Photo by Brittany Renée Photography
Lately, it seems as though mommy bloggers have been taking the world by storm! But with all of the work that goes into building a successful blog, you’ve probably found yourself wondering how these busy mamas and bloggers find time to do both.
Well, wonder no longer! We recently had the opportunity to chat with the amazing mommy blogger herself, Terra LaRock! Read along to get to know Terra and learn her tips & tricks for building an online presence in the Q&A below:
Let’s start off by you telling us a little bit about your background. How did you get to where you are today?
My background is actually in psychology. I currently work as child, family and school psychologist and have always been fascinated with how people connect and relate. When I became pregnant for the first time, the connection was instant with my daughter, Winter, and I wanted to document all the emotions associated with my journey to motherhood.
I started to take photos and post them to Instagram just for fun. I was the first one out of my friends to have a baby, so I was pleasantly surprised when I started connecting with other women, from all walks of life, who were also mothers on the Instagram platform. I began journaling and pairing my candid emotions with the photos that I was posting. When my captions began to resemble sort of a novel, I knew that I needed another platform to capture my thoughts in their entirety. That’s when Love & LaRock was born.
When did you know that your family was complete? Working on a post for tomorrow about the size of our family. It's been something that's been on my mind for a bit now and I'd love to know what factors you considered when determining it. 👨👩👧 . . ||📸 @brittanyreneephoto|| My new diaper bag from @skiphop #shareskiphop
What inspired you to start blogging?
I am an open book, an emotional sponge and never ashamed to “tell it like is” so to speak. I am often intrigued by those who are more private about their life but tend to gravitate more towards those who are also open books.
When I decided to expand my social media repertoire to include a blog, I knew that I wanted to capture all the aspects of being a a wife, mother and human being for that matter. From my shortcomings and celebrations as a wife and mother, insights on how to live a mindful life and to documenting the real, honest and, sometimes, raw and uncomfortable bits of my postpartum depression experience, nothing is off the table.
As a psychologist, I ask people on a daily basis to open up to me, and I think it’s one of the coolest things we can do as humans to relate to one another and share experiences. I learn so much from others and if I can help just one more person feel not so alone in this world, then I am happy to share it all.
Tell us a little bit about Love & LaRock. What do you hope to accomplish through your blog?
My last name is LaRock and my husband calls me a “love nerd” (I am a hopeful romantic), so the name for my blog is a combination of the two. I started the blog back in March 2016, but really didn’t start posting consistently until the New Year.
I never started blogging to achieve a specific goal. While I always had the intention of my blog being for-profit, meaning that I would partner with brands from time to time that compensate my work, I hope that the writing is and will always be the main focus of my content. I strive to write about topics that start conversations and challenge the status quo of motherhood. I would be even more humbled if my posts help others feel more understood. I will never stop advocating for those experiencing postpartum depression, or any other mental health condition for that matter, and I hope my blog continues to reflect that.
ON THE BLOG: I have opened up quite a lot on this platform about my marriage, revealing what's it’s been like for Perry and I after having a child. I am constantly learning and evolving, discovering new ways I can better myself and our marriage. Read more about our disagreements, mishaps and how we are moving forward. 😍
What has been the most rewarding experience in your blogging journey so far?
By far, it has been having an article I wrote published on Huffington Post. In the thick of my postpartum depression, I scoured the internet looking for anecdotes of others who have had unwanted, intrusive thoughts and couldn’t quite find anything that described what I was experiencing. So, I wrote it myself. And boy, was I nervous to push the publish button (I didn’t eat dinner that night). I had never been so candid about what it was really like for me as a new mother.
Despite my reservations about sharing, I was blown away with the support of the online community and was shocked when I woke up to Huffington Post asking to republish my article. Honestly, posting that article helped me heal in so many ways and I don’t think anything else can compare to hearing “oh me too” from hundreds of other women who also experienced mental health complications after birth.
Most challenging experience?
While I love blogging, I am always searching for more time. Between working full-time, raising a family and nurturing a marriage, there isn’t a lot of time for me. I often ask myself what I would be doing with my time if I didn’t blog. I would likely play more piano, paint more often and definitely read; but, words are my love language and right now, I am getting so much joy from writing. I will continue to write until it no longer serves me.
