Fi Newsam started her parenting blog in the middle of the night while on maternity leave with her second child. “I was sitting looking at my baby thinking I am so lucky with my family and basking in the glow of new motherhood when I started feeling sorry for myself when I was 18 and had my first child,” she says. “It was such a different experience and I could see that I was still a child at the time. I gave myself a very hard time.”
She decided to write an open letter to her 18-year-old self telling her that things would eventually be okay. She posted it on Facebook and thought no-one would read it. But they did.
It was the start of a new blogging career. Her blog, A Mum Track Mind, which she works on outside her regular job, is now earning her around £1K a month. It also won her a new job in digital communications when she returned from maternity leave in November.
Fi became pregnant for the first time when she was doing her A Levels and living at home with her mum. She describes herself as very ambitious and headstrong. She wanted to be a barrister and had her whole life planned. Finding out she was pregnant was a big shock. She took a gap year and worked a series of student-type jobs through her pregnancy.
Her parents were unable to support her so she had to go back to work six weeks after her son Zack was born. The early years were hard. She moved with Zack’s father to Aberdeen to attend university there. Both worked part time, with Fi, who was doing a midwifery course, often doing night shifts and studying during the day so the two could juggle childcare.
She didn’t finish the course as the family moved back home to Lancashire after her husband, who she has since divorced, was offered a job in a defence company. Fi joined him there and has been working in the same company for the last nine years.
The company has been very supportive and Fi was given the same opportunities to work in different areas of the business as she would have got had she been accepted onto its graduate programme.
On a recent KIT day her she was asked about her blog and other social media management work she had been doing on her maternity leave.
The company was impressed by what she had achieved and offered her a job in digital communications. Fi says the job is “amazing” and very flexible. She works three days a week, but can choose her hours and work from home if she needs to.
She continues to run her own blog in her spare time, which means she has to be very disciplined. As social media demands daily updates she has to plan these at the weekend. That includes the whole gamut from Twitter to Instagram. Although she updates them all regularly, she concentrates on growing a particular one over a three-month period.
She also blogs every day, after her daughter has gone to bed and often works until around 1am. She doesn’t find that too exhausting though. “I am supermotivated,” she says, “and I don’t look at it as work.”
She switches off on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings and deliberately chooses places with no wifi for family holidays with Zack, Sophie and her new partner.
Her blogs are on a range of topics. She blogs about her life as a working mum and has started a series of Q & As with other mum bloggers. She also does a lot of reviews of products, days out and so forth and earns money by including links to sponsors in her posts.
Fi says she would eventually like to write a book about working mums and feels there is a gap in the market. “There are two trends in books about working mums,” she says. “One is to say parenting is awful and the other is the superglossy trend. I don’t think either is honest.”
She is also keen to let other mums know that there are alternative ways to make a living which are flexible, such as blogging. “It’s hard work, but it’s very rewarding,” she says. “Women often feel trapped because they need to earn money, but they do not realise there are lots of ways to do that these days.”
Picture: Fi and Sophie