Hey, Cool Mom! With Jenny LeFlore, founder of Mama Fresh
I’m thrilled to introduce Jenny LeFlore! She’s upbeat, she’s real, and she GETS IT DONE. For Jenny, “IT” is raising her beautiful 18 month old, Obie Q, with a willful attention to local culture, diversity, and meaningful social interactions. She started Mama Fresh to help facilitate these rich experiences and connections for other moms and kids in Chicago through events like Mama & Me Yoga, Mama Meetups, and more! Every Friday, she shares a video of “Freshly Picked Events” in the Chicago area for the upcoming weekend. Just recently, she hosted her first Baby Soul Jam, a party for families, featuring live music, DJs, and tons of giveaways. Round 2 (May 12th) is already sold out!
Here's more about Jenny, in her words...
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am Jenny LeFlore, the Founder and Mama behind Mama Fresh, a platform to empower Mamas. I’m an advocate for Mamas. I am running a business with a baby on my hip and a community of Fresh Mamas that have my back.
Describe your family.
My husband and I are meant to be. That sounds bold but it is true. He took me on my Senior prom as blind date. After that we lost touch for the next 14 years. On our (second) first date my husband told me if he ever had a son he would name him after him. OUR FIRST DATE! Well fast forward years later and we welcomed Obie LeFlore IV into our lives, we call him Q or ObieQ. My husband is my biggest cheerleader and has so many characteristics that I admire. ObieQ is the best of both of us. He is curious, has a sense of humor, can play a mean djembe and can shut down any dance floor. Did I mention he is only 18 months old?!
What do you do most days?
My days are action packed from the moment I wake up and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Recently, I have started the mornings by saying the words Thank You. I am thankful for so much in my life. Just those 2 words have changed my outlook on the day. Even when Q wakes up screaming from teething (is my child the only one who always seems to be teething?) I say, Thank You. Sometimes it is thru clenched teeth but I still say it!
Q and I start our day by breastfeeding. 18 months and we are still going strong. Nursing him in the morning helps start my day in a very mindful place. I cherish this bonding time as I sense it will be ending soon. After we finish, I answer emails while Q follows his Daddy around like a shadow. We sing our “Good Morning Song” and he is out the door. I pour myself some coffee and get ready for our whirlwind ahead.
ObieQ often has classes of some kind, he takes yoga, literacy, music, swimming and art classes throughout the city. I have done this with him since he was 4 months. He gets to be exposed to culture and I get to meet other dope Mamas in the city. Hopefully I have worn him out by the afternoon. During his nap I type feverishly on my iPad catching up on emails and more coffee.
When my husband come home, we feed Q and, if you have a toddler, you know this is no easy feat. After dinner we all hang out as a family, listening to music and catching up on the day. After bath, pjs, and prayer ObieQ is off to bed. I pour myself a glass of wine and spend quality time with my husband. After he goes to sleep I spend another couple of hours on Mama Fresh.
*On days where I have long meetings. I drop Q off at a sitter that has been a blessing to us. I have help and I am not ashamed!!!*
Who/What is inspiring you these days?
Luckily I don’t have to look far for inspiration. I am inspired by Mamas in my real life and Mamas I have friendships with virtually. I see women that are breastfeeding, caring for multiple kids, nursing sick kids back to health, maintaining a happy household, cooking healthy dinners, finding time for girls night out and date night with their partners ALL WHILE RUNNING A BUSINESS!! That gets me fired up! I am also a pretty damn good hype woman so I am quick to send a text or slide up in your DMs to say “Yaasssssss Go Mama! You are amazing!”
Tell us about what it's like living in Chicago.
I am a daughter of Chicago. I was born, nurtured, met my husband and now am raising my son here. We live in Bronzeville and I love it. WE spend the majority of our time as a family right on the South Side in Hyde Park, Bronzeville, Kenwood, etc. We have a village here that is so supportive. I love walking into my favorite coffee shop (The Currency Exchange Cafe, you MUST go!) and knowing the staff there. Growing up and living in Chicago builds character, we take harsh winters like champs and flourish in SummertimeChi!
Chicago is a city of neighborhoods and along with our reputation of a beautiful skyline and must attend festivals there is also the fact that we are one of the most segregated cities. I found that to be especially visible as I attended parenting classes and activities for my son. That is one of experiences that inspired Mama Fresh, I wanted to create a space where inclusion and diversity is celebrated!
What books are you reading or wanting to read? Why?
TBH I am not reading anything. The last book I read was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom but I am going to step my game up, I promise! I want to read a “book club” type of book. You know, one that everyone is talking about at the nail salon? I have my eyes on An American Marriage. It’s an Oprah Book Club pick so it sounds like exactly what I am looking for. Also, recently, I have been attracted to more poetry and I just ordered Heart Talk by Cleo Wade. Her book of poems and affirmations are perfect for my on-the-go life.
What’s your favorite song for 1) a dance party 2) feeling sad
A) Hands down: “Finesse” remix by Bruno Mars & Cardi B. My son loves this song and as soon as those first drums hit..his feet just go crazy! You can’t help but to join in!!! Just thinking about it has me tapping my foot :)
B) When I am feeling sad it’s often because I feel overwhelmed. Anxiety and doubt rear their head and I start questioning my decisions. I instantly turn on the song “Intentional” by Travis Greene. It’s a gospel song that reminds you that all things are working for your good! The lyrics are comforting and gets me to refocus.
What artists or designers do you like?
The latest art exhibition I went to (and I took my son) was Hebru Brantley show at the Elmhurst Art Museum right outside of Chicago. We are so lucky to be in Chicago and surrounded by the art of Hebru. His art invites you in and doesn’t make you feel like a spectator, you are a participant. His signature Fly Boy is a direct reflection of ObieQ. I am a huge fan.
What clothes are making you feel good?
I love clothes that I can wear multiple ways and feel instantly cool. This past week I wore a floral jumpsuit that I wore this summer for a baby shower. For this chilly weather I layered a T-shirt under it and added white booties.
Speaking of white booties. I LOVE mine. I purchased mine last year and have felt great every time I have worn them. They added that special pop to my look. I just purchased hot pink booties for the same purpose.
I have a blue and white striped dress that is so easy to throw on and feel polished. I throw red denim under it when I want an edgier look. (BTW I purchased 4 out of 5 of these items from Target! #MomWin)
Living in Chicago I am a sucker for good outerwear. My husband bought me a faux fur red jacket. I am obsessed! He says I look a little bit like Tickle Me Elmo but it makes me so happy. I often wear it running normal errands.
So if you are at the grocery store and see a woman with a red fur coat, yoga pants and sneakers….that’s probably me so come over and say “Hey Mama Hey”!