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TODAY Illustration / Getty Images / Courtesy Nicole Polizzi, Jenni Farley

The girls of the ‘Jersey Shore’ grew up and became moms. You got a problem with that?

“I know, deep down, that I'm a good mom,” Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi says.

Jenni “JWoww” Farley is trying to coax an unruly girl off the beach. The girl is yelling — she doesn’t want to go!

Was this Jersey Shore, circa 2010, with JWoww trying to haul her drunk friend Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi off the beach?‘

Nope. It was the Jersey Shore a few years ago, with Jenni the mom trying to get her then 4-year-old daughter to leave the beach against her will. Pulling her protesting child across the sand, she had a little flashback.

“She didn’t want to leave, she wanted to go in the ocean. I did drag her off the beach in the same way, deja vu of dragging Nicole,” Jenni says with a laugh, speaking to from her home in New Jersey, sitting serenely in front of a large, elegant black-and-white canvas. “I wish I had recorded it … But the best part was that my daughter didn’t actually get arrested.” (Snooki did.)

There’s a joke that taking care of drunk people and toddlers is very similar: There’s a lot of “put your pants on,” “no more drinks for you” and “why are you crying now?” The joke has some truth to it, Jenni reflects.

“Their lives run very parallel, drunk people and toddlers, for sure,” she says.

Nicole, aka Snooki, now 36, and Jenni, aka JWoww, 38, are grown up now. From 2009 to 2012, they starred in “Jersey Shore,” an influential reality show based on the drama of a household of hard-partying young “Guidos and Guidettes” (their words).

To put their cultural impact in perspective, in 2010 “Snooki” was one of the most popular Halloween costumes in America. The women of the “Jersey Shore” walked (unsteadily, in platform heels) so that dozens of reality TV series could run (in designer stilettos).

Jenni and Nicole still like to have a good time, and they’re still on reality TV, in a series called “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.” But they’re moms now, and they talked about their family lives in exclusive interviews with Jenni is the mother of Greyson, who just turned 8, and Meilani, 9; Nicole has Angelo, 4, Giovanna, 9, and Lorenzo, 11.

They love their kids, and they’re good moms.

Why is that so surprising to people?

What people decide when women become mothers is that their identity is gone.”

Jenni Farley

Nciole ‘Snooki' Polizzi reads to her son.@snooki via Instagram

“In pop culture, as is the societal norm, we depict women with children as if they are nothing else,” says Felicia D. Henderson, an associate professor at Northwestern University’s School of Communication.

“Women who choose to have any moment of putting themselves first, or being a fulfilled human being, are judged for that,” Henderson, who has more than 20 years experience writing for TV, theater, comics and films, tells

She says she has seen first-hand the way pop culture moms who have a life outside of caregiving “are judged as, ‘You are not a decent mother.’”

One superpower the “Jersey Shore” women have is that mom-judging bounces off them like bullets ricocheting off Superman. Getting the stink-eye from a PTA Karen for feeding your kid Lunchables doesn’t sting as much when the entire world has judged your ill-advised early-20s fashion choices and drunken antics.

“I still get a lot of mom shaming but I don’t really let it get to me because I know, deep down, that I’m a good mom,” Nicole says, talking to in comfy sweats from her home. Her hair is in a messy bun — gone are the days of the poof and the orange tan.

Jenni 'JWoww' Farley hugs her daughter.@jwow via Instagram

When she thinks about mom-shaming, Jenni thinks about two other moms in the public eye, Kate Middleton and Princess Diana. To her, they are two extraordinarily graceful, elegant, classy women who have never done anything objectionable like, totally hypothetically, peeing behind a nightclub in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

“And I will still see hate on posts or pictures of them,” she says. “So that was the day I knew that whatever I did in life, it doesn’t matter. I will always receive hate for just breathing wrong or looking a certain way or acting a certain way. The only thing I can do is put out the most authentic version of myself. If you don’t like me, that’s your problem.”

Nicole with husband Jionni LaValle and their three children, Giovanna, Lorenzo and Angelo.@snooki via Instagram

They can't escape the judging, though.

