I met Jessica through a friend, and while we have never hung out, I’ve always felt a sense of friendship within our relationship. I’ve had the privilege of documenting some of her family’s life moments and both of her children are born within weeks of two of mine. It’s been fun for me to see the difference in our children, and if you know my kids, it wont surprise you to hear Jessica’s kiddos are always leaps and bounds ahead when it comes to gross motor skills.
When you read Jessica’s answers below I think you’ll find it very refreshing. We haven’t had a mother interviewed who has Jessica’s qualifications. She’s an accomplished woman and gives a great testimony to being a mom with a career. I thoroughly enjoyed just how much she and I have in common even though we have very different daily lives. Honestly, this interview makes me feel more confident when I head back to work after my Stay-at-Home days are through.
Read on to hear the joys and struggles for this wonderful momma of two and be inspired to be the mother you already are… the best one!
Without further ado… meet Jessica S.
Share anything you believe is pertinent from your backstory that will sort of describe who you are as an individual.
I was born and raised in Tulsa. Went to OkState for undergrad where I met my husband. We moved to Berkeley, CA for graduate school and then to Chicago for our first jobs. Loved living in Chicago with so many things in walking/public transit distance and all the amazing food. Decided to move back home while pregnant with our first child. We now have a 3.5-year-old girl and 6-month-old boy. I am a full time working civil engineer doing site development.
What are the difficulties of being a working mom? What are the joys?
There is definite guilt about leaving my baby at school. We had a family friend nanny for our daughter and so she got to stay home for the first 15 months. At 15 months, I felt good about her starting school and getting integrated into a classroom structure and social life. With our son the nanny had moved away ☹ and we started him in school at 12 weeks old. That was a lot harder to deal with. He ended up getting a bad cold the third day of school and luckily, I was able to stay home with him (even though I had just returned to work myself). My employer is great and extremely understanding with family time and leave. For the foreseeable future I am able to work reduced hours, work from home when necessary, and come and go as needed for doctors’ appointments or school events. With out this agreement I know I would not be as successful in my job and I think I would feel like I was missing too much of their lives.
The working joys are getting a project completed and seeing sites I have designed being constructed. Also having my daughter come and see me at work as an engineer and showing her some of the possibilities that are out there for her. She loves coming into the office with me (but I admit that may be because we usually pick up donuts on our way into the office as a treat). The motherly joys of working are seeing my kids engaged and learning at school. They are exposed to so many different things including robots, animals, pretend play with peers, Spanish, and different construction materials. My favorite thing is when my daughter tells me she has either made or found something for me while she was at school. Usually a drawing or a rock.
How would you describe yourself as a person (individual, wife, mother, all three)?
I feel like I am a happy, optimistic person and also an introvert. I try and smile and say good morning (afternoon, or night) to everyone I interact with but I am also completely happy being a wallflower.
Tell us something you value in others, in life, or just generally.
I really value family (and friends that have become like family). Once you have kids you really realize how much your parents and family did for you growing up. So much love and energy was poured into me and I want to try and return that to them with any small acts of kindness.
What is the outcome you wish for your children and how to you attempt to achieve that? To be happy, passionate, and stimulated in whatever they decide to pursue. We try and follow the lead on things my daughter says she likes and help her explore those interests in more depth. Right now, it is ballet (which I never did as a kid). She talked for a couple months about ballet after seeing a school friend getting ready for her lesson so we got in her in a class last fall. She is obsessed with it and loves going. We have tried to further her knowledge by taking her to see local ballet productions and she sits and watches intently.
What is one piece of advice you’ve received and you always use?
Start each day with a fresh attitude/mindset.
Who do you look up to in your life? (there could be more than one)
My parents and grandparents
What have you learned along the way that others may also benefit from knowing?
Just add water. A bath or shower is a great way to reset your (or your child’s) body and mind. There is no need to be dirty. A long bath playtime has done wonders to reset my preschoolers’ attitude (I completely get the phrase threenager now as she has learned to roll her eyes at me, it is comical now but I know it will end up being a handful).
What do you feel are the hard parts of being a wife and mother?
Learning to give yourself some slack. I cannot be everything to everyone and there are times I need to let others step in and help. The hardest is when one is sick and taking turns with my husband watching them overnight so that us parents can each get a small amount of sleep. Hard to hear your baby’s croup cough from the other room and not go into to comfort them but knowing that they are well looked after.
Tell us three fun or interesting facts about you.
I am fluent in Spanish, I like watching the Great British Bakeoff but do not like to bake , I love period pieces – I love everything (history, books, movies, and shows) set in the 16th through 19th century in Europe.