Meet Jen Kleyn, a nurse and mum to Carter, living in Cape Town.
Please tell us a bit about yourself:
My husband and I met in 2011 at a mutual friend’s birthday party. I went home that evening and told everyone & anyone who would listen, that I’d met the man I’d marry. Fast forward a few years, with a house and our amazing son, we finally tied the knot on 2 September 2017 in the most amazingly beautiful Paternoster, surrounded by our family and closest friends. It was incredibly special having our son, now 3 being a part of the special celebrations. We wouldn’t have done a single thing differently. I do indeed work. For the past year and a half, I have switched from working full time to half days which has had such a positive effect on our son. I am a registered nurse in the fertility field, working as an IVF Coordinator. I also manage our IVF theatre. I LOVE my job. I have found an innate passion for helping couples achieve their dream of becoming parents. It’s by far the most emotionally charged field of nursing I’ve encountered and the work can be incredibly stressful and demanding. The rewards, however, far outweigh the stresses. I definitely suffer from wanderlust! Travelling and experiencing new places, countries and cultures is close to my heart. I just wish we could do it more often. We would love to show our son the world and let him experience the pleasure of discovering new places.
How do you manage the demands of being a nurse while also being a mum?
I am incredibly privileged to work half days now. It certainly helps me maintain a great balance between nursing and being a mom to my son. It hasn’t always been like this though. When I fell pregnant, and up until a year and a half ago, I worked full time. Life was hectic. I felt lucky some days just to get the bare necessities done. The fertility field can be emotionally draining, stressful and very demanding. I had to learn how to prioritize and create balance between the intense focus of my work and being mentally and emotionally available for my family. I didn’t always succeed with that and when I felt overwhelmed, I’d take a step back and re-focus. Organisation & mindfulness was (and still is) key to creating our balance. I spend an uninterrupted 15 minutes a day of interaction & play with my son. He chooses what activity he’d like to do and I follow his lead. It’ll be anything from dinosaurs,playing cars and lego to puzzles or ‘cooking’. We also try, as often as possible to get out in the evenings to go for a walk. Weekends when I have to work, my husband holds the fort. It’s their special together time, which makes working weekends a lot easier for me! Without my husband & family, managing the demands of my job and being a mom would be infinitely more challenging. I am incredibly blessed to have such a supportive family on this journey.
What is your favourite:
Healthy food: My all time favourite healthy food is avocado – it’s just so versatile, from breakfast to dessert, it can be incorporated into your diet in so many different ways. I also love experimenting with nutribullet. I’ve recently started following a keto lifestyle and am loving the positive effects on my body & mind & energy levels!
Way to stay active: I have a 3 year old to run around after to keep me active! lol! On a serious note, I gym with a good friend. We try for 3 sessions a week. We don’t always hit our target (the mom struggle is real) but we do try, even if it’s taking our boys out on their bikes or for a walk in the park. I would love to get back into pilates again and am dying to try out a barre class! Having a gym buddy is definitely a plus for me.
Self love act: I take time out every month to get my nails done and when possible, nothing beats a great massage or facial. Regular coffee dates with friends is also a staple for me.
What advice do you have for new moms or moms in general based on your experience?
It may sound like a cliche, but truly, and mindfully, enjoy every single moment with your baby, the good, the bad & the ugly. Your baby is little for such a short time. You’ll blink and wonder where the years have gone. And remember, no one baby is alike. What works for one does not always work for another. Take all the advice you are inevitably given, take from it what you want or need and do your own thing – no-one knows your baby like you do.
Are there any motherhood/health quotes that you love?
“Motherhood is not a competition to see who has the smartest kids, the cleanest house, the healthiest dinners, the nicest clothes. Motherhood is YOUR journey with YOUR children” – Unknown
“I am obsessed with becoming a woman comfortable in her own skin” – Unknown
“This too shall pass” – my mantra when things get tough
Any final words?
Enjoy all the moments motherhood offers. It’s such a gift. Be fierce and passionate, create memories and embrace and learn from mistakes and hard times.
Can our followers find you/your brand anywhere online?
You will find me on Instagram