This week we are chatting with Jordan from Dallas! At the time of this interview, Jordan was a mama of two girls (now a mom of three, congratulations on your new little bundle, Max!) With a whirlwind schedule, this mamas favorite indulgence is a Friday night in with hubby and some much needed wine! She is an amazing lifestyle/photography blogger at Jordan and Co. and it was truly so fun getting to know her. We just love how she keeps it real about the beauty and struggles of motherhood and we know you will too! You know the drill, grab your wine, kick back and let's see how Jordan does it!
Tell us about yourself: Where do you live, age, marital status, number of kids and business.
Hey, everyone! My name is Jordan, I’m 34 years old and I live in Dallas, TX with my husband, two little girlies (Q & A) ages 5 and almost 3, plus one little man who’s almost done cooking. I’m due in May! I used to run a family photography business called jjm photography, but these days I’m just focusing on my blog and Instagram collaborations (@jordan.and.co) – that, and trying to keep my kids alive and happy.
Describe a day in the life of you.
Deep breath! Ok, so…we wake up around 7am. Ryan is usually already gone for work and I get the girls up, fed, and dressed. Then it’s off to school. Q goes every day and my little one goes twice a week. After school drop off, I usually run errands/grocery shop and then catch up on work/emails. Putting together a blog post takes an awful lot of time when you are interrupted every five minutes to get a tiny human a snack or wipe a tiny human rear end- so I try to do most of this work on the two days A is at school. Then at lunch, I hang out with A and we eat together. We usually play or read a book or do something fun just the two of us…like walk the aisles of Target drinking Slurpees. (Target is my happy place.) Then it’s off to pick up Q at school. Side Note: On the days when both girls have school, I drop them both off at 9:00, then pick up A at 12:00 then head home, do lunch, and go back again to get Q at 2:00. I get dizzy just thinking about it! Anyways, after school we do some homework and sometimes have extra-curricular activities like dance, soccer, gymnastics, or a photo shoot for mommy! ;) After those are over, I finish up any remaining projects/editing I didn’t finish in the morning (if there’s time/energy/no toddler meltdowns) and then do super fun things like folding laundry, cleaning up Princess Sofia figurines off the living room floor, getting dinner ready, packing lunches and laying out clothes for the next day…so I can do it alllll over again. After the girls are in bed, Ryan and I relax on the couch and catch up on TV shows and talk about our day. Sometimes we don’t even eat dinner ourselves until the girls are asleep because let’s be honest- eating a meal uninterrupted is kind of a luxury!
Do you have help? A nanny or housekeeper? Family?
Not really. I’ve got an amazing cleaning lady but she only comes once every two weeks. I keep her because a.) I love her like family and b.) she does all the deep scrubbing that every house needs and that I just can’t find the time or energy to do. But as far as her “cleaning” the house, it’s kind of a joke. I walk in and the house is sparkling, pillows are perfectly fluffed, and it smells like heaven. But then, the girls walk in right behind me and it takes about 5 minutes for it to all go to hell. Sometimes I call my husband at work and say, “Hey, the cleaner just left- you should stop by and see what the house looks like clean before I get home with the girls.”
I don’t have a nanny, although that does sound lovely...especially on a day like today! We do have 1-2 “night time” babysitters that I trust (yes, my housekeeper is one of them) for our rare “nights out”. I’m kind of a nut about who I leave my kids with, to be perfectly honest. And also, I never had a nanny growing up. My mom did it ALL. She was super woman and I always wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Some days I’m not sure if I’m killing it or failing miserably, but hey- I’m trying! ;) And if we’re keeping things real here- I’m kind of a control freak. I may complain, but I really do like to be in charge of All The Things.
Both of our families live on opposite coasts (NJ & CA) so we don’t have grandparents down the street, but we DO have my sister and her husband right here. It’s so great to have them close, even if it’s just for family dinners on the weekends or birthday celebrations! Plus, both of our parents visit as often as they can- so that’s always nice!
How do you manage to have “me” time?
