She is very deserving of this recognition. A full-time (2 jobs!) hard working mama, who persevered through college despite getting pregnant at the age of 20 while living in a dorm room and hubby in a Frat house! She finished college, earned her degree, and is showing her girls what they can be by being such an amazing role model. Her true love story is also so beautiful! Congrats to you, Jessica, you have such a sweet family and deserve a million people standing up in a room together with lots and lots of clapping directed at you :) Enjoy!
All photos from Jessica Whitmore
1. Describe your children in 3-5 words.
Kylee- Sassy, Caring, Adventurous
Brynn- Silly, Loving, Bright, Crazy
2. When were your children born and where?
Kylee- June 26, 2007, York Hospital, York, ME
Brynn- June 3, 2011, Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT
3. How would you describe your pregnancies?
Both of my pregnancies were straight up awful. I was sick starting as early as 5 weeks and lasted for the entire 9 months- all the way through until I gave birth. It was not just morning sickness either, it was all-day sickness. I was nauseous 24/7, threw up on average at least 7 times a day, and always felt terrible. My first pregnancy I of course did not take anything: no meds whatsoever, I had this fear my baby would be born with birth defects so I did not even take Tylenol for headaches. Somehow, I managed through working and going to UMaine (my sophomore year at college) with just “sucking it up.”
With my second pregnancy however, I finally took the plunge and took Zofran (once I saw my sister in law take it, who is a nurse, I figured then it was safe!). Zofran helped tremendously. I was able to finish my senior year of college, full-time, 5 classes each semester, plus work full-time nights, and have a 3 year old. It was my saving grace. I was still miserable, but at least functional.
The parts I did enjoy about pregnancy were feeling the baby move and knowing that I was creating and carrying an amazing miracle. Other than that, I hated pregnancy. Or as I like to say, pregnancy hates me (my body).
4. Describe yourself as a mom in 3-5 words.
Loving, Nurturing, Caring, Inspiring, Confident
5. What type of mom do you hope your children think you were someday when they are old enough to tell you?
I hope that my kids know that they always have and always will come first in my life. That my love for them is unconditional and that they have always been and always will be able to count on me for anything, and that I have always been there for them and always will be.
I want my kids to know that I was patient with them, understanding, caring, and motivated by them to give them a strong woman to look up to. That even when life has thrown us obstacles we have always pushed through, and even persevered.
I have worked a lot of nights waitressing as I finished up college, and even after college, to afford this crazy life my husband and I created all-too-young. For the majority of the time, I have worked two jobs. I want my daughters to know that I did it for them, for the life that we have, and I hope my daughters will see and understand one day how hard I have worked, and even my husband.
6. What things have you done as a mom that you're most proud of?
I am proud that even though I got pregnant at the age of 20, my sophomore year in college (I was living in a dorm room and my boyfriend- now hubby!- was living in a frat house. Awesome places to be pregnant in. Not.) I have never let it stop me from succeeding in life.
If anything, my daughter gave me the inspiration to continue on with my education and to not let it stand in the way of not completing college. I was the first in my family to ever go to college (on both sides) so it was a huge deal and I felt very proud of myself.
Having a child did make things harder, but not impossible. I was back in school when she was three months old, and graduated when she was 4, and gave birth to my 2nd child exactly 7 days after graduating. I am proud that even though it took me 6 years and two kids later, I graduated Cum Laude with my Bachelor’s Degree. I am proud that my hard work and dedication paid off, and my daughters have me to look up to when they are older. That they will now go to college themselves and succeed and never give up once they’ve started something, no matter what obstacles come their way.
7. What have been the most difficult parts to being a mom?
The most difficult part is balancing time and overall time-management. Time is so precious and goes by so fast, I really do try to make the most of every minute in every hour in every day. I do not like to waste time. I am always thinking what I could be doing rather than “this” if it’s not productive. I either want to be working making money or I want to be spending time with my family.
Everything else that falls within the roles will pass all too quickly so I spend my time wisely. I am so used to managing my time and making a schedule and routine, that I want every minute to count. I have always wished that there were more hours in a day and more days in a week, but since that’s not happening anytime soon, I just know that I need to make the best of what time I do have. And it is hard to balance time when you have two kids and a full-time job, and another part-time job, and a thousand other obligations and things that need to get done.
8. What is your favorite baby product(s) that makes your mom job easier?
I am every corporate baby-gadget CEO’s worst nightmare. I barely used anything that was “hot in the market” and that was the “thing to have.” I guess you can say I am a minimalist or just an old soul. The only thing I can really say was the breast pump that I used for pumping. That machine is remarkable when babies can’t latch but you still want them to get breast-milk since breast is best! (Plus free!) That thing was my best friend those first early months.
9. What advice about being a mom would you give to a brand new mother?
I would tell a brand new mother to enjoy the time; that it all goes by too fast.
I would tell her that when things get crazy, to remember that it’s all a phase. Those sleepless nights, those terrible-two tantrums, those sassy sixers, those talk-backer tweens: It’s all a phase that will be over before you know it.
To keep your spirits high and your outlook positive. To make the most of the time that you have. To give your children positive role models and to give them memories that they will cherish forever. To have fun. Once a mom, always a mom.
10. What is a typical day like for you?
I get up at . I shower, get dressed, head downstairs by , make Kylee’s lunch, make Brynn’s lunch, make my lunch. Enjoy a few sips of hot coffee. Go back upstairs. Do my hair. Do my make up. Get Kylee up and ready. Get Brynn up and ready. Grab backpacks, lunch boxes, coffee, out the door by . Drop Kylee off, drop Brynn off. Heading to Manchester, NH by. Arrival in Manchester by . Park. Take the shuttle to my building. Ready to go by . Work a crazy day, multi-tasking emails, phonecalls, live chats, meetings, etc. (Im an Admissions Counselor for SNHU.) Out at . Home by , dinner (my husband is already making it, he gets the girls earlier and is already home), homework with Kylee, bath for the girls. By reading books/singing songs/cuddling, then bed time. ish, when girls are in bed, Hubby and I head down stairs to watch one of our shows on Hulu and have a drink Repeat 4 days. Day 5 is different because instead of going home I go to job #2 in Newburyport.
11. Since it's November, what are you most thankful for as a mother?
I am most thankful for my amazing daughters and for the joy of parenthood. Being a mom is life’s greatest blessing.
I am also very thankful for my husband. He is hands down the most amazing dad and husband anyone could ever ask for, and I am so thankful he is mine. We have been together for 7 years. We met in early college both at the age of 20 (in 2006). He was living in a Frat house, I was living in a Dorm room, and all we did was party.
Since the night we met, we were inseparable, and found out we were pregnant just 6 months later. We knew our entire life was changing, yet never let it phase us. We still continued to work, still continued to go to school, and we got our own apartment. He proposed. We had our first daughter. He graduated college. We moved to CT for his first real job. In CT I went back to school full-time, worked fulltime. We got married. We got pregnant with baby #2. I graduated college, I gave birth to baby #2.
Our life has been hectic and unplanned, yet all the pieces have fallen together because we love each other so much and make a great team.
He has spent many nights alone with the girls while I was either in a night class or working. He has been the one to make so many dinners, give baths, bake, do the laundry, you name it. He has taken them to Maine for the weekends while I stayed back to on papers/homework. My husband is truly remarkable, and this is how he has always been even at the young age of 21, which is very rare in men! I am so thankful for him every day and for our wonderful family.