roles we have is difficult – so cut yourself some slack!’
Aside from being a mom, Shanèy’s other demanding rôle is that of an entrepreneur.
‘Vije and I both have start-up business concepts we are busy building. We also work together on www.youbabyandi.com – he did all the back-end and pictures for the blog.
‘The concept I’m working on is called MomSays. It’s an app that will help moms find products they want through recommendations and analytics. It’s also a platform created for moms to voice their opinion and review various products.
‘Vije is actually a qualified engineer but he’s currently also working on an app called Tapsnapp – a South African one-stop online marketplace, connecting photographers with clients quickly and effectively.
‘My life is crazy at the moment. I travel overseas a lot and I’ve entered a few start-up competitions. I’m also working on two more blogs (one will be launched soon) plus I run yearly mom events for my readers. It gets hard juggling work and home but I’ve got an amazing support system that helps me. My cousin Nirashni is my pillar of strength and basically our children’s second mother.
‘We have a rule though. Weekends are family time and a no-work zone. We normally do things with the kids or visit friends. We love the outdoors so a picnic at the Botanical Garden is always a hit. Otherwise, we play games based on nursery rhymes or play cars and dolls.
‘I’m always so surprised by the fact that no one likes talking about the reality of motherhood – how hard it can really be. Parenting has no manual, you figure things out as you go along and that’s okay! I think as parents we should seriously learn to let go and enjoy the little moments.’
Shanèy’s top tips for starting a blog:
- Don’t start a blog because everyone else is doing it.
- Start blogging with a niche in mind and stick to it – this is what will make your blog successful.
- Don’t start blogging because you think it is an easy way to make money and get freebies.
- Blogging is hard work. It takes dedication and loads of time. It took me three years to build my brand and name in the industry.
- Freebies won’t put a plate of food on your table.
- Don’t be afraid to approach brands.
- Becoming a successful blogger takes time, be patient – don’t expect an overnight success.
- Networking is extremely important.
- Collaborate with other bloggers in your niche.
- Don’t buy fake followers to become popular on social media.
In short with Shanèy:
My most enjoyable overseas trip has been … I’ve been to New York three times in the past year – it will always have a special place in my heart. I love the city and its people!
My home is … Messy! Ha-ha, there’s always things lying around and it annoys me so much because I am a neat-freak, but I’ve given up trying to pick up after my kids.
Cooking is … something I don’t love. Honestly, I enjoy cleaning more than cooking but I do cook, often trying out my mom’s recipes. My lamb chops chutney is the best.
Few people know that I am … very emotional. Hurtful comments get to me.
The best product any mom can carry with her at all times is …. Wet wipes!
My favourite child-friendly restaurant on the West Rand is … Papachinos!
I would trade shoes for … desserts, any day! I’ve got a sweet tooth.
Her fave blogs to follow:
Images by www.robyndavie.com
Get it Joburg West – September 2017