Wife to professional rugby player Riaan Swanepoel and mother to Chloé Belle and Olivier Noah, Stephanie lives in Montauban. She shares her journey from Fashion Buyer in South Africa to living abroad in France and co-founding ‘Motherkind’ blog.
What was it like to leave your role as a Fashion Buyer to support your husband’s rugby in France?
It was difficult! My job and being a woman in the workplace meant a lot to me, but I believe when you make a life-changing decision you need to back it up 100%. To not look back and only look forward.
How did your blog come about?
After many years of not working and having kids, my co-foun-der Natalie and I were yearning for more to fill a gap in our personal lives. The idea sparked over one of our monthly family get-togethers.
How has partnering with Natalie complemented the Motherkind blog?
We make a dynamic duo. We are different yet so similar and I feel we complement each other well. We started our blog being open and honest. We have helped each other along the way and we continue to learn from each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
What do you hope your readers will take away from following your blog?
That they will feel fulfilled. We hope to inspire others, to encourage them to also follow their dreams.
As a busy mum and wife, how do you make time to create content for your blog?
The initial stages were an adjustment. We were ‘working’ yet not being paid, whilst being full time mothers. We would schedule meetings, Skype chats, and do research in the evenings or when our kids were sleeping. I would often work with my littlest sitting on my lap.
What has been one of your most popular posts and why?
An article entitled ‘Body after baby’. It was a raw piece, it is not always easy to open up and be vulnerable to people who may not know you, but I felt the timing was right. As much as our blog is beautiful and inspiring we wanted to offer realness alongside that. Motherhood is not easy. We want to uplift mothers with beautiful and inspiring content, but we also don’t want them to think our lives are perfect.
How many hours are needed to get new content to your readers every week?
We spend most of our free time researching, writing our posts, editing our images etc. I dedicate a few hours every day (when I am not on vacation). I treat our blog as a job. Natalie and I meet up once every few weeks to shoot content and brain storm the upcoming month’s content.
Where do you see Motherkind blog in the future?
We see an abundance of growth. We are still learning and finding our feet, but we are positive for our future. We will expand and would love to collaborate with other bloggers and businesses.
What has been the most challenging part of moving abroad?
Leaving everything that I knew for the unknown. I was born, raised and schooled in Durban, South Africa. I had never lived
elsewhere. Change is uncomfortable and challenging, but it brings so much growth.
What do you love about the rugby life journey?
That we are able to experience new cultures; we meet new people from all over the world and learn so much from other nationalities.
What is your most memorable rugby-associated moment?
When Riaan played for the Sharks in Durban, South Africa, and they won the Currie Cup in 2009. It was a great match and a huge celebration.
And what was the most challenging time during your rugby journey, and how did you overcome it?
I find contract renewals a stressful period. Have everything in writing, always! Even if you think it is something minor. We have overcome many obstacles by sticking together and remaining a team.
Can you tell us one thing people wouldn’t know about this way of life?
Rugby is a short-lived career. I know everyone knows this, but there is not much reinforcement on it. Rugby is a contact sport and at any given moment something life-changing could happen. It is important to be aware of the future just as much as it is to enjoy the present. Life after rugby needs to be considered whilst enjoying life during rugby.
After rugby is all said and done, what would be your ideal job or occupation?
I would love to run my own online kids’ boutique and a stand alone ‘hub’. I am passionate about recycling and upcycling, therefore, my kids’ boutique would be centered around this concept.