MT: Where does your passion for country music come from?
My parents were very passionate about country music. The majority of the music that I grew up listening to was country music. It was on the radio constantly and growing up in the south, it was just very natural to fall in love with it.
MT: Tell us about your tour. How did it go?
Great—we played for sold out crowds, mostly. It’s so exciting to be out there with my fans, face to face. It’s a lot of juggling, too. Eric and the kids were with me most of the time, but I spent some time touring alone, to give the kids a break.
MT: Is it easier for you to focus when your family isn’t with you?
I think so. I’m still breastfeeding, which can be very exhausting. So having to perform on top of breastfeeding and being a mom and being a wife and wanting to make sure everybody is taken care of is incredibly difficult. I got kind of sick at the beginning of my tour, because I was so worn out. When I’m alone I can just focus on the music and my health and getting enough sleep. But I miss them a lot when they’re not with me, so it’s hard.
MT: Your kids are only 17 months apart in age. Does it get hectic?
I have my moments where it’s exhausting and I’ll think, ‘OMG, this is the hardest job ever!’ But it’s also so amazing and rewarding. The baby is really starting to communicate now and it’s amazing to watch Vivi and him have their own relationship together. It just melts my heart.
MT: Did you always think you’d have children so close together?
No—both kids were surprises. I wanted to wait a couple of years after we got married to have kids but I got pregnant with Vivi 14 days after Eric and I got married! Then I wanted to wait two years after Vivi was born before having another baby so they could be around three years apart and that didn’t happen either. But, you know, I think everything happens for a reason. I’m really glad we did it this way, because I think we’re done now. I’m so fulfilled by these little people. I just think they’re amazing.
MT: Did Vivianne have a hard time adjusting to having a little brother?
Right after he came home, she popped Eric Jr. in the head a couple of times while I was breastfeeding him, but she wasn’t doing it to be mean. I think she was just testing it out. Since then she’s been amazing. When he drops his paci she’ll pick it up and put it back in his mouth. She kisses him and says, ‘Good morning!’ and loves all over him. She asks for him when he’s not in the room. She loves her brother. Now when he cries she gives me the signal to breastfeed him, because she wants me to take care of him.
MT: Are they similar at all, or completely different?
Completely different, but I feel like their personalities were meant to go together. It’s going to be such a smooth brother-sister relationship because they’ll balance each other out with how different they are. Vivi is very vivacious and she’s just got the biggest personality and she’s very sassy and prissy and vocal about what she wants. Eric. Jr is very mellow, very go with the flow, he’s good with anything. He just wants to be fed and touched and talked to. He’s such an easy baby, he doesn’t need a lot. Vivi needs a lot of action and things to keep her occupied because her mind is always going. She’s so intelligent. Eric Jr. has my husband’s personality and my mom constantly says that Vivi is me made over.
MT: Do you find yourself parenting your children any differently, because one is a girl and one is a boy?
Eric says that he feels like he’s going to be a lot softer on Vivi because, you know, daddy’s girl. He feels like he’s going to be a lot tougher on Eric Jr., because he’s a boy. But so far, I’ve kept it pretty equal just because it’s naturally felt that way for me.
MT: Was it harder for you to go from no kids to one, or one kid to two?
I think I had a tougher time going from no kids to one, just because I’ve never loved anyone that much in my life. I mean, I love my husband, but it was such a different love. I think I was very, very overwhelmed and unfamiliar with how in love I would be and I freaked out. I loved Vivi so much I was checking on her every five seconds! Then when little man was born I knew what to expect. I knew I would feel the same crazy love and I felt way more together. I knew how to breastfeed. He latched on immediately. I knew how to change diapers. I knew how to swaddle. It was much easier the second time around.
MT: We love that you shared a photo of your C-Section scar on Instagram. What inspired you to do that?
I had posted a picture prior to that and I looked so much thinner than I was. The angle was just really great. Then I saw that girls were commenting, ‘OMG, I just had a baby and she’s already skinnier than me’ and I hated that women were feeling that way. I didn’t want anybody comparing themselves to that picture, because I felt that it was misleading and I didn’t want to mislead anybody. So I posted the scar photo because I wanted people to see that, hey, underneath this flattering outfit of mine, this is what I look like. I have a pooch. I have a C-Section scar. I’m still extremely swollen. I want to be as real as possible. I don’t Photoshop my pictures, because when people meet me in person, I don’t want them to think that anything that I do is fake.
