Prioritising self care can be completely forgotten about – perhaps even laughed at! – when you’re trying to balance work, life and parenting. But if self care is a fundamental part of yours and your family’s happiness – you must be healthy and feel fulfilled to pass on the same for your children – why is it we don’t make it a priority in our day?

Meet Shawn Fink, a woman striving to help mothers find the inner calm, mindful moments in their day. In a world that is so fast paced, when you feel like you couldn’t possibly steal 10 minutes for yourself and a cup of tea, listen to Shawn’s advice to help you savour those quiet moments you need to make more of…

1. Tell us about the work you do with Abundant Mama and how you came to start Doing What You Love?

Abundant Mama is a family and motherhood wellness program that teaches overwhelmed moms how to slow down, take care of themselves so they can take care of their families and how to mother from a place of abundance.

I started blogging in 2012 and sharing tips and tools for how to be more present, playful and peaceful and my blog took off. I ended up creating the Abundant Mama Digital Program in 2013 and it has been SO popular through word of mouth that I was able to quit my full-time job and focus on this project solely.

2. What is driving you to help so many mothers with the challenges motherhood can bring?

Creating a more peaceful world! I say it over and over again — peace begins with me. I have never found motherhood to be easy. And the more real conversations I have with other moms, the more I realize that there are many out there who feel the same way. We’re highly sensitive and deeply committed to doing this RIGHT and so we place a lot of false expectations on ourselves in the process. By helping moms face the challenge of motherhood with the right tools, strategies, self-care and support, I am helping to create a more peaceful world — one family at a time. That is my ultimate driving force.

3. How can any parent reading this silence the busyness and find calm in their day?

In my book, Savoring Slow, I talk about 12 habits to implement to really slow your life down. This doesn’t mean to no longer be busy. It means to create a sense of calm and beauty in your busy life. We’re raising kids — we’re BUSY. I’d like to share those habits here with your readers 12 Savoring Slow habits to adopt:

  1. Wake Up — Practice waking up every single day to see the beauty in your life. It’s everywhere!
  2. Release — Embrace the idea of letting go of what is not working for you any longer to create more time for what you love.
  3. Reframe — Accept that your busy life is your beautiful life and start telling yourself a different story about how you are living.
  4. Focus — Aim for a distraction-free life where you always try to do one thing or nothing at all.
  5. Go Slowly — Forget rushing through and start lingering more in all areas of your day.
  6. Do Less — Understand that the only way to have more time for the good stuff is to do less of the other stuff.
  7. Plug-in — Reject the notion that you need to unplug and start intentionally plugging in to be more efficient with your time and life.
  8. Unstructured — Create more free time in your family’s day to allow the wow moments to evolve and multiply.
  9. Go Quiet — Quiet your mind and feel time expand in the process.
  10. Savor — Take time to appreciate every little detail around you.
  11. Abundance — Start seeing time for what it is — something to be thankful for in your life.
  12. Make Space — Carve out physical, mental and emotional space in your life for the things you want more of in your day.

4. What do you think is the typical definition of ‘abundance’ for parents who join your community, and what practices are important to put in place to achieve that abundance?

Abundance often means FINALLY feeling like we are enough, we do enough and we have enough … and we can rest now.

5. As someone who is doing what they love, what does a typical day look like for you?

I’m writing this after my girls are back in school after summer break so my days are a bit different. But the idea is roughly the same. I wake early — often between 4 and 5 a.m. and take care of ME by doing my Rise and Shine Routine (I offer a free challenge on waking up early and taking care of yourself!). I then put all of my efforts into getting the family fed and out the door. Once everyone is gone, I get to work. I have about 7 hours a day on a good day to write, send emails, create products and manage my programs and clients. SO … no wasting time. In the late afternoon, I set my to-dos for the next day, take a walk and meditate before my girls get home from school. On a really good day I take a rest in my hammock! And then I try to put all energy into my family and home in the evenings … until I crash into bed often very early because I wake up so early.

6. How do you juggle being a mum with running a blossoming business? What challenges might you come across and ways to overcome them?

My biggest challenge is and always has been my schedule being so inconsistent. Summer break is hard because I don’t have much time to do my work — and taking time to do the work leaves me immense amount of guilt as it’s summer after all. The school year isn’t much better with half days, sick kids, holidays and appointments. I am a work in progress on finding the right way to let go and trust that it all will get done.

7. Do you have any tools/techniques to help mothers who feel stressed out/anxious/overwhelmed because they have too much to do?

I believe strongly in the brain dump exercise for overwhelm/anxiety and worries. This is when you write everything down that is on your mind. All fears. Worries. Tasks. To-Dos. And then you slowly cross off what you can release that is not URGENT. And often, most of it is not urgent. Here’s a post on that! http://www.abundantmama.com/ease-mama-overwhelm/

8. What’s your ultimate dream? And your dream for women/mothers as a whole?

My ultimate dream is to build the most helpful, loving support group for mothers around the world possible. If I could I would build us a REAL VILLAGE with real houses and we’d all live there together helping each other out. I’ve said — they say it takes a village to raise a child but I think these days it takes a village to raise a mother. My dream for mothers like myself — those who are highly sensitive, introverted and highly reflective — is to finally feel peace from the inside out because there’s no better abundance than a feeling of contentment.

Shawn’s snapshot

Your happy place: my hammock if I can’t get to the beach
Quickest way to find clarity: journaling
Mantra of the moment: I am strong as [email protected]#$ 🙂
Best place to people watch: the Beach Boardwalk
Most inspiring books you’ve read recently: The Go Giver, The Hate You Give and Dial Down the Drama
Best ‘ah-ha’ moment this year: Realizing that just because everyone else is doing a podcast doesn’t mean I have to … in fact, I don’t even LIKE podcasts. I’m not an auditory learner. I tune them out. So, I quit my podcast and told everyone to follow my blog. It was a real coming home moment for me.
Biggest ‘proud ofs’ in life: Building my community, writing a book and self-publishing and, of course, becoming a mother.
Current passion project: ReKindle … I’m preparing to launch another round of this program that my community LOVES that is all about rekindling your marriage AFTER children. And, frankly, my husband and I always need to do better this time of the year after a busy summer. Wish for the world: For everyone to place being KIND over being right.
Quote you live by: “Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup” ― Gertrude Stein


You can read more about Shawn and Abundant Mama at www.abundantmama.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter