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Meet a Mom Monday is back! This week we’re really excited to introduce Jessie Ford, a mom of 2 from Rowley. Jessie is a frontline worker in the fight against COVID-19 and talks about how she is coping.

Where are you from originally and what town do you live in now?
Originally from Woburn. I live in Rowley, as of 2015.

How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?
I have 2 girls. They are 4 and 2 years old.

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What’s your favorite family activity on the North Shore?
Our kids love going to Cashman Park in Newburyport or Endicott Park in Danvers to explore the barn and have fun on the playground. Bradley Palmer State Park Splash Pad is great in the summer months as well!

Where’s your favorite place to eat and/or shop on the North Shore?
It’s so hard to choose just one! 1640 Hart House, in Ipswich. for a date night (request the tavern!). For family-friendly with outside seating, I like Sea Level in Newburyport. And my favorite sandwich shop is Port City Sandwich Company, also in Newburyport.

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Tell us about your career.
I graduated from Saint Anselm with my bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) in 2010, and have worked at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) since then. I started out on a Medical Surgical floor and transitioned to the outpatient setting many years later. Just recently I went back to work at the bedside in the Emergency Room.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?
My sister was in nursing school and I always looked up to her (I still do!). If she decided she wanted to be in the circus, I’m sure I’d be walking the tightrope too! I’m happy she chose nursing for both of our sakes.

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How long have you worked in the ER?
I started in the ER in November of 2019, but I have been at MGH for almost 10 years.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Flexibility with schedule. I work 36 hours per week (three, 12 hour shifts). I also love that there are so many staff in the ER with varying levels of experience – lots of room for growth and learning.

How have things changed for you at work since the COVID-19 crisis began?
The stress of potentially contracting the virus and bringing it home to my family is my main concern. The patients are not allowed visitors, aside from a few circumstances, which creates a lot of fear on top of an already scary situation.

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Any tips for balancing work & motherhood?
Pre-Covid times I have a nanny, mother-in-law, and father who babysit for my girls. Knowing that they are safe and well cared for, I can focus 100% on work and not be distracted. While at home, I try to keep our days busy with crafts, outside time, and engaging activities.

What’s your advice to moms in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis?
I think this is a hard question and hard to give advice when you don’t know someone or their situation. I could say, “this will get better..” But for some, they’ve lost loved ones, or children, etc. so in all reality, it may not get better. I think the best advice I can give a mom at this point is to reach out to someone if you need help: a neighbor, someone in the town, a hospital, anyone. You are not alone.

What’s one thing you are doing for your mental health or to de-stress during this crisis?
I definitely do not skimp on “me time.” My favorite thing to do at home, is put a face mask on and lock myself in my bedroom for an hour, and pretend I’m at a spa. Going to work, managing the day-to-day tasks at home, and keeping things as normal as I can be help de-stress also. When the kids are getting stir crazy inside, we will take them outside for a walk around the neighborhood.

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