My Mom Life: Jess Updyke

Hey there.  I’m Jess.

Alright, alright, so I actually look more like this on a daily basis (hair pulled back, minimal makeup):

Most people introduce themselves based on their profession and pass out their business card, but that’s not that relevant anymore.  Right now, I am a 31 year old mother and a wife and loving it!  I have been married to my husband Rob for a little over a year and a half and we have a beautiful 8 month-old son Rowan and have a high energy weim Mila. I am thrilled to be raising our son in the Saratoga area.  It is such a lovely, gracious place with a lot of charm.  It gives us a sense of community and connection and provides the simple pleasures in life in which Rowan will discover and experience over time.


Our blog is a hobby for my sister and I.  We dress my son Rowan up as different professions with an occasional adventure thrown in.  We literally have less than 5 minutes to grab the shots we need to put something together.  He tends to get into the part and is a good sport about it.  You can check out Rowan’s blog here or follow us on facebook.

  Do you have time for yourself? What do you do during that time?

This is one of my biggest challenges between having the time and having the energy to do anything.  During the week it is difficult to find time.  With work schedules, we have a pretty tight schedule to maintain.  It’s hard to find the time.  On weekends, I have good intentions to set aside time and my husband is often suggesting to do more for myself but I often end up feeling really guilty if I take time, do I dare say it, and do NOTHING.  I usually find things I get hung up on that need to get done or catch up on things I have been neglecting just to stay afloat.  I realize I need to just stop, stop  moving, stop talking, stop thinking, just stop.  Because time is so precious now with having a child, I like to maximize every last second until I am so exhausted it is bedtime.  I do occasionally get out and take a yoga class, or putz around on pinterest, and if I am really lucky go downtown for a chai.

Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Do you think people are open about it?

Yes, I wonder that all the time.  I especially wonder how people do it with multiple kids, or being single parent.  To be honest, I can’t even comprehend it.  I think some are more open about it than others.  I think it is hard to ask for help and then admitting you needed the help.

What do you find tricky about your current set-up/schedule? What would you change if you could?

We are on a pretty strict schedule during the week so there is not much time to shake things up.  The tricky part of our set up now is Rowan doesn’t go to daycare until 7:30 a.m., when it opens, in Saratoga and then I have to head to Albany on the Northway right in the thick of the traffic.  The amount of time I spend in the car is the one thing without a doubt I would change.  Also, because we don’t get home until after 5pm, we only have 2 solid hours of time together before Rowan goes down for the night.  And that time flies by.

  What do you like best about your current set-up/schedule?

In contrast to the last question, I like that I have about an hour after work to decompress in the car, get rid of any of the negative energy I might have from the day before I get Rowan.  I can turn up the music or scream at the top of my lungs if I need to.  Or if gives me the ability to listen to an audio book here or there so I can keep up on best sellers.

What is your typical schedule like during the week?

4:30-5:30 a.m.- Wake up/shower 5:00-6:00 a.m.- Rowan wakes up for the day 6:00-6:30 a.m.- Breakfast for Rowan 6:30-6:55 a.m.- clean up/playtime 6:55-7:10 a.m.- get Rowan dressed and pack up for the day 7:30 a.m.- drop Rowan off at daycare 7:30 -8:15/8:30 a.m.- commute to work 8:35/8:30-4:00 p.m.- work 12:45 pm- call daycare to see how Rowan’s day is going- it really gets me through the day 4:00-5:00 p.m.- commute 5:00 p.m.- pick up my bundle of joy 5:30 p.m.- dinner 6:00-7:00 p.m.- playtime, bathtime, storytime 7:00 p.m.- Rowan’s bedtime 7:00-8:00 p.m.- clean and possibly watch a tv show 8:00-9:00 p.m.- Mom’s bedtime

What are some of your top must have products for the parenting part of your life? What are some non-mom must haves?

Parenting product faves: 1.       Douglas, A Cuddle Toy 2.       Nose Frida 3.       Baby Bjorn

Non-mom product faves: 1.       Erase paste 2.       Waterproof mascara 3.       Sugar lip balm

For both, my iPad.  It was my savior when I was home on maternity leave.  I could look up parenting advice and stay connected to friends and family.

What is one thing you’ve realized/learned about motherhood that no one ever told you before you had kids?

Mothering is the first thing of consequence that I have ever done.

  If you had an extra hour in the day you would spend it…? I am excited at the very thought of this question.  Do you realize what that time would amount to?  That would be an extra day per month, 2 weeks extra a year!  The reality is it would take me about 15 minutes to decide what I want to do but if I had it I would spend more time with Rowan since 2-3 hours a day just doesn’t seem right.

Do you find it hard or difficult at all to stay connected to friends/people in your life now that you have kids? Do you find there is any gap or gulf in between you and the friends/people in your life that don’t have kids? Any tips on how to stay connected to those people?

Yes, sometimes I do.  I don’t feel like I have that undivided attention to give them like I used to.  And I think it makes a big difference depending the stage you are at in your life.  I definitely find myself closer with friends who have kids, especially kids around the same age as Rowan.  We have more things in common.  The conversations about bedtime routines, poopy diapers and latest tantrums just seem normal.  Most of us seem to be on a similar schedule.  Luckily we live in a world that is so socially connected that I do stay connected to more people through Facebook, etc.

Is there anything you find yourself doing as a parent that you swore you would never do before you had kids?

Haha, unfortunately yes, lots of things, my top 3 are:

1.       Bore everyone with kid talk (Especially for my friends who don’t have children yet.  I thought there would be plenty of other subjects to talk about, new book I was reading, religion, politics, current events, plans for the weekend, etc.  I try really hard to maintain these conversations but always take a turn for the unexpected leading to less glamorous things like poop and spit up.)

2.       Let myself go (Physically I am not the same.  Weight issues aside, I get overwhelmingly excited if I buy anything new for myself at Kohl’s, Target, and Marshalls.  I used to have time to straighten my hair, get regular manicures and pedicures and even wear heals.  Now, my hair is usually pulled back or left wavy for days, that I wonder, “would my hair even stay straight if I tried?”  Now my hands are dry and cracked from constantly washing them, chewed nails, torn cuticles, and sad, ugly feet—could also be the clogs I rock now??)

3.       Talking baby talk (I don’t know what it is about babies that make you want to speak in a high-pitched voice.)

  What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?

Know it is a huge challenge but it can be done.  What worked for me before I had Rowan is I found people I looked up to that seemed to have it all together and are successful and asked how did they do that.  I kept a journal of all the incredible advice I received.  Also, give yourself boundaries.  Pre-baby I would stay late without blinking an eye but now, I know I have to leave at 4pm every day.  If something is not finished, it can either wait until the following day or I can work on it after Rowan goes to bed.  Although establishing a balance is difficult it is kind of a blessing in disguise.  I feel more present and focused when I am at work, knowing I have a hard and fast time I need to leave.  And when I am home and Rowan is awake, I am focused on my time with him.  I am not thinking about what did not get finished or checking and responding emails.   Because they watch everything you do, I believe your character leads them and you figure out who you really are.  In the process I started to understand my values and what  I believe in.