This interview is part of my series Leaning In. My aim is to shine a spotlight on successful women who are ‘leaning in’ to their careers. By sharing the stories of other women, I hope to help change the focus from what we can’t do to what we can do and to encourage other women to be ambitious in the pursuit of their goals.
If you are or know an inspirational woman who would like to take part, please contact me.
Tamsin Kate Simounds describes herself as ‘mum to scrumptious and oh so energetic ten month old Flynn, wife to Daniel, foodie, passionate supporter of working mums and mums in business, nutrition and wellness coach in training, working toward my second triathlon for ‘fun’… and as you can see lover of living a full life!’ You can tell from this alone that Tamsin leads a busy life!
I came across Tamsin’s blog How She Does It when I was looking to register the domain name myself! I was excited to find that Tamsin has very similar values to me and somewhat of a similar background too. Tamsin had her son Flynn in March 2016 and says that since then she has cracked her code for living her life to the fullest. She strives to define herself by who she is rather than what she does.
Let’s find out How She Does It!
I’m an Area Manager and Sonographer for a medical imaging company and run a blog and business supporting working mothers and business women to live a balanced and fulfilling life. My work schedule is currently flexible and I work mainly from home. This presents its own challenges as my son is not yet in childcare and I need to schedule my working hours around his naps (as well as house work!).
It’s important to me to be fully present when I’m with him and fully focused on my work when I’m working but this isn’t always easy. In the coming months I will transition back to working in the office as well as at home and Flynn will be in child care for two days per week.
I remain career focused and believe that I have gained strength and experience as a mum that will serve me well in my career. After spending months negotiating with an apparently starving mini toddler who wants nothing I have to offer and refuses to let me hold the spoon but can’t get anything in his mouth, dealing with adults should be easy right?!
As a female leader I now believe it is my responsibility to show women in my field that it’s not necessary to pull back from their careers when it comes time to have children and that it is ok to gain control and say no when required to find a balance that works for them.
I have a second focus and passion now in How She Does It, which has broadened my perspective and understanding of the needs and thought processes of my staff and colleagues.
Finding a balance that worked for me. I listened a lot to the expectations and opinions of others to the point where I started my motherhood journey terrified of what was to come and afraid of what I’d have to give up.
I also struggle working from home to switch on and off of work mode. I have no one telling me my knock on/ knock off time and I need to be very disciplined with myself so that I can remain focused on what I’m doing. Before I learnt to do this I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about not working when I was with Flynn and about not being with Flynn when I was working.
I’ve been lucky to have a very supportive and flexible management team at work. The biggest discrimination I’ve faced is colleagues telling me what I would and wouldn’t be able to/ want to do once having children. I needed to choose to take control myself and let that go.
I do agree with this. I have witnessed many women pull back from their careers before even falling pregnant, in anticipation of what was to come. I myself have ‘leaned in’ to my career and as a result I now have experience and options as to how I make my career work. I don’t believe women should feel pressured in to leaning in or stepping back but I believe that they should be educated and supported in knowing that there are options.
I believe having it all is a bit of a myth. We can’t have the best of everything, something always has to give. What I believe is that it is absolutely possible to achieve my own version of balance that leaves me feeling fulfilled and able to lead a life lived to its full potential. It requires living life with a positive outlook, purpose and intent. I have an understanding that I can’t have it all but I do have choices, and I can make the ones that balance my life in a way that works for me.
I make sure that I am fully present in whatever I’m doing, if I’m at work (or working at home) I focus on that. If I’m not working my focus is on my family and my own wellbeing.
Having variety in my life, something to focus on for myself and the ability to open my mind and have adult conversation. It has been beneficial to my mental health to have something other than parenting to focus on. As a parent there is a high percentage of time that I am not in control, where as at work I have some time when I am in control and have a degree of routine.
Initially it was guilt, always thinking I should be doing something else. Now it is making adjustments to find my ideal balance.
Sit down and take the time to work out what you really want your life to look like. Realise that you have options and keep your mind open. Don’t make assumptions as to what you will and won’t be able to do and stop listening to the opinions of others. Discuss your goals with your workplace, it’s likely they’ll be surprisingly supportive and you will find a solution that can work for both of you.
How She Does It 😉 Focused on breaking down barriers to success, celebrating successful women and sharing their secrets to achieving their goals and living life to it’s full potential. It’s about tapping in to the best version of yourself and living a vibrant, healthy life with a feeling of balance and fulfilment through all circumstances. I’d love to hear from you!
Reese McMillan is a mum of two living in a small close-knit town outside…17 January, 2017