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Jessie James Decker Shares Secrets of Raising ‘Country Kids,’ Facing Haters and Weathering Family Drama (Exclusive)

Like most celebrity parents in the public eye, Jessie James Decker is no stranger to being mom-shamed.

“There was definitely a time when it used to get to me,” Decker, 35 — who shares Vivianne, 9, Eric Jr., 7, and Forrest, 5 —with her husband of 10 years, former NFL player Eric Decker, 36 — admits in the new issue of Us Weekly.

The country singer gave fans an inside look at her family’s life at home on their E! reality series, Eric & Jessie: Game On, which ran from 2013 until 2017; in recent years, she’s been criticized for posting photos of her kids in swimsuits and breast-feeding while holding a glass of wine.

“It hurts your feelings when people are unkind, but as I’m getting older, I don’t have time to focus on negativity anymore,” says Decker, who’s also the founder and designer of the clothing brand Kittenish. “I have three children to love and look after. We’re all just trying to do our best,” she adds. “We should be supporting one another.”

Between your music, Kittenish and an upcoming cookbook, you have so much going on. How do you juggle it with family time?
I know what’s coming, and I’m very strategic. [Last] week, I booked my music video shoot when the kids were at camp and Vivianne had a long gymnastics practice. That way, they didn’t have to be away from me that much. And I have a rule: I don’t do work after I pick up the kids from school. It also takes a lot of help.

Jessie James Decker on Motherhood Facing Haters and Weathering Family Drama Cover Story
“Every year you get wiser,” Decker says. “Things roll off your back more.” Diana King

It takes a village!
My husband has been retired from football, and he’s been helping so I can live out my dreams. My mom is really helpful, and my sister lives up the street. There are times when I’m like, “Hey, can you pick up Forrest?” and I do the same for her kids.

What are some of your favorite things to do together as a family?
We put on talent shows in the basement — each kid does a song and dance. We sit together every night for dinner because that’s important to me, and we say our prayers.

How do you carve out individual time for each of your kids?
One-on-one time is extremely important. It goes by so fast. I feel like I just had Vivianne yesterday! So you’ve got to have those memories, even when I’m tucking them in. I go in one by one, and I lay in their bed with them for 15 or 20 minutes, and I just talk to them about their day. I rub their backs and I sing to them. Having that individual time is special.

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Images of Grace Photography

Do you have any favorite activities with each of them?
Forrest and I love making chocolate chip cookies. He knows all the ingredients to get out of the pantry. Vivi is my little helper. If I have to run to Target, she’s my right-hand woman. And I love going to Eric’s games. At [a recent] basketball game, the kids told me I’m too loud!

How fun is it supporting your kids at their sporting events?
I didn’t grow up in a house of athletes, so this is so foreign to me but so much fun. My kids are really good, and they’re winning things. I’m like, “Whoa!” This is not like me and my sister, last place running in track.

Would you say the children take after you or Eric more?
Eric Jr. is his dad. His personality, mannerisms — everything. It trips me out! Vivianne is a combo. She’s strong-willed and feisty like me but fiercely competitive in sports. Forrest is the most like me. He’s a ham and super-duper loving.

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What’s been your proudest moment so far?
There are too many to count, but recently Vivianne took first place in the state of Tennessee in gymnastics. When they called her name, I was looking at Eric, saying, “She did it! She did it!” She works so hard, and I was so proud because she loves it so much. I’m going to cry!

Are you open to doing another reality show in the future?
I don’t think so. I’ve gotten more protective with my kids. People are able to keep up with us on my Instagram.

Do you think they’ll follow in your showbiz footsteps?
I’m almost certain Eric will follow in his dad’s sports footsteps. And Vivianne, I think the girl is going to the Olympics. Forrest loves performing and singing. I want them to live their dreams and shine and do what makes them happy.

How has being a mom changed you?
I became me when I became a mother. My kids complete my life. They inspire me, and when I’m happy, I feel like I’m my most creative. They inspired my upcoming Christmas EP — there’s going to be a surprise on the EP; the Decker children may be making their first feature!

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“Our goal in life is to make our kids happy,” Decker says of raising Vivianne, Eric Jr. and Forrest with Eric. Courtesy of Jesse James Decker

In June, you teamed up with Ryan Reynolds and his Aviation American Gin brand to make light of Eric’s reluctance to get a vasectomy. What’s the latest with that?
He refuses. He’s afraid, and he’s not good with blood or bodily fluids — he passed out two of the three times I delivered.

So could there be baby No. 4?
Three is such a good number, but anything is possible. Every month I take a deep breath because I have no idea.

Jessie James Decker and Eric Decker A Timeline of Their Relationship 232

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You’re very close to your mom, Karen. What has she taught you about parenting?
To this day, anytime I am met with a question in life or a fork in the road, I ask myself, “What would Mom do?” Because in my eyes, she did it right. She took such great care of us, made us feel so loved, and she made me feel like I could live out my dreams. I take that with me, and I learned how to be a mother from my mother.

Last year your brother, John, revealed you had reunited for your mom’s birthday after being estranged. How do you feel about reconnecting?
Family is family. Being able to be all together and have our children together is an incredible blessing from God. My heart is full and happy.

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Decker with brother John. Courtesy of John James/Instagram

Is it hard having family drama play out publicly?
It’s pretty clear I ignore it. It’s not anyone’s business, nor is it my job to acknowledge it. My job is to sing and make cookies and share what I want.

Do cruel online comments ever still get to you?
In the beginning, it used to hurt my feelings. I’m a tender-hearted person. I’m a human being — no matter who you are, it’s going to hurt when people are unkind. But [now], it’s like I don’t have time to think about it. I just don’t care. It takes away from the beauty and the joy of life. I got beautiful babies to look after, and that’s where my energy goes.

You’ve been open about struggling to lose baby weight. Why be so candid?
I was used to seeing this tiny, fit thing, and my body changed so much. My boobs were down to my belly. I wanted women to know it’s OK. You just grew a baby, and it’s OK if it’s not melting off.

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And you were also open about your 2021 breast augmentation.
I wanted to be real about it. My breasts didn’t look the way they did before I had kids. It made me feel good and confident and sexy.

What do you do for self-care?
Go to the gym, take long walks and bubble baths. I pour a glass of wine and get in for 45 minutes with candles and listen to music and relax. I need that time for myself to decompress. Every mom needs that.

Any good back-to-school hacks?
The hardest part for us is we all like to sleep in, so having to get up at 6 a.m. is tough. We start two weeks in advance, slowly setting the alarms for 7, then 6:45. I also get everything laid out the night before — the water bottles, the lunch boxes and uniforms. All the things that moms do!

Reporting by Andrea Simpson

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