Sunday, March 6, 2011

Portrait of the Artist as a Middle-Aged Blogger


Four years ago yesterday, I started writing this blog.

I didn't know much about food blogging back then. I hadn't heard of Julie Powell or blog-to-book deals. I didn't think my blog would ever make me a dime or that anyone would recognize me in the supermarket and say, "Hey, aren't you that blogger lady?" I had only read a couple of food blogs anyway. If a lot of people were writing them, I certainly hadn't read them.

I had a 1 1/2 year old and 6 month old and a family that could no longer go into a restaurant without upending tables, littering the floor with mashed up little pieces of bread, screaming, demanding boob, and causing either David or I to take one or the other child out for a soothing walk on the sidewalk. We barely ever had time to finish a glass of wine, much less a meal, before something screechy and unpleasant happened that forced us to drop our forks and rush a child to the bathroom.

It wasn't worth it. If I didn't become a sensational cook, we might never eat good food again.


So, I started writing about it here. David thought up the name "The Yummy Mummy". It was cute back then. Get it... it's about the food, not how hot I am. And that was part of the joke. With two small kids I was the opposite of a "Yummy Mummy", one of those high heel-wearing, brunching with the girls, perfect hair, totally clean mommies with lots of hired help and the ability to whip up a perfect scone while making it all look breathless and easy (I'll leave all that perfection to this Yummy Mummy). I was the complete opposite. I was constantly leaking milk out of my breasts, rarely showered, left the house on numerous occasions without brushing my teeth, and had roots like a strip of asphalt across the top of my head. I was lucky to even get food on the table, much less have it taste good, or look appetizing in the eye of my instamatic camera.

I remember catching a glimpse of myself in a Starbucks window once. This strange woman carrying a baby in a pouch who was removing my shirt to get at my breast, pushing a howling toddler in a stroller, with a gigantic bulging diaper bag, big, bungly grocery bags hanging off the handles, a large caffeinated beverage in the cup holder, hair in a scrunchy, not a stitch of make-up, stained yoga pants and a completely unmissable muffin top. I didn't recognize myself. For two whole seconds I had no idea who she was. Then I saw.

That's what I wrote about. Food, cooking, my attempts at entertaining, learning new skills, the many dinners gone a mock that ended up in the trash can, all the crazy, de-glamorized shit that happens in the kitchen when no one else is there, the real stuff, the gory details, and the things that come with feeding kids and a carb-phobic husband. And that woman. I wrote about getting to know this woman in the Starbucks mirror. That was "The Yummy Mummy".

But things have changed. I'm not that woman, anymore than I am the woman before her, the one before kids. I am freshly showered, at a relatively decent weight, six years older and wiser, writing about kids but more than kids, looking to not just ghostwrite other people's books, and hide behind other people, but write my own, with my own name on the spine, be out front and center for all the world to see, write serious pieces (or seriously funny pieces) for talented people. Coming out the other side, I have things to say.

And that's why the name of this blog doesn't quite fit anymore. Maybe it's because I realize - just now realize - that there will be no more babies for us, that I'm too old, that this part of my life as a young mother is behind me, that I don't really feel like "The Yummy Mummy" anymore. In fact, I cringe when people say it. What was once funny and ironic, now feels weird and uncomfortable. Whether it makes me happy or sad - and truth be told, it makes me both - I'm not that woman in the Starbucks window. I'm not the woman surrounded by tiny, clamoring egomaniacs anymore. I am not the woman who can't get dinner on the table because the kids are hitting each other over the heads with ladles.

My children are old enough to pour Mommy a glass of wine. I need to make a change.

So, I'm going to still write here, (Of course. How could I leave all of you?) but I'm going to change the name and look (and maybe even the feel) of this blog. If you have suggestions, please tell me. I have no idea what I'm going to do. David suggested I discuss it with you, get your take. Many of you have been with me from the beginning. You know me. You really do. I'll take all your suggestions to heart.

What should I call this blog? Should it just be my own name? Something cheeky? or something more serious? Seriously, I could use your advice...What do you think?

And thanks, for being around through all these incarnations. That feels pretty damned nice.

xo Kim

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27 comments:

Nuts about food said...

I haven't been around since the way beginning, but I have been for a pretty long time. I was pretty much in your situation when I started reading your blog, and the name of your blog is what initially attracted me to it (that and my love for food). In the meantime I had another child and my oldest is growing up. The younger one is still a spatula wielding toddler but I too feel like I am coming out of all that, so I get what you mean.
I think your new name should be something "seriously funny", because that is so much of what you are. But also something that describes your love of food, your passion about teaching people that anybody can cook simple, healthy, delicious food for themselves and their family. And also something that lets your other great talent shine through, your magic with words. For the many of us who know you, "Kim" would be enough to describe all of the above but those who haven't been lucky enough to meet you yet have the right to get find you and be piqued by your blog's new name.

Warner (aka ntsc) said...

