Denise Jonas, who has been doing publicity to kick off her new role as an iMOM.com ambassador, stopped by our offices today and chatted with Amy Robach about what it takes to raise young men who are not only wildly famous and successful, but kind, grounded people as well.
Denise also shared her list of personal motherhood principles: 1. Put in the rug time. I called our family’s spontaneous father-and-sons games “rug time” or “rearranging the living room without a license.” But without a word, the boys and their dad called it love. I learned that no carpet or piece of furniture is worth more than the bonding that happens in rug time. 2. Cook when you can. Life on the road wreaks havoc on kitchen togetherness but I love to cook and I’ve learned to do it as I can. Something’s very comforting about eating food mom cooks. 3. Never mind the hair. Moms also know this lesson as “choose your battles.” As issues come up, I’ve learned to weigh each for its big-picture significance and adjust my response. Some things, like a teenager’s hair, I let go. 4. Buy the drums. Your daughter wants to play softball? Find a team. Your son wants to sing? Encourage it. Someone’s good at drawing? Quick: paper and colors. At times you have to study your kids. Other times their gifts hit you full force. Whatever the case, give them a chance—then stand back and give them room. 5. Celebrate the wrinkle cream. In a store once, I saw a wrinkle cream and mentioned to the boys that I liked it. Next Mother’s Day, I’m unwrapping the wrinkle cream and felt like crying! But the sweet thing is, my sons had heard me and wanted to please me. 6. Trust the detours. First the news of Nick’s diabetes brought shock. Then we responded as a family. We learned about diabetes, followed the guidelines, and stayed the course—and our eyes opened to others with health issues. Bad news has been a backdoor blessing. 7. Stay grateful. With privilege comes responsibility, and we’re grateful for all of it. Yes, everything. Our flight is held up? We’re grateful to be going. Our hotel reservation is one room short? We’ll sleep on the floor. Life isn’t perfect, but in every circumstance, our job is to manage our response. 8. Sit close, hug often. Our family speaks the language of hugs, and we speak it liberally. I’ve learned that when words aren’t enough, holding my child says volumes. Kids outgrow laps but never hugs. 9. Set internal pillars. The world presses in with schedules, expectations, and exhaustion. How my children withstand that has everything to do with what’s inside them. We don’t just assume our kids will pick up good inner structures such as honor, self-respect, honesty and kindness. We talk about those things and praise our kids when those qualities show. 10. Be the mom. My kids don’t need me to be a buddy, a sidekick or a maid: they need me to be a mom. Kids need a mom to set limits, set the example, and set out what they can be and do. Anyone can be a friend. Only the mom can be the mom. That’s the highest calling.