I SO believe that everybody has a story and message to share! This series features the story and secrets to success from women of all ages and stages. I always ask people a ton of questions in person and am super duper curious about how people got where they are, how they live life, what tips and tricks work for them and more. Each time I profile someone they'll be different questions (some the same)!
Today I'm so excited to introduce you, dear readers, to Jenny Chemer. I've known Jenny and her family for years and I admire so many things about her. Wait until you read on... can you believe she speaks only Spanish to her 5 kids?? Can you believe she has kids in college... she looks sooo young? Did you know the importance of tight lining your eyes?? :)
Tell me about yourself!
I’m Jenny Chemer, mother of 5, personal trainer, professional makeup artist. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from UW Whitewater with a degree in Psychology and Minor in Spanish.
So you're a mom of 5 - tell me about how you do it.
Being a mom of five is rewarding, exhausting, stressful and so fulfilling all rolled into one. I come from a family of 6 kids and I was always “in charge”, so I have always been used to the chaos. I always knew I wanted to be a mom and we definitely wanted a big family. Having 5 kids is amazing…from my kids’ perspective there is always someone around, always someone to do something with. It is so interesting to see the different personalities of all our kids. With this many kids comes a lot of extra activity around the house - I have had as many as 12 friends sleeping over at once between all the kids.
You speak Spanish exclusively to your kids. Why is this important to you?
I have always loved the sound of Spanish and the idea of being able to speak and understand another language - since I was a little girl. By the time I was in college I was so motivated and well on my way to really learning the language. I spent a semester in Spain, but the biggest blessing was my best friend, who I met my senior year in college. Her parents sent her to WI to learn English…someone introduced us and we immediately hit it off. My Spanish would never be what it is if it weren’t for her. She became part of our family and after traveling with her to Venezuela I became part of hers. She and I couldn’t believe how similar our families were, even though we were from two such different countries. Only downfall was we had to translate everything when our families got together. That must have planted a seed in my mind. By the time I was pregnant with my first child, I tried to figure out how I could pass along my Spanish. I’m not a native speaker, so I wasn’t sure it would even work and at that time I didn’t even know any baby terms in Spanish. It hit me that this was an infant and he didn’t have any language yet, so what did I have to lose. I still remember the first day I realized for certain my efforts were working. I asked my barely walking little boy to go get something for me in another room - it was something small and in a specific spot. He toddled down the hall, into the bedroom, got the item and handed it to me. I can’t describe how excited I was. 20 years later I am still speaking only Spanish to my kids and when our Spanish speaking friends come to visit my kids are able to exclusively speak Spanish to them. That is by far my highest accomplishment.
(^^Jenny and her BFF Ines^^)
I still remember my introduction to fitness…I was in 4th grade and my mom took me to her first aerobics class…I love to dance, so exercising to music was right up my alley. That was literally the start of a lifelong discipline. By the time I was in high school my mom was teaching her own class several times a week. I attended every one. One day she was sick and told me I’d have to teach the class for her…I was only 16. I couldn’t believe how good it felt to stand in front of all those women my mom’s age and have them follow what I was showing them to do. As soon as I started college I got a job as an aerobics instructor. After college I started my own aerobics classes in the community and was teaching several times a week, in addition to a full time job in PR/Advertising and International Business. After a few years my husband and I opened our own fitness club and have been running it for almost 19 years. I do in home personal training now and a couple of my original clients are still training with me!
I think of you as an entrepreneur! :) What businesses have you been a part of and what are you up to now?
Well, the first business I started is the aerobics classes, I mentioned above…I found space to rent, advertised and it was my own thing. Our fitness club business has been a huge part of my life, my husband and I started that. I started my own freelance makeup artist business about two years ago and focus on makeup application for professional photos shoots.
(^^Jenny and her husband^^)Any secret makeup tips?
Learn how to tight line your eyes - it is the most amazing way to really make your eyes pop. Works great for a day look, a smoky eye and everything in between.
Don’t neglect your eyebrows - they are the frame for your face.
When choosing a foundation color, don’t color match on the cheek….color match on the jawline, the goal is for your face color to match your body color.
What three products cant you live without?
Lipstock, iPhone, high heels!
How do you balance it all?
Balancing 5 kids and multiple job endeavors is not easy - one quality I have that is extremely helpful in balancing everything is being organized. You must be organized with such a big family. I make lists and live by my calendar to keep it all straight. I also try to make sure we have plenty of family time together even if it means driving to Madison just so we can have dinner with all of our kids together (our two oldest are at UW-Madison). When you try to maintain balance with everyone in the family having so many commitments and being so busy I even consider time in the car together quality time.
(^^Jenny with her sons in college... she said "This picture (at left) perfectly depicts how it felt to me to send my child off to college for the first time. I will say this lighthearted, spontaneous photo made the actual goodbye much less stressful".... love it^^)
Best piece of advice you've ever received?
I think the best advice I ever received was rather general, but it always stuck with me. When I was pregnant with my first child, a friend who is a bit older than me and already had kids was talking about the actual birth... .I had no idea how hard it would be or how painful and she simply said, “Give it everything you’ve got”... I will never forget that. It certainly helped me in the delivery room, but also in many other times in my life!
** If you're local, check out Jenny Makeup. She's amazing!!