Shannon Milligan Talks Work/Life Balance, Moving, Parenting and More

Some days, I’m lucky everyone is wearing a (semi) clean shirt when I get the kids off to school and myself off to work (often forgetting my own lunch in the process) so meeting other working moms always comforts me. Some, like Richmond Realtor Shannon Milligan, also inspire me.

I got a chance to chat with Shannon about how she finds the time to work, care for her twins AND give back to the community.

RM: When we bought our house a few years ago, we were on the phone with our agent quite a bit, sometimes at odd hours and often on weekends. You’ve even gotten your sneakers on and helped move a seller out of their house so your clients could close on time!  How do you balance that “on call” quality with raising your twins?

milliganquoteSM: It all starts with a great foundation at home – no pun intended! I have been blessed with a very supportive husband, John, who not only understands the demands of my business but also encourages me to reach higher.  I also have a community of friends and neighbors who are willing to help out in those moments when the best laid plans are thrown to the wind.  Although I do work long hours, I work equally as hard to make sure I time block “appointments” with the family.  We all have the same hours in a day and I am mindful of how I use them.  My calendar is my friend!

RM: What about working has made you a better parent?

 SM: I will never forget the time I took the kids for a check-up and the doctor told me I needed to get some coping skills.  I just laughed, but secretly I knew she was right.   I wasn’t happy being a stay at home mom and a lot of that was due to not having a choice.  Daycare was too expensive for infant twins so it was cheaper for me to quit work.  So, I went back to work when the kids were 2 1/2 – just breaking even in the cash department- and, as it turned out, I was a much better mom for paying attention to my needs.  There is no right or wrong choice for mothers out there, it is about being true to yourself.  We are all on the same team and both positions are HARD!

RM: What’s the best parenting advice you’ve ever been given?

 SM: “It doesn’t get easier, it gets different.” I love someone who just tells it like it is.  With each new stage my kids enter I find this to be true.  Sure, we don’t need to pack a diaper bag to leave the house but undoubtedly someone needs to find their coat, or shoes, or stuffed animal!

RM: We all have rough days, on those days where you really feel pulled in all directions, what is your inspiration to keep moving?

SM: I love my age, which is 37.  It is an age where I have lived long enough to have learned some lessons and young enough to still be hungry for more answers.  I understand now, more than ever, that the breakthrough is just one more step, just one more knock on the door.  I don’t quit because I know the minute I want to give up, the goal or answer lies in the next minute to come.  My kids witness this and I hope I am setting a good example for them to never, ever give up.  Nemo said it best, “Just Keep Swimming!”

RM: Thanksgiving is the season for giving back to the community, but you give back all year ’round, helping us raise money for CJ’s Thumbs Up Foundation and UNOS (thank you for that by the way), why is it important to you to give back to the community?  Are there any causes particularly close to your heart?

Photo by: James Lee, 88 Loves Stories
Photo by: James Lee, 88 Loves Stories

SM: I want to contribute, I want to make a difference, and I know change is a domino effect. It starts with one. I give to all sorts of local charities and they are all equally important.  I love knowing a family won’t go hungry that day, a child with cancer gets some much needed financial assistance, and an abused dog finds shelter and ultimately a loving home.  The Richmond community allows me to have a successful business and I want to see it succeed as well.

RM: Not only are you an expert Realtor, but you are kind of an expert mover too! In fact, you’ve bought or sold 10 times in a 12 year period (this would motivate me to get rid of everything I own). So aside from getting a fantastic Realtor, what is your best piece of moving / home buying advice?

SM: For moving: clean out your clutter!  This is a time for a clean slate and there is no point in paying to move things you don’t use or want.  For buying: don’t bite off more than you can chew! Just because you are pre-qualified for a certain amount doesn’t mean you should.  Write down a budget you are comfortable with and work with a Realtor who will look out for your best interests.

RM: Plan on moving again any time soon?

SM: HA!  Call it a hazard of the job – we are under contract to sell our current property and are moving into a new home at the end of December!  It is a local move, of course, as the RVA is our permanent home!

RM: What’s your guilty pleasure?

SM: My guilty pleasure is Adam’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory and it is starting to show!  I once had a reward system where for every home I sold I would have a slice…well, I had to stop that as my pants were no longer fitting!  I also like Costco cookies and will often hide the last one and tell the family they are gone – BAD MOMMY!

Psh, we think she looks pretty great!!
(And now I need to get my hands on some of that cheesecake!)


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You can reach Shannon at the
RVA Home Team with Long & Foster Realtors
3428 Pump Road, Richmond, VA 23233.
Feel free to call or email me at 804-248-8207 ,

Shannon Milligan is a sponsor of