“Mom to Mom” with Shannon Harper Gibson
Shannon Harper Gibson is a work-from-home small business owner and market partner with Monat. She and her husband, Dr. Gregory Gibson, have been married for 11 years. They have two daughters, Abigal (10) and Amelia (8).
WP: You are a self-described stay-at-home mom, but you have a side gig that has put you somewhat in the spotlight on social media. Do you think it’s important for your daughters to see you actively engaged in this way?
SG: With my business I am my own boss, so not only do I get to set my own schedule, but I get to choose how big I want my business to grow, which means I get to pick when I work and how much I want to work. This works well for me because I’m very self-motivated and fidgety. I want my business to grow, and I also don’t like downtime. So anytime I have downtime I can put that energy into my business. This way I’m able to be with the children as much as I want, help with the class parties, bring them to all their activities, watch them do their activities, enjoy them growing up, talking through the tough times together. Essentially, they are priority number one and everything else fits into the space left.
As to me feeling if it is important for my children to see me on social media, not necessarily. That just happens to be the way most people see me do my job. I like that they are watching my journey, that they see me be successful and also see the times when it’s a struggle or something didn’t work. Being an entrepreneur and a leader means that you’re willing to try new things with the chance that you may fail. And sometimes you do. It’s important that the girls see that. They need to know that life comes with obstacles and we don’t throw in the towel at the first roadblock. We reassess and figure out what to do next. That’s important to me. The social media aspect is probably a tenth of what I do. The rest is helping other people, overcoming obstacles, trying to be the best me each day that I can possibly be, and growing as a person. Those are all things I want my daughters to see. I want them to see the work ethic. For every job the work is different, it’s just about working hard for whatever that thing is and doing what needs to be done, even when you don’t feel like it.
The other part is they are gaining confidence in themselves. I know a lot of adults that won’t go live and talk about something on their social media. My children don’t have a problem with that. That translates into giving presentations in class and public speaking. They feel comfortable doing those things because they develop that skill and confidence.
WP: Looking back over the last year, what would you say is the best thing to happen for your family despite the pandemic?
SG: Let me preface this by saying I know there was a lot of loss, and my heart goes out to anyone that suffered by losing loved ones. With that being said, this last year has been great! I loved having a couple of months of them doing school from home. It was great spending the time with them in an area of their life that I’m normally not around for. The first week of quarantine was amazing because Greg didn’t have to work either and we all got to spend time together as a family.
WP: This month, we’re celebrating birthdays all across the Wiregrass. Do you have a favorite birthday celebration (can be from your own childhood or one of your girls)?
SG: Birthdays can be a thing around our house. I enjoy party planning, and if I had not found network marketing, I probably would’ve ended up with my own party-planning business. With that being said, we have had some fun parties. A horse-themed party where we had horses out and decorated part of the barn. Rapunzel-themed parties where we had the paper lanterns to send off, minute-to-win-it parties when the kids were younger and families attended to play the games and not just the kids. By far the best birthday party was the science birthday party. There were over 30 kids. Each kid had their own experiments to do. We even bought professional-grade hydrogen peroxide to do elephant toothpaste on the back porch. I was able to get all the old white coats from Greg‘s office and trim them and add a few stitches here and there and then every child had their own lab coat. They had goggles and name tags on lanyards. It was a lot of fun.
WP: If you had to choose only one thing to receive as a birthday gift, what would it be?
SG: Another tough question. There’s not really a whole lot that I need. I’m very lucky and blessed, so anytime I get something as a gift it’s just extra. This birthday I finally broke down and bought new tennis shoes. I had been wearing my old ones for over four years now, it was time. I suppose a better answer to that question is practical things that I can use. That way it doesn’t feel extravagant. And when it’s something I use all the time I get to be reminded of the person that gave me that gift.
WP: How is your family spending the summer?
SG: We have a few weeks that are packed with summer camps. For some reason it seems like most things are in June this year and the other two months are pretty sparse.
I do want to keep the kids active. I want them to keep moving their bodies, and also have play dates. I suspect we will have a lot of swimming play dates this year. The kids made me promise to take them to Water World this summer so that will be on the books as well.
We do have a few weekend trips that we will plan. Abby wants to go to Huntsville and see the Space Museum, Millie wants to go to the zoo, and we all would like to take a trip to the beach. A bunch of small trips rather than one large trip.
WP: Between camps, vacations, and all the normal day-to-day life stuff, summers are especially busy for moms. What’s your go-to hack to keep everything running smoothly?
SG: Hope and pray. LOL I have to keep track of everything in a calendar. I keep it on my phone and then as the weeks get closer I will make a special schedule for that week. We have a separate calendar that goes on the refrigerator for just summer camps. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not fancy pants or anything. It’s actually torn out pages from a 2020 planner that I couldn’t make myself throw away and waste it.
I think the secret weapon is to plan camps with other families. That way the children feel comfortable at the camp with another friend, and you have a back -up family that the two of you can help pick up or drop off if something comes up.
WP: What does self-care look like for you?
SG: I think self-care is more about alone time for me. It may not be obvious from my social media, but I’m actually an introvert. I need the alone time to recharge.
WP: What one chore would you forever outsource?
SG: Hands-down the laundry. I don’t mind doing the laundry, It just never seems to get put away.
WP: Any last-hurrah plans before school starts back?
SG: We’ve been throwing around the idea of doing a back-to-school party for the kids in the girls’ classes, but nothing major. We have another business venture in the works, and we don’t want to be out of town very much this summer so we can finish getting that up and running.
WP: What’s something your daughters have taught you?
SG: Patience for sure. That life isn’t all about me. Their needs and wants come way before my own, hence the not buying tennis shoes for four years. If I’m going to spend money, I usually prefer to spend it on them.
WP: What’s something you hope they’re learning just by watching you?
SG: I want them to see that things take hard work, that they’re never going to be good at something when they start, that they have to keep trying and working at being good at something. And that it is important to be kind. To treat other people the way you want to be treated. And to see things from somebody else’s perspective, and not judge but have understanding. Both of the girls earned the outstanding character award for their class this year at school. That made me super proud. There are some days that every parent feels like they are not doing a very good job, but then things like that are the good days when you feel like you’re raising good human beings.
WP: How would you describe your parenting style?
SG: Maybe a touch helicopter parents. I enjoy watching my children experience things. So I want to be there with them when they’re doing their activities. I would say the biggest thing that sets my parenting style apart is trying to talk with the kids and explain and help them reason things out. I want them to be critical thinkers and able to make their own decisions. Not just do something because they’re told to but because they understand the reason why it needs to be that way.
WP: If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
SG: I wasn’t well liked when I was in school, I would say it bordered on being bullied. Add on top of that starting to struggle with depression and there was some time in my life when things were difficult. Trying to get on medication and get that adjusted was difficult. I had very little self worth. So now I would say just be yourself and screw what other people think. That everybody is on their own journey and it’s OK to do your own thing, it’s OK to just be you. Not everybody is going to like you, just find the people that do and the people that help you be a better person and run with them.
WP: Any words of wisdom for new parents?
SG: Talk to your kids. My parents were of the parenting style where I had to do what they said because they said. You know the old “because I said so.” But it’s important for children to learn how to problem solve and reason. To develop coping skills now when they’re young. If they don’t do that, how will they ever handle problems in their lives when we aren’t around? I think it’s important to explain things to them along the way. The end goal is to raise critical thinking, productive human beings. If you start there and work backwards then you’ll know the things you need to do to reach that goal.