This week's WAG Feature Wednesday is of the beautiful and ambitious Nicole Jennings. Nicole and I connected through an NFL women's prayer group after she learned of my blog. Being two like-minded entrepreneurs, we decided to partner up by assisting each other in our businesses. Nicole is a mother of four, wife to a 10 year NFL veteran, co-founder and President of the Greg Jennings Foundation, and business owner. I was able to catch up with this busy lady to discuss how she manages to juggle it all! Read more below...
NFL WAG Stats
Name: Nicole Jennings
Husband: Greg Jennings
Husband is Rookie or Veteran: Veteran. 10th season (Drafted to Packers, Vikings, Dolphins)
Children: Amya (8), Alea (6), Ayva (4), and son Aice (2)
NFLWAG: 10 years
Places You've Lived in with NFL: Green Bay and Minnesota
Off Season Home: Minnesota
Favorite Food: Pizza (Supreme)
Music on your iTunes: I’ve got a worship mix (Christian), slow jams mix, old school Gerald Lavert mix, and Beyonce/Rihanna mix
Hobbies: Working out (cardio, weightlifting, road bike, spin class) and working on my business. I love what I do so I don't consider it work. It's fun to me!
Interesting Facts: I have a nursing degree and I started my Masters in Nonprofit Leadership; I'm now focusing on being a business owner.
We are afforded an awesome platform to project the things that are important to us like our faith, women empowerment, and youth and education." - Nicole Jennings
LM: Where are you from originally and how did you get to where you are now?
NJ: I’m originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan. I’m in Minnesota now solely because of my husband.
LM: How did you and your husband meet?
NJ: We met in 6th grade and went to 8th grade and senior prom together. We attended Western Michigan together and got married our junior year in college.
LM: You and your husband have been married 10 years! Congratulations! That is a feat for anyone but definitely in this NFL life. How have you two been able to make it work? What makes you different?
NJ: Soon to be 11 years! I don’t think that we’re any different than anyone. Everyone has their own struggles. We’re really rooted in our faith. That’s definitely what has kept us going in tough times. Once we made that decision to spend the rest of our lives together, that was it. We’re in this. We grew up together. I know him and his heart and he knows me and my heart.
LM: What is your advice to NFL women as we head into football season?
NJ: As we’re taking care of everybody else, make sure you take care of yourself. That’s the premise behind my business. Women are always doing things for their husbands and kids and putting everyone else’s needs before their own. Before you know it, you’re not okay and you’re not fine. Never overwhelm yourself to the point where you forget about yourself. When you feel good, that makes you a better wife and mother. Self-care should be top of mind.
LM: What is your love advice to women?
NJ: My love advice is simple…it’s Scriptural. First Corinthians 13:4: Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not jealous or rude…it’s gentle... keeps no record of wrongs…rejoices in the truth…If it’s honest and true, that’s how you know it’s love.
LM: Tell me more about your children.
NJ: They are some energetic little people who keep us on our toes. My oldest is 8 and wears the same size as I do. She’s my mini me. My second is most like her father (she’s very kind and particular about things). My middle child is the baby girl and she acts like the baby girl. My son is two and he’s a mommy’s boy. He knows when he gets in trouble to come to mommy because she won’t do anything about it. He always compliments me: “Mommy, I like your nail polish,” “Mommy, you so beautiful.” He’s a mini Greg so I know I’m in trouble.
LM: How has motherhood changed you? Has it had an impact on your relationship with your husband?
NJ: Motherhood has changed me because there’s more to care about than myself. It’s matured me and made me have to think outside the box, especially having four children. Traveling with four is no joke. It has made me extremely organized, and also helped me to realize I can’t do it all by myself. I needed help! We hired a nanny to assist me when my husband is gone. From a marriage standpoint, it’s made us more connected. If there was ever a reason not to throw in the towel, they [the kids] would be it.
LM: What’s a typical day look like for you?
NJ: There’s no such thing as a typical day! Every day is different. I wake up and get the kids up. I like to start my day with meditation or prayer time to get my mind right for the day. It doesn’t always happen, but I can tell a difference whenever I am unable to have that “me” time in the morning. I am an avid workout person. I try to exercise before I drop the kids off at school and before I head into work. After the work day, we pick up the kids and head to their extracurricular activities. Generally, we have to split up because of the kids’ age differences. After activities, we come home, do homework, dinner, bath, and they’re in the bed by 8:00 p.m. Saturday anything goes. Sunday is game day so we are either at the game or heading somewhere to watch the game. That’s a makeshift type of day. Sometimes I’m traveling.
LM: Tell me more about your online boutique, The Posh Mommy, and how it all started?
NJ: The Posh Mommy (TPM) started because of what I mentioned before about self care. It was our contract year in Green Bay and it was a fairly stressful time. I looked in the mirror and asked myself, “Are you only a wife? Are you only a mother? Who are you? What is your passion?” I felt like there were so many women out there across the various professional sport leagues who had to feel the same way. I reached out to some other football, baseball, and basketball wives and TPM was born! We consign designer wear and a portion of the proceeds go back to charity. Understanding where we come from, we’re blessed to be where we are and need to be a blessing to others. I wanted to be able to reach women who need a little bit of empowerment. A posh mommy comes from within, not the outside. If you look good, you feel good, if you feel good, you do good, and all is well.