Oh boy. That’s tough. As in, it really is tough to find time designated just for myself. I do understand the importance of self-care but I like to think that I’ll have lots and lots of time for myself when the kids are older. I’ll probably be bored out of my mind! Ha! For now, they are still so young and they really do need me 24/7…especially with a newborn on the way! That being said, I do try to carve out tiny bits of time just to regain my sanity. I mean, I really think we need that as moms! So even if it’s just a bath when Ryan gets home from work & can take over with the kids, or going to bed a little early to read my book- those are all things I do to keep my brain from going into overdrive. Plus, I always look forward to “Mom’s Night Out” with my girlfriends. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like- because, life- but being out with my girls, keeping it real over dinner and/or drinks is just so, SO good for the soul!
How do you manage to make time to stay in shape? Do you workout? Diet?
Hmm. I wouldn’t exactly call myself “in shape”…I get winded just walking up the stairs! Ha! But, when I’m not pregnant I do try to go to the gym. (emphasis on TRY) I actually just joined an amazing gym right before getting pregnant (with an awesome child-care center…major PLUS!), but then I stopped going because I was so nervous about this pregnancy (We have to go the IVF route and this was our very last embryo- wasn’t taking any chances on the elliptical!). Since this is our last baby, I’m planning on reclaiming my body once this little man is born. I plan to hit the gym and the healthy-eating train pretty hard. I can say that now…because it’s still several months away! ;)
Do you get ready every day? Makeup, hair and curated outfits? If so, how do you do it with children?
That’s easy- No. I try at the very least to get some make-up on every day so that I don’t scare the teachers at carpool drop off, but I’ve got two words for you: athleisure wear. I swear, most days my girls look about a million times better than I do. Curated outfits for the girls? Yep, every single day! Curated outfits for myself? Not so much. On days when I know I’ve got to be out and about- sure, I’ll get ready. But most of the time I’m in yoga pants and my hair is in a messy bun or a side braid. My two-and-a-half year old now calls me Elsa. So, there’s that.
Has your style changed after motherhood?
Style? (see above answer^) Let’s be honest…if I make it into jeans, I feel like I might as well be on the cover of Vogue. I really envy those fashion blogger moms that look like they just walked off a movie set. I really want to know how they do it, head-to-toe, every dang day. Seriously…fill me in!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
In which category? Ha! Um- coffee, ice cream, reality TV, wine, designer purses, live theater, children’s clothing…I could keep going. But I guess, overall, my guilty pleasure is staying home. I would 100% rather spend a Friday night curled up on the couch watching a movie with my husband than go out. I’m a total homebody to the core.
If you breastfeed, how do you schedule your day around feedings and outings?
I breast fed both girls. But we had some complications with A and I stopped way earlier than I wanted to. I changed my mind, questioned the advice we had been given, and then tried desperately to get my milk back and start over, but- no luck. This time around I plan on trusting my instincts and breastfeeding as long as I can. It’s not easy with a busy schedule but those nursing covers really come in handy. I remember feeding both girls on-the-go using those. I also did a lot of pumping and incorporating bottles when I knew I’d be out all day and when I wanted/needed Ryan to help out. I found that getting my babes comfortable with both bottle and breast early on made things so much less-stressful for me. I’m actually really excited that I get to do this one last time. My plan is to be relaxed and go with the flow as much as possible when it comes to breastfeeding. We have a busy life, so this little man is going to need to be flexible… I guess I need to take my own advice on that one. (#ocd)
How many hours of sleep to you get a night on average?
I’m a night owl. As bone-tired as I am at the end of the day, night-time is my “me-time” and I’m always so sad to close my eyes and have that time be over. So I’ll stay awake reading or perusing Instagram until late! I usually force myself to close my eyes by 11:30 just because I get up at 7:00 and I know I’ll be exhausted if I stay up later than that. So I’d say I get about 7-8 hours every night. Not counting the “nightmares” and middle of the night wake-ups from the girls! But I’m soaking those 7-8 hours in. Give me about three months and I’ll become a walking zombie, newborn mommy once again. It’s not pretty, but I think I’ll survive like I always do- on strong coffee and newborn fumes.
What is a priority for you, and what gets sacrificed? For example, everyone looks great but the house is a disaster, or the house is clean but work deadlines get pushed back.
