Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Busy moms juggle life, motherhood

Published:Monday | June 6, 2016 | 6:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence
Shani McGraham-Shirley demonstrates some exercise techniques while sharing her experiences with weight loss.
Phelicia Davis (left), executive assistant at JBDC and Suzette Campbell, corporate communications manager for JBDC, participate in a demonstration at the JMMB Juggling Moms seminar, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Tuesday evening.
NC3 Events Natalie Chevannes-Chambers (left) and her friend Jahneil Haye smiles for the camera at JMMB's Juggling Mom.
From left: The evening's host Terri-Karelle Reid with the presenters from second left: co-owner of Chai Studios, Shani McGraham-Shirley, Dr Michael Abrahams and financial adviser Michelle Sinclair Doyley.
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Founded by the forward-thinking Joan Duncan, it came as no surprise that Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) Group Limited formed a sorority-like forum dedicating to helping working mothers in their daily acrobatics - managing work, family, relationships and most of all taking care of themselves.

JMMB's Juggling Moms forum at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel last Tuesday, was well attended by women who shared the common bond of motherhood and are in need of a support system.

The event hosted by the charismatic Terri-Karelle Reid, was very laid back with presentations from: Shani McGraham-Shirley and Michelle Sinclair-Doyley with the one man who likes to keep it real - Dr Michael Abrahams.

McGraham-Shirley spoke about 'Balancing Sexual Fitness and Motherhood', leaving no stone unturned. She was uncensored as she shared with her fellow moms some of her struggles. Petite in stature, the co-owner of Chai Studios and fitness instructor, admits that this was not always the case. She spoke of her struggle to conceive having been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, and then having preeclampsia after the birth of her second child. This caused her to retain water and, in the process, she gained a lot of weight which heightened her insecurities.

For two years, the former Miss Universe Jamaica refused to go out in public with her husband. Workout routines never worked and she was unhappy when she was at her most vulnerable. But when she found Zumba, her life changed. She revealed that it helped her regain her confidence, and encouraged the women to find a form of exercise that is fun. She then gave the women some exercise tips that will help them strengthen their pelvic area and demonstrated some kegel squats and hip rotation before making way for Financial Advisor Michelle Sinclair-Doyley.

The main takeaway from McGraham-Shirley was for women to share their experiences with each other. "We are our best support system, and we would be surprised that the more we share, the more we realise we are not alone in our trials."

Sinclair-Doyley had a tough act to follow, but her down-to-earth persona had the attendees hanging on to her every word. She made finances relatable and easy to understand. Going beyond just numbers, she highlighted the importance of proper budgeting and separating one's money into day-to-day expenses - emergencies, saving towards a goal, and pension.

Using bowls filled with coloured stones to represent the aforementioned categories, she showed how quickly all your income can evaporate when there is not a proper plan in place and that with all your money bundled together, it can give the appearance that you have more than you actually do.

She also relayed steps on how to achieve one's financial goals as well as planning for retirement.

Dr Michael Abraham's stepped away from his profession as an obstetrician and gynaecologist, to look at a woman's overall health - mental and physical.

He noted that their children should be their first priority, and advised them that even when it comes to their jobs, they have to remember this - a decision he had to make with his own practise. There are times he had to step back and say no to clients and give them referrals - thus he has never missed a recital, award ceremony, or sports day.

He mentioned, too, that women should stop discriminating among themselves and stand up against organisations that discriminate against children.

The event ended with mingling and free makeovers courtesy of Revlon, and all the mothers left with products from Redken and scented candles.