I remember following the trail of offal back from Ruhlman to a tale of Coq au Vin, perhaps a bit more than 3 years ago.

A variant on the title of this piece might be good, or just Kim. I've not yet met you, but feel I know you fairly well.

In any case I'll keep reading.

Sharon Miro said...

How brave you!
What ever you name your blog, however catchy and memorable I am sure it will be, the best part about you is that you have used your past to get a firm fix on who you are, and the direction you are headed.
Blog or no blog, kids in the house or not, you are not in middle-age, but middle-discovery. I will follow your adventure with enthusiasm.

Anne said...

I'm all for changing up the look, but the name? I'm going to have a hard time thinking of you as anything but The Yummy Mummy. But I totally get it. Blogging is essentially a personal thing. You have to be excited about your site. So if you're going to change your name, I'd stay away from cutesy only because it can get old fast. And you're not really cutesy, you're more edgy. So...something with an edge? Spatula With An Edge? I dunno, Foster. I have to think about it.

Christine said...

I think that it would be appropriate at this point in the blog (and post Washington Post write up) to have something based on your actual name. I wouldn't switch to another moniker at this point, because it might be confusing...but maybe you could have this post link up to Kim F or the full name, or what have you (dot) com. That way if people type in to find the Yummy Mummy they can be redirected.

For what it's worth, I like you as the Yummy Mummy.

Of course, I'd read you wherever, so it makes little difference to me.

David Dadekian said...

I so hear you. I notice it each day my children grow up a little. It's kind of nice to read that you can come out the other side, but there's always change, not the same. Rebranding is a tricky thing. I spent much of the late 90's/early 00's as one thing, then another and finally decided my name was my brand around 2005. Though I tacked on "Photography" to my name and now I wish I didn't even do that. So my rambling advice at this point is use your name as a base and adapt from there, but don't go with anything specific! Is that vague enough? Good luck and thank you for keeping on writing.

Grace @eatdinner said...

I totally like "Yummy Mummy" and think it's a good brand for you, it is what many people know you as. Though I can see something like Kim Foster, The Yummy Mummy, so you get your actual name associated with it would be useful over time.

FWIW, I first heard the phrase "yummy mummy" as the one that sleep-away counselors used to describe the "cute" moms of their charges. (This was a grown-up man recounting the story.) So to me it means a slightly older mom who still"has it." I think you can use it until the kids go to college!

Since I promote family dinner, what I like is that you tell it like it is, but that you also show a hip, funny side to cooking good food for your family. So that's what I keep following for! Good luck in whatever you decide!

Lisa said...

I changed my blog title after about a year because it felt juvenile; the name just popped into my head and seemed right so I went with it. I also recently changed my email addy, one that I've had since the inception of AOL because, well, that's an awful long time to be one particular moniker. And it felt right and, silly though it may sound, those two seemingly small changes have made my techno-world a much more pleasant place to visit and one where I actually want to spend time. :)

Don't think too hard, just put words and phrases together and stir up some alphabet soup.

I really like that you use the phrase "naked cooking" in your profile, that's fun and cheeky and double entendres are always good. :)

The Table of Promise said...

First of all--Happy Anniversary. That's awesome!!

Secondly, I understand the name thing. I think you are sill the Yummy Mummy because you write so much about kids and cooking with kids and developing food with your family. Mother means so many things at so many different times in our lives. But I totally get it. Gone are the days when you are wiping spit up off your shirt. And good riddence!

That being said, if you choose to drop the YM, you could always do what I did. When I started my blog I thought of a couple of words that would described what I wanted to do. I wanted to search for truth about food. I wanted to cook real food. I wanted to include my family. And I was hoping to make big changes to what we ate. So I went to Thesaurus.com and input words like food and fare and hope. I got all kinds of words I hadn't been thinking of, and I connected them into 'The Table of Promise'. Fortunately there isn't anything named that out there on the internet! Ha! I probably should have checked that before committing to the title.

I love reading your blog. You are an amazing writer, you have inspired me to write me own book. And don't deny your momminess!

Winnie said...

Hey Sweets,
I totally get it. I think the first time we met in NP you were already hinting at this. I don't have any specific suggestions at present, but could totally see you pulling this blog off as KimFoster.com

Liz the Chef said...

I'm with Winnie.

Basia said...

You know, I was just talking about this with DH the other day, what happens to the mom bloggers when the kids get older?

Personally I think Yummy Mummy is cute, but if you want to change it, you probably should select a general food-oriented title that you'll still like down the road. Are there ingredients you most love to cook with or dishes you love to make? I'm thinking of "Chocolate & Zucchini" "Orangette" etc.

Erik said...

I've been reading your blog a while. Not sure how long; certainly at least a couple of years. It's been lovely reading your accounts of cooking with the girls (and their classmates!) and inferring the growing up happening off-stage.

