I had the honor of interviewing an amazingly inspirational mama and a former high school classmate of mine. Jade Lucas is a hilarious radio personality, supportive wife, and hands-on mother of 3 (Karley is 1, Klein is 4, and her bonus son, Keelan, is 8). She was born and raised in Gary, IN.
Read on and learn how she got through pregnancy in college, landing her dream job, and expanding her family while still juggling her career. There are great nuggets of wisdom and inspiration in here for every mama, working or stay-at-home.
Give us a quick timeline on building your family vs. building your career (and education). When did you have each child & at what point were you in your career at that time?
I was going into my senior year when I found out I was pregnant with Klein. Igot pregnant that summer. I was like “what?!” It was a shocker. But at the same time it was like “OK, let’s do it!”. And at the time my husband and I were already talking about getting married so we were like “let’s just do it!”. So we just did it! We got married and I had my son that following year. I was already working at the radio station but I was more a lower level employee. I was the producer at the time.
Did you ever do an internship, how did you get your foot in the door there?
Yup. One of my friends came to me, he had already worked there, and he told me that they had just started opening up for internships. He was like “Dude, I really think if you intern there they’re going to hire you. All they have to do is meet you.”
Needless to say, he was right! I remember I called my promotions coordinator for like 3 months straight and he had said “I like how consistent you are. So yea, come in for an interview.” But it was like would if I had stopped calling, what would have happened?…I started calling him in December and I didn’t get an interview until March.
When you found out you were pregnant with Klein were you thinking “Oh I’m gonna have to take a break from work” or did you say “let’s just push through this”?
I was questioning —[Klein comes over: “hey mom…”]…Klein, I am on the phone, put that down. No, you cannot have chocolate covered pretzels at 11 am. Go sit down. [Me: *giggling*]— I remember questioning if I should take the year off from school since it was only a year left. And he [husband, KD] was like “Absolutely not, you gotta finish. You never know when you’ll actually want to come back.”…
Jade, on her graduation day, with baby Klein
Wow, that’s awesome.
…[Karley lets out a super high pitched scream to be picked up and I giggled at the familiarity of it from my own son, whose the same age]…..so after that it was like “OK, I’ma just finish.” I really didn’t think too much about it because the baby wasn’t here yet. So it hasn’t really hit me that I’m making all these moves and doing all these different things while carrying a baby.
I remember I was at a Future concert, it was the 9th month. I was 9 months pregnant at a Future concert…and I just remember everyone was like “enjoy it now because it’ll be different after the baby!” I do remember being tired and being that girl you think like “why is she here? She needs to go home.” I was like “I’m going to enjoy life to the fullest because I don’t know what life will be like once I’m a mom.”
*laughing* Aww. Okay, so where were you at in your career when you had Karley?
I was in the same building but different stations. I was no longer producing at Power [92.3], I was producing at 106.3. That’s the station that I’m at now. And really I was at a crossroads of “What if I don’t want to do this anymore” “I’m not getting enough out of it”. Just a lot of questioning myself professionally. And then I found out about Karley…
I was just looking around like “I haven’t had a period in a while, what’s goin’ on with me?” But I’m not feeling pregnant. I’m not sick, nothing. So KD was like “Why don’t you just take a pregnancy test just to be sure.” I was like “NO! That’s gonna make it real!” But we took it and instantly it was like “Yup you pregnant, girl. You’ve been pregnant for a little while [insert wide-eyed emoji]” We was just like “How?!” We were mad at each other that summer, how did we get pregnant??
So where I was, it was more so like okay, I definitely do have maternity leave now. I definitely have the option now to think about what’s going on with me, professionally, once I’m on maternity leave. And when I, of course, wasn’t nursing her and taking care of her I was really researching on how I wanted to execute my career.
It made you think a little more serious about everything?
Yea, the maternity leave was really needed for me, professionally. I’m thankful for the maternity leave because it did make them miss me and it did make them value me once I reported back to work. Because I was still like I don’t know if I even wanna go back.
Was it because you were considering going somewhere else or because you were considering being a stay-at-home mom?
I was considering a different career. I was even considering if I wanted to continue in radio anymore. I was kinda like “What else can I do with my Communication degree?” And it just seemed like the more I was questioning, the more things were opening up for me.
So then what made you ultimately decide I’m not gonna switch gears here, I’m just gonna go back?
One thing was that it’s rare to find a company that understands that you have a family. And at that point, I was so solidified in being an employee for this company that they were just like “Whatever you need, it’s ok. If you need a personal day, if your kids are sick…etc.” I didn’t have to question if I was going to have a job because I took the day off to take care of my sick kids.
