The feeling of being stretched too thin is a feeling all too familiar for women, namely working moms. Author Jessica N. Turner recognized this feeling in thousands of women, and with her new book, Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive, she encourages moms to identify their biggest challenges and make changes to help them go from barely surviving to thriving. A Wisconsin-native, Jessica obtained a degree in journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before moving to Nashville and marrying Matthew Paul Turner, a bestselling children’s books author who is most known for his book When God Made You. Together they have three children, who are 10, 7 and almost 4. After seven years of working at Lovell Communications, Jessica transitioned to her current job working for Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the marketing department.
Bestselling author, founder of The Mom Creative, award-winning marketing professional and speaker and working mother, Jessica N. Turner is today’s FACE of the South.
Can you share the story of The Mom Creative? How did it snowball into what it is today?
When I started The Mom Creative, that wasn’t even its name! It was a small, personal blog on Blogspot in 2006. After becoming pregnant with my first child in 2007, I began to amass a following through people linking to my site and message boards that I was active in in the scrapbooking community. I rebranded in 2008 to The Mom Creative as a play on words because my roots were in crafting, but motherhood takes a lot of creativity!
Over the past 10+ years, I’ve been fortunate to work with some incredible brands including Southwest Airlines, P&G, Hallmark, Shark, World Vision and many more.
I don’t think of the blog as snowballing, as much as it was a lot of hard work and thoughtful choices. With having a full-time job on top of my online brand, I don’t have the luxury of a lot of time. Therefore, I have focused on doing what I know I can do well, said yes to opportunities that fit within my passions and been willing to evolve as my audience has changed and my family has grown.
What was the tipping point for writing your newest book Stretched Too Thin?
I signed a two-book deal in 2013. My first book, The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You, released in February 2015, just six weeks after my third child was born. I told my publisher I needed a break between books to determine what made sense for me to write. As I evaluated what I knew and what the market needed, I realized few resources existed for working moms. That was a catalyst for me to write a book that would encourage working moms to identify their biggest challenges and then make changes to go from barely surviving to really thriving.
I surveyed 2,000 working moms to ensure that the book reflected a broad range of perspectives from moms who worked both full-time and part-time, in a wide variety of careers. I also interviewed dozens of people, both other working moms and experts like home organizers, counselors and coaches. That research, combined with my own experiences working full-time while parenting, resulted in Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive.
The hardback book released this fall, and the response has already been incredible. Thousands of retailers are carrying it including Target stores nationwide, more than 200 airports, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Books-A-Million and many independent bookstores, including Nashville’s Parnassus. Women have said things like, “This book changed my life,” which has been very humbling.
What do you hope this book will accomplish for working mothers?
I hope working mothers feel seen. It can be incredibly isolating when you feel stretched too thin. I think the book does a good job incorporating stories and tips that working moms can relate to and find value in.
Stretched Too Thin’s chapters are broken up into the biggest pain points for working moms, including home management, self-care, work boundaries, relationships and so many more. By writing the book this way, I hope women can dive into each topic and leverage the strategies that make sense for them. Every chapter ends with reflection questions, which I created for readers to take time and think about how the content could be applied to their own stories.
I also hope that this book motivates working mothers to share their struggles with other people in their lives. The more we can be real with one another, the deeper our relationships will be, the freer we will feel, and the more help we will be able to accept.
What is your number one piece of advice for working mothers?
Take care of yourself. You are not doing anyone — your colleagues, your family, yourself — any favors by putting yourself last. Listen to your body. Drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep, go to the doctor regularly and exercise. Make time for your passions. You will be better for it!
A close second is to remember that good enough is good enough. So often women get caught up in the lie that our lives should look like a Pinterest board, and that only leads to feelings of comparison, shame and frustration. Instead of looking to the Internet, magazines and social media, look inside yourself. What are you passionate about? What do you have capacity for right now? Do those things.
How do you handle days that seem overwhelming?
It sounds simple, but I take things one step at a time. I make a list and work through everything. Sometimes the act of getting something down on paper frees my brain up enough to relax. I also remind myself that things like chores or even my work are not the most important things — myself and my family are.
Who is currently inspiring you?
I am encouraged by the women who are working hard for equality and representation. From all the new female elects in November’s election to women like Glennon Doyle, Austin Channing Brown and Jen Hatmaker, this is an exciting, important time to be a woman in America. I am inspired to use my voice for good and hope that it inspires others as well.
When you aren’t working (during your fringe hours), where can we find you?
Simple nights at home are my favorite – whether that’s snuggling up for a family movie night, playing a game or curling up with a good book. We also love to bake in our family, so chances are homemade cookies or brownies are probably nearby!
How have your children and your relationship with your husband benefited from your ability to reclaim your time as a working mom?
I believe women are better wives, moms, friends, co-workers and leaders when we are investing in ourselves. I am happier when I am living out my passions, and that makes for happiness all the way around.
My children are little, but I hope when they are adults they will be confident in the work that they do and in their ability to raise wonderful children because they came from a home with parents who did just that.
What is the best piece of advice you have received, and from whom?
I don’t know who said it, but I once heard, if it isn’t a hell yes, it is a no. That is my litmus test for everything. Is this something I really want to do? If not, then I politely decline. I’ve learned that you never regret a no, but you might regret a yes, so I give those yeses out sparingly.
What books are on your bedside table?
As a voracious reader, my stack is always pretty large. My work book club is reading A Place for Us right now, so I am finishing that up. I am also reading The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp this advent. Each evening I also fill in my One Line a Day journal.
Though not technically on my “stack,” I have also been listening to Michelle Obama’s Becoming book on Audible every chance I can get.
I share all my book recommendations on my “bookstagram” account @BookSnobbery. It’s my favorite passion project.
Name three things you cannot live without, excluding faith, family and friends.
Books, Target and my husband’s cooking
Thank you, Jessica, for looking out for other moms. Thanks to Molly Peach Photography for today’s photos!
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