New year, new Smarty!! We are so proud to introduce Jenna Michael to you. She’s a fitness nut, dancer instructor and super mom of four! She has loads of personality, compassion for fellow moms and great ideas for not only how to handle motherhood, but to thrive! Read on to get to know Jenna and be on the look out for her blogs twice a month on Charlotte Smarty Pants!
Smarty Mom Stats:
Q. You started blogging recently, tell us how that all started.
A. I’ve always loved writing. As a kid I was a journal keeper and in early adulthood I transferred that energy into a fitness blog. Right before we started having kids I thought there was no way I would want to continue writing while also being a mom, so I shut my blog down and let four years go by. Once COVID hit I needed an outlet to connect to the outside world while we were all home. I started with a “mom-life” Instagram account that morphed into a new blog because I had too much to say and the caption spaces on Instagram were too tiny.
It was like riding a bike but even better. I had missed writing more than I realized but had the journals to show that while I wasn’t typing online I was still creating. “Parenthood and Pushups” is my lens into what motherhood is like with four kids all under the age of six, while being an avid reader, and fitness enthusiast.
Q. How did you get into dance?
A. Yes! I grew up dancing in Charlotte, went to college for dance where I earned a BFA in Dance, and now I teach! I have three little girls who are all taking classes right now and it’s been such a joy to share my love of dance with them. In case you are wondering, no we don’t have dance class at home and no my kids do not have to like dance just because I did, although its really fun right now.
Q. What is your favorite preschool activity in Charlotte?
A. Barnes and Noble! Grab a coffee, ride the escalator or elevator, and let the kids wander through the shelves.
Q. What is the best place to get a kids haircut?
A. You might not believe this but I take my kids to get their hair cut with the same hair dresser that I went to as a kid. I’ve had my haircut by the same person almost my entire life with the exception of a few years of living out of town. Notice a theme? Once I find something I like I tend to stick with it for a long time.
Q. What’s the best place to find a baby shower gift?
A. The first place I would go is the mom-to-be’s registry for something feeding related like a Hakaa or some bottles and the second place would be Amazon for the mom’s postpartum needs.
Q. What’s the best place to find a smocked dress
A. On the Facebook mom groups! I love dressing our kids up for special occasions and have found some wonderful smocked outfits online.
Q. What is your go-to children’s shoe store?
A. Target! With four kids we have a lot of little shoes to keep up with and pay for so I usually order right from the Target app when someone outgrows or outwears their latest pair.
Q. Where do you go for maternity clothes?
A. My favorite maternity clothes all came from Lululemon. Yes really! Their align leggings in one size up from my regular size were a game changer for my maternity wardrobe. I had PILES of other pants but never wore them once I found out about the aligns. Best part is that they fit me all the way through several pregnancies and magically through my postpartum phases as well.
Q. What’s the best kid-friendly restaurant?
A. We hardly ever go out to eat but are always game for a visit to the Chick-Fil-A drive-through. Four kids six and under in restaurant…makes me start sweating just thinking about it.
Q. What is your favorite date night spot?
A. The Whitewater Center! We love being active and outside together so the Whitewater Center is the perfect spot for us. We take a little hike, grab a quick bite, and watch the sunset while listening to the live music if they have some going on. We love going there so much that we actually had our wedding rehearsal dinner there.
Jenna Michael Smarty Bio
Jenna Michael is mom to four young kiddos and married to her college sweetheart, Jonathan. She has an education in dance, loves reading, is a fitness enthusiast, and is always in pursuit of an essentialist lifestyle. If she’s not at the gym, running carpool, or drinking coffee while on the phone with her best friends, you’ll find Jenna in her favorite reading nook with a good book or at the computer writing. She is the author of the blog parenthoodandpushups.com where all her passions meet to share the real, relatable, and hilarious parts of trying to be an active mom while raising four little kids.