Book Club: The Essence of a Mother

By Lauren Johnson

This month, Pregnancy and Newborn’s Book Club is about learning to take a step back from every day chaos and enjoy life’s moments with your children. The Essence of a Mother is a must-read for all parents. As Julie Jensen’s Multiple Sclerosis progressed, and she was slowly unable to handle basic tasks for her family, she realized how important each moment was with her husband and kids. Jensen’s book is full of love and encouragement, teaching us to just be a little more and do a little less.

Here is our chat with the author:

Essence of Mother_FINAL cover

Pregnancy and Newborn: Your story is so inspiring and is such an eye-opener for all parents and caregivers. What was the hardest part of “letting go” and realizing that just being is the most precious of moments with your children?Julie Jensen: As I became more disabled, and not able to function physically the way I thought a mother “should” I had to redefine what it meant to be an effective mother. The hardest part for me was not being able to participate in the lives of my children the way I wanted to. But, eventually I realized my health challenge was a gift. It enabled me to slow down and focus on what is truly important, being present with my children.

P&N: If Multiple Sclerosis wasn’t a part of your life, do you think your view on motherhood would still have changed like it has?
JJ: No, I would have continued to focus on my busy schedule with my children. Always aiming toward high achievement and accomplishment.

P&N: What is your favorite thing to do with your family that allows you to just soak in the joy of motherhood?
JJ: My favorite part of the day is dinnertime. It is a time when we can come together and talk about our most favorite experience of that day.  I pretty much enjoy any time with my family, as long as we are being fully present.  It really doesn’t matter what we are doing, it is just nice to be together.

P&N: What was your husband’s reaction when he read your book? Is he able to just be in moments or does he find it harder to disconnect from life’s chaos?JJ: My husband has always been very supportive of the book and my journey of personal growth. He has enjoyed reading the book and thinks it is a very insightful.  I think it is probably more difficult for my husband to disconnect from life’s chaos because he has to be responsible for all of the things that I can no longer do. All in all, he is pretty amazing.

P&N: I bet this way of living has really transformed your family for the better. What are some positive changes that have happened once you began living in the moment with your children?
JJ: One of the greatest blessings of my health challenge is that it provides a beautiful opportunity for our family to love, support and care for one another. Children tend to be focused on themselves, for our family to be successful we have to focus on helping each other.  As a family, we have also realized what the most important things in life are… each other.

P&N: Beyond writing this book, you have also started the Global Shared Agreements Program for young girls and you’re a managing member of The Essence Foundation. Tell us more about them both.
JJ: The Global Shared Agreements program for young girls is a set of seven agreements, and if all young girls can agree to behave within the agreements, it eliminates drama, it empowers a younger girl to understand she is the source of her own happiness. The Global Shared Agreements program truly creates a new culture for young girls to be in relationship with the one another in a supportive way. Much needed in our culture today.

I am the cofounder as the up and coming Essence Foundation. The Essence Foundation is a nonprofit public charity that will provide transformative learning products and programs designed format there is, teachers, and growth.

You can learn more about these programs at my website pure-essence.org.

P&N: Did you ever dream that you would write a book? Do you see yourself writing another?
JJ: Yes, I did. I believe everyone has a story in them, and I have always wanted to be a published author. I have a whole series of books in me. The next book I am co-authoring with Micheline Green, M.Ed it is titled The Essence of a Girl.

About the Author:
Age: 45
Job title: Author, Mother, CEO of my household
State of residence: California
Children’s names and ages: Scott, 22; McKenna, 19; Abigail, 14; Priscilla, 13; Lola, 10

Her faves:
Celebrity: I am not real star struck, but I love Ashley Judd’s stance on “real” beauty.
Indulgence: my mother’s chocolate cake recipe—especially when she makes it.
Beauty product: I am a pretty simple person, so probably a nicely fragranced lotion.
Weeknight dinner: Tacos!

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