“Real Life Stories–Women of Inspiration”. Jenny from The Happy Family Movement

I first met Jenny at the Breathe Intensive in Las Vegas several years ago. We were only with each other in person for 4 hours, but have kept in touch ever since.

Jenny and her husband, Josh, started The Happy Family Movement, a site dedicated to helping families create a more meaningful life together. And they are also about to launch a Kickstarter campaign for their newest idea to help families, the Phone Monster. AND, they started the Summer Bucket List challenge to help families have a more adventurous, intentional summer with their families. They’re busy people.

Jenny grew up in less than ideal circumstances. But instead of letting a victim mentality consume her, she changed her story and is making a positive impact on the people around her. She LOVES her kids and is constantly trying to create a great life story for her family.
Real Life Stories
1. Give me a quick peek at your life story.
Oh, wow… a quick peek? Um… I grew up in a bad situation. My dad died when I was a kid and I never got to know him. My mom was into drugs and we had a bad relationship. I worked hard through high school and got a full ride scholarship to go to college. I got married, got my Master’s Degree in Accounting, became a wedding photographer with my hubby, had three kids, started a family blog called The Happy Family Movement, and now I’m starting a new business called Phone Monsters. I’ve just leased a van for my business, so if you need vans for your business, check out Intelligent Van Leasing! Whew! Life is BUSY but wonderful

2. Tell me about an “every day moment” you are grateful for
Every night at bedtime, we crawl into bed with each of our kiddos for our nightly ‘snuggle chat’. We snuggle and talk about their day, their hopes, their fears, their dreams. It’s really the only part of our day that’s not usually chaotic and I love connecting with them.
3. Tell me about one ambition you have right now
I just launched my new business Phone Monsters and I’m really focused on getting that off the ground! I want to build a company that creates products that help families connect more.
4. If you could speak on anything to a large group of women, what would you talk about?
I’m lucky enough that I get asked to speak to mother’s groups fairly regularly and the one thing I always talk about is living intentionally and creating memorable experiences for your family. I believe that it’s SO important for every family to sit down and figure out exactly what your family values are. Once you know what your values are, work on setting up habits that help you live intentionally within those values. It benefits your family and it helps teach your kids more about living intentionally!
5. What does the phrase “create a good life story” mean to you?
I love this phrase!! To me, it’s all about creating space to let good things happen. It’s about saying yes to adventure. It’s about going out and doing things instead of just talking about doing things. It’s embracing your fears and going for it anyway. It’s about turning off the TV or computer or the cell phone and going outside to play catch, or tag, or ride bikes. It’s about giving back and doing good in the world and teaching your kids to give back and do good. It’s about love….it’s always about love!
6. Tell me something someone taught you that made an impact on your life
We’ve learned so much about life and embracing who you are from SO many people we’ve met in the photography industry and other creative entrepreneurs.
7. Name one event in your life that has made a significant impact on the course of your life story
I quit my job to go back to school and get my Master’s Degree. We started our photography business at the same time. It was the riskiest, craziest thing we had ever done and I’m still shocked today that we made such a crazy decision considering that up until that point, we played everything safe.
8. What is something you want to accomplish you haven’t yet?
I’d love to give a TED talk!
9. What photographs are you most grateful for from your childhood or teen years?
I’ve got two photos of my dad that my grandpa gave me before he passed away. They’re the only connection I have to a dad I never knew and don’t remember.
10. What are you most proud of?
That I broke the cycle of neglect and abuse. I’m not a perfect mother, but I’m a really good one and my kids know without a doubt that I love them.
11. What is the best parenting advice/tip someone gave you?
I read a magazine article written by husband/wife nutritionists one time…Most of the article was how you should only give your kid a cupcake or treat on their birthday, etc. But there was one nugget of info in there that was amazing! They said you should give your kids HUGE servings of veggies at every meal, but never force them to eat all the veggies. So I give my kids as much as a whole cup of veggies at every meal. Sometimes they eat half the bowl, but sometimes they eat ALL the veggies. I guarantee they eat WAY more veggies than they would if I gave them a smaller serving. I know it’s small thing, but it really works!
12. Tell me something you are sure of
I am sure that every person on the planet has a special talent that the world needs. We don’t always know what it is immediately, but when we find it, it’s our responsibility to share it with the world and make an impact.
13. What is your favorite quote or life motto?
Say yes to adventure!
14. What is your favorite part about yourself (not a physical trait)?
I’m very driven and focused. I have a lot of confidence in my ability to get things done. And if I believe in something, I won’t let it fail because I won’t give up until it succeeds.
15. What type of photographs do you wish you had more of?
Photos of my brothers and I as kids
16. What is something you do to help drive away fear or anxiety?
I write myself encouraging notes on the good days so I can read them on the rough ones. Even when everyone else believes in you and is encouraging you, sometimes you just need to remember that YOU believe in yourself too.
17. What is your favorite part about being a mom? Your least favorite part (just keepin it real on this question–I know you love your kids)?
My favorite part of being a mom is seeing my kids be amazing…sometimes that’s sharing a cookie with someone, writing a nice note, standing up to a bully at school, picking up trash on the beach. And sometimes it’s Lia’s silly dance moves, finding Ava hiding behind the chair with a book, and Max’s serious obsession with whatever he’s obsessed with at the moment…which right now is sharks.
My least favorite part has got to be bedtime. Seriously! Kids have no sense of urgency! On the nights we don’t have activities bedtime is much smoother. But anytime we get home late and need to do super-fast-bedtime as we like to call it, I always feel frustrated at their stall tactics and when they get out of bed thirteen times. Tell me I’m not alone in this!
18. Tell me something about yourself that may surprise people
I’m an incredibly Type A, organized, plan everything kind of person, but I’ve learned to be spontaneous and be okay with that.
19. What’s one thing you wish you would have known when you were younger?
That’s it’s going to be okay. That perfect attendance doesn’t count for anything really. That nobody will ever ask you or ever care what your GPA was after you graduate. That you can find a way to make a living doing just about anything you love…seriously.
And for fun:
Favorite book: HARRY POTTER!
Favorite family tradition: oh my gosh…we have so many. Probably riding bikes to the park on the 4th of July. We watch the city fireworks display then bike home. Our city allows people to shoot off fireworks, so the whole bike ride home feels like a fireworks serenade!
Something you enjoy doing with your spouse: Exploring and adventuring. we love to do active things!
Talent you wish you had: I SO wish that I could sing
Favorite meal: hmmm..Depends on the day, but I love good pizza, pretty much all Mexican food, and anything on the grill.
If you never had to do one specific thing again, what would it be: EMAIL
Favorite show on TV: I would say HIMYM, but it ended this week and they totally blew the ending. So probably Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Parenthood.
Something that scares you: Something happening to my hubby or kids
Favorite thing about your husband: he loves to act ridiculous just to make me laugh
Something you can’t live without: Pepsi…I know it’s terrible for me, but I love it so much!
What’s something you think about often: money. I wish I had a better answer, but it’s true. One of the down sides to being an entrepreneur is having to constantly figure out where the next payment is coming from 🙂

THANK YOU for doing this interview Jenny! And thank you for doing everything you can to do GOOD things in this world.

If you want to read other “Real Life Stories–Women of Inspiration” interviews, click here.

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