I’m not saying my house is always clean (because it’s not), but when it IS, that’s when I feel like I can function at my best. It’s like if my house is a mess, my brain is a mess. So I try my best to keep at least the main areas organized. I’m also a nut about dressing the girls…it’s another one of my guilty pleasures. So they’re usually all done-up and put together, at least when we are going out in public. As far as work goes, I’m pretty OCD about deadlines- BUT I am a stay-at-home mom first, so my kids always come before any work I may have. If they need me or want to go play outside, then the work gets put on hold and I’ll wind up doing it at night to catch up. So I guess, I put myself on the back burner. That sounds pretty terrible, but I guess it’s true. I try to keep all the balls in the air and sometimes I can lose myself in the process. I really need to work on that.
Do you cook meals every day for your family? If so, how do you plan them?
No. I’m TERRIBLE about cooking. And it’s not so much about the cooking itself, it’s the planning and shopping and prep work. I don’t know HOW people find the time! I swear if I had an unlimited budget, hiring a chef would be the first thing I would do. (And then one of those fashion blogger moms to dress me…)
Have you ever felt like you are losing yourself to motherhood and or life? If so, how did you bounce back?
Um, every day! Honestly, there are good days and bad days and then good and bad moments within each of those days. Some days I feel like I am Super Mom and I skip through the house humming songs and patting the kids on the head like Mary Poppins. Then, other days, I feel like I’m breathing through a straw trying to stay on top of it all. It’s a lot- this motherhood thing. It’s THE best, most rewarding job in the world and being a mother is something I wanted my ENTIRE life. I wouldn’t give it up or change it for anything. Buuut, it can definitely take its toll. Motherhood, for me, is a lot of giving. Giving of care and love, time and money; giving of yourself. It’s sacrifice and selflessness and (for me), lots of worrying- about their health and their future and about the decisions I’m making for them on a daily basis. And then, on top of all that- it’s a lot of cleaning and folding and driving and waiting around in dance school lobbies, you know? So yes, of course it can be exhausting: physically, mentally, and emotionally. But honestly, “taking 10” and sitting down to snuggle, read, or talk to my girls reminds me of exactly why I do it all over again every single day- being present with them is what brings me full circle.
Does hubby help you with anything particular? If so, what and how?
Yes, he’s amazing. He helps from the minute he gets home from work at night, up until we go to bed. Dishes, baths, bedtime stories, going out to pick up the dinner (that I didn’t cook!)…you name it, he helps. I totally lucked out with him. He’s a keeper.
How do you manage motherhood and marriage?
Communication; talking about how our day went, about the good and the bad and how we can help each other out; working as a team, really. Date Nights are few and far between for us, but they are so refreshing when we get them! We also use weekends as family time- we all truly enjoy being together, whether its running errands or going out to lunch. I think it’s important that the girls see me as their mommy but also as “daddy’s wife”. At the end of the day, my husband and I are best friends. It’s the friendship and laughing together, no matter what we’re doing, that keeps our bond so strong.
Do you work? Do you work in an office or at home? What does your work consist of and how do you get it done during the week?
I shut down my family photography business after my second was born and life got too overwhelming. Now I run a lifestyle/photography –ish based blog and while some may consider it more of a hobby than a “job”, I am super busy doing collaborations with clothing companies and lots of product photo shoots. I function by way of an old-school calendar. I’m a paper and pen kind of a gal; I like to write it down, highlight it, and tag it with a million post-it notes! ;) I keep a running list of collabs and shoots that I have scheduled for the month in a notebook and then keep track of exact shoot dates and deadlines in my day-planner that comes with me EVERYWHERE. That’s just the organization part. Actually getting the work done is a different story. Luckily, lots of my shoots involve the girls, so those are usually fun and low key in the sense that it’s not time I need to be away from them. Then I save my editing, email answering, etc. for the few short hours a week when both girls are at school. Which sounds like a lot more time than it actually is! Haha! My youngest only goes twice a week for two hours- so my designated “work time” is pretty scarce. I really try hard not to work at night because a.) I’m tired and b.) We are busy as a family eating dinner, getting ready for the next day, and then winding down. After the girls go to bed is when my husband and I hang out. It’s important that we have that time together to catch up and check-in with each other. I really only work nights & weekends if I absolutely have to. So yeah, attempting to work, even a little bit, as a stay-at-home mom has it’s challenges, mostly because there is never a time when “work” gets to be the priority. It makes it difficult, but I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to stay home with my girls AND do something I’m passionate about.
