Inspiring parents in our community: Tess and Brynne

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Inspiring parents in our community: Tess and Brynne

Inspiring parents in our community: Tess Jankovsky and Brynne Gordon

Okay, guys, let’s start with introductions! You guys know each other well, but introduce yourselves to our audience.

Tess: Well, my name is Tess. I grew up here but moved away for a while before moving back eight years ago. I am an internal medicine doctor, mom to two little girls, and married to Brynne’s brother!

Brynne: And I am Brynne. I grew up here, too. I am a dentist. I also have two daughters. And I have the most amazing sister-in-law.

Tess: We’ve known each other a long time, but we’re far enough apart in age that we didn’t interact a ton when we were younger.

Brynne: I definitely knew about her when she started dating my brother!

It’s fun because you have such parallel paths but are at different stages on those paths.

Tess: Yes, I love getting Brynne’s advice. Her daughter’s are older than mine and my oldest, who is three, loves being around Brynne’s girls.

Brynne: And we got a lot of advice from Tess when we were deciding to move back two years ago. We loved living in Chicago and wanted to know what it was like moving back and being around family and raising kids in a small town. It’s also incredible being here and letting our girls grow up together.

Tess: Our families are close. My mom got really sick right before I had my first daughter and passed away within that year. So Brynne has been my family support and she is the person I turn to which is so appreciated. That is truthfully so much better than any specific advice she could ever offer. It has been so helpful, especially after having my second daughter — it’s been so much harder the second time around!

Brynne: Give yourself credit. It is hard at baseline to have two babies, work full time, and balance relationships. Then you add in all the outside factors of life and you begin to question everything. It makes it so hard. I love having Tess and other moms telling me that what I am doing is okay and our kids will be fine.

Well, you two have amazing kids. You both do work full time and have two kids, what makes that possible?

Tess: It is really helpful that we both have spouses with flexible schedules.

Brynne: My husband is a stay at home dad who does the household stuff while I work four days a week. I think it is totally fine having my husband being the primary parent! It makes it nice because when I leave work I can be home and be present and be a mom. My husband can pick up the slack.

Tess: I work three days a week but I do take a lot of work home with me. I try to leave the office right away so I can help with bedtime but then I have more work to do once the girls are asleep. Also, shout out to Brynne’s mom who is the third parent to all our kids!

Brynne: It takes three grown-ups to have two kids.

Tess: We are all off Fridays and we still ask Brynne’s mom to help out. We still need help, we’re still in the stage of winging it. There isn’t a lot of balance and the kids are still really dependent on us. And when it is your child it is so much harder and more emotional.

With all of that juggling, how do you take time for yourself?

Brynne: Truthfully, I don’t have a lot of time for myself. But that is the season of parenting I am in. When I am at work I focus on that. When I am at home I focus on the girls. When my kids want less time with me in the future I will have more time for myself. And that is okay. I think of it right now as my second shift. My husband and I are home together Fridays so we have our weekly day dates which is great to connect. Even if it is just running errands together.

Tess: Since my girls are so little the timing of getting time to myself can be hard. When I could just tow my oldest around that made it a lot easier. Now there are two kids at two different stages which is challenging.

Brynne: I do think you and my brother do prioritize making time for each other around all the schedules. Even if you can’t do something together you prioritize each other.

Tess: Thanks, it can be hard. We are also aware as parents as to how good you are at being present with your girls. It is very apparent. And if we notice it I know they notice it too.

Is that juggling one of the harder parts of parenting right now? Or what is the most challenging part of parenting right now?

Tess: Navigating the two stages is really hard. My oldest is three and that age is really shifting her relationship with her parents and how we engage with her. And that makes me nervous, this age is challenging and does that mental focus on her make us neglect our nine month old? It takes a lot of emotional energy.

Brynne: I am challenged right now because I always feel like I am winging it. I am so invested in raising good, healthy, happy kids but I am not confident in myself or how I am doing it sometimes. I am never sure if I am doing it right.

Tess: By questioning yourself you are doing it right — you are being thoughtful about it.

That is a good perspective. When you are questioning yourself, what is the advice you fall back on?

Brynne: What my mom always told me: “When they deserve it the least they need it the most.” Have that compassion for your kids. It can be the hardest to give in those situations, but it is so important. I also just told Tess that “it’s okay to lose your shit.”

Tess: Yeah that may be the best advice.

Brynne: I just think it is okay to show your emotions and then come back later to apologize. How you repair later is how we learn.
Tess: As women raising women we need to teach our daughters how to own our emotions.

Brynne: I have also learned that I am a fixer. I want to fix their emotions. But it is so important to not negate feelings or hide them. So I have had to learn how to sit with my uncomfortable emotions so that they can sit in theirs. That can build confidence down the road.

Well, you both are amazing moms and people and this is advice that we’ll take as we tackle another day of parenting. Thank you for your time and know that you are doing awesome! And sit with those big emotions, it means you are invested.