Insights from a freelance writer
Kate Portman talks about having the right people around her, life as a working Mum, the mis-treatment of women, and what she looks for in a good TV series.
In part one of this interview with Kate Portman, Kate talked about why she quit her job to go freelance, her love of writing, and how she went about developing her craft. Her courage in leaving the safe and familiar to pursue her dream is inspiring for us all. Choosing the safest option is nearly always the easiest, but it’s almost never the most fulfilling. Kate’s story is a reminder to the rest of us to not play it safe.
In part two, Kate shares some of the challenges of choosing this way of life. She talks about the importance of having the right people around her, how she stays grounded through the inevitable ups and downs of life, and then she talks about how becoming a mum has affected her. Parenthood inevitably changes us, and we have to make alterations to how we go about life. It doesn’t mean we have to abandon our dreams though. And here, once again, Kate inspires us to juggle well and to be kind to ourselves in the process.
Like the rest of us, Kate isn’t perfect. But she is someone who is unashamedly trying to make the most of her life, pursue her dreams, and make her unique dent in the universe. And she’s doing this in the midst of trying to be a great wife, mum, and more. It’s not always easy, but maybe, just maybe, her story will inspire some of us to make sure we don’t give up on our own dreams.
We all need good people around us if we are to become all that we can be. Who are the people you’re most grateful to for helping, encouraging, and inspiring you to maximise your potential and become the best version of Kate Portman that’s possible?
I am truly fortunate in that I have been surrounded by so many wonderful people in my life who have encouraged me to become the best that I can be.
My parents, siblings and friends are always so encouraging and my husband has been a massive driving force in helping me to live my dreams and become a better person. But now that I am a mum, my greatest inspiration to be all that I can be, most definitely has to be my daughter Elsie. I want to be the kind of woman that she will one day be proud and happy to call her mum. I want to be her hero and am determined to be a positive female role model for her. My love for her inspires me every single day to do better, try harder and grow as a person.
What do you do to help you stay grounded, balanced, focussed, and maintain a healthy perspective in life?
I’m not very good at it but I try and rest whenever I can. I also do my best to find some humour in any situation! And when life throws me a curveball or presents an unpleasant challenge, I just think these words that I came across recently: “Everyone is fed, no one is dead.”
These simple words remind me that no matter how hard a day has been, I’m still doing ok if we’ve all got food in our bellies and my loved ones are still with me.
If you could give just one piece of advice to people who want to maximise their potential and pursue their dreams, what would it be and why?
Just do it. Give it a try! Don’t waste your life playing it safe. Pursuing any dream is never an easy task but life is too short to not at least give it your very best shot! And really, what’s the worst that can happen?
There’s a saying, that ‘fortune favors the bold’ and I have to say, I think it’s true. Too many people are afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone, but you HAVE to take risks in this life if you want to achieve greatness.
You can make all the excuses in the world why you shouldn’t or can’t do whatever it is that your heart tells you to do, but the truth is, if you really want to do it, you WILL find a way.
It’s well over a year now since you became a Mum. Every parent knows there are highs and lows, but how’s the first year been for you? How have you adapted to life as a Mum?
The last year has been the most rewarding, challenging and mind blowing year of my life and has been both wonderful and terrifying in equal measure! Motherhood has taken me to the highest of highs and on occasion, to the lowest of lows. It sure is one heck of a learning curve.
Becoming a mum has been much more difficult yet also much more wonderful than I ever imagined and it’s really changed me, hopefully for the better.
I’ve adapted — as all people do — because I’ve had to. When you’re a parent, life changes, whether you like it or not and all you can do, is hang on for the ride and take each day as it comes.
How has being a Mum affected your work? It’s complicated enough for parents when employed, how has it been with you’re being self-employed?
It’s certainly not been easy and in all honesty I don’t think it ever will be. On the one hand being a freelancer provides me with great flexibility which is fantastic now I’m a Mum. I’ve been able to write at night when Elsie is asleep or as she has napped during the day.
It’s also made me much stricter with my time! Any self-employed person or parent will tell you how precious time is, so when you find yourself trying to juggle both roles, you really do try to make the most out of every single second! There’s never enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do but I’m having to learn that this is ok.
The downside is that juggling work and motherhood is trickier than it would be than if I was employed and the pressure is also greater. I don’t get as much time to network with potential clients and I’ve had to drop the PR side of my business because I cannot be there 24/7 anymore, so changes have definitely had to be made.
It’s taken some adapting but I know I’m much luckier than most people so I really can’t complain.
How do you juggle the challenge of both loving what you do and loving your daughter so much and inevitably feeling conflicted about the time you spend with each? What advice would you give to others wrestling with this?
Gosh. The juggle is tough and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever find the perfect balance. When I’m on Mum duty, I feel guilty that I’m not working and when I’m working, I feel like I’m not being the best Mum I can be.
I’m doing my best to try and accept that this guilt will never go away and to realise that this is normal, but it’s not easy. There are days when it can feel impossible.
The notion of having it all is totally unrealistic but I do think we can have enough of both worlds to make us happy. The key I guess is to be kinder to ourselves and to each other. After all we’re all just muddling by as best we can.
Something not always talked about is the impact of children on marriage. How have you and Jamie handled the pressures of a young baby, work, tiredness, busyness, and more, whilst also continuing to invest in your own relationship?
We just handle it the best way we can, by getting on with it. Some days seem so easy, others are tough and occasionally very challenging but that’s life isn’t it?
We try to help each other as much as we can and to make sure we have some quality time together which helps. Parenthood is hard so you’ve got to work as a team and somehow try to keep that couple spark alive.
Other than writing and family, what else are you interested in and passionate about?
Ooh so many things! I love reading, watching films, fashion, travel and anything to do with old Hollywood glamour. I’m fascinated by anything to do with ancient Egyptian or Roman history and would travel somewhere in the world every day if I could.
You run a website called Pouting In Heels. Tell us more about that, why you started it, and what your hopes are for the site?
I originally started Pouting In Heels as a personal blog back in February 2012 after looking to separate the ‘freelance/business’ Kate from the pregnant/personal one! At the time I’d really hurt my back which had left me to unable to walk for a few weeks and so after being sick and tired of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to put all the extra time to good use and set up a new site.
Since then however, Pouting In Heels has evolved into a lot more than just my ramblings! It’s become — I hope — a lifestyle blog which offers honesty, inspiration and glamour for women who want to feel empowered. Like so many others, I am truly fed up with the media — including many women’s magazines — tearing women apart (their figures, their style, their lives etc). My desire is that Pouting In Heels will become a place where women can find a warmer voice, enjoy some inspiring reads and find out about some truly gorgeous things!
In the future I hope to continue to build upon my existing readership and make my blog bigger and better than it is currently.
What one area of injustice in the world most inspires you to act and try and do something to change it? Why do you feel so strongly about this?
The mistreatment of women. Every time I hear of a woman or girl being abused, disrespected, mistreated, raped, beaten or paid less than her male colleagues, I feel it is my duty to act. I feel strongly because I am a woman, I share my life with amazing women and I have a daughter. The way women are viewed and treated in this world has to change and I’m determined to do my bit to help.
What are your hopes for the future? What are you dreaming about at the moment?
I’d love to think that at some point in the near future, that we will be blessed with another child. I hope to be able to continue to make a living from doing what I love and dream that one day I will find the time to write a book and start a charity!
Let’s finish with something lighter. Since I happen to know you are a big fan of the recent ITV show ‘The Americans’, tell us why you like the show so much and, whilst you’re at it, what you look for in a good TV series.
Suspense, drama, intriguing and likeable characters, great writing, brilliant acting and a few twists and turns are all the kinds of things I love in a good TV series. The Americans has all of these PLUS a truly moving and unusual love story. Seriously, there is nothing I do not adore about this show. Just watch it!