Soul Mammas Podcast: Real Motherhood talk on mindful, passionate living as parents.
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This weeks guest and mama of two, Melissa McConville, felt there needed to be an outlet for women and mamas in her community to come together to celebrate their innate beauty and strength. Melissa, along with her sister Sara, also a mom of two, have created and grown the “She is beautiful” race series, to one of the largest all women’s running series in the U.S.
This race, where the women typically wear all pink and let their personalities shine, started with 500 women in Santa Cruz, CA and has now grown to 6,000 women in Santa Cruz and 2,000+ in Santa Barbara, CA. These two active, energetic and empathetic sisters created She is Beautiful out of a mission to inspire women and they truly embody what it means to be soul mammas in a modern world. A large part of the proceeds from the races go to charities within the Walnut Avenue Family and Women’s Center and Girls Incorporated of the Greater Santa Barbara Area.
Melissa believed that fear and self-doubt often blocks us from reaching our fullest potential, and she committed herself to helping women and moms feel less isolated and more apart of something by creating these races. As a longtime runner and athlete herself, and former Marketing and Community Manager for Whole Foods Market, Melissa married her talents and interests with her mission, and soon saw this race series not only come to fruition, but eventually start to thrive, and needless to say, it has become her full time job.
As a entrepreneur of almost ten years, Melissa embarked on motherhood four years ago and now has a family of four-Deacon 3.5 and Josie 1.5. Melissa wanted to remind moms that having babies doesn’t mean an end to their dreams, athletic or not, and recently crushed her marathon goal of running a sub three hour marathon! Melissa also doesn’t want to give off the false idea that any of this is easy, and reminds women to keep aiming high for themselves even though it is hard, and sometimes quite messy.
Her sister Sara, shares Melissa’s same effervescence & enthusiasm and works as a Physical Therapist specializing in the Pelvic Floor and talks to mamas about the importance of taking care of ourselves while pregnant as well as postpartum! Sara recognizes that being a mama and an athlete means having to take extra time to take care of our bodies, so we can perform at our highest levels. Sara and Melissa are both UCSB alumni, who believed in listening to their inner voice, rather than following the “practical” road in life. Now they are living out their purpose in Santa Cruz California with their little ones, and are living out a life curated out of love and purpose.
4:13: On transitioning from her “day job” in marketing at Whole Foods, to starting her race series: Melissa reflects on taking the leap from working 50 hours a week, to letting go of the job and wholeheartedly focusing on the She is Beautiful Race Series.
7:18: It wasn’t easy, of course, but she felt inspired to follow her true purpose, particularly after a trip to Ghana. Her confidence has stemmed also from her mom being a business owner.
8:02: Melissa didn’t really feel like the quintessential “businesswoman” type and often questioned herself because of this.
10:39: Running, or being outdoors always made her feel beautiful and grounded and this was part of the premise behind the race series.
14:41: Because her and her sister really lived and believed in their message, their efforts to bring women together as a community flowed more freely and resonated with more mamas.
18:47: How all the roads in our life are like dots connecting us to what we are meant to do.
21:25: Melissa advises to find what makes you light up and write those things down. If you are transitioning into something new as a mom, make sure you don’t take on more than you can handle.
26:15: Melissa believes in avoiding that fleeting word “perfection” and not modeling inauthentic living to our children. Nothing is ever perfect or as curated as it might look online, etc.
27:54: Mom guilt. How she avoids it and why she thinks its so important to consistently take time for mama.
32:12: Practicing self care takes us out of feeling “less than” and gives us our power back as mamas.
36:41: How the She is Beautiful Race series is less about competing with one another and more about supporting each other as women. They even recently added an option to run with strollers during the race.
41:52: How she wants her children to feel empowered in who they are and what they have to offer the world. That’s the legacy she hopes to leave them.
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Connect with the She is Beautiful Duo