Dear Future World Changer/ Spokeswoman for Human Rights/ Voice-to-be-Reckoned-With,

You have fire in your heart, and I can’t wait to see what you do with your passion. Today, screaming. Tomorrow, voice for justice. There are no limits to what you’re capable of. But today, I do have limits. So, please, stop screaming.




I have two wild girls at my house. They are not easily guided, and they challenge every boundary I set. They are not quiet and they have an opinion about everything. They are also passionate lovers and joyfully exuberant about life in a way that is contagious.

But a door or a barrier to them means one thing: bulldoze that thing.

If you too are raising a World-Shaker, here’s some survival tips:

1. Extreme Opinions. So there was that one time we went to Target and she became fixated on a pretty box of menstrual pads. You woulda thought it was a Tickle Me Elmo in 1996. She didn’t seem to care at all that I prefer non-adhesive or no wings OR that I wasn’t even on my period. The moment when she ran shrieking down the aisle holding a pack of feminine products though? That was special.

If this happens to you: Exit gracefully. And by gracefully I mean panic, leave your cart and your friend and remove screaming child to sanctity of her own car seat. Close car door and breath deeply for 90 seconds. You need a lot of things right now, oxygen is probably one of them.

A better shopping day. #naptimeforthewin

2. ALL THE FITS. My mom tells me that I threw one or two tantrums as a child. She ignored me and I never did again. HOLD. THE. PHONE. Whaaaaaa? Those genetics were definitely misplaced somewhere along the way. I don’t even think I have them anymore.

The window being up. The window being down. The word “no”. Not being able to wear stilettos in the snow. Sitting. Wearing clothes. Not being old enough for hip hop class. Bedtime. Sharing. Eating food. Hair brushing. All extremely offensive.

All the passion.

If this happens to you: We adopted a Loving on Purpose technique for this. It’s called “Fun to be around? Or room”. Meaning: you’re welcome to keep throwing that fit, but not around me because my ear drums are going to blow as well as my patience. A girl’s gotta let off some steam sometimes. She will rage for a bit, and then say “I weady be fun.”#winwin

Confession: My husband and I totally ask each other, “Fun or room?”

3. All the Passion. My child has an intense aversion to “dirty”. And by dirty I mean: touched by specks of dirt not visible to the human eye. God help me if that happens in Costco. Nothing stresses out the elderly more than a two year old stripping in December. I used to think baby without socks in August caused a scene.

If this happens to you: Just say “DONALD TRUMP for president!” That is definitely more horrifying than your nearly-nude baby. Conversation evaded. Every-time.

4. Library Shenanigans. There they were. A sea of well-behaved children with baby Uggs and perfectly placed hair bows ready for story time. My child was doing some sort of dance that was half sitting down and half spinning on her head. I felt the need to intervene about the time she started petting the girl in front of her.

If this happens to you: Envision you’re on a beach in Cabo drinking a Mai Tai  and reading a fashion magazine. You are so cool in that world. Plaster a smile on your face and wink at curious onlookers. Cabo, Cabo, Cabo…

Daddy’s technique for making bedtime easier.

5. Wardrobe Battles. All they care about is hand-me-down dresses from the eighties and a shredded Tinkerbell costume. Also, have you ever tried to put pants on a person who does not want to wear pants? Let me ask you another question: have you ever been told not to stand behind a horse? Both are great ways to get kicked.

If this happens to you: This calls for a stealth-mission: Project Fashion Intervention. Long after bedtime, remove the offensive attire. Some things can go to the thrift store, most need to be torched.  Maybe a romantic bonfire with the hubs?

Okay. Some things are just too cute to ever get rid of.

6. The Arch.  The arch is a technically difficult move that should probably be reserved for gymnasts. Instead it happens every single time I put her in her carseat. It is accompanied by a lot of screaming. I feel a bit misunderstood in my effort to keep her alive.

If this happens to you: Find a phrase to chant like, “I cannot die from piercing noises. I cannot die from piercing noises.” or “I’m an adult. I’m an adult.” Until calm is achieved. Remember to use your inside voice. Next, shout “KITTY!” and buckle seat like a ninja.

7. Hurt Feelings. Recently both my girls have discovered what they think is a ‘loophole’: The feelings.  “That hurts my feewings”. Putting clothes on? Not roaring so loudly? Sharing? Eating dinner? You guessed it. Emotionally damaging.

If this happens to you: Find something both wise and compassionate to say like: “I know honey, I’m sorry, now eat your asparagus.” Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. This technique pairs nicely with a glass of cabernet.

