Interview with Judy MacGregor – Funmamma SA
I am very excited to have Judy MacGregor on my blog; she is not only a blogger who I admire but also a friend. Judy is known for her blog Funmamma SA, is a founder of Blog Boss and started the Funmamma sa Rainbow Kids group, all while raising a family.
Through www.funmammasa.co.za she aims to educate, encourage and inspire parents.
1. What was the inspiration behind starting the Funmamma Rainbow Kids Facebook group?
Fun mamma Rainbow kids was inspired by the Italian and French children who were painting rainbows to leave as symbols of hope for others.
My reason for starting the group was after a conversation with some of my son's friends’ parents, I realised just how much our children were missing their friends.
I wanted to create a space where they could bond by doing the same crafts / activities, share and be proud of their handiwork and see that other kids were doing the same thing.
Also, a place where moms could access daily activities that didn't require a trip to the shop or expensive materials to be able to keep the kids entertained.
2. How have the parents and children responded to the Rainbow Kids Initiative?
In the first weeks we were very active and we've had a lot of interest.
The group keeps growing and people are using the activities. I think there is less sharing due to privacy aspects with the children.
3. You have been blogging for a while, why did you start blogging?
I had been guest blogging for about 2 years and found I was actually writing daily.
At the time I had just given birth to Hamish and a friend suggested I start my own blog and so the Mamma & bear ( fun mamma sa) blog was born.
Originally, I intended to just document Hamish's growth and share a few parenting ideas along the way ...if anyone even read the blog
4. What is your favourite part about blogging?
There are so many things I love about blogging but if I had to choose one thing it would be that I have a voice that I can use to make a difference.
That difference could be to encourage someone, teach someone a new skill, promote family bonding or highlight local charities
5. What do you dislike about blogging?
Blogging is not regulated in South Africa and sadly, because we have no set framework within the blogging industry there has been a negativity to surround bloggers and serious bloggers are often not seen as professionals in their field, but as opportunists.
6. There seems to be a negative connotation towards Bloggers that they are product grabbers, do you have an opinion on this?
There is a huge amount of work that goes into " free" products, so the item is never free for either the blogger or the brand.
Whilst the brand supplies a product and delivery, the blogger needs to put the hours in to photograph, create content, design social media campaigns around the product and market the post they have written.
Once we accumulate that time and effort on an hourly rate and charge it accordingly, often times a blogger has put a lot more in than what the product is worth
7. You talk about being Authentic on your blog. What does being authentic mean to you?
Authentic for me means standing true to my values. Supporting brands and fellow bloggers that I believe in and would normally use/ work with.
It also means having the courage to stand firm, say no and refuse work if it goes against my value system, blog niche or if the brand/product is not one I would recommend honestly
8. what is something that will never blog about?
I don't blog about politics. I also won't blog about Cannabis products.
9. Where do you draw the line from your public personal “Funmamma” and being a private person?
This is hard as so much of my life is fun mamma. I started my fun mamma SA Facebook page 8 years ago so there's a lot out there.
But I do keep a lot private. I won't share anything I wouldn't normally chat to a stranger on the bus about.
I only share my older children's stories with their consent. Check with my husband if I'm sharing about him or our marriage and share things about Hamish that he wouldn't one day be embarrassed about.
I don't only share the good about our lives, but I share things that my family are comfortable with. If I share a negative experience, like my daughter being bullied, it is to educate or encourage others.
10. What distinguishes Funmamma from the other Mommy blogs?
I would hope that what distinguishes us as different is that my blog is a porthole of resources where my audience step away having been educated, encouraged or inspired.
Much of what I write is short blogs so that moms can have a quick read. We are all busy.we need to get to the point quickly so that we can carry on with kids and life.
11.You have older children and little Hamish. How has your parenting approach changes?
There are so many differences. Motherhood defined me. I was 17 when I had my eldest so there were honestly years after I had the boys where I was just winging motherhood, home schooling and being a wife.
Now, I'm older with 28 years experience, 7 kids and years of training I'm definitely still that fun mom as I was with all my kids but I'm more patient, I don't sweat the small stuff and I prioritize play daily.
12.Being a trained teacher does this make you approach parenting differently?
I think having an educational background helps me to know that even if we only play and read for a week Hamish is ok and his milestones are on track.
I may have a bit more patience and confidence when it comes to home schooling.
13. You are home schooling Hamish and working from home. How do you structure your day that you can do both?
Hamish takes priority so I try wake early and get an hour of work in before he wakes. I teach in the morning but will still multitask by updating social media or checking emails if he's busy with a task that doesn’t need me. I work again when he sleeps and after his bedtime.
The only time this changes is if I have an urgent deadline in which case, I swallow the mom guilt and put on a great movie and we play when I'm done.
14. Where do you get inspiration and ideas for your Daily Home-schooling activities?
Many of my ideas come from years of teaching and running my group.
But we use a free syllabus from ABC Jesus loves me which I find invaluable for learning.
15. Do you have any advice for parents who are trying to home school their children during the Lockdown?
For moms of children not yet in school, let them play and join in. Children learn best through play and read to them daily. They will learn shapes if cutting biscuits, and colours while painting. They can count stairs and match socks. For young children these are fun
For those in foundation phase be gentle, only teach if you are both calm. Offer rewards if your child struggles and keep learning to short bursts of 30 minutes instead of one long stretch each throughout the morning to make a total of about 2 hours. Don’t forget to add movement, arts and fun into the day
16. If you were the President of South Africa, what Law (Bill) would you Sign into Law?
Parent classes for every parent at each childhood phase, especially for teenagers. The baby books often do not prepare you for the teen years
17. What social stigma does society need to get over?
That stay at home moms do not work .... we work the hardest
18. What values do you try to instil in your children?
Kindness above all else and honesty, tolerance and the courage to stand alone for what you believe in
19. What is the most important piece of parenting advice you have received?
My grandmother told me that the secret to being a good mom was eating ice cream for breakfast.
Over the years I would agree , our children do not remember our anxiety, our bad days, our feelings of failure...they remember the memories we make with them
Follow Judy and Hamish on their adventures: