We are especially excited about this month’s influencer spotlight; meet Heather Hopson! Heather is our neighbor in Pittsburgh and began blogging at Diary of a First Time Mom in 2012. We’ve watched her work hard to grow her blog and community over the years!
Heather is now using her influence to do something extraordinary in the local area, which is why we’ve chosen to shine a spotlight on her this month! Read our interview with her for more about her projects and the amazing things she’s been learning.
Can you tell us about your project, Single Mom Defined?
Single Mom Defined is a photo essay and video series aimed at providing a much more accurate definition of single black motherhood than the one society presents. According to society, single black mothers are monolithic; we’re crammed into the same stereotypical storyline. But in reality, we each took a unique path to parenting. The interactive exhibition, which unveiled at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, chronicles more than 50 families. Some mothers ended relationships, exited abusive environments, adopted, divorced, or were widowed or abandoned. Some women are raising happy, healthy children with the children’s fathers. Each story should be included in the larger conversation about raising America.
Currently, we are expanding the exhibit — we host pop-up photo shoots, writing workshops and events to connect potential donors and volunteers to nonprofits serving single moms and children. With the help of the foundation community, friends and family and The Motherhood, we hosted Cocktails With a Conscience, benefiting more than a dozen organizations. The Motherhood also sponsored our writing workshop! Some agencies just talk about diversity and inclusion. Cooper’s committed to it.
What inspired you to begin this project?
Imagine if you Googled yourself and horrible search results popped up on your screen, saying you are damaged goods, trash and selfish. How would it shape your identity or form others’ opinions about you? Well, that’s what happened when I Googled myself. I typed “Single Black Mom” and these negative narratives rose to the top of the first page. Although it’s disappointing, it’s not shocking. Very few companies invest significant marketing dollars, which influence search results, to positively promote single black mothers. Single Mom Defined hopes to address this problem by providing a counter-narrative.
Where do you see the most engagement with your content?
In our private Facebook group. It is such a sacred, safe space for single mothers of all ages, races and circumstances. It’s a no judgement zone where moms laugh, cry, hurt, heal, support and even scream.
Who is your mentor?
So many to name! When it comes to blogging, I learn so much from Lamar and Ronnie of Black and Married with Kids and Brandi from Mama Knows it All. When it comes to community building, I turn to Muffy at Brown Mamas, which has a huge Pittsburgh Brown Mamas Facebook group. She helped grow my local moms meet-up group. Cooper at The Motherhood is my go-to when I coordinate influencer marketing campaigns.
What is your favorite topic about which to write?
Race, religion and relationships — connected to motherhood, of course!
What are brands doing right when working with bloggers?
They are letting us be! Be moms and bloggers first and saleswomen second. When we are given the freedom to weave their products and services into articles in an authentic way, it creates a level of trust between the blog, the brand and the reader. Real relationships are born, not just fabricated friendships. I remember turning down a paid campaign, because it didn’t resonate with me — would go against my core beliefs, and the brand brainstormed with me to create something that did. It was a win-win!
Favorite program you’ve done with The Motherhood?
Northwood Realty Services. I am fortunate to live in the same city as The Motherhood, so this campaign was both online and in-person. Bloggers and Northwood moms came together to discuss how to achieve success at work without sacrificing life at home. Then, we shared our stories and parenting tips with our readers. The Motherhood has this amazing ability to not only create quality content but also form relationships beyond the blog.
Fill in the blank: 2019 is the year of _____.
Being! Every year, I pick a word to represent the year to come. Last year, I had so much to DO. I couldn’t just BE. Now, I’m ready to walk the word out. Be who God called me to be. Be willing….be ready…be still…be quiet. The last one is pretty hard, since my company is called Motor Mouth Multimedia! But I’m learning to turn down the volume of work, social media, and people to listen to what God wants me to be. In the end, simply being makes doing so much easier. There’s much more clarity and direction.
Share with us your favorite life hack.
Meditating. As a full-time entrepreneur and single mom, there are 101 things on my daily to-do list. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and stretched beyond capacity. So, I start my day watching one of my favorite YouTube Channels — The Mindful Christian. You can choose what works for you — 7, 15, or 20-minute guided meditations. It allows me to start the day in God’s presence. Sometimes it’s my me time. Other times, my daughter joins in and teaches me the breathing techniques she learns in her health and wellness class at school.
Are you doing anything like this in the Pittsburgh community right now?
We’re really excited to partner with Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to install the Single Mom Defined exhibition at its main gallery. Alongside what will become a traveling exhibit, we’re planning programming, a single moms book club and data points around poverty, childcare and transportation. Currently, I’m on the advisory committee for The Pittsburgh Foundation Single Mothers Project, which is developing a policy and advocacy strategy that will help to advance necessary systems change and remove structural barriers that impede the success of single moms in poverty.
Keep up with all that Heather Hopson is doing by following her Instagram, and make sure to wish her a happy birthday on February 21!
More about The Motherhood’s Spotlight Blogger Series
Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top influencers. It’s not about numbers, but rather, the quality, authentic content they’re delivering consistently. It’s about reliability, professionalism and partnership. We discuss our nominations for the month and ultimately decide on just one blogger to feature.
Take a look at our other featured influencers here, and come back next month for the next Influencer Spotlight!