Moms to KNOW: Diana Blinkhorn of @mrsblinks

Moms to Know: Diana Blinkhorn of @mrsblinks

If you are a mom and on social media at all, you may recognize this go-to mother of all beautiful birthday bashes, creative costuming (hello, Hamilton-Halloween!) and idyllic ideas to make magic in the mundane. And while her hacks are Pinterest-worthy, they are also completely possible…which makes this viral digital superstar feel like a familiar friend.

From her one-backpack per family member trip through Europe and pink and red Christmas table-scape to making frozen vegetables from Wal-Mart look farm fresh, I can attest that Diana is also just like every one of us. She is a confidante who has spent hours with me on the phone trying to navigate school options in a pandemic, a girls’-girl who shows up and supports efforts in the local community, and an ever-present mother with her own sweet girls. A content creator, one of the original mom bloggers and influencers, and my friend: Mrs. Blinks.

TBPM: We haven’t had a chance to catch up with you since you went viral and became known as “Pinterest Mom” on TikTok! Fill us in on what has changed in the last few years for you in life and business, and what 2022 holds for ‘Mrs. Blinks.’

DB: The last few years have been crazy. Let’s completely rewind and start from the beginning.

At the start of 2021, as I was trying to navigate this new normal as other moms were, I downloaded an app I had heard so much about, TikTok. I wasn’t sure what I was doing but I started posting, sharing little hacks and activities I was doing with my kids to make our time at home a bit more magical, and honestly, it was the best decision I could have ever made for my business. I was able to find a community of like-minded mothers who wanted to create magical memories with their kids but didn’t have the time or energy to do the complicated picture-perfect things they saw all over IG.

I was a busy mom, just like them, who did not have the energy to get through the day, let alone complicate it, so I created simple and attainable hacks that anyone could do. I shared parts of my life, my struggles and victories, and my community grew.

Last year we totally stepped out of our comfort zone and took our girls to Europe with just a backpack each. I shared our crazy journey on our blog and socials, and that trip not only changed us, but completely changed the trajectory of my business.

This year has been equally as crazy. We started a new series called “22 Adventures in 2022” where we are taking the girls to new places and trying new experiences all over the world.

My brand, my blog, everything has changed. And honestly business aside, all these wonderful changes have really challenged me as a person, wife, and mother. It opened my eyes to insecurities I didn’t know I had and prompted a lot of self-growth and healing. So, with all the big business changes that are happening for me this year, what I am most excited about are the changes that are happening internally. This slow journey to better myself as a mother and find my identity as a person.

TBPM: In the ever-evolving world of social media, how have you found your own voice, and what practices do you implement to be sure to differentiate yourself?

DB: When I started my rebrand a few months ago, I got the opportunity to do all these fun exercises to help me understand my vision and messaging for Mrs. Blinks. One of my favorite activities was creating a mind map of my brand. The goal of this was to understand the core emotion of my brand and what I created to evoke that emotion. It’s such a great exercise and I would suggest other entrepreneurs try this. It helped me to find my voice. I have always shared the real side of motherhood but sometimes as creators we can get lost in the noise of it all. Focusing on your unique perspective, without comparing it to others, not only makes your work better but more fulfilling.

When people ask what type of content I create, I always say “inspirational but always attainable.” Now I have a mind map, taped to the wall in front of my computer to remind me every day how important it is for me to create content that supports that messaging. Not only because it’s what is good for my brand but it’s the type of content that fills my cup every single day.

TBPM: How do you navigate having your family be a part of your business and content? What is the fine line that separates your professional life and personal life when there is so much overlap?

DB: This is really hard and honestly something I have struggled with for years. My children’s autonomy is really important to me so I have created certain boundaries in regard to what I will share on social media or my blog. They are too young to know the ramifications of having a public persona, so even though they are a part of my journey as a mother, I try to keep the perspective on my experience and not their lives.

Something else I do is make sure I set aside times when I am not working. Since my life is my work, it’s hard to find that balance, and honestly, it led to quite a bit of burnout. Now I am really focusing on enjoying things just for me. SO maybe that is a dinner with Scott or a non-work vacation—having something that is just ours is so beneficial to my mental health.

One way we do this with the kids is with our trips to Disney. Believe it or not we spend entire days at Disney and I don’t take one picture! It’s super hard, but it’s good for them and it’s good for me. We love our annual passes for that little escape every once in a while, and I think it’s important to create experiences for them that only live in our memories. It’s really funny though, because on those “no picture” days my kids are the ones begging me to take a picture of their dole whip or their cute outfit and I’m the one who wants a break. As someone who loves Disney and wants to share all the hacks/advice/cute pictures, I find it super hard not to “work” when I visit. Creating boundaries between my business life and home life is necessary and going to help me sustain this for the long haul.

TBPM: Your drool-worthy, picture-perfect hacks and tips catapulted your following during a time when many moms were on social media publicly sharing their pandemic struggles (2020-2021). Why do you think this happened?

