Folks We Love with Jen Hilton from Monroe Workshop
Tell us a little bit about your journey and how you’ve come to here.
I grew up in Vancouver, Canada and studied film at the University of British Columbia. I moved to Los Angeles in 2001 to get into the film business. I met Matt in 2007 and we got married when I was six months pregnant with our first daughter. Matt had a business designing and building custom furniture and started making handmade wooden toys for friends with wood scraps. It soon turned into a business and we now run Monroe Workshop (www.monroeworkshoptoys.com) together.
Who’s in your family? Ages? Names?
Matt and I are both 40. Our girls are Cecily, 6, and Eleanor, 5.
How did you choose your kids names?
Cecily (we call her Cece) is named after my maternal Grandmother Cecilia. She was a Holocaust survivor and has shaped my perspective of the world. I’ve always wanted to name my daughter after her and luckily Matt loved the name as well. We thought Eleanor was a strong and powerful name. She is already living up to it!
Eagle Rock, CA
I am a mom, wife, film producer, and business owner.
What’s on your manifest board?
To show our girls different parts of the world, find time to do more things that make me happy (and remember what they are…), finish our home renovation, learn about wine, exercise, and read books.
Tell us some of your most loved ways to spend the day with your clan?
Sometimes my favorite weekend days are the ones where we have no plans. We wake up slowly and we hang out in pajamas reading and making forts. Since I work a lot, just being home with my family and snuggling them makes me the happiest. We also love skiing together. The girls have taken lessons and we can now ski as a family which has been pretty life-changing.
What are some silly/fun things that the kids do or say?
We have a record player and the kids have rediscovered my CD collection from the 1990’s. It’s funny watching them sing and dance to music I cried to during my break-ups.
When you were a teenager what did you dream of? Do things look different?
I was a pretty practical teen. I dreamed of finding love and having a real life with a job and a family. Life is always messy and stressful, but I feel very lucky for how things turned out.
What are some things you really believe in?
Honesty, kindness, and equality.
Where do your passions lie?
I love telling stories, whether it’s telling my own story to friend, telling a story through a movie that I’m a part of developing, or whether it’s a story about a toy we’re creating for our toy line.
Has your relationship with your other half changed since having kids?
Yes! We have to work a lot harder to spend nice time together (when we’re not grumpy and exhausted). Like all parents, we love our kids so much and so hard and that has created a different kind of bond than what we had pre-kids. Our relationship is always changing and progressing along with our life.
What are some of your favorite life lessons you’ve grown to love? (even if learning them at the time was hard)
I’m pretty good at making quick decisions and knowing that even though it’s not always the right decision, either path will work out somehow. Also, having the hard conversation with someone is always better than avoiding it.
What do you wish you could’ve told yourself when you were a teenager?
The world isn’t black and white.
What do you find most challenging about being somebody’s parent?
Answering the hard but important questions that they ask. Recently we’ve discussed God and the universe, how babies are made, and why people are homeless.
What do you want your kids to learn about the world?
We want them to be kind to everyone and to feel like they can do anything.
What are 4 things you can’t live without as a parent?
A supportive extended family, a great babysitter, a positive school environment, and coffee.