May Mom of the Month - Jennifer Jaeckle

Instructor Molly Vaughn: I met Jenn when I came back from maternity leave and Instantly fell in love with her daughter, Harper, who has the best cheeks and best blowouts this side of the Mississippi. I also loved the ease of chatting with Jenn about all subjects from poop explosions to my own father's medical needs. Her calm demeanor and caring heart are such an asset to our tribe! Jenn has also reached out to so many moms working and not working to come out to class to not only workout but to find a tribe of support! We all know that motherhood can be a lonely journey but not if you have a team cheering you on! And we are so lucky to have Jenn and Harper on our team!

Hi, I’m Jennifer. I grew up in Chesterfield, Virginia but have been in the area since 2005 when I moved to Norfolk to attend ODU. While attaining my Bachelors of Science in Nursing, I was also captain of the Women’s Swim Team. After graduation in 2009, I moved to Shore Drive and worked in the ICU at Virginia Beach General. I met my husband, Andrew, in April 2011 at a beach volleyball league at the oceanfront. We lived together in Ocean Park while I was in anesthesia school. This August will mark the third anniversary of our engagement party/turned surprise wedding. Last September we welcomed our first child, a girl named Harper. She has been such a blessing and far surpassed either of our expectations about parenthood. We are fairly certain she is a tricking us with her good behavior into having another, who undoubtedly won’t be as easy. Our favorite things to do as a family are go the beach where we play volleyball and paddle board, go out to dinner (while she is still immobile), and visit with our other new to parenthood friends.

Trying to name a favorite thing about motherhood is tough. One of the first things that came to mind was the sense of comradery you feel with other moms. It’s like by being a mom you become part of this great big team with the only mutual interest being that you all have created life, and therefore must have been through at least a few of the same struggles. I was telling Andy the other day that I have added more contacts in my phone in the last 8 months as a mom that I did in the last, ahem, eight years since college. I’ve also noticed the “mom nod” that’s exchanged between moms in similar circumstance. For example, last Friday we were having dinner at Surf Rider and I reached over to pick up Sophie from the ground for the 100th time and made eye contact with a mom at the bar trying to keep her toddlers hands out of her rum runner. We smiled and nodded at each other as if to say, “Good for you.”

One piece of advice I would give to a first time mom is to avoid getting too much advice. There is so much information available between books, google, mom groups on social media, moms you meet in the grocery store, your mom, you mother in law, etc, and everyone has an opinion. Sometimes too much information can make a simple task very complicated and much less enjoyable. In all of my eight months experience with motherhood, it seems like a whole lot of it is just luck.

I have been coming to stroller strides since Harper was six weeks old, or about mid-October. Anyone who has been pregnant all summer can attest to the feeling of freedom you get from being able to walk outside without breaking a sweat instantly. I could not wait to start getting back into shape after my eight pound baby had me gain 50. Last summer, somewhere around starting my third trimester, I met another pregnant girl on the beach whose husband was playing volleyball with Andy. It was obvious that she was in fantastic shape even with two other little girls running around so I wanted to know what she did. Since all pregnant people are also instantly friendly we started talking and she told me about stroller strides/fit4mom. Four months later we wound up at class together at Lynnhaven mall and I said “You are the girl I met on the beach last summer! Thanks!” (it was Lauren Carawan). Since starting SS last fall, I usually attend Mt. Trashmore MWF and Great Neck Tues/Thurs. I keep coming back for so many reasons just the first of which being that it has become our routine. Plus it is a great work out for me, it gets us both out of the house, and lets Harper “play” with other kids after class. Last but not least, I have met so many wonderful moms since joining stroller strides and they have become such a great support group for all things related to motherhood. The last eight months might have been totally different for me if hadn’t joined!

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