Let me be clear: what I’m not talking about is having an open-range home where we are bossed around by tiny dictators. We have the same boundaries we’ve had with all our kids.

Even so…In this day and age, where women are getting more of a voice than ever (but have a ways to go, amiright?) – I hope my girls’s vibrant spirits are never broken. I hope they learn compassion and kindness, but that their voices are never quiet.

I hope they bulldoze every door in their way.

For now though…I’m just trying to get some freaking hair ties at Target.


So, with a glass of cabernet in hand, I salute you mama. They’re going to turn out great.

What are your thoughts on raising the wild women (or men)???

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  1. Oh man. Sounds like they got all the Johnston jeans.

  2. Haha, I think it might be both sides, I just took longer to find my will 😉

  3. I love this, because I had the opportunity to meet your kiddos over Christmas (we had breakfast with your SIL & crew). Your girls were precious, and a total anomaly for me. I contributed 3 boys to the morning chaos, so it was fun seeing the girls interact, and carve out their piece of the morning.

  4. I was thinking the same thing as Vanessa 🙂 Love all you J girls! But seriously…the passionate, strong-willed ones are the world changing ones. I’ve been there right with ya girl, except without the wine…it wasn’t exactly socially acceptable to drink in “christiandome” when my bigs were toddlers. Perhaps I deserve another patch on my vest 😉 You’re rocking Mamahood Jess, and I hope you’re still writing when those little world changers become teenagers 😉

  5. You are very funny!…My Dad always told me never break their spirit just channel it appropriately… so I did… not always easy.. sometimes exhausting..but I tell you it pays off ! absolutely love my kiddos 🙂 just sayin I would have loved you to be my mom hahaha xo aimee

  6. Thanks Aimee! Those are wise words- I love it! Love ya!

  7. Thank you so much, this helped me so much. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one, (I know I’m not, but those stares in grocery stores sometimes make me feel that way). Wish you the best!

  8. Thank you so much for the feedback! You’re not alone!

  9. Hah! I loved this! It’s the perfect primer because whereas I have a fairly calm little guy, my daughter is definitely wild – she’s only 16 months and already a master of the Arch. Sooo yeah. Good luck and a boatload of patience to us both! 😉

  10. This is my daughter to a t and though there are days when I wouldn’t mind her being a bit more “chilled out”I also know she is such a wonderfully loving and kindhearted girl and I can’t imagine life with her any other way and chilled out all the time sounds way too boring 😉

  11. […] post had my in tears I was laughing so hard. Raising wild women sounds a lot like raising wild […]

  12. Your love of being a Mom rings loud and true – beautiful posts – each and every one!

  13. I have twins (boy and girl) and an older boy, the boys are easier to handle. My girl on the other hand test my patience and sanity almost every breathing moment. She is as sweet as pie when she wants to be. My girl is definetly not the quiet little girl most ppl have, which is fine with me, it just hard to deal with at times. This blog describes my life! Thank you for letting me see I am not the only one with a wild strong spirited sweet baby girl!

  14. U are amazing women, all of u!!!!!

  15. OMG this sounds so familiar hahaha. I’ve got one wild one (20 months) and one (5 yr) that is almost to good to be true (both don’t like to wear dresses though). Both behaviors shock me each time ;-). So definitely going to take all your advice above to hart, especially the glass of cabernet one! You’re writing is briliant!

  16. Thank you so much!! It is shocking how different kids are 😳!

  17. Oh goodness! I think you’re parenting my daughter! Everything you said about your girls, is my girl through and through. To be honest, my son was the same way. Different in many other ways, but definitely had an opinion about everything and stubborn as can be. But my girl? Boy does she ever test my patience! I love your suggestions! 🙂

  18. Definitely with you on all of these! My oldest is 7 and still so head strong. She is the same person whether at home, in school or out in public. Learning the “battles” to fight and ones to just let them choose is tough, but I have learned it is what makes her unique! She is not the “normal” little girl that keeps neat all day long, but yet a fun loving, out-of-the-box girl who will pave her own way and will make it work for her. We are still learning how to keep her “crazy” in control, we breathe then pause and think about the reaction she almost had, rationalized thinking as I like to call it, now that she is older and understands consequences of over-reacting. She is such a blessing, because I was that “normal” little girl. (wine/coffee do help too :))

  19. You have an aftcifeng point of view on this subject. I am happy you shared your thoughts and I find myself agreeing. I enjoy your coherent writing style and the effort you have put into this post. Thanks for the fine work and good luck with the site, I greatly look forward to more updates.

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