When Shelina and Tasnim met in 2012, Shelina had recently got married and Tasnim was at the tail end of her divorce.
Shelina became a first-time mother on 3 December 2014 and Tasnim got married (again!) in 2017.
Shelina had her second child in 2017 and Tasnim started her motherhood journey in July 2019.
I am Irish by birth but I have called the beautiful city of Manchester my home since 2007. In Ireland, I grew up with a large, mental but loyal extended family, where I play the supportive big-sister role. I went to University in Bristol and was fortunate to form some of my most beautiful friendships. I love listening to and sharing great stories, particularly those that empower women.
I am a successful partner in a leading city law firm in Manchester, specialising in estate planning, where I am exposed daily to the nitty gritty of human behaviours. I absolutely love my job and I have always been devoted to my career. This devotion is what propelled me to become a fixed share equity partner at 36. That same year, behind the scenes, my husband and I were undergoing our first round of IVF treatment and I was given a 13% chance of having a baby. When my pregnancy was confirmed, it was one of the biggest shocks to my system! I was determined that my ‘new-way-of-being’ was not going to affect my work in any way but deep down I was petrified.
My bouncy baby boy Nuh (Noah) was born on the 5th of July 2019 and my life changed beyond recognition. As cliché as it sounds, he gave me purpose and I was even more determined to work harder for his benefit. I was in the office the day before my son was born and logged back on to my emails when he was 2 days old. I had my first meeting back in the office when he was three weeks old and I continued to work during my maternity leave, but completely on my terms. Sometimes, it may look like I have my sh*t together but trust me, in reality I am powering my way through each mini-disaster as they come - like a real life ‘whac-a-mole’ game.
I am blessed with a husband with the patience of a saint, a loyal friendship base and my chaotic extended family. Becoming a mother for the first time, at this stage of my career and nearing 40, raised more questions than it did answers. I started quizzing all of the working mothers that I met and found their stories relatable and empowering. I searched for similar stories online but I found that the content was often tinged with an Instagram filter, blurring out the messier aspects of working motherhood. One day I was discussing this vacuum with my co-founder Shelina, and we decided to create a new platform to fill this void ourselves. That’s how workingmamas.com came to life.
I don't want to sugar-coat anything - I want to be honest about the good, the bad and the ugly as a WorkingMama. We can’t wait to hear from all of the WorkingMamas out there. Please email us anytime on firstname.lastname@example.org even if it's just to say ‘hi’ and we promise to write back. #imaworkingmama
I’m Shelina, I’m 40 years old and the business editor for the Manchester Evening News and Business Live. I’m also mama to Eshan, 5 and Pari, 2.
A few years ago, I interviewed Vanda Murray, a well-known figure in the region’s business community with an impressive portfolio of non-executive directorships and a mother of two. The interview was for a feature exploring the lack of female representation of women in senior leadership roles.
I asked if she thought women can have it all and she told me, interestingly, that yes, they can but NOT all at the same time. I had returned to work full time after my first baby and was navigating a new life as a working mum. I was trialling different working hours to see what worked best for me, my baby and my work commitments while striving to do everything.
I thought ‘having it all’ meant I had to do everything. But that one conversation with Vanda changed my perception. Of course, I can have it all - at different phases of my life.
It sounds simple enough but it never really occurred to me previously and instantly that pressure of trying to do everything eased. What I found was that it had taken one honest conversation with another woman for me to feel much better afterwards.
Five years on and another child later, I still think about that conversation and in a way that has led me to start WorkingMamas to provide a platform for mums like me to have an honest conversation about working, enjoying your job, wanting to progress and above all being a great mum.
In the process I’m hoping I get to meet other amazing mums. As a journalist for last 20 years, my job has revolved around people. It’s what attracted me to the job in the first instance - that and writing news. I always wanted to work in journalism.
Growing up in Rochdale as a teenager I remember driving past the old Rochdale Observer office in Drake Street while sat on the No.17 bus and thinking that one day I wanted to work in that office. I got the opportunity to work for my local paper at 19-years-old and have since worked for a number of titles within the group including the Asian News, Oldham Advertiser, Heywood Advertiser, and the Manchester Evening News.
It’s a job that I still love and enjoy. For the past decade I’ve been covering business news for the M.E.N and its monthly business publication. You really get a feel for the city and how it’s developing through its business community and I get the opportunity to meet some impressive people. Through my networks I’ve also met numerous amazing women including my very good girlfriend and co-founder of WorkingMamas, Tasnim Khalid.
These women have always inspired me.
Whether that’s setting up their own business while still breastfeeding or really powering through to reach to the top of the ladder or using their skills to help develop and nurture other women, I find their stories truly fascinating. I feel very lucky to do my job as it gives me an insight into other people’s lives, a level of trust that I wouldn’t otherwise get and for that I feel privileged.
Outside of work I am obsessed with my children that I even found myself Googling whether it was normal to want to ‘eat your children’ - well not literally - but you know when you just want to drink on their deliciousness. And YES, that’s pretty normal.
My five-year-old, Eshan, is just like his mummy. It often scares me just how much of my personality I can see in him. My two-year-old daughter Pari is little miss independent, she’s fierce, she’s stubborn and she’s a whole lot of cuteness at the same time. I honestly cannot remember what life was like before they came along. My husband Matt Bruch is my best friend. Without his support I don’t think I’d have come as far as I have and I certainly couldn’t do my job - which involves a lot of evening events - without him.
Together we want to raise happy kids and still try and be us - which is hard - but we’re still trying.