How She’s Making It Work: Shan Boodram
In this series, we dive into one busy day of a dynamic individual to understand the rituals and routines that foster their success (plus the small, unplanned moments that keep life interesting).
Here, Shan Boodram, sexologist, intimacy expert, author, and the host of the award-nominated podcast Lovers and Friends, juggles mom and work life: pumping milk in between meetings, posting a “thirst trap” on Instagram to celebrate the body she’s proud of, exploring new collaborations, and prepping for one of her most important podcast episodes to date.
6:00 a.m. — I woke up, pumped milk and started getting ready for a collaboration video with Hannah Witton (another sex educator who is also a new mom). It’s about how our careers as sex educators have changed since becoming moms.
7:15 a.m. — I shot the video with Hannah remotely as she is in the U.K.
8:30 a.m. — I pumped milk again and said good morning to my beautiful babies. We played blocks—it’s nice that we can all start playing together since my 7-month-year-old sits up quite well now.
9:00 a.m. — I had a zoom call about a new women’s sexual pleasure initiative looking to bring me on as a consultant.
I think the further my career gets, the easier it is to navigate collaborations. For example, I work with Bumble so I’m not going to work on another dating app. And then if I work with specific sexual wellness brands, I’m not going to work with other competing ones. I think at this point, it’s longer-term, more intimate relationships versus fast-exchange brand deals. These calls are really important, and I feel really great about the fact that conversations no longer feel like auditions—they’re just the meeting of minds to see if there is a crossover and, if there is, great.
9:30 a.m. — I packed the kids’ bags for daycare then sent them off with our assistant to get dropped off.
10:00 a.m. — I had a production meeting with my producer who works in-office (at my work-from-home space) with me.
10:15 a.m. — I posted a thirst trap on Instagram because I woke up before the kids and the first-thing-in-the-morning boobs plus body is everything. One of the reasons why I was afraid of motherhood was because I was afraid of the loss of this part of myself that I had fought really hard to gain. I fought really hard against society and over social conditioning, I fought hard to feel good about using my sexuality in a way that works for me. So I was always really intentional in pregnancy to never stop being like, “this is my body no matter what shape it’s in.” After having a baby, I was like, “okay, this is something that I should continue.” But after the second baby, just because of lack of time to really focus on myself, it just took a little bit longer.
I think this thirst trap is one of the first times I’m acknowledging that this is my last summer as a breast feeder. We’re not going to have any more kids (my husband had a vasectomy and I have an IUD in), so I’m going to enjoy a summer of booby-licious pictures in the body that I have.
10:30 a.m. — I prepped for Dr. Emily Morse’s interview, a guest on my podcast, Lovers and Friends.
11:30 a.m. — I interviewed Dr. Emily Morse. I think Emily is a special one because she is a leading expert in the sexual health field and years ago, when I first moved to Los Angeles, I went to a convention that she hosted. She was somebody who I looked up to and whose career I’ve always admired. She’s had a podcast for a long time that’s really successful and she does great work. I got to collaborate with somebody that I admire. She has a book coming out and I actually got to do a blurb for it. To know that my opinion matters to somebody who I have always looked at as very smart and very aspirational—it was a nice full circle moment.
Usually when people come on the podcast, it’s story first and lessons second. I’m not looking for somebody to come and rattle off stats or be the smartest person in the room. I’m looking for them to be vulnerable. But in this particular case, I wanted to lean into Emily’s expertise. So the prep for this was really just re-going over her book, pulling out parts that I thought were fascinating, that I wanted to hear more from her on, and highlighting things I think that my listeners could learn from, because she has a lot of information to share.
12:30 p.m. — I ate lunch, pumped milk and socialized. I do Z.E.N. Foods. It’s a meal service—they cook a meal for you and send it to you. I had a Southwestern salad with shrimp, beans, corn, lettuce, tortillas, and a vinaigrette. It’s good.
1:30 p.m. — I joined a Bumble prep meeting for an upcoming satellite media tour. Being Bumble’s sex and relationship expert, which started about a year and a half ago, was supposed to be short term and it was an honor. And then we just found that there was so much synergy. It’s an easy partnership. We service a similar audience. We want to reach people in an accessible way. We want to meet people where they are. We want people to be empowered and have agency over this part of their life. It’s one of those partnerships I hope continues because it’s just such a no-brainer, and I learn a lot having access to stats and information about what people are doing in the dating world. It’s been really integral for my work, so I’m really glad that they see me as additive to theirs.
2:00 p.m. — I scripted and produced for an upcoming Lovers and Friends episode on men who have been with a partner who miscarried.
I really can’t take credit for all the topics on the podcast, because what we really do is we ask people, “what are you thinking about at night? What are you talking about in your group chats right now? What matters to you? What did you recently go through that shifted something for you in a major way?” And so the guests bring the topic. There’s so many examples where I could just never really tap into what someone is going to want to talk about. And this episode with Mike is no different. I would never have known that Mike had gone through what he did, and how it impacted him the way that it did. I’m just really grateful that people choose my platform to share their unexpected, intimate truths.
4:00 p.m. — I posted something on social media.
4:30 p.m. — I organized with the team on the schedule, plus to-dos for the next day.
5:00 p.m. — The kids returned from daycare. It’s been warm, and we have a really cool play area because we have jungle gyms, we have a kitchen, there’s like a little house for my daughter…and she can color on everything. That’s the one place where she can color on the floor, on the wall, on the slide, wherever she wants. She’s really enjoying practicing spelling daddy right now—she doesn’t really know how to spell yet but she likes to draw circles and say letters, and D-a-d-d-y mixed with scribbles is like her thing right now.
5:45 p.m. — We had dinner. We got these planks from the supermarket—you soak them in water and then we barbecued salmon on them. My one daughter is seven months old and so she’s just starting to get into food. But my 2-and-a-half-year-old is not into food. So, it’s really hard to figure out what she wants to eat and it’s always changing. It was spaghetti for a minute and now she wants nothing to do with it. Right now, rice and some kind of protein are seeming to work with her.
6:30 p.m. — Play and TV time.
7:30 p.m. — Bathtime!
8:00 p.m. — Bedtime for my second born.
8:30 p.m. — Bedtime snack + story for my first born.
9:00 p.m. — Bedtime for my first born.
9:30 p.m. — Me time + me + husband time!
These hours are so crucial because it’s a time when no one needs us. We enjoy our time together. But sometimes we do things apart. That means sometimes my husband goes down and works on music and I do schoolwork or I read a book. Sometimes I listen to a podcast and clean the kitchen. Sometimes I just scroll on my phone. And I don’t have any guilt over that—if I want to spend two hours on Instagram or go online shopping, it’s my business. Of course, sometimes these hours include sex. This is our time to set aside and have that moment and experience together. Between 11 and 12 is when we’ll find our way to sleep.
This as-told-to piece has been edited and condensed for clarity and was conducted in March 2023.