Mama of the Month: Jenny Greenstein

Jenny and wife Dina at home with baby girl Vida

What was your entry to motherhood like? 

I had ideas about motherhood before becoming a mama, but the process was way more intense then I could have imagined. And not in a negative, “I can’t handle this” way (even though it’s all very overwhelming), but just in a deeply emotional and cathartic one. I now live by the motto “you can never know until you know” because realistic entry was incomparable to anything else. It feels cliche to say, but when Vida was born, so was I. Well, a newer version of myself. In the second between physical oneness and separation, it was go-time to embrace my highest self. All former life lessons were ripe and ready to be put into practice, in a real, practical and mindful way. It wasn’t about me anymore. It was about her. That all said, my flow fortunately felt organic and I’m grateful for that. It’s complicated and there’s a lot of unknowns to navigate (hi! mastitis, raging emotions, debilitating exhaustion and the inability to sit for 3 weeks!), but I made a conscious decision to follow my gut, tuning out the outside noise of cultural pressure and listened to my baby. This helped me to really let go, TRUST and follow my own instincts. I advocate for the philosophy that as humans we are all so completely different and embracing that uniqueness begins the minute we arrive earthside. So when Vida was born, I instantly put down the parenting guides, pulled back on asking others for advice and made sure to meet my child where she was. I continue to practice this parenting style in everything I do.

Jenny and Vida

Can you tell us about your most recent mama-heart-love-burst moment?

I recently went out straight from work and didn’t tell Vida that I wouldn’t be the one putting her to sleep. This is a departure from our norm and when I do go out, she knows ahead of time. That said, the night was challenging and she basically cried herself to sleep asking for “Mommy”. I got home later that evening, and when Dina (my wife) told me what had happened, I felt terrible. So the next morning I took some time to sincerely apologize. I told Vida that I was sorry for not telling her ahead of time, expressed empathy and understanding about how that must have been hard, and said I will do my best to always be clear about my plans. She paused for a minute, looked straight into my eyes, really processing what I said, and then gave me a huge hug, an action demonstrating she held space in her heart for forgiveness. I was so proud of her for allowing me to misstep. And accepting my humanness. My heart bursts thinking about how our growth remains symbiotic.

How about the last time you felt lost at parenting sea?

No one talks about weaning. You can find 4 billion books on breastfeeding, but when it comes to extended breastfeeding and the process of weaning from that, there’s not a lot out there. At least not a lot I could find that made sense for us. So when I recently decided to begin the process with Vida at 2+, I felt extremely lost. I had to tap back into my core parenting philosophy of following my gut, and devised a personal plan that would be best for both mama and babe. But the physical and emotional roller coaster that ensued as a result of such a sharp turn in our relationship was viscerally gut-wrenching. I felt guilty, sad, uncertain, doubtful, alone and ultimately lost. I trusted there was a light on the other side, and fortunately had a few trustworthy mama friends with solid insight along the way for support. But while we remain at only one-nursing session a day, it still feels hard. And I still feel guilty that I caved from cultural pressure and severed a secure, primal and emotional attachment for her too soon. For the record, I don’t judge others breastfeeding experience, but this has been my own. Breastfeeding has been one of the most emotionally complicated areas of motherhood for me so far.

We love how open Jenny is about the body changes that accompany motherhood and
how we can use these transitions for discovery and empowerment

How do you stay tethered to yourself?

Being vulnerable and transparent. HONEST. Accepting ‘failure’ as part of the process. Getting comfortable in the discomfort and recognizing its necessity for growth. Holding space for the ebb and flow.

What does “soul style” mean to you?

Authenticity. Alignment of the inner and outer self. Starting inward and working your way out. Style means nothing if it doesn’t truly begin at your core. What does your soul say? Who are you fundamentally? What is your essence? How all that comes through visually is second to exploring those questions first.

Do you have any advice for parents out there who have lost that connection to their own vibrancy?

Self-care is a critical part of the process. YES, of course it’s important to take care of ourselves FOR ourselves. But, if that feels too foreign in the motherhood space, think about how your child will benefit from you showing up as your most empowered self. You are their guiding light, their reflection, and they see themselves in you. So it’s critical to not only practice self-care for you, but really for them too. Take the appropriate steps (and time) to break it down and make your way back. Recognize that the undoing is/was an intricate part of the process, and then rebuild step by step. Own your new normal self, let go of the former version and discover ways in which to embrace the present one.

 

Thank you so much for sharing with us Jenny! Before you go can we ask you to use your skills and soul to create a stylish yet functional Mom uniform? 

STYLISH HEAD-TO-TOE LOOK FOR MAMA ON THE GO! (clockwise from top left)

Colorblock Sweatshirt from H&M: This sweatshirt doubles as both stylish and cozy. Trade out sneakers for booties and wear from play-dates to dinner.

Illesteva Mykonos Sunnies: Keep those tired eyes fashionable-ready with a cool pair of sunnies

Lack of Color Lola Hat: Because most mama’s don’t have time to tame the mane, a cap is the best accessory for looking chic with minimal effort

Cozy Teddy Coat from H&M: Cozy, comfortable, stylish and park friendly – this teddy coat can easily translate to elevated or casual

Nursing Tanks from H&M: Wear-with-everything nursing tanks as your first layer under all pullover tops this season to easily access the boob without compromising personal style

Kane Downtown State Backpack: Chic bags that double duty as a diaper bag are a mega win

White Sneakers from Veja: Both sustainably made and functional, grab a fashion sneaker to elevate your daily look.

Vintage Straight Jeans from H&M: Functional and fashionable, take your everyday go-to leggings up a notch with some broken in vintage denim!

If you want more of this lady’s wisdom and vibe you can connect here and follow her on

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