AOP: February is often known as the month of love. How do you share love with your family?
JF: My love language is words of affirmation (If you haven’t read The Five Love Languages, you should check it out). Using words of affirmation is how I best express my love to my boys and husband. I often say things like “I love you so much,” “I’m proud of you,” “Thank you for all you do,” etc.
Acts of service is another love language I use to express my love, especially for the boys when supporting their sporting events and ensuring all their logistics are in order.
AOP: Do you and your husband have any big plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
JF: One of my favorite traditions with my husband is celebrating Valentine’s Day. With our work schedules, we might not celebrate on Valentine’s Day every year, but we always carve out time to celebrate it. Chris cooked me dinner for our first date, so it’s tradition for Valentine’s that he cooks our first date dinner menu. I love carving out the time to spend together because it is dedicated to connecting as adults, as husband and wife, as a couple – instead of just being mom and dad. The time together allows us to go back to what we enjoy about one another.
AOP: You have boys ten years apart. Do you feel this makes parenting more or less challenging?
JF: I would say parenting is challenging no matter what your dynamic looks like. It is so rewarding to see your children come into their own and have individual character traits, personalities, and interests. Discovering their uniqueness is the fun part of parenting.
The boys are ten years apart but Chris and I strike a balance on the logistics of getting to sporting events and supporting the boys in their own way.
Something else we also love to do is try to figure out adventures we can go on together that both boys in their age range would enjoy. It’s fun and exciting to try and figure those things out. We have been snorkeling, biking, visited amusement parks, and traveled to new places!
AOP: What values do you prioritize in your parenting?
JF: Our house motto is ‘leave things better than you found them.’ That could apply to many things, whether cleaning your room, interacting with someone, or your work at school.
In our household, we try to encourage a growth mindset. We focus on celebrating the effort more than the outcome. We encourage and support hard work and facing challenges head-on so you can be proud of your effort when you overcome those challenges.
We are a faith-based family as well, active in Highlands Church. Our home centers around faith and family.
AOP: How do you encourage a healthy lifestyle for your children?
JF: Moving our bodies is always incorporated into the day. Both Chris and I have our own workout routines. I do Peloton first thing in the morning before anyone gets up and Chris trains jiu-jitsu at KageFit in Opelika. The kids see that. Then they have their sports, so practices are part of the week. My little one has also been at KidStrong since it opened. On non-practice days, we still encourage finding something active to do. It could be riding bikes, shooting hoops, jumping on the trampoline, or something as simple as going for a walk. Anything active before asking for screen time. If you make it a part of a daily routine it becomes something kids will adopt.
AOP: If a mom wanted to begin the journey to better health for her and her family, what piece of advice would you give her?
JF: I’d say the biggest piece of advice is to just start! Add new things in small doses. Maybe incorporate a short walk after dinner for the whole family or find a short body weight exercise routine or yoga session online to do at home for yourself. Start with a small commitment, 10-20 minutes, 3 days a week, and build from there. The goal is to build a healthy routine so it doesn’t feel like a chore or a task and becomes a piece of your life!
AOP: What has been the greatest surprise in your motherhood journey?
JF: I played sports growing up through high school and into college. One of the biggest surprises in motherhood is how much more I enjoy watching my kids play the sports they love. It’s exciting to see them get out there, test their skills, play on a team, and be good teammates. They are learning to be good leaders. They stumble and fall and practice and grow. I know what it feels like to have gone through all of this, and now I get to witness that in my kids. It is just an ultimate joy.
Rapid Fire Questions:
- Salty or Sweet? Sweet.
- If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Near the ocean
- What is your favorite food? Mexican
- Sunrise or sunset? Sunset
- Name one fun fact about yourself that you don’t usually share. Despite playing college volleyball and softball, my first love was ballet. I practiced from the age of three up until high school.
Jessie Forte and her husband, Chris, have been married for 10 years. She has two handsome boys: Garrett is 18, and Gabriel is eight. She is an avid Peloton member and loves to do all different practices and exercises with the bike, yoga, boot camp, kickboxing, walking, and running. Jessie has been in pharmaceutical sales for nearly two decades.