Today I have an interview with author & blogger Jen Hogan! Jen writes for the Irish Examiner & Irish Independent and also writes a parenting blog called Mama-Tude. Jen has appeared on TV several times and has contributed to many top publications around the country. She has a new book out called The Real Mum’s Guide to Surviving Parenthood.
Oh, and did I mention she is a mom to seven kids?! Super Mom comes to mind! So needless to say I’m thrilled to have an interview with this amazing lady today! And maybe we can get a few secrets to how she does it all.
I met Jen at the Boots Maternity & Infant Awards in Dublin. As her blog, Mama-Tude was a fellow finalist for the Best Parenting Blog Award! Jen and I hit it off right away. I felt like I had met a kindred spirit and reading her book has confirmed that. She’s full of positive advice and is a caring and fun person to be around.
The Real Mum’s Guide to Surviving Parenthood
I bought Jen’s new book, The Real Mum’s Guide to Surviving Parenthood the day after the awards. It made for excellent reading for the train ride home from Dublin.
I laughed, I cried, & I felt Jen’s love and genuine caring for fellow mothers pour through the pages. For me, that’s the mark of an excellent book!
Jen’s book begins with morning sickness and wraps up with teenage years. I wish I had this book when I was expecting any of my three kids. She validated so many of the feelings I had when I was pregnant and a new mother and put aside the pressures that can be put on expectant and new mothers.
I love that Jen gets personal in her book and shares some tough stories of loss and her emotions. I know this book is going to be uplifting for so many women.
I’d recommend The Real Mum’s Guide to Surviving Parenthood to any mother, regardless of how old her children. The book is relevant for all mothers & is full of positivity and validates mum thoughts and feelings. And it’s filled with great advice and some fab tips too.
Meet Jen Hogan
I’m really thrilled that Jen agreed to answer a few questions about her life & book. So without further ado, let’s get to know Jen!
Tell us a little about what it’s like being a mom to 7 kids.
It’s fantastic and exhausting in near equal measure being a mum to 7. It’s an absolute privilege and I know how lucky I am but the work load is definitely not for the faint hearted. The best thing about it undoubtedly is seeing them together and the love and friendship that exists between them (when they’re not killing each other that is) and the hardest thing is trying to meet the needs of so many different age groups at the same time. I love and continue to be amused on a near basis by how different they are to each other in spite of the same ingredients.
What’s it like heading off for a night away as a family of 9?
Haha – we don’t get away too often, because the cost is huge. We can’t fit everyone into a hotel family room – we need to take two, so in recent years we started renting a house in West Cork for a week in the Summer. The great thing about this is houses tend to be let at a set amount rather than per person. This year however, for the first time EVER , we went on a foreign holiday to Lanzarote – we had to take two apartments. There was huge excitement in the build up because most of the children had never been on a plane even so every part of the holiday was a novelty. You could definitely see the fear in the eyes of fellow passengers as we queued to board – terrified they’d end up sitting beside us! Being away was brilliant, people were quite fascinated by the number of us so it was easy to strike up holiday friendships as curiosity fuelled many impromptu conversations. One of the children had a birthday while we were away and complete strangers knocked on our apartment door with sweets and cake for him. Our numbers (and our three year old) meant me we near infamous in the complex.
I know it’s hard to pick just one thing but if you were to pass along one piece of parenting wisdom to fellow mothers, what would it be?
One piece of advice I would offer to parents is to be realistic with your expectations. The demands of modern day parenthood are very different to yesteryear and it’s not possible to have it all, so cut yourself some slack. If you spend too much time trying to be perfect in everything you do, you’re destined for stress, disappointment and ultimately enduring parenthood rather than enjoying it.
Besides your own family, did you have any other inspiration for wanting to share your parenting advice and stories?
I really wanted to write about real parenthood, from a real parent’s perspective. Having seven children I’ve had the chance to parent so many different personalities and I’ve learned that what works for one child doesn’t necessarily for another. Real parents live out life in the real, not necessarily ideal, world where where every sibling can be afforded identical rearing. Often by the time child two or three comes along, child one is already in school – so there’s a whole different timetable and dynamic to be factored in. I also wanted to write a book that reflected the emotional investment in child rearing, not just one that dealt with the practicalities.
Some of the stories in the book are quite personal and I really related to them as I’m sure many other mothers will. Was it difficult to open up like you did?
Yes it was hard and there were some tears shed writing some of the sadder parts and chuckles had as I recalled and relived some of the funnier moments of my parenting journey. I found sharing the story of my postnatal depression particularly difficult because I had never openly admitted to having suffered with it before. It was important for me to share these stories though because they are real things that real parents have to deal with. Parenthood is such a rollercoaster and sharing both the funny and the sad stories echo the ups and downs of the journey.
It was so lovely to meet you as a fellow finalist for Best Parenting Blog at the Boots Maternity & Infant Awards. Tell us a little bit about your blog, Mama-Tude & what you write about.
It was so lovely to meet you too Becky. Well Mama-tude is a blog all about rearing seven children. I write about the adventures we have, the mischief the children get into and the struggles and battles that we all face as parents. i also share some tips that I’ve found work for me. I also share the newspaper articles I write on Mama-tude social media and links to radio and television appearances. These tend to be mostly parent and child related subjects so generally of interest and relevance to the lovely people who follow me.
What’s your favorite social media network?
Facebook without a doubt! I was never very active on social media before starting my blog Mama-tude and Facebook is definitely my comfort zone. I enjoy the fast pace of Twitter too but I just find it easier to “keep up” with Facebook.
What are your upcoming plans for Mama-Tude? Are you thinking about writing another parenting book in the future?
I do have a few plans for Mama-tude, that I’m starting to put in place. I have a new site waiting to be launched very soon. As for another book in the future…. well that has been suggested to me 😉 and I have a few thoughts on how that might play out. Watch this space!
When you want to chill out and de-stress, what do you like to do?
I love company and I love socialising – particularly if there’s dancing involved! I have very little down time these days but catching up with friends or getting out with my hubby always manages to recharge my batteries nicely. I also love singing, and I’m planning to join a choir again, as soon as things settle down a little.
Ways to Follow Jen & Check Out Her Book
I’m passionate about all things parenting and about supporting mums and dads on the rollercoaster journey that is parenthood.
I live in Dublin with my husband Paul and my seven children who range in age from 16 down to 2. I’m an author, freelance writer, blogger and media contributor. I write parenting and lifestyle articles for the Irish Examiner, Irish Independent and have contributed to articles in the Irish Times. I’ve also written for Maternity and Infant magazine, The Ultimate Maternity Guide, Mums and Tots and I write a regular column with Easy Parenting magazine. I speak frequently about parenting issues on radio and television including The Ray D’Arcy Show, Brenda Donohue’s Like Family, Today FM’s The Last Word , The Today Show on RTE 1 and RTEjr’s Rearing to Go.