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Jen Lee @jensane on Patience, Balance and Postpartum

 

PC: So, tell us a little bit about yourself!

I’m Jen, and I’m a SF Bay Area mom of 2, a lover of light and coffee, and sports with a knack for remembering song lyrics.
PC: How were you introduced to Parker Clay and what is your favorite bag to carry when you are with your kids walking around the city?

I was introduced to Parker Clay through the wonderful community on Instagram, and I love carrying a big tote with smaller pouches inside to wrangle all my personal things plus the inevitable accumulation of toys, stickers, wipes, water bottles… the jackets they claimed they needed but now don’t want to wear. I’ll carry anything that can help me carry it all!
PC: As you know, this month is all about celebrating motherhood. Tell us what motherhood looks like for you right now and how has it changed this past year?

Motherhood right now is hard, to be quite frank. I’m often warring between guilt and trust, feeling like I’m not doing enough but also trying to trust the process of them growing up. Up until last month, I was working part-time, which I had always done since having kids, but with the stresses of the pandemic and small children, I found myself getting irritated and impatient much more than I was used to and wanted to be, and I knew my kids deserved so much better. So I’m learning and re-learning every day to lean into the space and time I have with them and truly cherish these fleeting moments, even the ones that don’t make the Instagram reel - I don’t want to overlook the hard parts; there’s always something to learn and to remind me to savor the sweet seasons all the more.
PC: We noticed you’re an avid reader, what are some of your favorite books and what are you reading right now? 

I’m a little embarrassed but not… but I typically read Young Adult books because I still feel like an emo teenager at heart. Right now, I’m finishing the King of Scars Duology by Leigh Bardugo; the second book just came out in March, and there is a Netflix adaptation of her earlier series that is just so good. Highly recommend!

PC: You have 2 little ones and a business to run, which includes a podcast and a beautiful blog, how do you balance it all?!

Balance is such a beautifully crucial word, and as a mom, it’s precious and precarious and so important!

I have to remember that everyone’s picture of balance is going to look different; for me, I like to keep a tidy house, and I’m on the stricter side about cleanliness with my kids. But I absolutely hate doing the dishes and folding laundry! So you may see a spotless square on my Instagram feed, but what you don’t see is the piles of dishes in the sink and wrinkled laundry in the corner... or the fruit snacks I sneak my kids when I’m taking/editing pictures.

This is the same for that ever-elusive work-life balance, made even harder when working and child-rearing and self-caring and eating healthy, running a household, being a reliable friend, daughter, sister, etc. It can feel impossible to do all those things and be all of that to everyone all the time. So I’m learning to pick and choose my battles, and as I’ll mention later, the things I’m balancing on my plate can look different from season to season. Some months, I’m focused more on my personal growth, while in others I’m dedicated to spending time with my elderly parents; this coming summer, I hope to soak up all the sun and snuggles with my kids while they're out of school. So I’ll put the schedules and meetings on the shelf and (hopefully) channel all the fun, carefree mom vibes that will make their childhood special!

PC: What has been your greatest accomplishment personally and professionally? How do you pause to celebrate those moments?

This is such a great question to ask women, and it’s so important to me to keep lifting each other up and celebrate our achievements together. Personally, it’s keeping my kids alive and thriving for the last 5 years. Motherhood is a great privilege, and I don’t take it for granted!

Professionally, I’m happy to have celebrated our one-year podcast anniversary recently; consistency has always been hard for me, so I’m super proud of our small podcast that keeps on chugging. Also, I’m grateful for the Instagram community; I’ve been on the platform for what feels like forever, and I’ve steadily grown over the last 7 years, not just in numbers but in creativity and relationship. I feel like it’s been a true and authentic reflection of the things I want to highlight and remember, and I’m so thankful for all the friends I’ve made there.
PC: What are you looking forward to most this year?

I’m looking forward to traveling again! This past year we made the most of our backyard, road tripping up and down the California coast and seeing new places but also experiencing old ones for the first time with my kids. But this year, fingers crossed that everything keeps trending positively, we are hoping to hop on a few more flights and catch some sun and vacation vibes!
PC: What advice do you have for a woman who is about to become a mother for the first time? What advice were you given, and how did that help you during your journey to motherhood?

Everything is for a season, and there is a season for everything!

When I first gave birth, I had an incredibly difficult season of physical pain and recovery but also postpartum depression. I literally thought it was never going to get better, and I was trying to accept that my life was just going to suck from then on. But after a couple of months, things started to heal inside me, physically and emotionally; and I saw the light at the end of the sleep-deprived newborn-zombie-mom tunnel.

So, I have to tell you, it will get better; it may take time, but everything is for a season. There will be a season of physical pain, there will be a season of intense fatigue and sleepless nights, but there will also be seasons of joy and milestones and preschool pickups and soccer games. There will be seasons when your marriage feels like it’s falling apart or the world is literally locked down; and there will be seasons when your career is soaring and your community is blossoming, made all the more momentous because the hard times got you there. And in each season, I ask myself, what can I learn from this trying time? What are these challenges or triumphs trying to teach me, grow in me? How can I love better because of them?
PC: This past year has been a strange time in our world, to say the least - how are you balancing it all? Any tips you can share on how to thrive through it?

The community has been the biggest key for me! I’ve been more intentional about seeking balanced relationships with long-time friends as well as those I’ve connected with on social media. Without other voices helping me talk through important issues or just listen when I need it, it’s easy to get sucked into the depressing cycle of internet news and memes and nothingness. With others around, I remember my purpose is also not just focused on myself but on loving and supporting those around me too. 


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