We got to chat with Jess Quarello, a key force behind Extra Lucky Moms (ELM) and a mom of two. Jess walks us through her journey into and through motherhood, and the origin story of Extra Lucky Moms—a platform born out of the need for community and support.
What has been the most surprising thing about becoming a mother?
Oh gosh where to begin?! Becoming a mother completely disrupted everything I thought I knew before. It’s also the only true time I have fallen in love at first site, twice! The most surprising thing about becoming a mother for me has been how much I am truly capable of. I honestly could barely take care of myself before kids and now I am freaking cruise director, family engineer and run two businesses. I think our kids unlock potential within us we didn’t know we had.
How did you and your business partner Taryn come up with the idea for Extra Lucky Moms and what were some of the first steps you took to get it up and running! You both are so inspiring!
Aww thank you! It started because the two of us were essentially the first “community” member in each other’s lives. After we both had our daughters with Down syndrome, we needed support and found each other. Taryn was the only one who truly understood exactly what I was going through and we both were passionate about advocacy. We decided we could try and build a platform and community to replicate our personal community on a larger scale, and thus Extra Lucky Moms was born!
What is the best part about running ELM and what is the most challenging? What do you envision for ELM in 5 years?
The best part is seeing the impact we are making in real time. We hear from so many ELM community members that the letters in our book Dear Mama: Stories of an Extra Lucky Life gave them the hope they needed to hear at that time. We love seeing connections made between families with the same diagnoses. We also love to experience individuals outside the disability community celebrate our work by supporting us. We have been able to change perspectives of so many people which is the most incredible thing for me. In five years I would love to come out with volume 2 and 3 of our Dear Mama series. I would also love to build the community ten fold and do an annual conference! Finally, I’d also love to become the go-to for corporate DE&I programming. We are on our way but we know we are just getting started!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up and get my girls ready for school, solo. My husband has to be at work super early so the mornings are just me and my girls. That said, I am super regimented with the routine and we have it down! They both get on their bus at 8:30 AM and then I reset the house and do my best to fit a workout in. I love F45 and try to go to the studio a few times a week. If I can’t get there I do a strength workout in our gym from the peloton app. After that I shower and get to work! Taryn and I have office hours every day and the to-do list never ends which I love. We typically work remote but once a week we work together in person so we can create content. I truly never feel like I am working because I am so passionate about our efforts. If I am not working on ELM then I am working on my personal brand, Jess Quarello. I do a number of brand collaborations and content creation so depending on the week I may be shooting with my brand manager Madison, or editing video content. The girls get home around 3:30 PM and I am with them until Matt gets home. Typically we are doing homework and playing at the house. I prep dinner, and then Matt gets home and we eat as a family and tag team bedtime. Once the girls are in bed we love to watch a show and I am almost always back on the computer to finish up the work I didn’t get to that day. Obviously my days vary with events, corporate talks, and school events but that is a typical day in the life.
How would you describe your girls’ style? Are you into matchy matchy, coordinating or dressing them according to their own style?
I LOVE to match my girls but Charlee has all of a sudden come into her own and likes to dress herself. She loves to be sporty but on random days likes to get dressed up. With Adeline, I take any chance I get to dress her up like a little doll. She is so adorable!
We’re obsessed with your kids’ hairstyling skills! What’s your go to style for the girls and where did you learn how to do their hair so well?
OMG thank you! Honestly that’s such a lovely compliment!! When Charlee turned 3 her hair became so naturally straight, thick and fine. She legit has the BEST hair ever so I decided to start learning how to do styles. I just started using youtube! Then I got the hang of a bunch of styles and started experimenting. I also love doing Adeline’s hair now that it is getting thicker. It’s so fun!
What is one of your favorite holiday traditions with the girls?
I love to bake christmas cookies together. We also make Swedish cinnamon rolls every year which my kids are obsessed with and we do the elf on the shelf which is Charlee’s favortie thing ever.
How do you take care of yourself while raising two kids and running a business?
OOF!! It is a balance and a challenge that’s for sure. I do my best to pay attention to how things make me feel. If I am exhausted in the morning once in a while, I may lay down for 30 min after the girls get on the bus. I have also leaned in to the fact that I am just not going to get to everything each day. If I work out, I probably won’t have time to get a proposal completed. If I go grocery shopping, I won’t have time to get my nails done. I prioritize my mental and physical wellness so I can be the best version of myself for my kids and family. If I am struggling I am certainly not presenting well to them and they deserve to have me at my best. I also do my best to have time with my husband and girlfriends when I can. Date night is SO important! We try to go out at least once a week.
Danrie Rapid Fire Questions:
3 Accounts on Instagram that make you happy
Obviously @extraluckymoms ;)
@commentsbycelebs always makes me laugh
No way I can choose this!!! I love to cook eat legit everything. I will say though that my favorite food is a loaded baked potato with tons of sour cream lol.
Current Coffee Order
Venti americano with a splash of cream and one stevia
Last show you binge-watched, last book you read, or last podcast episode you really loved
Skin care hero product you can’t live without
My khiels day cream with spf 55 and my Ilia everything stick
Motto you live by