“Everyone has an opinion, especially people that are moms and they think they’re so perfect, cookie-cutter, don’t drink, don’t do anything. They’re the ones judging, like hard, and mom-shaming,” Nicole says. “I wish it stopped. Everyone has their own parenting. Everyone has their own life.”

And, shocker, life doesn’t end when you become a mom.

“We still like to go out and have fun. It’s just a different kind of party girl,” Nicole explains. “It’s not like messy trashy. It’s more like funny, silly, slightly a little sloppy.”

Moms are expected to act a certain way — “cookie cutter,” like Nicole said. She and Jenni don’t always fit into that cookie cutter. 

“What people decide when women become mothers is that their identity is gone,” Jenni says.

Jenni and Nicole are real people, but they're also characters in a TV show. And they're moms in a society that has a lot of expectations about what moms should, and shouldn't do.

“You will hear pregnant women say, ‘People don't look in my eyes any more. They rub my belly,’” notes Henderson, the pop culture expert. “Or if you have a baby, they don't look at me any more. They immediately look at my child ... You start to feel invisible.”

People have called the “Jersey Shore” girls a lot of names, but “invisible” isn't one of them.

Jenni says she recently saw a clip from “And Just Like That,” the “Sex And The City” sequel, that resonates with her. Charlotte comes home drunk from a girls’ night out, and her family is aghast. She tells them, “I was a person before you, and I’m going to be a person after you.”

She reflects on the clip. “We have that right to be a person, with or without our kids.”

Jenni with her son, Greyson.@jwow via Instagram

We thought “Sex and the City” was about, well, sex, but turns out it was really an ode to the enduring power of female friendship.

Could it be that “Jersey Shore,” in all its hair-pulling drunken brawl glory, was the same?

Time may have softened some of Jenni and Nicole’s sharp edges, but their loyalty to each other remains sharp.

“Meilani refers to Nicole as her aunt,” Jenni says. “We just spent this past weekend in Atlantic City because both our daughters are in cheer. Even though we’re competitor teams, we cheer for each other, we support each other. … We always say family comes first, and to my daughter and my son that’s their family.”

“Giovanna and Meilani are best friends,” Nicole says. 

Jenni naturally fell into the role of “mom” of the Jersey Shore house. That doesn’t mean she knew what she was doing when she had her own children, any more than the rest of us.

“I just laugh at the fact that there’s no parenting handbook for every day,” she says.

In separate interviews with, Jenni and Snooki used very similar language to describe their goals as moms. They want their children to know they’ll always listen, and not judge.

“Growing up, I had strict Italian parents. If something happened, my parents would get mad at me or ground me,” Nicole says. “I don’t want (my children) to be afraid to tell me things … so that’s the relationship I’m trying to get with them now.”

Jenni says she makes a point of asking her children for feedback. “You have to be open and honest with your children,” she says. “Parenting doesn’t end at age 18 … I want to be the parent that my kids call when they’re 70. I never want to lose touch with my children to the point where they can’t come to me for anything and everything.”

Cast of Jersey Shore
From left, cast members Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, Sammi Giancola, Paul DelVecchio, Jenni Farley, Nicole Polizzi, and Vinny Guadagnino, from the television show "Jersey Shore", pose for a portrait in 2010, the same year in which "Snooki" was one of the most popular Halloween costumes.Matt Sayles / AP

Another thing Jenni and Nicole agree on is the question of which is wilder, parenting or their life on the “Jersey Shore”?

Thinking back on the days of nonstop parties, hangovers, hookups and fights, neither one hesitates for a second.

“Definitely raising kids,” Nicole says. “You’re getting peed on, s--- on, thrown up on, punched in the face, it’s just constant messiness. We love them, but mom life is definitely messier.”

“Being a mom,” Jenni agrees. “I could run laps around the Jersey Shore with the things that I do. I mean it’s just a new day, a new problem with two kids, and I say that with love. It’s just like getting on a roller coaster and praying … but it’s a good time.”