I think Yummy Mummy is still fitting, for what my opinion is worth. I think your approach to parenting is yummy, and in that sense "Yummy Mummy" is a perfectly fine moniker.

But I also understand how personal the medium is and how important it is to have a name that rings with your inner tone. Someone suggested "Kim Foster; the Yummy Mummy", and I think that's a good idea.

But as someone else also said, I'll keep reading you no matter what you decide to call yourself.

Janis said...

You are wonderful and funny and smart. I suggest you name the blog "FOOD!" Then again I am not a good one to ask since I really owned a yarn shop in Northern California named Yarn! I named it that because my mother said "You can't name it THAT. Food! Not that funny and yet not too serious. Just stay you. I love your writing.

rita said...

Cooking and food are a huge part of your blog, but it goes far beyond that.
Your readers have gotten to know you and your family through your posts. They are so well written, informative, entertaining and told with a "killer" sense of humor.
My suggestion is "FOSTERFAMILY" or "FOSTERLIFE" - kind of all inclusive. In the end, no matter what you decide, it's content will continue to draw people back for the latest posts.

tastesbetterwithfriends said...

I always thought The Yummy Mummy was a play on both sides of the coin, great-tasting food and sexiness. I honestly think the Yummy Mummy could continue quite well maybe with a more balanced feel on the blog of being a mummy and still rockin' it. But with that said, Kim Foster works too. I'll think about it and if anything comes to find, i'll let you know. But know this, whatever title you give yourself, you'll still write with sass and from the heart which is what we expect from you and not to be cheesy, but that's what makes you!

Natalie Sztern said...

Oh goodness...imagine my kids are old enough to pour me a Harvey Wallbanger...yikes; i will tell u how amazing it is to me to read all about the lives of all these people who I don't know and yet know really well.

I am new to u by virtue of Charcutepalooza and ur blogs are wonderfully inviting.

good luck and don't stop even when they can pour u a screwdriver.

Mrs. Q said...

I love your writing and I also like your YummyMummy name too. If you do change, you could go with your own name as was suggested. Would you change your Twitter too?

Bethesda Locavore said...

I'm a fairly new reader, but I'll share with you that MY initial take on the Yummy Mummy name was simply that you were a mom writing about a pretty yummy life - that little photo essay of your girls in bed in the morning with your husband half-asleep just killed me. So I think of your blog as more of a "life is yummy" kind of thing. But I understand wanting to change it up.
Also - I love your description of your early, disheveled mom days ... I'm just emerging from them myself and it's good to be reminded that there is light at the end of the tunnel!!

Melissa said...

I'm a new-ish reader, and straight out of the gate I so enjoyed your writing that I subscribed in two shakes of reading the first post.

You could call yourself The Yummy Bunny, and I will be a faithful subscriber.

I echo another commenter's remark that you're brave to rename. Kudos.

To that end, how about something along the lines of "K is for Kim Foster". It's a play on the "A is for apple" spiel that gives a nod to your mom-blog beginnings, but also puts your name front and center.

Good luck with the renaming!

merry jennifer said...

I really wish I had some amazing name to suggest for you. I'm so bad with that kind of thing. I like other commenters' ideas to use your name somehow. I think that you should definitely change if you're not feeling it anymore. Nothing wrong with a little spring cleaning. (& we can brainstorm when I see you in a couple of weekends!)

Mom101 said...

KimFoster.com sounds pretty great to me too. If only because Foster Farms is already taken.

Congrats on four years. If this is middle age, the younguns have something to aspire to.

Amanda said...

I like a name as a name :)

umommy said...

I've been following your blog since I started blogging myself over a year ago. I'm a big fan of your writing and photography. I've been inspired by your blog as a newish blogger :)

I too have struggled with my blog name (trying to figure out how to explain the play on the word umami to non-foodies has been a challenge!). But if your readers are anything like me, they will continue to follow you no matter what you end up evolving it to!

ERIN said...

I like the idea of using your name and yummy mummy. I understand wanting to get away from an identity you feel that you no longer fit. However, I don't see your evolution as being less "yummy mummy-ish" - just different.

Aidan said...

I've just started reading your blog (one of the only ones) because I saw your post on Mrs Q's blog. It was the name you're changing that made me click through. I totally understand you wanting to shake that off, I'm in the same spot mommy-wise with the littlest potty-trained this week and the big snip in the cards. This post resonated with me because we all do the same things, feel the same love for our kids and husbands, make dinners every night, and serve as the glue. It's just that we write about it. I look forward to reading more.
All the best,
aidan

Auburn Meadow Farm said...

I'm sort of new to your blog - I found you through Charcutepalooza and at first read, I admit I was pleasantly surprised with your edgy funniness. I was expecting more of what Diary of a Yummy Mummy was dishing up.

Whatever the name, I'll keep reading because good stuff is good stuff whatever it's called. I do like your signoff, xo YM
or xo Kim Foster. Since you use it regularly, your readers will still recognize it.