There are so many fabulous bloggers out there, and we want to highlight them on Cityline.ca. We’ll be profiling different lifestyle bloggers from month to month — they might write about food, fashion, beauty, décor, parenting, entertaining, gardening, you get the idea! For October 2014, we’re putting the spotlight on the honest and hilarious blog I Am The Milk. Run by Katia Bishops, we love reading about her perspectives on parenthood because whether it’s a day filled with laughs or a day filled with tears, she never shies away from her real, emotional responses to life as a mom. Here’s our Q&A with Katia:
When did you start I Am The Milk and what was your inspiration? How did you come up with your blog’s name?
To quote Facebook: It’s complicated. The simple version is this: I started the blog about six weeks after my second son, Daniel, was born and at the time it felt like a direct response to the event. My husband and I were giving our older son a bath. The next step in our bedtime routine would be to feed him milk in his bedroom from a sippy cup I would prepare in advance. My six-week-old baby, as you would imagine, was also an avid consumer of milk and I was breastfeeding him around the clock. When we were about to finish the bath my husband asked “Is the milk ready?” referring to the mandatory sippy cup in my older son’s room, and before I could properly process the question, a voice in my sleep-deprived mommy-brain inhabited head responded: “I’m ready”. A split-second later I understood what he had actually asked, did an internal jaw drop and realized that I was going to start a blog titled “I Am The Milk” (or IAMTHEMILK) and that my first post was going to be about what it’s like being somebody else’s food.
The more complicated answer is that I’ve always wanted to write and always found reasons not to. I’ve tried to understand what it was about Daniel’s birth (other than being food, which I also was for my older son, Ben) that liberated me from my self-imposed restrictions, when it came to writing. I came to the conclusion that because the road to Daniel was such an arduous, stressful and frightening one (failed fertility treatments, miscarriage, undergoing surgery during early pregnancy and other details I won’t bore you with) by the time I had him I was so done with the sense of fear that’s governed me for so long that I was ready to let go of it and simply start writing. There was also an element of venting and perhaps looking for support. As a second-time parent, I had a set of expectations based on my experience in round one and when my reality with baby number two deviated so far from the expected path, I had to find an outlet to my emotions, whether they be surprise, wonder, deep gratification or frustration. Writing proved to be therapeutic and healing. As Jane Marsh, a blogging friend of mine at Nothing by the Book put it recently, “writing is my prayer and meditation”.
On your blog you write mostly about parenting, but you take two very different approaches – sometimes you’re hilariously funny, while sometimes you’re more serious and thoughtful. What do you like about writing in two different styles, and what’s your favourite type of post to write?
Whether I write something funny or something deeper and more emotional, if I can tell it evoked any kind of emotional response in my readers I am equally grateful.
I have always LOVED writing in a way that makes people laugh. Whenever an opportunity presented itself to respond to an all-staff email at work in a way that would make my colleagues laugh, I seized it. There was always something deeply satisfying for me in that. When I decided to start my blog it was only natural for me to approach it as an exercise in being funny. Then I had a duh-huh moment when I discovered that since the blog is about my life (and sometimes things happen in my life that prevent me from feeling funny or wanting to be funny), I can’t always be funny on the blog. There were times when it felt wrong to be funny, and as much as I was worried that a serious post would be a turn-off to those readers seeking some light-hearted fun, I realized there were words and feelings in me that had to be processed through writing and come out in a way that is not funny. When I wrote my first couple of serious posts after my great aunt, a very significant person in my life, fell ill, and after a war broke in my home country, I was almost apologetic to my readers. But then nothing terrible happened. No one ran away screaming (as far as I can tell, at least). I’ve since written a fair share of serious posts and the response I’ve been getting to them is just as uplifting as writing them — if not even more so.
Tell us about a few posts that you’re particularly proud of and want to share with Cityline.ca readers.
On Fridays I participate in a blog hop hosted by two of my best blog friends Stephanie at Mommy for Real and Kristi at Finding Ninee (two blogs I highly recommend, by the way). The linkup is titled “Finish the Sentence Friday”. Every week you are given a writing prompt in the form of a sentence you need to complete. On a particular week the sentence was “I blog because”. As a response to this prompt, one of my blogging friends Julie DeNeen said that when she doesn’t know how she feels about something, she blogs about it to understand. This was precisely what happened as I was creating my post titled “Closest to Me” as a response to that prompt. I think that this was the first time I felt that I’ve achieved a certain degree of insight through introspection and writing. I was proud of the fact that the post, which dealt with an experiences that is far from universal (my own immigration to Canada among other things), still proved to be relatable and got so many retweets that I realized it struck a chord with others. And what I’m most proud of is that this was the one post I ended up sharing with an audience of strangers at a motivational club attended by a group of internationally-trained professionals. In sharing this post with them I was hoping that they would see that there are no real barriers in our way, other than the ones we create for ourselves.
What do you hope your readers get from visiting your blog?
When I’m working on a funny post I look at my family, our routines and experiences, and try to identify the universal and relatable and hope that my readers nod in understand while they roll on the floor laughing. When I write a serious post, my initial purpose is to capture a moment in my children’s or my own life that made me feel something intensely and to capture it as accurately as I can in a way that would make my readers relive it. I guess what I’m trying to say as that I want my readers to go “are you inside my house/head?” when I write something funny, and the opposite (“am I inside your house/head?”) when I write something serious.
What are some other blogs you love reading?
What’s your top advice for other bloggers?
I think that my advice would be to not lose the same faith in yourself that made you start the blog. It is easy to lose it to stats and comments on other bloggers’ blogs. These things can shake your confidence, but don’t let them. Do not over analyze it. If you know you’re a good writer and you don’t think you’re getting the recognition you deserve, keep promoting yourself. The recognition will come. My second advice would be to join a group. ASAP. Yesterday. I’ve only really started receiving comments and finding my way in the blogging world once I found my tribe. One big group where you can start (and maybe find a smaller blogging support group through) is The SITS Girls who have a sharefest every Saturday on Twitter. Good luck!
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