The year is 2010 and I was 2 semesters away from graduating with my (2nd) Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics when I was also about to enter a whole new world of…MOTHERHOOD! Yep, that’s right I gave birth to my son, Quinn in March of 2010 in the midst of getting my nutrition degree.
I hadn’t planned the timing of these events to coincide but most of my life has been non-traditional in that way. I don’t follow rules, I make my own path! I grew up in a pretty chaotic home, my parents were divorced and my mom had remarried a terrible man who, let’s just say, was not my idea of fun. After a rocky childhood (and my mom’s subsequent divorce to an evil stepdad), I went away to college to get a degree in psychology (hmm, I wonder why I was so interested in other people’s personalities…). I loved psychology but turns out I didn’t love being away at college quite as much so I transferred home to attend school close-by. I completed my psychology degree but then soon fell in LOVE with running and by default, nutrition!
My now-husband, Jon and I brought Quinn into the world in March of 2010, I graduated with my nutrition degree in 2011, we bought our first home together in 2012, and married in 2013! See, I told you I make my own path!
My first real job as a Registered Dietitian was with a WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program where I fell madly in love with pregnant mamas! I understood from personal experience that pregnancy and postpartum was such a vulnerable time in a woman’s life and I could tell there was a gap in nutrition education for these women. I thoroughly enjoyed my time (5 years) at WIC-eventually becoming the Breastfeeding Coordinator but the daily commute (about 45 minutes each way) was starting to get to me. By this time I had 2 boys (Connor was born in 2014 and was able to come to work WITH me for 1 whole year) and working that far from home was starting to put a strain on me as a working mom.
I found my DREAM job in 2019 at a Maternal Fetal Medicine (high-risk OB office) where I exclusively counseled gestational diabetic moms on nutrition for blood sugar control.
But just as I settled into the “normalcy” of my life, I realised I made my own path! 😉
I worked my regular job while putting in LONG hours to build my private practice. I thought, if these gestational diabetic moms here in Dayton, Ohio are soaking up every piece of information I’m telling them then women around the world must be in need of this education as well! So, just like that I decided to start my very own nutrition business, Mama Knows Nutrition!! I worked my regular job while putting in LONG hours to build my private practice. And let me tell you, it was a HUSTLE and GRIND building my business all while trying to be the best mom I could for my young boys.
It wasn’t always easy but knowing that I was finally doing what I loved (educating pregnant mamas) on my own terms made it all worthwhile. The thing I’ve learned about myself as a mom and woman is that I don’t want to strive to be someone else’s version of successful. I want to continue to make my own path and define success in my own way. After all, I do teach my clients to get to know what works best for them-perfection doesn’t exist in blood sugar control and it doesn’t exist in motherhood!
Leslee Flannery is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Lactation Counselor from Dayton, Ohio. She has spent the last 6 years working with the pre and postnatal population. Leslee herself has two young boys and understands first-hand how overwhelming this new phase of life can be for women. She thought she had found her dream job working in a Maternal-Fetal Medicine office but soon realized there was an abundance of nutrition misinformation and a lack of continued support with gestational diabetes so she started her own private practice. In her private practice, Leslee teaches her clients that all foods can fit while controlling blood sugars in pregnancy! Head over to the Bizzimumzi podcast to hear and learn more about Leslee and her business to help expecting Mom’s navigate the extra layer of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.