Interview with Jessica Delaney: It's Not Always Gonna Be Awesome

 Jessica Delaney moved to Milton from Somerville 5 years ago and quickly regretted her decision. Fearing the worst, she immediately felt lonely and isolated. But, after finding friends and a new career – she settled into home. We met shortly after. I’ve always loved Jess' spunk and youthfulness, which makes her feel like being a mom in the 'burbs doesn’t mean being boring and old. Jess' upbeat energy is palpable. She is my go-to friend for parenting support, someone who shares a love of cooking, and the importance of family dinner. She is authentic, not one to sugar coat the challenges of parenting, and brings humor, fun, and style everywhere she goes. And, she began a second career as an architectural photographer after having children and gets regularly published in The Boston Globe, Design New England, Houzz, and other big name design magazines. Read a bit about Jess below and hear the complete interview on the podcast link at the bottom of the page. Enjoy! 

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My children are: 3.5, 7, and 9 – all girls. I joke that I would probably have been a better mother to boys but alas I have all girls so we will see how all that plays out?! And, I am an architectural photographer and started my business after having my first child. I am figuring out how that all fits in to everyday life.  It’s trickier than I was expecting and feel fortunate that I love what I do. All of a sudden I have something I love to do outside of family so trying to find that proverbial balance is tricky!

What guides your parenting?

I always tell my kids to be kind and generous. Have a smile on your face. It is a better way to go out into the world as a rule. It’s the age old thing – treat others how you want to be treated. If you aren’t kind to your sister, something is going to go badly for you in relatively short form.  Karma is tricky! I hope that they present with loving kindness and compassion towards others.

How do you teach that?

I try very hard to teach by example. Do nice things for other people as much as you can. Encourage them to do little things. Also, I try hard to notice when they do the right things. I can be quick to the negative sometimes because I feel I need to teach them that that is not the okay route, but I try to be equally quick with the positive. They know the naughty things. But, they don’t know when they are doing the right things.

What challenges you?

I second guess myself often. We are moving into an older phase and it became a little trickier. As prepared as I thought I was for all the questions – social, puberty etc. – I had in my mind, a certain time that all these questions would come up and expected to have a sit down chat with my daughter. But, it doesn’t work like that. I have to be ready on the fly and I am not! I leave these conversations with my oldest and wonder if I gave too little or too much information?!

About happiness - there are certain aspects of living in a house with 5 people that’s like living with roommates in college. They are going to annoy you and you have to find a way to work around it because you can’t move out and can’t leave college! If you think ‘it’s not always gonna be awesome’, it helps. Happiness can’t be achieved all day everyday although there is a lot of noise from the outside that makes it feel like it should be. 

 What is your strength?

Although I turned 40, I don’t feel a day older than 25! I try to keep a youthful outlook on life – I want to be the Mom that does cannonballs in the pool, backflip off the bridge, and says ‘sure, let’s go rock climbing’ and actually do it. I constantly find the fun in life, because if we can’t be out circumnavigating the world in a boat, I’ll find the 2nd best thing to do in Milton! I’m always up for anything and I want my kids to be up for anything. They don’t seem to know what fear is.

What advice do you have?

It looks like there are some people who can do everything. You can’t. You can do everything at some point, but you just can’t just do it all at the same time.  It is something I have to remind myself of everyday because if I don’t, I don’t get anything done and I spin like a top. I pick one thing for the day. It’s so easy to go astronomical in expectations of yourself. Give yourself more time.

How do you think about family dinner?

It’s really important to me. It’s a bit torturous but I keep telling myself ‘It’s not going to be this way forever’. Food is important and dinner is a really good time to just be there.  And, I want them to like food – all sorts of food and try different things. There are the nights we are eating chicken nuggets and tater tots, and there is the night we enjoy salmon.

Recipe: Jess’ Go-To Meatloaf

1 pound of turkey meat
1/2 - 1 full minced shallot depending on taste
About a cup of breadcrumbs
1 egg
Salt & pepper

For glaze:

1 cup ketchup
1/4 c brown sugar
1-2 tbs Worcestershire

In a bowl mix all ingredients together - clean hands make the best mixing tool!  Form it into a rough oval and place in baking dish.  Cover with tin foil and bake at 350• for about 40 minutes.  Remove foil and glaze the top and put back in for another 10-15 mins.

Enjoy with green beans and roasted baby red potatoes (or fries)!