We had a chat with super active mum-of-three Jennifer Lee on how she's raising her kids to be active, kind and compassionate while maintaining a rockin' bod...
While there’s definitely no shortage of cool parents in Singapore, we know an awesome mum when we see/stalk one. Jennifer Lee is one cool mother who manages (we’re yet to figure out how she does it) to stay crazy fit, wrangle three active kids AND run her own jewellery business. When she isn’t trail running in MacRitchie or doing pull-ups in her home gym, she’s training for obstacle races and being a very hands-on mum to her kids. Phew… we’re getting the sweats just thinking about all that! Here’s what else we found out:
Hi Jennifer! Could you tell us more about your kiddos?
I have three kids, all so different, but one thing they have in common is that they love playing with each other. And that’s what I love about little people… their innocent laughter and giggles. As much as they make my blood boil, they are affectionate and inquisitive.
What’s it like, being a mum-of-three? Is it as tiring as it sounds?
It’s exhausting, yet so fulfilling. I knew I always wanted children. And I knew I wanted to raise them to be free thinkers, compassionate and empathetic. I’m very active in every aspect of my kids’ lives – planning their after school activities, helping them with their homework, spending time playing with them. I’ll also attend any soccer or BJJ competition if I’m free, cheering from the sidelines.
You must love it when they sleep…
Putting the kids to sleep is the best part of my day. We love doing family storytime in bed. My husband and I love it when the kids crowd around us to listen. You can see the joys of make-believe and once-upon-a-time come to life in their eyes and expressions. Alcohol also helps us cope..!
How do you stay so active, despite being so busy?
I’ve always been incredibly active. As a kid, I was playing peewee softball and basketball. In middle and high school, I was on the varsity cross country team, varsity track team and I danced competitively. Then in college, I danced for the Washington Square Park Company (NYU) and in sophomore year, I made the NYU dance team.
Even after graduating, I would make time after work to hit the gym, take yoga classes or simply jog around my neighbourhood. If I was travelling for work, I would make sure I was staying in a hotel with a good sized gym. Oh, and I never leave home without my trainers!
I have a pre-planned workout schedule (in my head) for the week. So that helps with getting the exercise part covered. As for running the household, I have the kids’ schedules written out on a whiteboard that everyone has access to (their after school activities/soccer games, playdates etc). But this only works if you have a good support system, and thank God, I do!
Any tips for equally busy mums who want to get a workout in?
Control what you can, and what you can’t… let it go. Also, it’s important to be consistent. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you stay active. When you start your run, or walk into a gym or class, set an intention and follow through.
OK, you have an awesome body! Were you worried about getting your pre-baby body back? Did you stay active during your pregnancies?
I was a little worried, but to be honest, I was actually more worried about the birthing part and what it does to women’s…you know…down there (lol). Otherwise, I knew my body would go through a tremendous change during pregnancy, and I was ready for it… and yes I did it three times over. Each time, I had to work to gain back the muscles and strength I lost during pregnancy — mainly in the core area.
What do you do for exercise?
I love being outdoors, so I do try to get my fill of mother nature with trail runs. There is something so peaceful and fulfilling about being in the great outdoors before sunrise when the rest of the world is still sleeping. And now, as a mother of three and running a business, my time is limited, so the workouts that I find most effective for me focus on functional training and weight lifting. I love how it makes me feel stronger.
Do you think it’s important for women to stay fit, even as mums?
Hell yes! Being a fit mum means being confident and being able to be a role model for my kids. It took me a long time for me to realise that you need to have self-love to be a good mother. I’m a full-time working mother of three, and it is important to me that my kids see that I have a career and that I can provide for the family – and at the same time, be healthy. So I try as much as I can to lead by example.
Self-love for me means focusing on myself, taking care of myself and, for me, it has always been in fitness and nutrition. So as much as I can, I always try to put away time in the morning to go for my workouts, whether it be a trail run, lifting or yoga. I try to participate in multi races a year – obstacle racing, half-marathons, etc. – and I make sure my kids are part of it, whether in the training or at the finish line with the rest of my team. And in time, hopefully, they will develop a healthy habit of being active and what it means to put in effort to achieve something.