Tomorrow at 7 PM MST I will finally be opening up about my postpartum hell on the blog. I have been nervous all week about this but it's about time I release this part of my journey and tell it like it was. . . I ask that if it resonates with you or if you think it would be helpful for someone that you know, that you please share it with others. I must preface that this is not for personal gain. I honestly wouldn't care if it was my last blog post I ever wrote. But here's the thing…I felt so alone and if I can reach just one more mama with your help then the agony, isolation, fear and anger I felt for months would seem a little more worth it. Thank you from the bottom of my ❤️
Take us through the process of writing a blog post. Where do you find your inspiration?
I am the epitome of organized-chaos. I am definitely not type-A, so you can find my ideas for blog posts written on the backs of bills, on sticky notes in the car and buried deep in my purse written on receipts (but, by golly, I know where every one of them is located).
Now with the blog picking up steam, I have had to hone my organizational and executive functioning skills. Currently, I try to keep an editorial calendar of what I might want to write about and try to stick to posting to the blog twice a week and Instagram at least six times a week.
I pull a lot of my content from what is relevant in my life and most of the time, when I sit down to write, the words just fall out of me. I sometimes stew on a topic for weeks before I write it and other times I just think something up. When I am working with brands, I typically look at my ideas journal and see if there is a topic that would fit. For example, I wrote a post on the size of our family and if we were thinking about having another kid while partnering with a diaper bag company. I tend to have a few topics in the cue, so it’s always nice when we get a sponsorship that aligns with what I want to convey.
What tips do you have for other mommies wanting to start a blog of their own?
I have definitely fallen into the trap of comparing my success to those around me. There are many other moms on Instagram whose accounts grows faster, get more likes and comments and who have blogs that have just seemed to magically explode with success overnight. I would hate for anyone to look at my numbers and think the same. Remember that behind the tiny squares on Instagram or high-resolution blog posts, there is a human. A human who is not perfect despite what numbers may be indicating on a computer screen.
Now instead of comparing, I always close my phone or computer at night after working and say out loud what I am grateful for. Did I finish a blog post? Make a new friend? Smile at the photo? Or laugh at a comment or caption of others?
I am trying my best to live by example for my daughter and when I play the comparison game, I feel like I am failing us both. There is enough space here for everyone. So just remember to be you and keep at it.
I think motherhood and marriage are so similar. There are many downs, moments where you take deep breaths and decide to take the high road. Yet, the lows are only temporary and somehow manage to swing in the other direction just when you need it the most. I don't think I could ever appreciate these highs without experiencing some of the lows too. . . Andddd, I said I wasn't going to post anymore from this series. But look at her face! #sorrynotsorry
You have quite the following on Instagram! Tell us a little bit about social media’s role in your career and how you have been so successful.
Connect. Connect. Connect. My husband used to make fun of me when I first started because I would spend so much of my time talking to my “imaginary friends” on Instagram. I would leave them comments, send them direct messages and respond to those who engaged on my feed.
Now, two years after starting to post to Instagram, I have 30K followers and counting. These so-called imaginary friends have become real ones and we are always helping each other out by giving advice on how to handle clients, approach brands, and give advice on the creative direction of our blogs. It’s been amazing to grow alongside my mommy blogger friends. Try to connect with those that are starting out just like you and then reach out to a few other bloggers that you admire to pick their brains as well.
When you’re not busy blogging or being a mommy, what can we find you doing?
My husband is a landscape architect and I used to help out my friend as a florist, so when we both aren’t at a computer, you can find us in our garden, going on long walks while foraging for wild flowers, or escaping to the mountains for fresh air.
Parenthood is a messy, bumpy ride but I am just so darn thankful. The day started off with the sweetest cuddles from Winter (more in stories) and is finishing with her napping for 2.5 hours and counting! It's a record! Happy Thanksgiving you crazy turkeys! 🦃 . . P.S. A few of you asked about nursing friendly dresses: Use LOVEANDLAROCK40 for a 40% discount on anything @loyal_hana (Runs tomorrow through Monday).
Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?
Oh good question. I hope that I can create a life where I can work from home at least part of the time. I hope that Love & LaRock continues to advocate for those struggling with mental health issues and that I am very involved on both a professional and personal level with organizations that take a stand on women’s health issues.
I hope to guest write for larger online magazines and to eventually learn how to shoot film to make videos. But blogging aside, my true five year goal is to look back on today and feel proud and content that I was able to inspire and connect with others and grow as a blogger, mother, and wife.
Special thanks to Terra for taking the time to answer our questions!
Wanna learn how to start a blog of your own? Snag a seat in our upcoming webinar, How to Start a Successful Blog! We’ll be joined by a special guest from WordPress.com to tell you all you need to know about killin’ it the blogging world!