We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Slade and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
I have a daughter who just turned twelve last week, a daughter who is about to turn twenty in one month, and my oldest daughter is twenty four. I guess you could say I’m an “experienced” mom now, since I’ve got two and a half decades under my belt. It’s just difficult to decide what’s the MOST important thing I’ve done to have an impact as a parent, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to three.
The most important thing I think one can do as a parent is to foster their child’s sense of self. Every child is born with certain personality traits, natural abilities and tendencies. For example, if they’re inclined to art, compliment and encourage it. Don’t knit-pick. Don’t tear your children down. It hurts me when I’m out in public and a child is being punished for doing something that’s just normal behavior for a child in their age range. Don’t tell a toddler to be quiet or still; toddlers aren’t supposed to be quiet or still. A parent, or teacher for that matter, should NEVER tell a child they are bad…bad AT something or just bad PERIOD. Children ultimately become what you tell them they are, so tell them they are good people, that they’re good at something, and that they’re a force for good in this world. Just concentrate on the encouragement part and not so much the discouragement part. Positivity begets productive members of society. And remember that just because your child doesn’t share your dreams and hobbies doesn’t mean they’re a disappointment or failure. We’re all different, some more right-brained than left-brained and vice-versa. These differences make our families, and ultimately our world, a much stronger place. Wouldn’t life be so boring and predictable if everyone was exactly alike?
Another important thing I’ve taught my girls is to be optimistic and keep going, no matter what life throws at you. We know things don’t always go to plan. If you would have told me when I turned thirty that I would get diagnosed with two life-threatening, incurable diseases (CVID and Myasthenia Gravis), my mom would die of Pancreatic Cancer, and my sister would get diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer, and that all of this would happen within the decade, then I would have called you crazy. But it all came to pass, and I had to adapt, or rather WE had to adapt as a family because these events profoundly affected all of us. But the girls recognize that I have a grateful heart; I’m so grateful to have had such an incredible mother, so thankful for modern medicine keeping my sister here with us each and every precious day longer, and so thankful that my diseases have a treatment now, especially given people are generous enough to donate the plasma that constitutes that treatment. We know how to look on the bright side at our house, and we honestly do know we are more fortunate in many ways than most in this world.
Along those same lines, I think being honest with my daughters has had a massive impact on our relationships and ultimately on their lives. I don’t just mean being frank about my illnesses. I mean honest about my life and honest about the world. As a young parent, when my first two girls were little, I really struggled with this, and it made me uncomfortable, say, when certain situations were brought up on TV or on the radio. I wanted to shelter them from adulthood and keep them little forever. But I eventually realized I wasn’t doing them any favors. I am honest and open around all three of my daughters now, and there are very few topics that are off limits, except for maybe just a couple of topics with the twelve year old. I realized I could not ask my children to go forth into the world and be honest with others, and especially with themselves, unless I stopped being a hypocrite. And it’s not good for a child’s self esteem when a parent is untruthful. Most children ultimately sense when a parent is being dishonest, and it causes resentment, uneasiness, and instills chaos and hesitancy in their minds.
I’m definitely not a perfect parent. Luckily, I have an incredibly supportive husband. Truth be told, I am still learning every single day. I have three fierce, smart, funny creatures, and I learn way more from them than they ever learned from me. But if I could turn back the clock three decades and give myself advice, I would tell myself to concentrate more on these three areas.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ll tell you a little of my childhood, my inspiration for becoming a Realtor, and how I ended up where I am, Jon.
Most kids beg their moms for candy in the checkout line. I begged mine for architecture magazines. Most kids thought Prince and Madonna were cool. Frank Lloyd Wright and Brunelleschi were my idols. I loved architecture, but I hated the math. It intimidated me. I’m geared toward liberal arts.
I was a fortunate kid in a couple of ways. First, our property bordered my grandparent’s property, so I had two sets of parents. The older I get, the more I realize how much I take after my grandmother. She adored interior design. She was constantly thinking of ways to remodel her house and always dreaming up new beach house floorplans. She put her plans into action. I remember three beach houses and two beach condos.
She was a Realtor. She’d take me with her when she showed homes. This brings me to the second area in which I was lucky: being surrounded by beautiful, historical architecture. I have fond memories of my sister and I exploring old houses as my grandmother showed them.
I was lucky in a third way too. My family and friends supported what I guess you’d call my “architecture habit.” In elementary school, when the other kids were coloring, I was designing houses. A friend would walk up to my desk, tell me what features they’d like in a home, and I’d draft up a design for them. When I got older and started dating, I’d have my dates take me to old areas of Montgomery so that I could admire the homes.
Then, off to college, by which time I’d decided I wasn’t good enough at math to be an architect. I went after a history degree instead. I had fun in my history classes! I loved learning about how architecture and history reflect each other.
All through my adult life, my friends told me I should be a Realtor, and I told them I was scared of the math on the exam. I loved being a teacher, and I loved having a gourmet paleta franchise, but I sure liked talking shop with my agent friends. I wanted to be an agent so badly I could taste it.
My sweet grandmama passed in March of 2020. I thought about her so much, and I finally gathered the gumption by the fall of that year to go for it. I’m in my 40’s & can’t let fear of failure hold me back anymore!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This one is relatively easy because my brother and nephew just came to visit from New York. I took them: -Hiking: Wind Cave Trail & Hieroglyphics Trail
-Restaurants: Queen Creek Olive Mill, Windmill Winery, Bar Vinedo, Lucy’s At The Orchard
-Wine Trails: Verde Valley Wine Trail or the Wilcox Wine Trail
-Sedona: Cathedral Rock Hike, wine at Vino Zona, dine at El Rincon in Tlaquepaque Square
-Kayaking and Paddle boarding at Canyon Lake and then going to Tortilla Flat
-Driving the Bush Highway
-Tucson: see the San Xavier Del Bac Mission and the Barrio Viejo neighborhood
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have so many people to thank here. I couldn’t possibly thank everyone who has mentored me and had a positive impact on my life, but there are some that I couldn’t possibly go without mentioning. Obviously, my husband and my three daughters are my biggest supporters and motivators. My children have been my social media tutors, and my poor husband has had to foot the bills for all of my career changes. Also, my two sisters and my mother, although she’s passed now, have been my biggest sounding boards and my loudest cheerleaders. My sweet grandmother, who passed in 2020, was my biggest inspiration for becoming a Realtor. She was a Realtor, herself, and taught me a thing or two about decor and house-flipping. Lissette Lent, Patrick Harfst, and Andy Bellino have been my mentors at Realty Execs Phoenix. Mellanie Bailey and Julie Achimon have been my mentors in Alabama Real Estate. My next phase, developing an Air B&B, is about to begin, so I’ve been consulting my brother and his wife, Josh and Alaina, who are AirBnb Superhosts in New York for that project. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop now for fear of boring the reader. I have so many teachers to thank, but if I start doing that I really won’t be able to stop myself.
Facebook: Jessica Enslen Slade
Other: email: email@example.com