Moms looking for relatable, laugh-out-loud, I’ve-been-there videos would be wise to tune into the What’s Up Moms? YouTube channel. In fact, plenty of moms already do. The channel, led by moms Elle Walker, Meg Resnikoff, and Brooke Mahan, gets more than 15 million views per month and has more than 690,000 subscribers. The old friends (Elle and Meg met in college, they met Brooke in Los Angeles in their pre-parenting days) have six kids between them, ages 1 to 6, and Brooke has one more on the way, so they know firsthand the information and entertainment that other moms are searching for. They’ve produced a number of viral videos – including their hilarious post about what it’s like trying to make plans with friends without kids, and the Iggy Azalea parody “I’m So Pregnant.” Yahoo Parenting chatted with the Moms about what their families think of the videos, how they choose their video topics, and how they find the humor in even the most stressful parenting moments.
There are a lot of so-called “mommy blogs” out there — what sets you apart from other parenting blogs?
Elle: We’re a video-focused brand. We follow and are friends with some amazing mommy bloggers, but we love to be able to show in addition to tell. A lot of what we are showing comes from what we, as moms, are searching for. It all started after I was searching for information on how to fly with a toddler. I was about to take a six-hour flight, and I wanted to know stuff like what seat was best, should I choose the front or back, what do I bring… That’s one of the first videos we created. There are a thousand videos of how to put on mascara, but there were really no videos on this parenting thing.
The What’s Up Moms (from left: Brooke Mahan, Meg Resnikoff, and Elle Walker) pictured here in their Iggy Azalea parody ‘I’m So Pregnant.’ (Photo: YouTube)
But with a team of you, is it ever hard to decide what videos to make? What’s the creative process like?
Brooke: We love to consult with our viewers – they are a great source of knowledge and humor, and remind us that as moms we’re all going through the same thing. You can tell from the titles, like ‘I’m So Pregnant,’ that these are coming from real people. Our favorite comments are when our viewers say ‘That’s so my life.’
Is it hard to separate this job from your personal life when there is so much overlap?
Meg: We just got office space, so that’s nice, to be out of someone’s house. We were working in Elle’s basement before. Our kids, they didn’t quite understand the separation, but now we can show them our office and they get it. So that helps.
Elle: When you’re home you want to make sure your kids know that they are the most important thing. You want them to be the priority. So it’s nice to be able to have a separate space for work now. Still, we’re really fortunate to be there for drop-off and pick-up every day.
How do your families feel about being featured in the videos?
Meg: For my kids it’s been an interesting transformation. At first, they didn’t really want to be a part of it. But over the years that we’ve been doing it, they’ve adjusted. Now they ask to do them, and even for their friends to do them.
Elle: We’re all lucky to have very supportive husbands. They complain a lot, but they read the comments and now they’ve all been recognized when they are out alone. I remember the first time someone said to my husband, ‘Are you Ross from What’s Up Moms?’ He was like, ‘great, that’s how I’ve always wanted to be identified.’
Meg: Our husbands are part of the team – they’re our board of advisors. We get emails from them tracking success, stuff like that.
Elle: Of course, Ross does require at least one glass of wine before going on camera.
You started this channel two years ago. What were you all doing before that?
Meg: I have my MBA, Elle was doing video production and Brooke came from a sales background. So we all have very different backgrounds and that has really helped us. But the most important thing is that we were all moms.
How were you able to turn making these videos into a real career, rather than a hobby?
Brooke: What inspired us was creating relatable content for other moms, but we’ve always looked at it as a business.
Meg: We didn’t just happen into this, it was planned out. It was slow-going to get those subscribers, but this was always our end goal.
You post three videos a week – that’s a ton of content! Obviously you are also moms, with real lives and families to juggle. How do you fit it all in? What are your schedules like?
Elle: No matter who you are, every mom struggles with balance. It’s taken a lot of work to get to where we are. I think, ultimately, we’re driven by the fact that we are fortunate. I can attend a preschool event during the day and work at night, if that’s what my schedule calls for that day.
Meg: Not everyone has that. None of us is going to be perfect every day, and some days are harder than others, but hopefully we finish out the week on the plus side, in a way that we can feel good about.
Elle: Whenever I feel guilty about my time, I think about how one day our kids will be really proud of what we built. And to be able to tell them that I’m excited to go to work sets a really good example.
Brooke: I do wonder sometimes though, when our kids are teenagers, will they be embarrassed?
Do you think they will be? Do you worry about that?
Elle: Our kids are getting to an age where they can say yes or no, and we respect that. But we have so much fun together. We all traveled to Disney to shoot a video together. So I think for now they’re pretty happy.
Brooke: I think every teenager at some point is going to be embarrassed by their parent, so…
Parenting can be stressful and overwhelming, but one thing you guys do a great job of is recognizing the humor in it. What’s the trick to always seeing the levity in situations that, in the moment, can seem exhausting or frustrating?
Meg: I was just talking to Elle about this yesterday. It was a stressful day, lots going on, and then I took a picture of my son with spaghetti all over his body. And then I couldn’t help but laugh.
Brooke: I find that I may be having the worst day, but then when I tell someone about it, I hear what I’m saying and it doesn’t sound bad, it sounds funny. Was I really that upset about washing poopy pants in a restaurant? Saying it out loud makes it sound funny.
What’s your advice for other moms?
Elle: We talk a lot about how when we started out as moms we wanted to be perfect….
Brooke: Embrace the imperfections.
Elle: Right, embrace the imperfections. And accept help. Every mom wants to help another. And I find that when both of my kids are screaming at once, it helps to laugh out loud. You can get very stressed out, or you can say ‘this is hilarious, they are both screaming at once.’ And remember, this too shall pass. They are only young for a short amount of time.
Brooke: Everything is a phase, that’s my motto. No matter what phase it is, enjoy it.