Michelle Shippen is the owner and Director of Mumma's Little Helpers, an online store that specialises in parenting solutions. As a mum of three, she understands the juggle of operating a business and raising kids. We asked her the importance of International Women's Day, who inspires her and what the future of female leadership looks like.
Happy International Women’s Day! Why is International Women’s Day important to you?
As a mother of three young boys, a career woman and a business owner, daily life is hectic, to say the least. International Women’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to take stock of all that we do as women and celebrate the wins and each other. It provides a platform to connect and recognise how far have we have come in our journey toward gender equality.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge has been ‘Mum guilt’. Each time I’ve returned to work after maternity, I’ve been torn between having a career and spending time with my children. It is also hard watching colleagues progress in the workplace whilst doing the juggling act of motherhood. I’ve been fortunate enough to overcome this in the corporate world by finding a happy medium and acceptance in that this is a phase in my life that will be gone in a blink of an eye, and I will never regret spending the time with my children. That said, I’m a better mother for having balance and the opportunity to keep my career ticking along.
I’ve once again been plagued by ‘Mum guilt’ as I’ve embarked on the role as the business owner of Mumma’s Little Helpers. Surrounding myself with like-mind women and forming a support network has been key in again trying to find the equilibrium. Consistently remembering to take a step out of the detail and have some ‘balcony time’ to prioritise and reassess where my time is best spending has been vital to overcoming the ‘Mum guilt’.
Are there any women you have looked to for inspiration in your career?
Jacinda Ardern is a beautiful example of having both a career and family and is very inspirational. I’m also inspired every day by the mums that run their own small businesses.
What is the best advice you’ve received when it comes to your career?
“Remember to put yourself first – no one fully has your back but you.”
“Don’t be afraid to take a seat at the table and raise your hand when an opportunity arises.”
You don’t need to tick every box to move forward in your career or business; have confidence in your ability to figure out what needs to get done.
What does the future of female leadership look like to you?
A world where pregnancy and motherhood are not seen as a roadblock in career progression, but rather celebrated and the skillsets gained through motherhood acknowledged as building blocks in the advancement of female leaders.
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