Jenny Decock lives in Paris with her partner Sam and their daughter Billie, 2.5 year old. She has worked in the fashion industry for over 10 years and is the Head of Product Development for Ready-to-Wear at Longchamp. She is a music, travel & fashion enthusiast. We share the same passion for ethical products and she has a cool project in the making. Follow her: @chosen.fr
1. How did you choose your daughter's name?
In France, Billie is more a male name. I chose it not because I wanted a boy, but I feel that giving a boy name to a girl gives her a strong personality. I am also a huge fan of Billie Holiday.
2. Are you planning a second bebe?
Yes I’m actually planning a second one this year. Some women try to decide and plan the best time to have babies. I feel that time is right for me. I spent over two years with Billie and enjoyed our mother-daughter bond. Logistically, I prefer to have a second baby when Billie goes to school so I can focus and have dedicated time during the day for her little sibling.
3. Do you have a preference: boy or girl?
I would love another girl. I didn’t have a preference for the first one. But now, I just love my relationship with my daughter and our bond as girls. I grew up with two sisters that’s maybe why I love the girl power so much.
Of course, if it’s a boy, I would be thrilled. Having a healthy baby is all that matters.
4. How was your breastfeeding experience with Billie?
Somewhat really easy. I didn’t face challenges but I regret that I didn’t breastfeed longer. I just couldn’t imagine myself pumping at work. I stopped breastfeeding when my maternity leave came to an end which was about five months. But I loved breastfeeding Billie, it came easy to me. It was the right thing to do from a health standpoint and also very convenient.
5. What was your pregnancy & breastfeeding fashion style?
I’m addicted to crewnecks and it was impossible to wear my regular ones while nursing. I didn’t feel like taking my shirt up, showing my belly and more. I missed my wardrobe during this time and I didn’t really have a to go style. I am a bit reserved so while breastfeeding on the go, I preferred to hide my breast. It was sometimes challenging to hold her and try to stay covered. We didn't go out much since she was born around Winter so I didn't really have to breastfeed outside. I definitely fell more comfortable nursing at home.
6. What were the challenges with your partner when your daughter was born?
When our daughter was just 3 weeks old, she cried from midnight until 4 am almost non-stop for about a month. It was not a hunger issue or else, she was just crying and only felt comfort when we were holding her. We were both sleep deprived and my partner, Sam, was losing his patience. It was a rough moment and felt like the longest time ever.
Sam didn’t have any paternity leave when Billie was born. He is a chiropractor. We didn’t really have the chance to find our pace as a family of three early on. I absolutely fell lonely especially during the first two months as I didn’t want to go out, she was born in a cold Winter and I didn’t want to take the subways in Paris and risk exposing her to any virus.
My husband felt left out as I was spending all my time with our baby, I was completely obsessed with her, I have to admit, it was a bit much! And by the time, she was asleep, I didn’t have much energy left to spend quality time with my partner. It took about six months for us to find a better balance.
7. Do you feel like you have a good balance regarding parenthood and household chores responsibilities with your partner? If so, what’s your secret?
After over two years, we have now nailed our personal, couple, parent balance life. It’s crucial for our well-being and happiness. I am extremely lucky to have my in-laws who live close by and take care of Billie whenever we need. It allows us to have date nights and even go on short couple trips. Sam came with me to one of my business trips for the New York Fashion Week. It was special to share with him my work life and a city that I absolutely love for its music, food and artistic scene. We’ve never had a baby-sitter and I realize how privileged we are.
Sam rearranged his work schedule to have two days off during weekdays and he takes care of Billie, then she goes twice a week to daycare and stays one day with her grandma. I am on mom duty on Saturdays so Sam can schedule his patients.
My secret to get me-time is to not give my partner any choice. I plan for it, put it in the calendar and roll with it and he knows he will have to be on dad duty. But it’s mutual, he enjoys working out and meeting his friends and when he does, I don’t complain. I think organization is key along with respecting each other's time to keep doing things we love and are important for our well-being.
We plan once a year, a solo trip with our friends. Not as a couple, not as parents. Sam can take time for himself and vice versa. I love the opportunity to be with my friends as a woman, not a mom. I love to visit some places in the world that my partner isn’t interested in.
And regarding household chores, we share responsibilities through to-do lists. If I don’t make one, well I can’t expect my partner to do anything proactively so this system works for the both of us.
8. As a busy mom working at Longchamp, between fashion weeks and worldwide sourcing trips, Parisian metro commutes, long styling work days, fashion shows to prep, how do you juggle it all?
I really love my job. Sometimes, working long hours is necessary. I also love to go out during weekdays. And to avoid having the mom guilt, I leave my work at 5 pm three times a week, go pick up my daughter and then I really focus on her until bedtime. There is no phone, no TV involved. And about twice a week, I go out, whether with my husband or friends, or I work on my personal project Chosen. On weekends, if I have to work, it’s only during her nap times. And I dedicate the rest of my time to be fully with her.
9. Do you practice self-care? If so, what is it like for you?
I do. For me self-care is:
Working out. I go to the gym next to my office either early mornings or during lunch times. Yes, lunch time is a thing in France and it’s precious.
Visiting a neighborhood of Paris all by myself. I plan it once a month. I love finding new “treasures” for shopping, eating, and places to see. This is also part of my project for Chosen. I have lived in Paris for seven years and I am still discovering new places which make me fall in love all over again. I don’t mind walking for 10 hours and getting lost in the city of love.
10. Any advice for first-time moms?
Listen to your guts. Do what feels right by you. The last time, I was chatting with a mom who told me it wasn’t good to say to your child “you are the love of my life”, she said that the husband can feel neglected and if you have a second child, it is not good for the first one. She made me feel bad but afterwards, I thought: I want to be able to say what I feel to my daughter and my husband knows that I love him as much as I love her. But everybody has different opinions, feelings, couple and family dynamics. Make your own rules and what’s right for you and family for everybody’s happiness.
FUN FACTS: Jenny and I have known each other since we were thirteen. We used to be neighbors. We both started to work on our personal projects and when it came to pick names for our companies, we didn't consult each other but we CHOSE something similar and very personal. Chosen refers to her "chosen family" and a nod to the beautiful Leona Naess's song.
Marjorie | Founder Choix