JeeYoung Puts the ‘Real Life’ in Parenting

The metro Detroit mom grows a digital community while raising her boys to be good men.

Scroll your Instagram feed and you may happen upon metro Detroit mom, JeeYoung, and the smiling four men in her life — husband David, and their three boys, ages 11, 8 and 6. Follow her, as 55,000 other fellow moms and dads do @simplyeveryblog, and you might even wish you’d have this crazy parenting life as together as she appears to.

In reality, JeeYoung is like every mom: wanting to do it all and finding herself overcommitted and overwhelmed. She says she’s a “hot mess” just trying to keep it together, but she hopes that sharing the good and messier sides of her parenting in the moment might help someone else feel OK about their messy buns and not-so-perfect little angels, too. 

As she continues to build her community of parents — DMing with followers is her favorite thing, she says — JeeYoung, a marketing expert in her work life, eschews toxic positivity and hopes to keep things real and balanced.

She’s even thinking about organizing an IRL coffee chat. We got a chance to pick her brain about parenting recently.

What do you love about being a mom? 

JeeYoung says she didn’t dream about what her happily ever after would look like, but she jokes now that somehow she followed the stereotypical route of graduating college, meeting and marrying her husband and having their boys.

“But I think my favorite part of being a mom truly is both sometimes the overwhelming responsibility of raising good human beings but also just being able to really be in the moment and seeing the world through my kids’ eyes as they grow and develop into their own individual personalities,” she says.

She says she likes living near her hometown so that she can relive the moments she had as a child. She also likes them having a close relationship with their grandparents.

What is your best advice for other moms? 

“My best advice is, you are right where you’re supposed to be and what you’re doing this day is the best that you are doing for your children. And that is enough,” she says.

While that’s a simple statement, she thinks moms understand it. “We are our own worst critics. And I think that rings the most true where the best of us and the worst of us comes to light. And we really are probably the ones who hold all of the negative connotations to it, to ourselves, and it’s so not necessary.”

She remembers during her first pregnancy asking a mom friend how she’d know if she was a good mom. JeeYoung says she still carries her friend’s words with her today: “She said that the fact that for your child, who isn’t even born yet, you are sitting there worrying about how your words, actions, whatever it is that you do, is going to impact that baby is how I know you’re going to be an amazing mom,” she says.

She says a lot of moms don’t take pride in themselves and their instincts. “Honestly, the best of us are winging it every day, figuring it out as we go.”

What is your take on moms feeling like they have to be perfect parents?

I think the definition of a perfect parent is being the best type of mom that you are. Again, I’ve said, oh, I’m not a helicopter mom, but, hey, I plan on installing every security app. I’m going to be reading through all of their social media. I already know that’s who I’m going to be. So someone might look at me and call me that if that was the only part of me that they knew. As a mom, I say, I’m not a Pinterest mom, but if someone saw my Bento box lunch series,” they might think she is.

How do you avoid the comparisons, particularly with social media?

Don’t get lost in the chase; if you see something you connect with and it brings you joy and peace, go for it, she says.

“I find inspiration in all sorts of different areas. I feel the same way and I’ve been there. I’ve played the comparison game. I’m sure I will play it again. It’s human nature. I’m not some life expert. This is something that I’m consciously going through in my life in the last year or so, is prioritizing the things that bring you joy and peace. Whether it’s in your work life, your mom life, your relationships with your partner, there is no other chasing perfection than that,” she says.

But as far as perfect parenting, the only thing you really need to be chasing is your own personal peace. “You don’t have to be something that you’re not.”

Instagram started for her as a place to find other mom friends. It remains that way for her today. “If you see me out in the wild, as I like to call it, don’t hesitate to say hi. And please, if you ever see me off my rocker, call me out.”

Fast Talk

Favorite places to eat with your boys:

Sushi Kafe in Rochester, La Collina Ristorante Italiano in Rochester Hills and Dae Jang Keum in Troy.

The job you would have if you could pick anything:

“In my dream world, I say this all the time and I’m probably going to do it when I’m actually retired, but I don’t want a job, I want to be a volunteer. I have so many different areas that are near and dear to my heart, and so in some way, shape or form, if I could serve on a board or volunteering position with nonprofits and charities, I think that means more to me than a paycheck or any dollar amount.”

Your go-to coffee order:

“Upside-down caramel macchiato with oat milk.”

Your secret obsession? 

“Reality TV shows.” 

The space at home you’d be most embarrassed for people to see:

She pauses. “The reason I pause is, no room of mine is perfect. I mean, my immediate thought was to say the playroom, because that’s a room that I would close. …Otherwise, mine’s a lived- in home and I don’t find shame in that playroom.” 

Your personal tagline if you had to pick one:

“Chaos coordinator.”

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