Since starting FairfieldMoms, we’ve been lucky enough to meet some wonderful people, and a lot of these people have been local women in this town. One woman in particular who we’ve become quick friends with is Jessica Grutkowski, contributing writer at Fairfield Magazine and a social media consultant. She is someone who is always smiling, welcoming in all aspects, and willing to help business owners make introductions around town. There was no question we had to feature her so everyone could learn more about this great woman – a true staple in Fairfield!
Where are you originally from and how long have you been in the area?
I was born and raised in Manhattan, but our family moved to Greenwich right before high school. After going to college at Boston University, I lived in Murray Hill and DUMBO, but moved back to Fairfield in 2008 when we found out I was pregnant with twins.
Children / Age(s) Isabelle
(Izzy) and Zoe, identical twins age 10.5
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a pretty open book, but I suppose not everyone knows we had a mobile coffee truck called The Buzz Truck, which we sold to our friends at Source Coffeehouse in Black Rock. It was a really amazing experience (the instagram legacy lives on @thebuzztruck) and I would never have met some of the people I know now if I hadn’t had that experience. It was amazing to see an idea come to life and experience running our own business.
One thing you wish someone would have told you about motherhood?
I wish someone had told me when your water breaks, be ready, because it continues to flow hours and hours later. When my water broke I literally had two pairs of pants that fit me, so when I changed into the second pair I wasn’t prepared for it to get soaked five minutes later. Overall, not to be so hard on myself. If you can’t make breastfeeding work, it’s okay. Not every child sleeps well, or naps on a schedule, or reaches milestones at the right point. Just be patient and live day-by-day.
Favorite local things to do in Fairfield?
I truly love Fairfield — and I’m not just saying that because I work for Fairfield Magazine! There is something about this town that resonates with so many people. I love strolling downtown and visiting all of the amazing local businesses like Saugatuck Sweets, Penfield Collective, The Beehive and The Perfect Pair. I always feel truly welcome and it makes shopping here such a personal experience. I also love driving down to Sasco Beach and taking a quiet moment to take in the view and beauty of the water. I could never be landlocked.
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Fairfield?
Most of us are in the same boat and there are so many opportunities to find your people. I love the teachers at my girls’ school. They really care about the kids and it shows in so many ways. I would do anything for them, which is probably why I have stayed so involved with the PTA throughout the past six years.
Do you have a favorite family friendly restaurant? Date night?
My kids idea of a great meal is 16 Handles or Saugatuck Sweets. All kidding aside, we don’t eat out often as a family, but they love ordering the “tiny meatballs” from Quatro Pazi on Uber Eats, and I love the gluten free pasta dishes! My husband Alex and I love Martel and Bonda for date night, especially if you can score a seat at the bar (same goes for either restaurant!).
What is your go-to activity for your family? For yourself?
My girls and I horseback ride, so several days a week we’re at Salko Farm, where they ride, or at Twin Bays Stable in Darien, where I ride. On any given day you can find Alex at Golf Lounge 18 in The Sportsplex. He’s kind of obsessed.
Funniest part that you’ve learned about parenthood?
That kids poop in the tub. It was a stage I will never forget and am glad is behind us!
Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
My kids have tons of fine hair and otherwise I would be cutting out dreadlocks every night, so we use a product called Showsheen (you can buy it on Amazon) that’s made for horses. It’s a fabulous detangler to use on wet hair once a week. Be careful when you spray not to get any on a wood floor because you will totally wipe out.
Name one thing you regret when learning the ropes of parenthood and what you learned from it?
This might sound weird but to remember you’re the one in charge. A few years back I realized I’d lost my credibility as the boss because I didn’t have the right skills in my mommy toolbox. It was easier to give in when they tag teamed me. I have a fabulous therapist who helped me learn effective coaching and coping skills that have made me a better parent. I feel like everything is a work in progress but I am better equipped for the challenge!
Tell us about your business, when & why you started, and the reason behind it?
Most of my career was spent in public relations servicing mainly enterprise software clients. I considered a move to the West Coast, but my heart wasn’t in the industry. When my husband and I had a miscarriage, I signed up for cooking school to branch out into a different vertical. I looked at it as a unique grad school, but the night I made my deposit, I found out I were pregnant. Long nights at school on my feet after work was just not happening. After volunteering at Earthplace, my girls’ preschool (and an amazing place to visit), I had the itch to get back into business. I came up with the idea for The Buzz Truck after being late to pick-up a dozen times because of the line at Dunkin’ and Starbucks. Building the Buzz Truck from scratch was full of learning experiences (happy to talk to anyone interested), but we were ultimately happy to pass the baton. Writing has always been my passion, so working with Fairfield Magazine is truly a dream come true. On the side, I love helping local women get their small businesses off the ground. I can help develop the tools they need to make an amazing first impression — whether it’s a business web site, logo, social media platform or press materials. I have experience on both sides of the fence, so I can help guide folks on what will resonate.
How does starting and growing a business work when you have small children and still growing your families?
It’s super hard! I didn’t feel like I could get back into it until we reached Kindergarten, but maybe that’s because I had twins.
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable MOM GUILT handling a career and a family?
My mom once asked me if I remembered a nanny I had when I was little. She reminded me of her name and the things we liked to do together. When I couldn’t remember her or what we did, she said that that was her point. The kids will enjoy those moments no matter what. If you have a family member, nanny or sitter stepping into help create some of those moments, then so be it.
Who has most influenced you to be the mother that you are today?
I had a complicated adolescence and those experiences shaped me into the mother I am today. I promised myself I would be as transparent and open as possible with my girls with the hope they will return the favor.
What advice would you share with a new mom or other moms?
If you make through the day and everyone is happy and healthy, you’re crushing it.