One of my favourite things about the Real Mums series is interviewing such amazing, inspiring and beautiful mummas. These mums never cease to amaze me with their determination and willingness to work hard for their families, as well as for their businesses, which are usually either run themselves or require them to spend time away from their kids. This week is no different. Shannon is a personal coach who focuses particularly on helping mums find balance in their busy lives. She even shares a few tips with us below, so grab a cuppa and happy reading!
Hi Shannon! I’m so excited to be able to chat with you today, thank you for joining us for the Real Mums Blog series! To kick off, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
I was born in Bermuda and traveled half way around the world to end up where my mother grew up – here in Australia. As a rare cancer survivor (13th diagnosed case in the world) I know about the power of resilience which I believe is key for mothers.
I started this career at the age of 9 when I recall being called “Geneva” by another kid because I was the go-between when friends weren’t getting along or were unhappy. I intuitively helped way back then and with my MBA education and executive coaching accreditations, I consciously serve people now to achieve more of what they want out of life.
What do you do with your time, besides running after 3 kids!?
Aside from my business helping stressed out mums through retreats and coaching, I am deeply involved in Primary Ethics – an organization that teaches kids how they think. I train volunteers, I coordinate volunteers for the school I manage, and I teach one class a week in primary school.
I also go for walks with my dog along the coast, practice yoga (not as often as I used to). I love to run. I used to manage the school netball and basketball teams until a year ago when the kids’ skills outgrew mine! haha. I am also completing a neuroscience degree on leadership to delve deeper into how the mind works. I drop in on friends and our house is a regular train station with the kids from our street running in and out all weekends.
Wow, you are SO busy! How did you come up with the idea (and time) for The Care Factor?
I have worked in the “culture and engagement” field all my career, and time and time again, I saw that unless people cared about who they were, what they do and why they do it – nothing gets done. That is what I was essentially coaching senior managers on in top corporations and now I want to focus on mums because they are a pool of talent that is getting lost underneath laundry, timetables and internal pressures.
One of the core components of your mission is ‘balance’. How do you personally find balance in your life with all the things you’re doing? It about being a “Balanced Babe”. Thus the name for my retreats. Balance for me is a state of mind – an approach. I find balance by ensuring that I am aligned with my values and goals. In terms of energy, I make sure I get time for me. Self awareness is key and this is the first area of understanding that we build with mindfulness at my retreats.
What do you remember most about being a new mum? Was there something about the experience that still sticks in your mind now?
I remember being tired – very tired. I ended up having blood transfusions after each birth so my energy was extremely low. My main piece of advice I remembered from this mothers club online was to focus on getting ONE thing done per day (outside of taking care of baby). Just. One. Thing.
Why do you think balance and wellbeing are so important for new mums?
Wellbeing and balance are crucial for a mum because if she doesn’t take care of herself, she will eventually not be able to take care of those she loves. According to research, the main thing that kids want is for their parents to be less stressed and less tired. (Gallinsky research) So take care of yourselves.
If you need another reason to look after your wellbeing then know this, your children pick up on your stress levels. They pick up on it so much so that you can influence the turning on of certain genes. 50% of our genes are transcriptive meaning they are turned on/off depending on their environment. If that environment is stressful, it will impact how their brains physically develop.
If you could offer 3 tips or strategies for new mums in achieving balance in their lives, what would you suggest?
- Take some time to yourself every day (15 minutes minimum) and do something for YOU – not the laundry! Could be a walk, blowdry your hair, or exercise. Self care practices are crucial to build into your everyday routine.
- Sleep! Get enough sleep. When you do not get enough sleep, your cognitive impairment is equal to someone being almost legally drunk. That is no state to raise a child or be in balance. So sleep. I remember I used to just fall asleep on the couch with my child strapped to my chest – heart to heart – both snoring peacefully.
- Above it all, remember you’re a new mum and this is a big change – take it easy on yourself. (49% of women say there are their own worst critic – we are doing it to ourselves!) What balance looks like will change and that is ok. Be kind to yourself.