Local mum Shantelle Tag talks candidly about the challenges of balancing life as a business owner and mum of three kids, including one with special needs.
Where and how long have you lived in the Sutherland Shire and what do you love about it?
I grew up in Sylvania and lived here most of my life apart from a few years in my early 20’s when I travelled and lived in the St George area.
Tell us about yourself and your family:
My family is made up of my husband, Simon, and myself, our three human children, Marley is 12 , Kai is 10 and Clio is 8 as well as our 2 fur children (both yellow Labs) Emmie 6 and Luna 1. Our eldest daughter Marley is intellectually disabled so our family is a little complex but lots of fun and very entertaining.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for us is generally very busy. I’m up early to get everyone ready for school, we have dance and sport activities almost every afternoon and I run two dance businesses in the shire so during the day I teach at my inclusive dance school, Shimmy Shakes, for preschool-aged children and children with additional needs, and four nights a week I teach adult dance classes. Life is very busy and there’s often lots of juggling going on.
Favourite thing to do with your bubs/kiddies and why:
Our favourite thing to do as a family is go to Parry’s in Caringbah for a milkshake. Going out in public can often be overwhelming for Marley, however, drinking the best milkshake in town is always great. We also enjoy watching our children doing what they love and for Kai it’s playing sport, whether that be cricket, oz tag or rugby league and for Clio that could be dancing, playing piano or singing.
What do you like to do when you have time to yourself:
I don’t get much time to myself, but if I get a moment I love to have a hot bath, go for a walk listening to some of my favourite music or head up to my studio and dance just for me.
Work or SAHM (Stay at Home Mum):
I am a working mum, but as both businesses are my own I have designed my hours to be very family-friendly. I get to drop-off and pick my children up from school every day, I get to be home for dinner most nights and I have amazing staff so I can be with my children at home should they be sick. In my businesses, I get to nurture my passions. In the daytime seeing children have pure enjoyment in their dance class, supporting children who generally find mainstream classes too much and seeing them develop their skills through the right support and at night getting to see my adult students gain strength and confidence as well as have loads of fun. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I love as well as be very hands-on with my family.
Motherly advice on how to stay sane:
Being a special needs parent adds another layer to staying sane and it can be very isolating. There are definitely days when I don’t feel like I’m sane and I need a good cry. I think allowing yourself to feel these feelings, sit with them for a bit, cry and let it out is good for the soul. We don’t have to be perfect and have our “shit” together all the time. Most of us are just doing the best we can to get through each day. One thing I have found helpful is not comparing ourselves to what we see on socials. Most people only share the good stuff and not the bad or even the everyday stuff, so whilst they may look “perfect” on social media, everyone has their challenges.
What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is musk sticks. Odd I know, but I’m allergic to chocolate and am gluten-free so I am limited with what I can eat ha ha.
What makes you lose your shit?
What makes me lose my shit is people being unkind and seeing parents not teach their children to be kind to others. The world would be so much nicer if we all just were kind and considerate to one another. You never know what’s going on in another person’s day. Oh and inconsiderate drivers! It’s not hard to give someone a little wave when they do something nice on the road.
What’s something not many people know about you?
Something most people don’t know about me is that one of my first performing jobs was as a magician’s assistant.
What’s the best product/service you can recommend since becoming a mum? (for baby/kids or you)
What’s your “can’t live without” beauty product?
My “can’t live without” beauty product is Murad Vita -C Triple Exfoliating Facial. I use this weekly and my skin feels fabulous after I use it.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced since becoming a mum?
I have changed a lot since becoming a mum and more so as my first child was born with many medical needs and lifelong disabilities. I probably don’t worry about the small stuff as much as I used to. My focus has also changed in terms of spreading kindness and my belief that every child, no matter what their challenges, should be given every opportunity to be the best version of themselves, whatever that is. It’s what drove me to start Shimmy Shakes. Because of the demands involved in being a special needs mum, I sadly don’t get to see my friends as much as I used to or would like to either.
What is your biggest fear as a mother?
There have been many challenges I have faced as a mother and many fears faced. It’s hard to say what my biggest one is but if I had to choose one it would be learning that I can’t always protect my children from things like disappointment, failure and other people’s actions. Sadly experiencing these things is part of life. I can only support them and teach them that how they react to these situations will form the person they become.
Would you like to share your local #mumlife with us like Shantelle?
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