This week’s Meet a Mom interview is actually two moms—the lovely pair behind Jersey City Moms, one of the sites that make up The Local Moms Network. We spoke to Alicia Bolton and Jessica (Jess) Kress about joining our team, their family lives in Jersey City (including their favorite local businesses) and more.
Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
Alicia: Sure! My husband, Thomas, and I have a daughter named Emi. I also have 2 step-children named Kimora and Omari. I live in Bergen-Lafayette.
Jessica: I have a little almost 2 year old boy, Beau. We live in the Heights in Jersey City. It’s a great neighborhood with amazing new spots that retains it’s authentic JC vibes.
Why did you choose to raise your family in Jersey City?
A: I moved to Jersey City alone in 2013 from Westchester County in New York, and my then boyfriend/now husband moved over shortly after from Brooklyn, NY. To be honest, there was no real discussion where we said “hey, let’s have a baby here in Jersey City.” However we definitely don’t regret it! We love our neighbors and enjoy all of the family-friendly activities that Jersey City has to offer.
J: I moved to Jersey City with Beau’s father 6 years ago from Manhattan as he is a Jersey boy and Brooklyn wasn’t an option, ha! We still wanted to near the city, but also wanted more space and we had family that lived here, so it was the perfect option. I love the art and restaurant scene here, so it was an easy transition and I’ve grown to love the parent community I’ve met through this site.
Why did you join The Local Moms Network?
J: As a new mom who didn’t know many other moms locally, a family friend recommended looking for the site. I found out there wasn’t one locally, so I reached out to The Local Moms Network and the rest is history. I began the site last summer and here we are!
A: Jess posted on the Jersey City Moms Network Instagram page saying she was looking for some help and I jumped on it! I had discovered JCMN a few months before and I found it to be such a helpful resource to me, so I wanted to be a part of helping other local moms discover us!
What are your backgrounds and how will that help you in your role with TLMN?
A: I worked in the fashion industry doing sales and operations for 10 years prior to joining TLMN. The skills I learned (being personable, being analytical and being open to change) transfer over to my work with JCMN. In addition, shortly before joining JCMN I became a certified life and goal coach. Learning not only to deal with different types of people but also to appreciate different types of people are skills that help in any role.
J: I’ve worked in Hospitality and Fitness and always wanted to be a mom! I was so excited to find a resource that could connect me to all of the amazing events and people in our city and once I started the website, the response was immediate. We have such a great base of strong female (and male) entrepreneurs who are also parents and I think that coming from industries that are relationship based has really allowed me to genuinely connect with others.
What is your favorite part of being part of TLMN?
A: I love working with the team. Jess is great and everyone at TLMN is so supportive! It’s been a wonderful experience.
J: Where do I start? As a new parent, I had no idea about all of the activities that our city has to offer, so that has been a plus! I have also met some really amazing women who inspire me and raise me up not only as a mother, but as a business owner and friend. I can honestly say that working for a company that is so supportive of not only mothers in every walk of life, but also supportive of me personally has inspired me and given me an option of a career I never could have imagined.
What is your best “working mom” tip?
A: Time block! Time block! Time block! This goes for every mom. Time blocking is your best friend. If you’ve never heard of time blocking, it’s basically scheduling specific times for specific tasks, the same way you would schedule in a meeting. Schedule it and write it down. When you do this, you’re more likely to remember what you have to do and you’re more likely to hold yourself accountable. These things make you more productive, and what mom doesn’t want that?!
J: I have to give a shout out to Alicia, because what really drew me to partnering with is her amazing time management and business mind. I myself am constantly wanting to do more and not always knowing how do get it done, so my tip would be, give yourself grace, take care of yourself and the rest will follow. If that is a quick workout, letting them watch a movie while you work, pushing a task to the next day when your little ones don’t follow your plan, it will all get done! And I love a to-do list, nothing more satisfying than checking things off!
What has been the hardest part of quarantine for you and how have you dealt with it?
A: The hardest part of quarantine has been finding ways to keep my three-year-old busy! We were on it for a few months, doing so many educational and fun activities but then her attention span got very thin and she just wanted to play freely all day. I let her! It was a tough situation for everyone, kids included, so I decided to cut her some slack!
J: I was very lucky, I got to spend a couple of months with my family and Beau in Southern California, so we had the best scenario possible. I haven’t had to deal with home schooling and to all of those parents out there that are doing it, WOW! The hardest part has been how to entertain a little one on the go 24/7 and make sure I have a moment to breath. I’m still working on how to deal with it, I love to read, so I try to do that before bed, but I’ve really started trying to incorporate some working out, even if it’s 30 minutes. It’s a work in progress, but I’m determined.
How are you feeling about the upcoming school year—and what are your plans?
A: Our toddler is starting pre-k at the same location she currently does part-time daycare in come September. We’re comfortable with it, as we know the school and their protocols well. My bonus daughter has recently moved in with us (she was living in New York) and she’s in middle school. We’re still up in the air about her schooling, we might go hybrid so that she has a chance to go out and meet some other children… Safely, of course. If we decide not to do hybrid, then we’ll go all remote.
J: Once again, bullet dodged. I sympathize with parents heavily, I’m not sure how I would deal with it. I feel bad Beau doesn’t get to socialize with his friends as often as I like, so I honestly don’t know how I would deal with it. I have to say, I am pretty impressed with how well our Governor is standing his ground with opening up our state and supporting us as well as he can, so I’m not sure where I would stand.
What’s one thing most people don’t realize about Jersey City?
A: So many people don’t know how diverse Jersey City is! Jersey City is the most culturally diverse city in the country, and second most diverse overall just behind Houston, TX. I love that our kids are exposed to different people with different backgrounds.
J: I have to agree with Alicia. Also, it’s HUGE! I think a lot of people identify JC with downtown, but there are so many neighborhoods and they all have so much to offer. I still have so much to discover, it’s much more than the neighborhood you see when you get off of the first stops on the PATH from the city.
What’s your favorite quarantine activity?
A: That’s an easy one- baking!!! I made some amazing cookies the other day. My stomach was quite happy, but my jeans were not. But let’s be honesty, who’s wearing jeans these days?!
J: Hmmm…maybe I’m reading more? I still work in Hospitality, but our hours are earlier, so I get to squeeze some reading in before bed. As a previous SAHM, I’ve always loved cooking and baking, and Beau loves both, so that’s always fun.
Anything else you’d like people in your area to know about your site?
A: We’re adding a product recommendations page! Right now. there’s one product, but plenty more are to come!
J: There are SO many events going on in our city and our Weekend Updates are a huge hit! As a mom, it’s my dream to find a one stop calendar, and our’s is pretty great!
We love supporting local businesses. Can you please share your fave places in your area to:
Go to dinner as a family:
A: Left Bank Burger Bar
J: Hamilton Pork, Hudson Hall or Low Fidelity
Have date night:
Have fun as a family outdoors:
A: Liberty State Park
J: Same and Pershing Field
Workout (at least precovid!):
J: Jane Do
Get your hair done:
A: Dry Bar in Hoboken
J: Hair Room
Get your nails done:
A: Laydbird Nail & Spa
J: Suite Tee
Go shopping (for kids, yourself and gifts):
A: Target! #momlife!
J: Hazel Baby & Kids, Kanibal, and Casa Mona for flowers/housewarming gifts