Motherhood by Wendy Shand

How do you manage to juggle work and life balance as a mother of three?

Of course, there are always the never-ending logistical challenges, which I sort out with some help at home, a fabulous team and a bevy of friends, family members, and child care that frees me up to concentrate on the business.

The real challenge, however, is to ensure that I have the energy to give the business and my family what they need.  If I’m ill, not thinking straight or am not performing on all cylinders, then I can’t give everybody what they need.  So the adage of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first before putting it on your baby is a great piece of advice.

This means keeping fit, eating really healthily, getting lots of sleep and ensuring that I focus on the bits of the business where I am most ‘in flow’ and add the most value.  To that end, I’ve built a team who are brilliant at all the bits that I’m weakest at, which in turn, means that the whole thing is much more fun.

 

What was your inspiration behind your company Tots to Travel?

My eldest son Barnaby fell into an unenclosed swimming pool when he was 2 years old whilst we were on a family holiday in France.  

This led to the realisation that there had to be a better way to holiday with under-5s, so I set about taking the stress out of family holidays (pool safety being a top priority but also looking at other elements of safety, all of the kit, and adding in a sprinkling of fun!)  

We pulled Barnaby out of the pool safely, and he is now a strapping 14 year old, but I hear of pool tragedies all the time and I know that with all of our work, Tots families have something that no other travel companies offer, and that allows me to sleep at night.

What top tips would you give to any mum on starting her own business?

I think the most important thing is to ensure that you are solving a real problem that a significant market segment faces, and then you can set about creating a really compelling, ‘no brainer’ proposition that solves that problem.  

All too often, I see businesses that people have lavished time and money on that don’t really do anything different or new.  Even in traditional businesses like recruitment, PR or solicitors, there are ways to make these businesses more compelling to solve the problems of their customers.

What is your ideal family destination this summer?

This summer, we will spend a heavenly month in our house in France.  I like nothing more than an unhurried breakfast in the shade of the walnut trees, followed by a browse around the market to buy plenty of fresh fruit and salad for lunch, and then a laze around the pool with the kids.  It’s not complicated, it’s about slowing down the pace – gentle bike rides and reading Famous Five in the hammock to my littlest guy, Monty.  Bliss!

What is your favourite hang out in London with your children?

There is a bit of a food theme here but the kids and I really love exploring new restaurants.  So places like Wahaca or Ottelenghi’s restaurants make my lot happy.  I like to do individual trips with each of them; Barnaby and I love the tennis, for example, so I like to have a day with him at Queens, Maisy loves musical theatre, and Monty loves Hamleys!  My elder two are really hankering after a taste of HintHunt so that’s probably what we’ll do next.  

How do you define quality ‘me-time’?

I do like a good massage, and I enjoy playing tennis and doing yoga.  On holiday, if I can slink off to a sun lounger with a glass of rose and good book, I’m very happy.

 

What does motherhood represent to you?

Quite simply, Motherhood means making sure every moment counts.

 

What do you love most about London?

I find London endlessly captivating, particularly as it evolves and changes so fast. I love the food, the fashion, the interior shops, and just the whole vibe.  From a business perspective, it’s where I make things happen; I meet fascinating people, make great contacts, and push the business forward.  It’s a centre of seemingly endless possibilities and I always come back positively buzzing!

 

With the summer holidays fast approaching, what has been an amazing family holiday for you?

We’ve just come back from a 2-week epic adventure in Oman and Dubai with my sister and her family, and my parents.  As a child, we lived in the Middle East, so our trip showed my husband and my kids the adventures that I had when I was their age and reminded me of how important it is for children to travel, to see new sights, to smell new smells, and to have new experiences.  I literally took thousands of photographs, which I think is an indication of how inspiring it was.

Given we are all about embracing Motherhood, what advice would you give a first time Mum?

Every stage is just a phase and it will pass.