Even last week I practically took a week off. Which is definitely rare with a radio show. My immediate boss, he’s a father. So he understood. It helped that I was in an environment where my superiors are also parents. So they get it. Them being family-oriented helped me to stick around because you’re gonna need that at some point. Also, the convenience. It’s closer to where I live versus trying to branch with the bigger companies in Chicago.
Location, travel, stuff like that. It’s close to their school…that also played a role too.
How did your pregnancies affect you in school or at work? Any complications?
I was sick all the time with her (Karley, the youngest). With Klein, I was sick the first trimester…normal morning sickness… and then I was cool. But her! *points to Karly* It was like the first trimester the entire time. There were times when I would come in the studio, do as much as I could do, and then I’m in the fetal position on the floor. Or my head is down on the desk. Some days I would just be home because it was too much for me to be there. And I needed the hours, I was about to go on maternity leave, ya know. So for me, it was like “Get as many hours as possible so you’ll have money saved when you go on maternity leave”. I wasn’t there long enough to have a paid maternity leave. I had the right to a maternity leave but not a paidone. So I worked until the day I gave birth. With both of them. My maternity leave started on their birthday.
Wow, that’s amazing….What was it like going through your last year of college pregnant?
It was a lot of “aww!”… I did get a lot of “You don’t have to go so hard because you’re pregnant.” But I was like no I’m gonna do this just like everybody else.
I definitely got treated like I was handicapped. I was just pregnant. I can still read. I can still study, I’m really good at studying. It was more so kind of reminding people that just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean I can’t do something.
Yea I always see people treat pregnancy like it’s an illness.
Yea! Like, “You are crippled now.” No, I’m just pregnant.
I was glad that I didn’t have morning classes. I made a point not to have anything before noon. Which worked with my work schedule too because I was producing a midday show from 10a-2p. The host was a mom too so she understood when I would be sick. I would go to work, then school, and be done at around 8p the evening. It was more so keeping consideration that you’re pregnant but not thinking that just because you are then you can’t do something. So I just kept about my routine. It was all about routine for me. The more I stuck to my routine the more I was able to get everything done. But it wasn’t easy! It was not easy at all! And even now when I was pregnant with her [Karley] I was like “How the hell did I do this in college?!” All I gotta do is worry about going to work with her and I’m like “I’m dying!” But I think age played a role too. I was younger with him [Klein]. I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant with him and with her I was 26 going on 27. Something about those few years difference…
Jade & Karley last summer
I feel like once you get past 25 it’s totally different.
Yesss! It’s like your body is just like “I can’t do this anymore.” I feel like everythingis just different after the 25th birthday. I notice my energy is totally different. I gotta take vitamins in order for me to function. I tell my husband all the time the first pregnancy was way easier.
I know we’re all on the outside looking in and everyone doesn’t see you’re little day to day struggles that you deal with, but we all see how you just always push through everything. You’re an inspiration to other people, especially younger moms. They see “Wow, she got her dream job, she came from Gary, etc. If she can do it, I can do it too.” But who’s your inspiration? Who do you think of when you need to push through a situation?
I think of people like my dad. My dad passed away the year I found out I was pregnant with Klein. I just remember him wanting me to get a degree so bad. And of course, I wanted a degree for myself. You have to want it for yourself. I remember him having that desire to see me in a cap and gown holding my degree. That played a role in the back of my mind like “I can’t let him down”. You know, even though he’s not physically here I can’t let him down.
And then it was just like I want to be able to tell other people “you can do something that most people think you can’t”. Because you know, there were people that were like “Well maybe you should take a year off”. And I just didn’t want to do that. But at the same time, I didn’t want to push myself into failing. So definitely my dad’s memory was my inspiration.
And my kids, period. They’re my inspiration because I want to be able to tell Klein “You went to college before you were born”. I want to be able to tell Karley “You were on the Chicago Theatre stage before you were born.” It was those types of moments.
I also wanted young Black people to see that there are young Black families that exist. Us being young, Black, and married was rare for people to see. Us just being young and married, period! He’s from the south side of Chicago, I’m from Gary; you don’t typically see that where we’re from. I wanted to inspire myself and do things that I never thought I would have. And let people know you can have it too. So I would say my dad’s memory and my kids needing a good example from both my husband and myself.
And of course, my husband too. He was motivation. As far as if there was anything I wanted to do, there was never a “Well nah, I don’t think you should do this.” or “You need to slow down.” He never told me I needed to slow down. He was always like ‘OK, you wanna do it? Let’s do it.”
So yea, final answer: my dad’s memory, my kids, and just my husband saying “You can do it!”.
