Jenny LeFlore, founder and mama behind brand Mama Fresh, talked to Chicago Parent about being a mom in Chicago.
Quick facts about Jenny
- Spouse: Obie LeFlore
- Child: ObieQ, 2
- Parenting must-haves: A fanny pack, the Pearachute app and the community of women that she built
CP: What is the hardest thing for you after becoming a mom?
JF: Thinking that I could have balance. I have to let go of that version of Jenny and I really have to approach the new and evolving version. If you keep holding on to that old norm and chasing that, for me I kept feeling unfulfilled because I didn’t have that time for myself, the same relationship with my husband. Once I accepted that there was this new version of me, Jenny 2.0 after ObieQ, I was able to transition into it a lot easier.
CP: You recently wrote a great blog post on MamaFresh.com about accepting your post-baby body. So many moms struggle with this.
JF: I’ve always been super aware of it because I was in the fashion industry before I stayed home with my son. … As far as sizes, I probably fit back into my same jeans, but my body is just not the same. I’ve been nursing my son for two years; these boobs are like a sad-looking emoji. My relationship with my body has changed so much; I love it and I have so much respect for what my body can do, the strength I didn’t even know I had. It is very foreign to me. BUT I am on a journey of falling back in love with my body and that’s an important thing. I am speaking very kind to myself and speaking very grateful words to myself and learning that it’s OK.
CP: Where do you see Mama Fresh helping?
JF: I just focus on being a beacon of light, being the solution so moms don’t feel isolated. That’s why my Mama Fresh Strolls, independent bookstore storytimes are so important because it gets you out of your house, gets you around other families. … What I’m really all about is connecting families and the inclusion of all types of families in Chicago. All of my events are hosted with that in mind.
CP: Do you have a Thanksgiving tradition?
JF: Our Thanksgiving is two parts. On actual Thanksgiving, we go and visit with family at my aunt’s house and my husband’s family. So, very traditional. Because of my dietary restrictions (I’m a pesceterian), but I still want that good food so I cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner at home. On Friday, my girlfriends all come over to my house and I just put all of our leftovers out. We just all hang around, we have wine and beer and it’s like a Friendsgiving, just the day after. No pressure. We just put movies on all day, people come over with their kids. It’s turning into a day I look forward to as much as I do Thanksgiving.
CP: What are your three most favorite places in Chicago for fall/winter?
JF: I love the lakefront all times of the year. Chicago Park District is always on my list. We live on the South Side of Chicago and everyone knows that means UniverSoul Circus (runs through Nov. 4 in Washington Park); it brings fun family-centric energy to our neighborhood. The Garfield Park Conservatory is our winter jam when it’s too cold outside.
This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.