DB: I really do think video creation is changing the way people consume social media. My content is pretty and “aesthetic” and I won’t apologize for that because it is what brings ME joy. But what TikTok allowed me to do, and honestly why I believe I saw so much growth there compared to IG, was through video, I could show my struggles and pull back the curtain that social media once had on what being a mom really looks like. If you have never seen the comment section of one of my TikTok videos, I would challenge you to go and read through them, especially those videos back in early 2021, during the beginning of my TikTok journey. I shared a lot of my struggles and insecurities in the voiceovers of my “picture perfect” hacks. I was met with comments of moms feeling the same way I did. With hopes of becoming a “Pinterest mom” and feeling not quite good enough. With no desire at all to do the crafty things I did but who felt connected to my words.

The core of my blog has always been to share this message of hope. To show parents that good things are within their grasp. They can be the Pinterest mom if they want to, but they don’t have to be to be a good mom, and trying our best was good enough.

I think that our message of hope really came through when people saw our family traveling last year. After a year and a half of fear and sacrifice, they felt hope. Hope for a bit of normalcy. Hope that they would be able to explore the world with their kids. We weren’t doing some glamorous unattainable type of trip. We were a normal family, taking backpacks, and trying to see Europe on a budget. I really believe a lot of families watched those videos and thought “Hey, I could do that.” And honestly nothing brings me more joy than that: knowing that a family tried a cinnamon roll hack or took that trip they didn’t think they could take because they saw me do it. That feeling will never get old and it is what pushes me to do even more.

TBPM: What are some of the most surprising things you have learned about other moms as a go-to space for all things motherhood?

DB: In motherhood, we so badly want to categorize ourselves; the crunchy mom, the helicopter mom, the tiger mom, the sports mom, the laid-back mom, the list goes on. But one thing I have seen as someone who has had the opportunity to talk with all types of moms is that we really aren’t that different. We might have subtle differences in the way we choose to parent but deep down we all want the same thing. We want what’s best for our kids.

As someone who was really set in her ways as a new parent, I have come to realize that flexibility in our views could be the best gift we could give our kids. The way I choose to do things works for my kids, and it works for me, and it works right now but it might not be that way forever! We spend so much time criticizing each other that we fail to see our similarities or what someone else could offer us. If we stop worrying about who’s way is best and focusing on what good things the other side has, we could actually come to a middle ground to find what’s best for us all.

TBPM: As your audience has grown (and even your own internal team- congrats!), how has this affected your ability to connect with your supporters and find time for mom friends in real life?

DB: Oh man, so much sacrifice has to happen to get the things you want—and not like the “I really didn’t like this anyway, so I am going to give it up” kind of sacrifice. The actual giving up “things you love” kind of sacrifice.

One of those, as my business has grown, has been the time I give to my friendships. I know it’s easy to say, “oh just make time.” I wish it was that easy, I really do, and unfortunately, I have lost quite a few friends that think that way. I wish I could do it all: be an entrepreneur, be a good mother, a good wife, work on myself, be a good friend. But I just can’t, and unfortunately my time with my friends has drastically gone down with my success. It’s bittersweet for sure.

The good side of this is that my truest friends, the ones that are cheering me on from the sidelines, accept me for my imperfections and are ready to celebrate with me when that season comes. They don’t judge and instead offer a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on because they know I would do the same for them.

TBPM: Your creativity inspires dinners, family holidays and celebrations across the globe. Who or where do you draw inspiration from to come up with original content?

DB: I am inspired by so many people. I feel really lucky for that. My kids inspire me to be a better parent (and they come up with some pretty cool Pinterest mom ideas as well). My husband is so creative, and I don’t know what I would do without our late night or long drive brainstorming sessions. He also prioritizes my quiet time because he knows it’s when I come up with my best ideas, and so I technically owe all my good ideas to him 😉

My sister is so incredibly smart, like one of the smartest people I know, and she challenges me to work on myself. She is also my first call when I need someone to bounce my crazy ideas off of and to keep me grounded.

My online community of fellow creators and followers inspire me so much. The calls, texts, DMs, vent sessions, collaborations and feedback are invaluable! Other female entrepreneurs who unapologetically follow their dreams.

And lastly Pinterest 😉 I’ve had a love affair with Pinterest from the beginning, and I don’t know what I would do without her.

TBPM: What are some of your favorite local partnerships?

DB: Oh wow, if I tried to name all the Tampa companies I adore, this list would be way too long! Recently we got to work with some really talented people for my youngest’s sixth birthday.

Puff n Stuff did the catering and it was so delicious. Picnic Party Tampa Bay did the gorgeous tablescape. Melissa’s Sweet Tooth did the custom cookies. The party would not have turned out as cute as it did without all of them.

TBPM: What are your girls’ most favorite things to do in Tampa Bay?

DB: Well, they love going to Armature works and the Riverwalk (girls after my own foodie heart). They also love Zoo Tampa and The Florida Aquarium. Our adventure #4 this year was their first concert, so I’m thinking Amalie Arena might win as their favorite place in Tampa (for now). Before we got our pool, they loved visiting the city pools and splash pads. Of course, the beach: We are just beach people at heart.

Where to follow Diana Blinkhorn:

*Originally published in the May 2022 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.

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