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Mom of the Month: Jess Bonsall

This month we chat with Jess Bonsall about motherhood, the environment, and punk rock music!

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From left to right, Will (Jess's father in law), Coen, Jess, and husband Brian.

This month, I got to sit down with Jess Bonsall and her son Coen. Jess hails from the great state of Texas and is fairly new to the Baltimore area. From the moment I met Jess at PUSH, I loved how real she was. This week, we chatted at Three Bean coffee shop and I quickly found out that not only is she easy for me to talk to, but that children in the shop gravitated to her as well. I loved when she patiently explained to a random little boy that she didn’t know the name of the Transformer he was holding, but that she was sure that the Transformer wouldn’t mind if he gave it a new name. Her son Coen is five months and starting to sit up on his own now.

What are you drinking?

An Americano, totally love it. Well, I say that… My husband will make me an extra dry cappuccino that’s just delicious, but I don’t like milk in the coffee, I just like the foam so that’s why I order an americano at a coffee shop. But if we’re at home, a very dry cappuccino.

What is your favorite thing about Stroller Strides?

So we’re relatively new to Baltimore and having a group of moms that we’re able to see on a daily basis, that we can relate to, just that community, is great. The workout is awesome, helping to gain some sanity and feel good again after having a kiddo. The community of Moms: knowing that you can show up exhausted, hair a mess, feeling stressed out and at the end of your rope, and then get a great workout in and have people to talk to and commiserate with, and talk about the good things. It’s been fantastic. I honestly don’t know what I would have done as a Mom (It makes me teary eyed.) without it. It’s been amazing!

Do you have a favorite exercise?

I love to run, just running in general. Although Heather is trying to make us appreciate burpees, but I don’t know that I’m there.

What is your favorite part about being a mom?

I thought that I had a really rewarding and challenging job professionally, but that’s completely not so if I compare it to being a mom. Getting to be the main influence in shaping a little one’s life in such a direct way is just amazing. I love watching him learn.

What is something that you wish you’d known before you became a mom?

I think everybody said be prepared to really not sleep at all, but I kind of went into it thinking, “Yeah, ok, we’ll get through it.” No, I don’t think that there is anything that really prepares you for the lack of sleep that you go through in that transition. I don’t know if anyone could have told me that and I really would have understood, but at the same point in time, I think that’s the toughest, the lack of sleep.

What is your favorite thing to do when Coen is napping?

Actually my Mom and I were talking about this the other day, I become the most efficient and productive person in the entire world when he’s down for a nap. It’s absolutely crazy. I thought I was efficient before being a mom, but I can hammer out laundry, mop the floors, vacuum the house. Because I love things to be neat and tidy, that’s my sanity point when he’s napping. I make things nice and clean and tidy.

What is your favorite thing to do as a family?

We love going for walks and runs together. Getting to take Coen out, getting some fresh air, letting him explore as we move around. It’s been the best! That, and we’re members of the National Aquarium. I’m a marine fisheries major and getting to share that with Coen has been pretty amazing, getting to see his eyes looking around. It’s new for him every time we go.

What is something that someone may not know about you?

I’m an environmentalist. I think most people catch that after they’ve spent some time around me. I think if people didn’t know, that it’s something that I’d like to share because protecting our environment is super important. We’re all moms raising kiddos and being able to hand down that legacy to our kids is super important to me.

What is your favorite healthy and unhealthy food?

Let’s start with unhealthy: french fries fried in duck fat. If you’re really going to put the icing on the cake, add a good aioli to dip them in. Salt Tavern serves them in a giant cone and they are the giant cone of happiness. They’re amazing! For healthy food, I love raw veggies of just about any sort. Right now, my big kick is sweet potatoes. My husband thinks I’m crazy that I eat sweet potatoes raw, but I love it. They’re so good and crunchy, kind of like a carrot, but different.

What is your favorite color?

It goes between blue and green, so blue-green.

What is your favorite song/artist/band?

So, this is probably one of those things that people don’t know about me. I absolutely love old school punk rock music! One of the bands that I used to follow around a lot, is a band called Fear. They’re loud and angry and they do a lot of yelling and it gets me ramped up. Now lately, we try to keep following new artists coming out of Austin. We discovered this fun band called The Digital Wild and they’re amazing. The lead singer is this woman who has this beautiful, powerful voice and she’s a tiny little thing, so her stage presence is awesome!

What TV shows are you currently watching?

I don’t watch a lot of TV. I was watching Bones the other night, super nerd-out show, and then there was a show that popped up on Amazon that I think used to air on Showtime about ballerinas, Flesh and Bone, and that show was intense. I was super sad that there weren’t any more seasons of that. It was really twisted.

Any advice for new moms?

Build your network of new moms. Lean on each other. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and when people ask how you’re feeling, don’t be afraid to say “I feel like crap,” or “I’m really stressed out.” You don’t have to be happy and sunshine all the time just because you have a new kiddo. We put ourselves under so much pressure and we don’t need to do more. When you’re with other moms, they’ll understand.

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In the craziness that is motherhood and business ownership -- and all those other parts of life as I know it -- sometimes I like to sit back, quiet my mind, and just remember what brought me to this crazy beautiful happy place. I remember when I tried my first class and made my first neighborhood mom friends. When I first met the mom down the street who would later become my business partner. I remember the moms who came, who saw, who conquered; those who have been with me since the start and those who have moved away. All that remembering leads me right back to today. I thought I'd share some of these moments through pictures and a little story-telling.


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