Jennie Monness | Another Mother Her Way
Jennie Monness and I met before we had our kids, ironically when we were both in our previous full-time work roles, and I was so drawn to her humor combined with elegance and deep smarts. I was expecting Bodie and exploring the early childhood school she ran as the Director and she, unbeknownst to me, was working on growing her family. While going through fertility treatments, she left her role to explore building on her passion point in RIE, a parenting style I've spoken previously about adopting in our home. Now she's primarily focused on raising her daughter, Tess, while building her practice and studio, MoMommies, which offers classes and community for new parents. We caught up now, as mothers, and talked about creating work that feels impactful and let us be more present with our babies, our belief in kids' understanding and the value of honest relationships with other mothers in this stage of life.
Q HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
At first, I wanted to answer and say “is this a trick question?!” because part of me feels like I’ve changed in every possible way. But then I think about how that may sound negative, that you change entirely when you become a mom, and that’s not what I mean. What I mean is, you take on the most meaningful role in the world and suddenly you’re still you, but an even better version. For me, I’ve become a friendlier, more empathetic and more reflective person. I’m friendlier because motherhood made me feel like a nurturer; I want to go out of my way for people now. I’m more empathetic because I know what its like to be so exhausted you feel like you’re losing your mind and that everything is unraveling. I’m more reflective because I now know the meaning of life. All of these things came with becoming a mom.
Q WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
I chose to leave my full-time job and career as an Early Childhood Education Director, to build a company of my own. It was the best decision I ever made. Although working for myself can be more nerve wracking and feel like a lot more pressure, I love being able to create the time and space for being a working and “stay at home mom” at the same time. I wanted to make sure that the time away from my child was spent doing something that I loved. Creating my own company that caters to moms and their babies has been so incredibly rewarding.
Q DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Authentic, real and honest. I know that all three of these words mean the same thing, but I feel that being genuine in my relationship with my child builds a foundation for respect, confidence, and trust. The classes I teach focus on respect for children and nothing feels more respectful than remaining authentic in my interactions with my daughter.
Q HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
Finding “me” time every day. Even if it’s just a shower, I now appreciate a shower like never before. I try to pamper myself and work out when I can. Getting a manicure even if it's GlamSquad coming to my apartment while Tess is sleeping or working out with my trainer, even if it may mean bringing Tess with me, makes me feel good. Also, finding time for my work, like writing for my blog or planning for one of my classes, is “me” time that I make sure not to sacrifice.
Q EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
My village is every mom out there. Becoming a mom created this invisible string where I feel connected to every mom in the world. I can be struggling anywhere, and the moment a mom sees that I’m also a mom, there’s this unspoken connection that exists. Suddenly, we’re helping one another carry a stroller up the subway steps, holding each other’s baby while lifting our bag into the overhead compartment of an airplane, or rescuing each other's frozen milk stash when our freezer breaks and we’re out of the country (true story!). My village is the understood “mom tribe” that we all create together.
Q WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
Taking things less seriously. There have been 500 times in my daughter’s five-month life so far that I have thought her or my world was ending. I realize that isn’t healthy for either of us (or for my husband and family!). Trusting myself more is also key. Just like millions and billions of moms before and after me, I know I got this.