In 2017, SmartMom launched the Real Life SmartMom series featuring your favorite Mommy Bloggers, experts and influencers. We go to these women for advice, recipes, support and whenever Google comes up with an answer we don’t like. Let’s get to know these amazing mommas a bit better – why? Because they are SmartMoms; and smart moms talk to SmartMoms.
This week we invite Jena Holliday to join the SmartMom community. Jena is an artist, designer, teacher, and marketer documenting her work on her website Spoonful of Faith. To add to this long list of talents, Jena is all about the #momlove, so she works to support other women and mothers in expressing themselves and telling their stories creatively. Our favorite creations are the illustrations that represent “mom life” oh so well – you’ll see us support her on SmartMom Instagram! Get to know this mom creative and what “mom life” means to her:
Tell us about your kids: names, ages, and fun facts.
I have two kids: Layla, 4, and AJ, 2. They are wild and curious. Layla loves to create and dream up ideas and bring them to life and AJ loves to explore and find new things and they just make motherhood come alive for me.
What are some of your favorite things about your kids?
I love that they challenge me to think outside of the box. They make me live more selflessly. They show me what it means to love unconditionally.
Who do you look up to for parenting advice?
My mother. I am the middle child out of 7. I often run to my mom for advice because she has experience.
How would you describe what you do for your blog?
Spoonful of Faith is the name of my freelance illustration business. My blog is a family, faith, and freelance blog – as an extension of that. I talk about business, life, faith and the work I do as an illustrator. I am hoping to share more bits of projects and things I am dreaming up soon. I want it to serve as a resource for women and specifically mothers can come and be encouraged to dream, create and share their lives.
How do you balance work and family?
I think seasons change and some seasons business is heavy and compromises are made and in some seasons there is more time for rest and enjoyment. Over the past few years of running my business out of my home, I have learned to set boundaries. To rest when necessary. To say no and it’s always a work in progress.
What does an ideal day look like for you?
Ideal would be me waking up before the kids and getting some things done, then spending the morning working a bit before taking an afternoon break for the park or something fun together. A meeting or two – but mostly it would be a day where I was able to navigate priorities of work and home easily. My days change so much so I try to stay positive and that often gets me through anything that comes my way!
What were some of the biggest questions you had or challenges you faced as a first time mom?
I think the main question I wondered about was if I was doing everything “right.” I learned that “right” looks different in every family and as long as I loved my daughter and was doing everything in my ability to take care of her and love her, I was doing the best I could. I think as a first time mom you are hard on yourself. There are things you want for your children and you don’t want to make mistakes. But we are people and we have to grow and learn and mistakes will be made, but the point is to keep going and learning from what you go through.
How did becoming a mom change who you are?
I think the most valuable lesson I learned when becoming a mom was that I sat around wasting a lot time not doing the things I dreamed of doing – because I made a lot of excuses. When I became a mom my time for those things was cut and I started to really value any time that I had. It actually motivated me to start Spoonful of Faith. I thought I cannot tell my daughter to dream big, if I can’t even do it myself. I will have to lead by example.
What are you favorite baby products you’ve discovered since becoming a parent?
Basically any baby carrier product – I used SollyBaby Wraps and loved those – lifesaver when I had my second child. I am very easy going so I will use just about anything or at least try it; but that was a MUST.
What was the most surprising or unexpected thing about becoming a mom?
I think it was really cool to see the world through a different lens. It’s pretty amazing as you become a parent, but you start to respect and have compassion for people that have gone before you – in a different way. You understand relationships with family and parents differently. You know how much you love your kids and you see how much other people love theirs. It’s hard to explain but that was a nice surprise to be a part of this community of parents, grandparents, caretakers and more and understand people a little better.