Show + Tell: Jena Booher
Going back to work after starting a family may be one of the most daunting challenges a new mom will face. The inevitable weighing of benefits – mental balance for mom versus mom-baby time at home. What’s best for your family? For your mental health? For your baby’s self-confidence development?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this challenge. What works for one family would be impossible for another and there’s enough mom-shaming going around to make us all throw our hands in the air. Sometimes it feels like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
It was such a blessing to meet Jena a few weeks back as we partnered up on our upcoming Little Spoon + Happily Eva After event on June 7th in NYC. Jena is a star when it comes to the back-to-work conversation. She is a maternal mental health expert who studies the perceptions, behaviors and relationships between mothers in the workplace and their fellow colleagues and managers. Jena is in the process of finishing up her PhD in Psychology with a focus on how to improve gender diversity in the workplace. Her knowledge is invaluable and we are so excited to have her join us on our panel discussion around motherhood and self care.
I hope you enjoy getting to know her through some fun Q&A’s below. Be sure to join us on June 7th!
What has been your biggest challenge being a mother?
My biggest challenge is not to justify my work at the expense of my child. Sometimes when I am dedicating a LOT of time to work and my academics, I justify it by saying, “well, my work will one day hopefully have a direct positive impact on all women which includes my daughter.” However, my daughter in her 2 1/2 year old form doesn’t get that now. She just knows Mom is away. So, I have to be careful with how I justify my work and make sure it’s really the right thing for me, the world, and my family.
If you could go back, what would you tell your pre-pregnancy self?
I would tell her to get ready, suit up… that she’s going to fight a huge battle in the workplace that she never had to before. But, that it will make her stronger and it will lead her to her dream job.
Do you believe mothers can find a true work-life balance? If so, how so? If not, why not?
Not all at the same time. I think over the course of one’s lifetime we can attain balance. Some years may be more intensely dedicated to rearing children and other years may be more focused on career. I try to not think of work-life balance in a short term mindset, but rather over the course of my lifetime.
What are your top three ways that you practice self care?
1. I work out 5 days a week and its non negotiable.
2. I get pleasure reading in every day just to unwind and relax my brain.
3. I celebrate my wins.
Many moms complain about losing their sexy side when they become a mom. How do you nurture your sexy side?
I would say by trying my best to make wellness and fitness a priority. I always feel sexier when I feel strong.
And some quick ones!
Favorite bedtime story: Goodnight Gorilla
Favorite food: Cheeseburger
Favorite workout: Orangetheory Fitness Workouts
Favorite drink: Red wine
Favorite vacay: I went to Spain and Portugal with my now husband five years ago. It was one of our first trips together. I will never forget it.