Updated: Mar 18, 2020
By Kaitlyn Rose
Southfield native, Jennifer Christian is not your average mom. Staying busy as a full-time mother, program manager, mentor, and entrepreneur, this “Fly Fit Mommy” is one to celebrate this Women’s History Month. After graduating from Alabama A&M University, Jennifer pursued a career in television and later returned to Michigan starting her family. It was then after battling postpartum depression, when Jennifer decided to seek change and make a change. Here, we talk with the transparent and inspiring super mom about her journey to entrepreneurship, the challenges of motherhood, and more!
Tell us a little yourself and what you do!
My name is Jennifer Christian, also known as the Fly Fit Mommy, and I am a mother of four amazing yet busy children...two of them being a set of twins! I have two daughters that are nine and seven-years-old, and my twin boys are five-years-old. I’ve managed to have all of my children within four years, and life has been very busy for me since I’ve had each of them. Outside of being a mom, I currently work in the automotive industry as a program manager, I am the founder of the Bailey Loft, and I am an advocate for maternal mental health.
What prompted you to shed light on maternal mental health and start your brand, Fly Fit Mommy?
With all four of my pregnancies I went through postpartum depression, and it’s something that no woman should ever have to go through alone. When my twins were born, I had a four-year-old and a two-year-old, and it was super overwhelming. You have two babies that are crying. Two babies that need to be changed. Two babies that need to be fed. And I still had to care for and nurture my daughters as well as the babies. I was so overwhelmed and sleep deprived. I had totally lost myself in motherhood and being a wife, and I needed something to channel my energy into to get out of depression. I refused to believe that there were no other moms experiencing depression like I was. So, the summer after I had my twins in 2015, I started my brand Fly Fit Mommy. It’s actually less about being fly and more of maintaining positive mental health. With this, I wanted to support other women, by bringing moms together to focus on mental health and babies. So, I started by just doing workout sessions with moms in the park. Then, I started a blog which turned to my podcast, Diary of a Fly Fit Mommy. Eventually, I started a twin mom support group where we chat, have therapy sessions, and really focus on ways to make ourselves better moms. Now, I have different discussions every month, workshops, and provide a space for moms to just vent! I believe that I went through postpartum depression so that I could be an advocate and help other women get through it.
What advice do you have for women that might be currently suffering from postpartum depression?
First, I always suggest therapy. I know a lot of times in our culture we’re not very open to going and it’s often times shamed, but I totally believe in therapy. When I go, I feel better. Having a therapist allows you to open up to someone who’s not going to criticize or judge you. When I was going through postpartum depression, I was in a really dark space. I didn’t feel comfortable telling people, even loved ones, that I wanted to leave my family or that I didn’t want to be a mom anymore. And the one time I did open up, I felt judged. So, having a therapist to listen and remind me that my feelings aren’t facts, is honestly the best. The second key is to get a hobby. Find something to channel your energy into. Third, take time to self care! I started having my own mental health day. This is my day to do whatever I want to do after work. I don’t have to rush home, I don’t have to get the kids ready for bed...This is my day. Being a parent is an everyday, all day job and you really don’t get days off. But you have to create your own off day. And it’s totally fine to want some time for yourself and not be in mommy mode all day. Maintaining your self care and mental health as a mom is so important.
What was the inspiration behind establishing the Bailey Loft?
The Bailey Loft is a full, collaboration workspace for women. It’s super cute and girly, and it’s typically reserved for small, intimate events. My goal has always been for it to be a place where women could come, network, and creatively collaborate with each other. My support group actually led me to opening up the Bailey Loft. Originally, my support group for moms would meet at a facility in Metro-Detroit, and one of the times that we met up, the owners were not there to unlock the facility to let us in. They left me and my moms out in the cold! So, that prompted me to get a venue of my own, and, today, the Bailey Loft is even more than what I imagined! A lot of people use the space for bridal showers, baby showers, tea parties, women empowerment sessions, classes, and more. It’s also a great space for recording YouTube videos, and I also have a room dedicated to podcasting! The vision is always collaboration amongst women.
What is your advice to women, specifically moms, who want to start a business?
Write down the vision and the goal. Be vulnerable, put yourself out there, and start! I have a hard time working my 9 to 5 because I feel like I have to choose between putting time in my work and putting time into my family. So, for me the motivation is always remembering that my hard work is going to pay off and eventually, I’ll be able to provide more time to my children.
How do you stay fly?
When I was coming out of depression, one of the things that I promised myself to do, was to get dressed every day. Your appearance affects your mental health. Oftentimes, we have our babies and we don’t really have time to get ourselves together. We make sure our kids are good but we’ll just throw on yoga pants, wear a top bun, or an oversized sweater. Now, I try to put a little effort into my outfits and actually comb my hair. And sometimes I do have to run out of the house, but I try to make more of an effort to make sure that I’m looking and feeling my best.
What are your beauty essentials?
Lipgloss is a must! My everyday is the Mint Mentha Lip Tint from Bath and Body Works. I also like to have my eyebrows filled in. It makes me look more awake! I also just learned how to apply strip lashes. So when I go out, I make sure I have my lashes as well.
What’s up next for you?
Coming up, is a late night grind session that I’ll be hosting at the Bailey Loft! I wanted it to be late night because not everyone has availability during the day. And a lot of us work a 9 to 5 or we have children, so we have to get everything settled away before we can come out and play! The discussion topics will be focused on different ways to collaborate whether it be with podcasting, blogging, or vlogging. Women will be able to come together, bounce ideas off of each other, and we’ll have special guests from the Metro-Detroit area dropping gems as well. More details coming soon! I can’t wait!
Stay connected with Jennifer at flyfitmommy.com
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