By: Dragana Kovacevic
Former MTV host Jessi Cruickshank takes on two new milestones in her career: motherhood and a new digital series New Mom, Who Dis? In her most intimate series yet, Cruickshank’s co-stars are actual children — her own twins, Diego and Rio. The long-adored Canadian TV personality now brings her fans up-close-and-personal as they, together, figure out this whole motherhood thing. Brazenly open and disarmingly honest, Jessi laughs, cries, and ultimately explores what it means to be a modern mom, through a lens that is uniquely hers — candid, hilarious, and relatable. New episodes of New Mom, Who Dis? roll out each Wednesday on Facebook Watch and feature interviews, roundtables, celebrity guests and tongue-in-cheek explorations of all things MOM.
So what has Cruickshank gleaned from her experience thus far? Here are her 7 pro-tips on how to survive motherhood (with twins in tow). Hint: She is upfront about not being a pro at any of this.
Everything in its own time
Jessi struggled with comparing herself with other moms and their kids’ milestones: “I'd creepily stare at them on their Facebook feeds walking and I’m thinking, ‘Why aren't my kids doing that?’ And then, eventually, I came to terms with the fact that I have a lifetime to chase my babies around the playground.”
Learning opportunity: “So I'm just going to let them walk on their own time. They're not going to crawl down the aisle on their wedding day. They will walk and I have to kind of step back and trust them to do it when they're ready. So, um, yeah, we're still in a maniacal crawling phase,” she shares.
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Encourage independence and sense of self
The former MTV host has always valued her own uniqueness and independence. “I thought, ‘How am I going to do that with two people with the same face?’ How can you cultivate somebody’s own unique identity and support and encourage it when they have a brother with the literal same genetic makeup. So, that has been something that I'm kind of struggling with...to allow them to grow up to be their own people,” Jessi says.
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Triage, Triage, Triage
Jessi believes in creating a parenting priority hierarchy. “One twin mom gave me the best piece of advice, which was just go to the twin that's in the most danger. Like whichever one is closest to death, rescue him first,” she says.
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Have a support network
Jessi connects with others in similar situations. Her go-to’s? The Property Brothers. “To this day I still text Drew [Scott] and ask him weird twin questions. I will latch onto any twin or twin parent that I can and they are actually great resources. There's Toronto parents of multiples. There's Los Angeles parents of multiples. I'm in both. There are events and kind of almost — I don't want to say —support groups, but meetings, you suddenly don't feel so alone.”
Learning opportunity: Jessi offers, “People are my resource, my mom friends, my mom, you know, mom groups on Facebook.”
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At the beginning of her pregnancy, Jessi wasn’t sure she wanted to share the news with her fans. But complications brought some clarity, and she embraced openly discussing her challenges, tearing up along the way: “When I did that, that was sort of my Oprah Aha! Moment. The amount of people I have reaching out to me saying that they had been through something similar or thanking me for sharing my experience was so overwhelming, ” she says. Speaking openly - not only about her personal life, but about her babies - in such a public way makes Jessi tear up. “It's one thing to be putting myself out in the world. I've been doing that my whole career. But the minute I put my kids out there or anything to do with them, I feel so protective.” Thankfully, her audience has been supportive from the get-go. “When you share your vulnerabilities with others, especially in this mom space, the community is so strong it will come back to you. Now, I feel like I have this amazing community of not just supportive moms, but funny moms. They all have a sense of humour and they can all look at this crazy parenting thing and say like, yeah, there's nothing funnier than this.”
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Having it all is an illusion
Jessi struggled with finding a balance. “I’ve had to sacrifice time with my babies for my career, and I've had to sacrifice opportunities in my career to have time with my babies... And there is this very real expectation that I have only discovered in recent months that people expect you as a working mom to work like you don't have kids and to raise your kids like you don't have a job, you know, and that neither is possible.
Learning opportunity: “I think instead of trying to quote-unquote balance it all, you just have to find a balance that works for you.”
Be willing to laugh at the absurdity of it all (and yourself)
Jessi has an uncanny ability to spotlight humour in the unlikeliest places. This has served the new mom well: “I spent my lifetime trying to make jokes. Now it's all on me. My biggest fear was that I would become a mom and I would stop being funny — then I realized that there is actually nothing funnier than trying to just survive this idea of parenthood and motherhood. And, um, and that people want that relief too. People want to be able to laugh at the hardships. You have to keep your head above water. Because, of course it's a serious thing to keep a human being alive, but there's so much humour behind all the love, the very real struggles. And I think I just try to bring that out every day.”