‘It’s a good time to be interrupted. I’m just picking up playdoh, and it’s never ending. One of them likes to mix the colours, and the other doesn’t.’
And that’s how the conversation started, with Christchurch-based vlogger Rebecca Keil getting right to the heart of her life at the moment. Much of that life centers on five and a half year-old Rocky and three year-old Ruby, her two children. Both are central to Rebecca’s day to day, both at home and at work. They’re the namesake of Rebecca’s popular blog RockyandRuby, which she started in 2015 when she was pregnant with Ruby.
And it was just this change that created an opportunity for Rebecca.
‘When we started to wind down the clothing line, I used the site to start blogging – and it was no holds barred – a way for me to be myself and unfiltered. It was a chance for me to show this ‘other’ side of motherhood. One that’s not seemingly perfect, that’s real.’
So what was Rebecca’s preferred topic on the blog?
‘In the beginning, everything on the blog was about pregnancy,’ says Rebecca. ‘And since I was experiencing everything first-hand, I just decided to be open and honest about it.’
Rebecca’s straight-up candor about her life and all that surrounds it comes through in all forms of her communication, be it in writing, in video or in the flesh. ‘What it really comes down to is me being opinionated,’ suggests Rebecca. ‘I love to share my opinions. My husband says I’m passionate – show pony sums me up! And sure, I’m not your traditional writer. I’ve got terrible grammar. I write how I speak and people either love it or hate it. It’s very much conversational.’
‘After a while I changed to verbal blogging through Instagram stories. It gives me a way to talk about social issues – whether it’s about politics or topics that are on people’s minds now that might be typically taboo, but that I don’t think should be taboo. If someone who is scared and alone out there is able to read something that makes them feel like they are okay, then that’s all I’m trying to do at the end of the day.’
Don’t try though to box Rebecca in to one thing. She’s gone from e-commerce to blogging; Instagramming to vlogging. And these days Rebecca lightens up a room, literally, with her Mothers Yawns tours.
‘I’ve gone from the online blog to social media and now am turning it into a real-life thing, touring the country. Two years ago I created Mothers Yarns as a way to share my parenting truths, and journey – a glimpse into my life. This year I wrote a parent comedy show for five weeks.’
With 10 out of 14 shows selling out, it’s easy to understand why her shows were so successful. Rebecca’s relaxed way of communicating seems to extend right through to her philosophy of parenting.
‘I am a real ‘go with the flow’ kind of gal. And when the pressure’s on, I’m always reminded that kids are kids. The other night Ruby had lipstick on because she was doing this grand going-to-work imaginative play. I had just got some expensive new linen and of course she was on the bed and she got some on the sheet. And I was like “who cares”? Look at what she’s doing with that lipstick on, how incredible is she. And I allowed her to put the lipstick on anyway to do this anyway. I’m a realist, so there’s always a bigger picture. I can always see it. And keep perspective.’
So with being so relaxed, does Rebecca have bad days?
‘Oh my god, all the time, but It wouldn’t be normal if I didn’t have bad days. And I am super disorganized so I’m not always a chill, cool, calm and collected mum – we all have mum breakdowns. I hid in the bathroom the other day.’
As the topic turns to how to cope in the more difficult times of motherhood, it’s here that Rebecca’s emotions go next level, talking of her own family support network.
‘‘My husband is incredibly supportive. We are fortunate – my mum (a well-loved Instagram nana) is our immediate support; there for us 24/7. She’s now my children’s best friend. As is my dad. And my sister lives by. I know I’m lucky and fortunate to have that.’ But Rebecca’s quick to point out that a mother’s village doesn’t have to stop at the blood line, as she explains:
‘Mums online can be a village to each other. That’s one of the reasons I started blogging and where I hope Mother’s Yarns can go. A place that’s super inclusive place. We’re all so different – it’s important that women have a place where we can come together even with different perspectives and help each other. Having conversations with each other – we can’t have enough conversations with each other.’ Well said.