Have your circle of friends changed now that you're a mother? If so, how do you meet new mommy friends?
Yes and No. I still have my two best friends from college right here in Dallas with me…which is amazing. And then I have the friends I’ve made since moving to Texas 10 years ago, most of whom then became “mommy friends” when we all wound up starting our families at the same time. Then I have what I call my “school friends” or friends I’ve met through my girl’s school mates. And THEN I have this amazing group of blogger friends I’ve met through social media (some in real life); It may sound weird but I’m actually just as close to some of those women as I am to the women I see on a daily basis at school drop off. I really love having such diverse groups of women that I can relate to about different topics and life issues; it’s like having work friends, mommy friends, and the friends that just know way too much! Hahaha!
What’s the least favorite household chore you dread doing?
Ooooh…that’s a good one. I’d say folding/putting away laundry. I don’t mind the actual “laundry” part but Dear God, save me from the folding and the hanging!!! Seriously, please- rescue me!! Hangers are my nemesis…and don’t even get me started on the wire ones that come home from the dry cleaner.
Describe a recent experience when you didn’t have it “all together” and how you handled it all.
How about yesterday? Every single thing went wrong- starting with the minute my alarm didn’t go off in the morning.
Spilled tea all over my brand new, freshly filled out calendar? Check.
Running on fumes and having all four gas pumps at the gas station be “out of order”? Check.
Jerky teenage driver on his phone who almost side-swiped my car, with me and the girls in it? Um, yeah- angry Check!
Late to school? Ripped tights on our way out the door? Skinned toddler knees? Check, check, and check.
Seriously, the day was horrible- and I think most moms out there have had one (or a million) of these days and can totally relate. I was stressed and angry and taking it out on the kids (insert major mom guilt here.) I really felt like I was going to break down in tears if one more thing went wrong so I literally called an “all-stop” to the day. Me and the girls changed into pjs, put on a movie and snuggled on the couch. We ordered take out for dinner (shocker) and I put all errands and work on the back burner for the rest of the day. I can’t even tell you how much that instantly changed all of our moods- it was like one giant, collective sigh-of-relief rippled through the house. Sometimes adults need “time outs” too! ;)
Fill in the blank: As a mother, it's a luxury to __________________
Be able to do what YOU want to do, when YOU want to do it. (…says my inner five-year-old.)
What is your philosophy on balance and does it exist in your home?
The key to my sanity is schedule. I find that it helps me, the kids, and my husband when everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect; knows what “comes next”.
What are your dreams outside of motherhood that you would like to accomplish?
I would really just love to grow my business; to push my photography knowledge further and expand my client/brand list. I’ve been so extremely fortunate to work with some of the very best brands thus far, so I hope that I can just continue along this path- growing and learning and pushing myself along the way. One of my goals is to stay original; to focus on myself and my own work and to try not to get lost in the comparison game.
I know it sounds random, but it’s also always been a dream of mine, since I was just a kid, to publish a children’s book. I got pretty close once, but then life took over. Maybe one day, when I’m old and grey, I’ll be able to revisit that one! Granny’s Tales for Children….has a nice ring. ;)
What is one thing that keeps you sane?
Alone Time. (and wine.)
What is one question you'd like to ask our fellow mama readers?
As a mom who’s “business” functions mainly on social media, I’d love to hear from other moms about how the ever-rising “Instagram Mom” phenomenon influences you. Do you feel inspired by these seemingly perfect feeds or feel defeated and “not good enough”? I find it so fascinating because I’ve been on both sides and I know, from my feed at least, that all is NOT as perfect as it may look in a picture. I think this is a discussion that we, as moms and women, should be open and honest about. I’d love to hear what other moms think!