Balancing the Grind with Jen Dugard, Founder & Director of MumSafe

Jen Dugard is the founder & director of MumSafe, a platform connecting mums with fitness professionals and exercise solutions.

Looking for your dream start-up role? Sign up for global career opportunities with The Nudge Group!

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

Where to start! I have been in the fitness industry for over 14years starting off as a PT in a big box gym training anyone that would work with me. 

In 2008 I had my son & launched my group fitness business for mums with onsite childcare, Body Beyond Baby.  This grew to become the biggest mum-focused fitness business in Sydney’s eastern suburbs & this was my main business until I sold it in 2018 but retained the brand.

A couple of years before selling I created a pre & postnatal certification for fitness professionals called Safe Return to Exercise which is delivered in Australia, NZ, Singapore & Taiwan.  

The Body Beyond Baby brand evolved over the years and is now known as MumSafe™️ which provides trainers ongoing education in working with women and mums along with business up-skilling (because many trainers don’t have the business skills to help them to have an impactful business) and our website connects mums with a trainer in their area so they can be confident that they are in safe hands.

I spend my days supporting fitness professionals to reach and support more mums – it’s awesome!  

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I have two little people and a husband that has been interstate for a few months now so life can get a little interesting at times. 

Right now, a typical workday involves a 5.15am alarm then I head down to the garage for a workout or take the puppy for a walk before the kids wake up.

I’ll then make sure they are up and getting ready, make myself a smoothie and walk my son to the bus stop, drive my daughter to school then grab a coffee and get stuck into my day by about 9.30am.

After that, I’m pretty structured in my day and what I have to get done. I’ll usually have a zoom meeting, masterclass, or mentor session throughout the day, stop for a snack and lunch at some point and then wrap up by 3pm to pick up my daughter.

I might jump back on the computer for an hour once I have picked her up but I’m quite strict about working in the evenings unless I know I am in a big ‘work’ push and then all balance goes out of the window for that short period of time.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine? 

I work completely from home and have evolved my business so that I can 100% support my children. Part of the reason for moving away from PT and then ultimately selling my group training business was so that I didn’t have to be anywhere at a specific time and so I could show up for them whenever I needed to.

Essentially, I create my own hours and deadlines and am the only one that it really impacts if I miss them, aside from obvious commitments to other people.

But essentially I can move my business as fast or slow as I choose and I am very conscious about consistently reflecting on what I am choosing to create and my whole life values to make sure I am not building something that is out of alignment with the way I want to feel on a daily basis.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I believe work-life balance comes in cycles. I don’t believe you can maintain balance all the time.  I know that some seasons are going to demand more ‘work’ from me and others are going to demand more parenting so work will have to adjust or take a back seat.

I’m very aware of checking in and making sure that it doesn’t sway one way for too long though. I regularly reflect on what is working and what isn’t and what I might need to change to correct my course.

As I mentioned before this was a main reason behind selling my face to face group training business and it also makes me set really strong boundaries with work meetings and clients; I don’t do anything before 9.30am and I don’t do anything after 2.30pm, I also either don’t work or have very reduced hours in school holidays and definitely don’t take on any commitments outside the day to day business maintenance at these times.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life? 

Just last week I stopped making my kids’ school lunches!  During COVID I found not getting them organised and not taking them to school was really good for the way I started my day. When they returned to school, I reflected on the parts that were working and IF I could maintain any of it.

At 11 and 13 I figured I would stop packing their lunch boxes and guiding them through their morning – because I would just get frustrated.  A week and a half in and my mornings feel calmer and if they are running late – such is life!   I’ll keep you posted on how that keeps going!

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

I’m a huge Brene Brown fan – I love all of her books though Daring Greatly and Dare to Lead are my favorites.  I also love her podcasts.  I also like to catch every episode of the How I Built That podcast.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I’d have to say Audible, Spotify and the podcasts app – I love consuming information and education while I’m walking, running, or driving. So I guess that would mean I can’t live without my phone too – but it’s for the listening aspect, I could definitely go off the grid – happily!

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?   

Hmmmmm, this is a tricky one – I think a book that gathered work-life hacks from Mothers all over the world would be a great read! Maybe I should write that one.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I think knowing that work-life balance can look different for everyone is important. One person’s idea of balance could be someone else’s nightmare – so no comparing!

Also knowing that life comes in seasons and in some seasons it will be much harder to find any feeling of balance at all than in others.

When we find ourselves in these times it’s really easy to lay judgement on top of our inability to find ‘balance’.  If we can learn to let this go I think we ultimately become calmer and more balanced because we are not making it so hard.

Before you go…

If you’d like to sponsor or advertise with Balance the Grind, let’s talk here.

Join our community and never miss a conversation about work, life & balance – subscribe to our newsletter.

Start-up Founders, Venture Capital, Private Equity, Accelerators – hear them all talk about their stories where they went wrong, what went right and what they learned!
About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.