The Posh Mommy is currently online but I have been busy preparing for the grand opening of our first storefront in Minnesota. We are offering different benefits like classes on styling for pregnant women. Being pregnant is a very awkward time for many. I know for me, I hated being pregnant. I loved having my children but disliked being big. Now, I have tips to share. We are looking into postpartum classes for moms and making sure there is balance there. The goal is to be a resource for women. The Posh Mommy is so important to me. I love it! I try to tell women: Follow your passions and don’t fall behind and get in a shadow. Follow your dreams as well as you help your husband and kids follow theirs.
**UPDATE: Look for The Posh Mommy storefront Grand Opening in Minnesota!**
LM: You are the President and Co Founder of the Greg Jennings Foundation. How have you been able to run the foundation and TPM at the same time?
NJ: Well, I handed over the daily operations stuff to my sister-in-law. I’m still the President and I make all the final decisions, but Greg’s sister now runs the day to day. That was challenging for me in the beginning because I’m a control freak, but she’s a lot like me so I know she can handle the role. I don’t think I could manage the Foundation and TPM without her. That’s been a blessing.
LM: What is your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
NJ: I would say don’t go alone. Don’t dive into it alone. You definitely need a support group and a work life balance. For me, posh is my baby. I don’t want it to always be an investment and I want it to be profitable. However, because it’s my passion, I can get so enthralled with it that I feel overworked. Sometimes it’s like, “Oh, yeah the kids are home,” or “Maybe I should cook a meal.” It’s a blessing to have a husband who will remind you because mine definitely does. He called in a sitter the other day and we went to a hotel and hung out. He said, “You do NOT bring your phone,” to which I responded, “Well, what if I get an order?” He had to explain to me that potential customers would be fine for the next twelve hours or whatever. Definitely find that work life balance and get a support group.
LM: What is your advice for NFL families who want to start a business, or is it the same advice as above?
NJ: It wouldn’t differ. I try not to differentiate myself and NFL families from other families. It’s when people try to differentiate themselves that they think they’re better than others. That’s one thing that we definitely try not to do in our family. I don’t like to put a label on us. Football is what my husband does, not who he is. Our problems may be different because of what he does but issues are issues regardless of who you are.
LM: What are the pros and cons of being married to an NFL player?
NJ: Pros – We are afforded an awesome platform to project the things that are important to us like our faith, women empowerment, and youth and education. People listen and want to talk to us because of what my husband does. We’re trying to use that as much as we possibly can. Another perk is the fact that my husband is living out his dream. Being able to support him and having been there from 6th grade to see it all the way through…it’s like “Wow! Look at God!” To be as young as we are at 32 and have lived more than most people would in a lifetime is a definite blessing. We are able to support our family on different levels. We’re not in need of anything. We provide our children with the best we have to offer...life experiences...travel outside of the country...all of my children have passports. There are adults who have never left [the country]. That’s something that’s been huge for us to be able to pour into them.
Cons – Media perception in my eyes. The things that are portrayed to others. Stereotypes. I think that’s definitely not fair to put everyone into one basket. There were times in my life when I’m glad there was no cameras around. It’s not fair to exploit someone’s downfall and I think it happens to us [NFL families] on a regular basis. Another thing is boundaries. People are so enthralled with what the guys do on Sunday that they forget they are real people. They want time with their family. Women fans do some strange things occasionally. Boundaries can just become a little skewed and people forget these players are human.
LM: You and Greg are open about your faith and you even mention being a devoted Christian on The Posh Mommy website. What’s it like being a Christian in today’s world?
NJ: For me, it’s evolved. At first, you want to blend in. You don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. Now with the age I am and the year we are in this league, it is what it is. There’s a heaven and hell. It’s white and black; there’s no grey area with God. We enjoy being a light in a dark place. Are we perfect? Not by any means. We have lived and learned and can provide a testimony. We are striving to be more Christ-like everyday. It’s not hard for us but quite enjoyable because we know we’re doing the will of our Father. Greg's dad was a pastor but it's been nice developing our own faith for our family. We don’t do denominations. We’re about the Kingdom. It’s about doing the will of God. It’s been good to foster that with our kids.
LM: How has your faith played a role in the raising of your children?
NJ: It’s something that we have poured into them from day one. We talk about God and do prayer every morning in the car. We each say a prayer and some of them are quite funny. They pray for some funny stuff sometimes but hey, it’s conversation with God. We pray every single day in our house. I’m the one praying for the kids before school with blessed oil for their foreheads.
LM: What would you like people to know about you?
NJ: That is deep. I think the biggest thing is that I’m about unity across all levels, whether it’s women, families, etcetera. I feel like God is peace. Wherever there’s peace, that’s where God is. I try to foster that and cultivate that in whatever I’m a part of. You can be seen as standoffish if you don’t try to get down with the crowd. I feel like I’m caviar. I’m not for everybody. Everybody doesn’t like caviar but the people who do eat it, love it. I try to unify women. We’re all women. We’re all on the same team. Let’s win games and let’s win life. Even across the leagues, it’s a job. When it comes to football, God puts the man as the head [of household] and you should let him lead. There’s no need for me to get into locker room rift raft. I’m unique. I’m about unity, exuding that, and making it a way of life.
LM: Anything else you would like to add?
NJ: If there’s any other women interested in that unifying concept, The Posh Mommy is interested in having them as a contributor on our website. Or, if there’s anything you’d like to sell, we’ll get it sold and give a portion of the proceeds to charity.