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Bachelorette’s Emily Maynard on having 3 kids under 3: ‘I do hit my max’

“The baby has taken a couple of play hammers to the head!”

Bachelorette’s Emily Maynard on having 3 kids under 3: ‘I do hit my max’

One under one is hard. Two under two is just as exhausting as it sounds. And three under three? That’s life today for former Bachelorette star Emily Maynard Johnson—and, yes, she says it’s the epitome of chaos.


“Occasionally I do think they’re going to kill each other,” says Maynard Johnson, 31, in a new interview with People. “The baby has taken a couple of play hammers to the head!”

With 2-year-old Jennings Tyler, 15-month-old Gibson Kyle and 6-week-old Gatlin Avery, Maynard Johnson says she’s relying on help from just about anyone who’s willing to give it—including her 12-year-old daughter, Ricki.

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“I just have to remind myself that she is not my nanny, she is still only 12,” says Maynard Johnson. “I don’t want her to look back on her childhood and be like, ‘I just had to babysit my brothers all the time.’”

So far, that doesn’t seem to be the case, as Maynard Johnson says Ricki “secretly loves it.” But the mama does have to keep her expectations in check for the two big brothers.

“I still really have to remind myself [Jennings is] only 2—he is still very much a baby,” says Maynard Johnson, who married automotive management consultant Tyler Johnson in 2014, years after Ricki’s father was killed in a plane crash during Maynard Johnson’s first pregnancy.

As hard as life with three children under the age of three can be, Maynard Johnson says her past helps her appreciate it.

“I was so young when I had Ricki. I loved being a mom to her, but I was in such a fog for a lot of it, from everything that had happened,” she says.

There’s just one key: Carving out a few minutes for herself—anyway she can.

“I do hit my max,” she admits. “Sometimes I’ll go sit in my car and drink my coffee. I don’t want to see what kind of mess the kids are making inside!”

Emergency car coffee breaks aside, Maynard Johnson says life is just as she hoped it would be. “I’ve always wanted a lot of kids. I made it clear on our first day, Listen, my clock’s ticking, and I’m ready to get on this,” she says. “I wouldn’t change any of this for the world.”

This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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