Getting to Know Mama & Entrepreneur Jill Koziol
Children’s ages: 9 and 7 year old daughters
City: Park City, UT
Occupation: CEO of Motherly
Instagram handle: @jillkoziol
1) Exploring identity change in motherhood.
What was the transition to motherhood like for you?
My transition to motherhood was hard and beautiful and messy. I was most surprised by the physicality of motherhood in the early days. It wasn’t simply recovering from childbirth or the lack of sleep but the way my body shifted and changed to accommodate always carrying a baby, breastfeeding, and always being touched.
How did your identity change?
I was given great advice to not prejudge myself as a mother so I really didn’t have expectation on how my identity would shift. I tried to be gentle with myself, giving myself the space to grow and evolve. I never stopped being me, never lost myself in motherhood, and actually found a new sort of strength in power through motherhood.
Did your career change?
Yes and no. Motherhood didn’t cause me to take a step back from my career, though I certainly considered it at different points, and it didn’t make me any less ambitious. So that didn’t change but I didn’t found Motherly until after having children so my career certainly did change and evolve.
How would you describe yourself pre baby? How do you describe yourself now?
Pre-baby I was largely who I am today - driven, strong, kind, confident, opinionated, and strong-willed. Motherhood has definitely softened me and harnessed a more nurturing side, something I’m so grateful for.
2) Understanding that you can’t completely prepare.
What do you wish you knew that you learned the hard way?
I wish I understood how hard breastfeeding would be for me—the challenges I experienced, and the pressure I put on myself really stole a lot of joy from my early days of motherhood.
Knowing what you know now, what would you change?
Had I known breastfeeding would be a challenge I would have prepared better and created a stronger village in preparation, including having a lactation consultant to support me the first week home with my baby.
3) Getting all the gear.
What would you definitely purchase?
Baby carrier - the Moby and the Ergobaby were my favorites.
What was a total waste?
4) What about mama?
We’ve found that with all of the focus around the baby moms tend to put themselves last. This can be as true for finding a minute to take a shower or bathroom break as it is for being able to eat or prepare meals. If your breastfeeding this becomes even more critical as your nutrition becomes your babies. Did you struggle to eat well in the first few months post birth?
Yes, simply finding the time, let alone healthy options, was always a challenge.
What would have been helpful?
I think better education would have helped me prioritize myself. While it’s logical that as a breastfeeding mama, taking care of myself is important to providing for my baby, I didn’t link the two together in practice. Had I truly understood the connection I would have done better.
5) Routines & Activities
Routines can be a lifesaver in the early days, even if just for your own sanity. What worked for you? Did you try to keep to a schedule?
Yes! I’m such a structured person and I thrive on routine so this was key for me as a new mama. I was obsessed with sleep and 12 hours by 12 weeks helped me create routines that made me feel a bit more in control, even when I wasn’t!
6) What are some favorite books and activities to do with your baby and toddler ?
Spending time outside has always been key for me, regardless of the age of my children. It’s great for the kids and great for mama too so whether it’s a walk with the baby carrier or stroller, a trip to the local playground, or a hike as my girls have gotten older, spending time outside is a favorite.
7) What traditions are you creating and celebrating?
In keeping with the outdoor theme, after dinner walks has become a tradition in our family. It’s a time to slow down and connect that I so value especially as my girls get a bit older.
Any final words of wisdom you’d like to share?
A wise friend in my village shared words of wisdom her father shared with her years ago—the things that most frustrate you about your children when they are younger will be the things that you are most proud of when they are adults. So that independence streak that is so frustrating when you have a toddler should be celebrated and nurtured because as they grow, you’ll be so proud of their independence.