Young and In Love: Q+A with Jessica Locke

I'd like to introduce you to Jessica Locke. She's a 27-year-old mama of 3, soon to be 4, all under the age of 6. If that wasn't enough to make her wonder woman, she is also super organized, well-budgeted and is about to release an e-book on hospitality. And did I mention she homeschools and coaches soccer? And writes a lovely, creative blog?

I'm exhausted just writing about her. 

Here's a bit of Jessica's story in her words:

1.      Tell us about your journey to motherhood. How old were you when you had your first child?

I was pregnant with my first baby on my 21st birthday. I celebrated by going out to Chili’s and ordering a chocolate shake (that’s normal, right?). A couple months later, our beautiful daughter was born.

2.      How did your family and friends react to the news of your pregnancies? Were reactions different each time?

In general, our friends and family were always very excited to hear about each of our pregnancies. My parents were always certain to throw in a “so you’re done now, right?” comment after the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th babies, but still, I think they were always excited for us. At this point I’m pregnant with #4, and usually people just look at me like I’m crazy (or they just go ahead and say it out loud). Whatever...I guess with (almost) 4 kids under age 6, I do qualify as at least a little crazy.   

3.      Did you and your husband always know you wanted a big family?

Four has always been our magic number. My husband grew up in a family of 4 boys and loved it, and I grew up in a family of 2 girls and always wanted more siblings. Four just seemed perfect for us. 

4.      Tell us a little about your love story. How have you and your husband evolved over the course of your relationship?

Oh man! That’s a loaded question! We are definitely not the same people we were when we said “I do” 8 ½ years ago. I was just a baby when we got married. I was 18 and he was 23.  Our relationship (and our personalities) has changed over time, especially as children were added into the mix and jobs changed. My husband’s previous jobs allowed for a very flexible schedule along with lots and lots of family time. He often took the kids to work with him while I worked part time, and in general, we updated each other and talked about life together throughout the day. We felt really “close” all the time. 

As he transitioned a year ago to a more typical 8-5 job, we had to adjust to a new family life and a new way of connecting in our marriage relationship. We have learned to be more intentional about our times together, because if we’re not, we’ll miss it all together.  Bedtime for the kids is decently strict, and once the kids are in bed, we sit together and watch a show or talk together until bed.

Right now I am putting a priority on making sure our children see us interacting in a healthy way. We want them to see us hugging and kissing, hear us asking and listening about each others’ days, watch us disagree and discuss and compromise with each other, hear us encourage each other, and witness us doing things for the sake of the other. We want our marriage relationship to be one in which our children can look to as an example of what they should expect and strive for when they are grown and enter into relationships. Of course, there are still conversations and such that are not for their ears, but I think making it a priority to display these healthy aspects of our relationship is not only good for them, but a challenge for me to make sure I’m actually doing all of those things I so highly value! 

5.      How has motherhood changed you?

I think one of the biggest changes for me is actually in how I view and respond to other moms. Before you are a mom, you just don’t understand all of the complexities of raising children (heck, I still don’t think I understand it all). Experiencing first hand the difficulties of raising children has given me a tremendous amount of respect and grace for other moms as they navigate through the same challenges. I have become much more accepting of how other moms “do things”, even if it’s not how I would do it myself. 

6.      You have a book coming out soon! Can you tell us a little about that?

I do, and I’m so excited about it! I am writing an eBook on hospitality. Mostly, I am hoping to provide a practical resource to help other women feel confident and equipped to host guests in their own homes. I LOVE having people in my home (we have guests multiple times every week). As I’ve talked with other women, I have found that many would like to have people in their home, but they just feel like they don’t know how, can’t afford it, don’t know what to do, or generally just feel overwhelmed at the whole process. I’m hoping to address those frustrations/fears and provide ways to make it a fun and enjoyable process instead.   

7.      You are a super organized and well budgeted mama. Any top tips on keeping a home running smoothly?

Don’t ever sleep. Just kidding. I like to use lists and calendars. I use lists for things like “to do’s”, budgeting ideas, home school plans/ideas, blog stuff, etc. I keep a notebook and pen out all the time so that when I remember something I need to do, I can jot it down for another time. I also find that having boundaries for certain tasks is important.  I don’t do chores at nap-time unless totally necessary. The reason? I need a break, too! When I’m rested, I’m more cheerful and can interact with the children and take care of chores much more positively. Taking care of yourself is a huge help in keeping a home running smoothly. And lastly, I choose to be okay with a not-so-perfect home.I have a couple areas of the home that I find important for my sanity to keep clean all the time. There are other days when I choose to let some other areas of the home go in order to preserve my sanity. Realizing that I can’t do it all and choosing to be okay with that helps a ton.

8.      What do you love most about your life right now?

Right now I really love that I am able to stay at home with our kids and homeschool them. The fact that I was financially able to leave my teaching job and be totally available to our children in this season of life is a huge blessing. I love that my husband is incredibly supportive and works so hard to make it a reality for our family. Overall, I truly believe that I am in one of the best seasons of my adult life so far. I have a happy, healthy family, and a super hot husband. What more could a girl want?

Check out Jessica's blog, Mothering with Creativity and also the website for her upcoming e-book Simplified Hospitality

If you're interested in submitting to our "Young and In Love" series, contact me for more information.