Since I started blogging I came across many blogs, all very different, which is a testament to versatility of human nature and our unbridled creativity. The most wonderful thing about discovering new blogs is coming across someone who ‘speaks’ the same language. I literally get a chill running down my spine when I find a blog I love. It’s like seeing an old friend among the crowd. A friend I’ve never met, yet I feel like once we start talking it will be like we have never been apart.
I wanted to share these special blogs with you, so you can get that spine tingling sensation as well.
When I was thinking of starting this series there was one blog in particular which came to my mind. And that was Linda’s Rain or Shine Mamma, whose tag line
‘there’s no bad weather, only bad clothes’
inspired me to get out more often than I would otherwise. Thank you Linda!
It’s time to let this wonderful woman and inspiring mum to speak for herself.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from Sweden but moved to the U.S. twelve years ago. I’m married to an American, and we live in the rural Midwest with our two daughters, who are 4 and 7 years old, as well as a dog and a cat. I work as a writer and photographer and have a big passion for nature and the great outdoors.
What was your childhood like compared to the one you are creating (and documenting) for your children?
Children in the US are much busier in terms of homework and after-school activities, and they don’t seem to have very much time for unstructured play. In comparison, I didn’t have any scheduled activities until I was about 7, and spent most of my free time roaming the woods behind my house with my friends. I think that’s why I’m very protective of my kids’ free time and try to keep their scheduled activities to a minimum. Instead, I make sure that we have big chunks of time set aside for outdoor play, hiking and other nature experiences every week. The rise of electronics has of course also changed things a lot since I was young, for kids in the U.S. as well as in Sweden. We have a strict no-screen time policy on weekdays, because I don’t want the girls to be dependent on screens for entertainment.
Why have you started blogging and what is your blog about?
After moving to the U.S. and having kids I noticed there was a big disconnect between children and nature – in short, kids just don’t play outside the way they used to. As an environmentalist that really concerns me, since I believe we’re much more likely to protect Earth if we forge a bond with nature in childhood. So my blog is about connecting children with nature through outdoor play and activities. It’s called Rain or Shine Mamma because I believe it’s important to get outside every day, regardless of the weather, and I hope to inspire others to do the same.
How do you organise your blogging around family life?
It can be tough sometimes, since blogging can be really time-consuming. But since my kids are often involved in the things that I write about, I feel like they benefit from it as well. They’ve gotten to try a lot of activities that we might not have done if it hadn’t been for the blog. The writing part I usually do at night, after they’ve gone to bed. Weekends are usually reserved for family time.
Has blogging changed your life?
I’ve made a lot of connections that I never would have made otherwise. I now have a network of friends in the U.S. as well as in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and other countries, who all are working toward similar goals. To find other like-minded people has been a very powerful part of the blogging journey.
What have you learnt from blogging?
I have learned to go out on a limb a little more in my writing, and to be more personal in my relationship with the reader. As a journalist, I was trained to think and write objectively, but with the blog I can be much more opinionated, and I’ve noticed that many of my most popular posts are the once where I take a clear stance on an issue, or share something personal.
What is your best advice for new bloggers, or those thinking of starting a blog?
Focus on quality content and find your unique voice. Don’t be discouraged if it feels like nobody is reading your posts initially, because it can take time to build a loyal readership. Find other bloggers who focus on similar topics and make them your allies instead of viewing them as competition – you’re much stronger together, and you all benefit when you help build each other up.
What is the best/most surprising opportunity you have been offered thanks to blogging?
Last year Nature Rocks, an affiliate program of The Nature Conservancy, asked to syndicate some of my posts on their blog, which I was more than happy to do. We have the same goal of getting more kids outside and interacting with nature, and being able to share some of my experiences with such a large audience has been fantastic!
What would be your perfect day – if money and geographical location is no object?
My happy place is the woods, so probably a nice long hike that ends with sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmallows. If those woods happen to be in Australia or some other exotic location, all the better!