MT: Your delivery with Vivianne didn’t go as you had hoped. What happened?
I wanted to push her out, and have that tummy time immediately. But, I was in labor for 15 hours. My epidural did not take, so I felt every contraction, and I was throwing up between every contraction. Then she got stuck, so they had to rush and deliver her by C-Section. It was traumatic for me and upsetting. I had the blues over my delivery for a couple of weeks. I had this beautiful baby girl who was the most amazing thing in the whole world, so I didn’t understand why it bothered me so much, but it did.
MT: Were you more at peace with having a C-Section when Eric Jr. was born?
Yes, because I knew it was going to happen, so his birth wasn’t traumatic at all. I have a pretty small frame and I have huge babies. I went into labor naturally two weeks early with both Vivi and Eric Jr. and Vivi was 8.2 pounds and Eric Jr. was 9 pounds, so you can imagine how big they would have been if I had gone to 40 weeks! I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to naturally deliver him because he was even bigger than his sister, and my body just couldn’t handle it.
MT: Eric is a really hands-on dad. Did you imagine that he’d be that way?
I did. I don’t know if I could marry someone who didn’t come off that way. I feel like it’s such a team effort. I feel like both parents should equally take care of their children. It shouldn’t just be the mom, that’s so old school. Before we had kids one of our dogs was sick and she was throwing up in the living room and Eric was patting her back and saying ‘It’s okay, you let it out!’ It was so sweet and caring. That was the minute I was like, ‘Okay, he’s going to be an amazing dad.’ And he is. He changes every diaper that I want him to, and he helps with feedings.
MT: “Eric & Jessie: Game On” was a hit. Will you guys do another reality show together?
I don’t think so. I just don’t feel comfortable with cameras around my kids. I feel like it would be so confusing to them to have that around constantly, and I don’t want them to ever go through something like that. Not that it was bad but it was our choice to do that, and if we were to do it again it would be us making that choice, not them. It’s exhausting. You’re filming for many hours every single day.
MT: Did the show put a strain on your relationship at all?
There were a few different producers who were looking for ways to create more drama in our relationship, so they had to go. Eric and I just don’t have drama. We’re very happy. So I remember having a little bit of a struggle in the beginning and having a conversation with the network, like, ‘Hey, you’re digging for something that does not exist and you’re going to make us not want to do this real quick.’ So we got rid of those people and brought in the people who really did understand us. I wanted to keep it fun! I felt like drama wasn’t necessary for us to create an entertaining show.
MT: Since Eric plays for the Jets, you spend half of the year in New York City. How do you like it?
I’m a southern girl through and through, but I like the glamorous side of the city. It’s fun to go out and have our date nights in the bright lights. But there’s definitely that side of me that likes being in the country, you know, just back to my roots. We spend the other half of the year in Nashville.
MT: What’s your idea of the perfect date night?
New York City has some of the best restaurants I’ve ever experienced in my entire life, so we love to try out different restaurants. I am such a foodie and so is Eric. We’ll tell the chef, ‘Don’t tell us what you’re bringing us, just make whatever you want.’ I’ll add, ‘Don’t bring me any raw stuff. No sushi, no raw tuna, none of that weird stuff.’
MT: How have you stayed grounded, despite all that you’ve accomplished so quickly?
I like to keep things as down to earth as possible. Not because I’m trying to keep things down to earth, it’s just what feels natural to me. We didn’t grow up in families with lots of money, so we’re not used to all that stuff. I still bargain hunt. I still look like a mess. I don’t feel like I need to be in heels and designer stuff all the time. I like the way I grew up and I keep a little bit of that with me every day.
MT: You’re not a mess. What is your go-to beauty trick when you’re not working?
I don’t like to wear too much makeup every day, so I’ll mix a tinted moisturizer with an illuminator for a natural, dewy look. I love how bright and fresh it looks. I’ll put it everywhere, even on my eyelids and on top of my lips.
MT: Last Q before we let you go: What’s something about you that would surprise others?
How much I want to spend time with my family. Not just Eric and the kids, but my parents and my siblings, too. I want to have all of us together. I wish we could all live together in the same house. I love spending time with family. It’s my favorite thing to do.
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Photos: Jessie James Decker/Instagram