That’s awesome. Aww, y’all are so cute!
What does your support system look like?
My crazy mother and her crazy dog. Of course my in-loves. My mother-in-law is in Texas but we talk like she lives in the next neighborhood over. I talk to her regularly. She’s a good emotional support. I can always just call her up and be like “Hey is it normal that I’m feeling like this?” or “How did you handle it when the boys were doing this…?” Ya know. She has nothing but boys and I’m still learning boys. I know girls because I got a little sister but boys is a whole new territory.
Jade with her Mother-In-Love
Older relatives, especially older married relatives. Because they can give you a perspective that you can’t foresee right now. I tend to latch onto people that have already been through what I’m going through.Because with peers, y’all still trying to figure out how to be adults ya damn selves. We can lean on each other for the friendship. But for the knowledge, I tend to lean on older relatives or older married couples.
That’s good to know. That’s actually really smart.
What helps the most with juggling motherhood and a demanding career like you have? I know you said it helps that your job is more understanding, but what helps the most in your day to day routine?
Plan the night before! Make sure they have their baths the night before. Make sure their clothes are ironed. Make that a part of your routine. I attempted one time to do it all in the morning…and it was a complete disaster. So that helps with my routine. And to be honest, sex. It relaxes you. It helps you function. Your brain can be so backed up and as soon as you release everything…
Everything comes into better perspective
Everything just aligns. So realistically, just making sure sex is apart of my routine. *laughs*
Who pitches in the most at home? Is it half and half?
It’s very split. I’d say he’s more domestic than me at times. Between the two of us, he’s the neat freak and I’m the junky person. If something is out of place he’s all “Who moved it?”
I would say we definitely pitch in evenly. Because we’re a team. I thank him all the time for doing simple stuff like if I’m coming home from work he may have already given them a bath because he knows I need help with that. And I thank him for that. I want him to know I appreciate it. And his answer is always just like “We a team. That’s what we supposed to do.” But I still want him to understand I do have gratitude for him doing that. Especially from him working all day. He’s on his feet all day and I’m sure he wants to just sit down.
Another thing that helps is having at least 30 minutes to an hour of just dialogue every day. Ya know “hey what’s going on?” even if it’s just an “I’m curious to know what you ate for lunch”. “What are you feeling at this time?..what restaurant are you into?” …We’ll go through spells where we just wanna eat Harold’s for a week. And it helps me because if I want to bring you something to eat I know what you’re feeling right now. Those key things also help build you up as a couple. Because at the end of the day if me and him aren’t straight then the house isn’t straight.
Jade and husband, K.D. a 3x award winning barber and stylist.
Aww, that’s awesome! I love y’all!
[Klein peeks in: “We love you, too”]
[Karley walks in and blows a kiss.]
After the interview, Jade realized she had a little more to say:
I don’t think I said enough about my mom. I can’t say enough about her. I believe me becoming a mom brought us closer. I understand her better. Certain memories from my childhood make ALL the sense in the world now. We will always be mother & daughter, but now that I’m a mother sometimes we’re just 2 friends hanging out. We disagree often, but we usually walk away with a better understanding of each other. When we agree, it’s magical. She’s my muse for my show. She’s in the age demographic of my target audience so a lot of my breaks are conversations we’ve had or stories I know she would like to hear/talk about. She’s my oldest friend even though she would say “I ain’t one of ya little friends” when I was a kid. She is.
Be consistent and persistent. Especially when it comes to a job that you want.
Do it today because you never know what will happen tomorrow.
Live life to the fullest.
For a mom, it’s extremely beneficial to work at a place that is understanding of that role. It also helps to have bosses that are parents as well.
People will treat your pregnancy like you are handicapped. You’re not. Make it your motivation instead of your excuse.
When doing multiple things at once, sticking to a routine will help you get through your days.
Your body just goes downhill after 25. Drink your water. Take your vitamins. Do your exercises.
Inspire yourself by doing things you never thought you could.
A supportive and motivational spouse is everything.
When you need advice, go to people who have already gone through what you are currently going through.
Always work on your marriage and keeping the friendship within it.
Getting through school pregnant or with a baby is totally do-able. Read here about how Cecilia is surviving life as a Ph.D. student and a new mama.
Special thanks to Jade for this awesome and insightful interview!
Who is your inspiration or motivation? Who or what do you think of when you need the motivation to push through life situations?
I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below!
Sure, there are plenty of famous women with amazingly inspirational stories. But personally, I think of women like Jade. I think of everyday women making bold moves in their every day lives, not realizing that people are watching and taking notice. Those are the women that inspire and motivate me.
Be bold. Make moves. Inspire. Motivate. Uplift.