Jessica G Hartshorn

Jessica Hartshorn writes lifestyle stories for Scary Mommy with the goal of helping parents achieve some personal sanity as well as a happy home life. She understands that hearing from other parents as well as experts can help people make decisions, pick their battles, and otherwise be the parent and partner that they want to be. It also helps mitigate that terrible feeling of “am I the only one going through this?” Chances are no, you’re not!

Hartshorn was the Entertainment Editor of Parents magazine for ten years, and while there she booked celebrity covers, edited features on everything from gardening to personal finance stories, and frequently appeared on television morning shows. For a decade before that she was the Senior Lifestyle Editor of American Baby magazine. At this point she’s spent about 25 years evaluating and rating toys and baby gear. If she reflexively looks at your stroller brand she’s not judging, just researching. (She’s still helping to rate and rank baby gear over at the Good Housekeeping Institute.) Hartshorn holds degrees in journalism and world literature from Penn State, where she graduated from the Schreyers Honors College.

Hartshorn has gotten her own kids into (very) young adulthood and now counts on friends to let her hold their baby. She photographs her two cats, modest patio flower garden, and bakery cakes too often, and is happiest traveling, especially with the fam.

"Snap out of it!"

36 Years Later, Moonstruck Is A Surprisingly Modern, Gen-Z-Friendly Love Story

ByJessica G Hartshorn

This Oscar winner totally holds up.

Raising Resilient Kids

What Do I Actually Want My Kids to Be Afraid Of?

ByJessica G Hartshorn

We try to tamp down anxiety, but fear of some things is healthy. Author and mom Farnoosh Torabi explains.

Facing the Judges

8 Things Millennial Parents Do That Boomer Grandparents Just Don’t Get

ByJessica G Hartshorn

Your parenting choices (and your kids’ lives) are going to be different than anything your parents went through.

Creature Feature

What Does Your Pet’s Name Say About Your Family? A Lot, According To An Expert

ByJessica G Hartshorn

Every name, even for a dog or a cat, has a story behind it.

Raising Respectful Kiddos

My Kid Came Out As Nonbinary, Then Trans — & I Had No Idea How To Tell My Young Nieces

ByJessica G Hartshorn

It would have been easier if we’d known a script to use for the initial discussion, so I asked experts about how to handle the gender fluidity convo with kids.

Music to Your Ears

A Dozen Music-Festival-Inspired Names For Your Baby

ByJessica G Hartshorn

Does attending an all-day live music event light up your soul? Give your baby a name that is just that joyous.

“We have a child now! Everything’s changed!”

36 Years Ago, Nicolas Cage Made One Of The Most Underrated Parenting Movies Ever

ByJessica G Hartshorn

This early Coen brothers movie is hysterical, and the actors are at their deadpan best.

Trying for Total Recall?

How Old Do My Kids Need To Be To Remember Our Trips?

ByJessica G Hartshorn

This is a totally valid question. But I'm also going to argue that it doesn't matter. You can “make memories” that are all your own. (Naked baby on the beach = smiles for life!)

Food For Thought

Our Culture's Weight Obsession Wrecks Our Kids

ByJessica G Hartshorn

The new book Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture dares us to stop weighing kids and ourselves, even at the doctor's office. The author asks, “What if our goal was to raise kids who trust their bodies?”

Stuck In Your Head

10 Baby Names Inspired By Popular Songs

ByJessica G Hartshorn

Hear it, sing it, love it, use it — musical names can be very inspiring when you’re expecting a baby.

What. Is. Happening.

How To Get Your Son To Stop Leaving The Bathroom A Big, Pee-Soaked Mess

ByJessica G Hartshorn

If you’re tired AF of cleaning a filthy toilet pedestal, this article’s for you.

You Get Me

Why Teens Need A Pet — & Spoiler, It’s Not To Make Them More Responsible

ByJessica G Hartshorn

The “emotional support animal” thing is real, say experts.

Bookmark These

25 Parents Share The Most Surprising — But Best — Advice They’ve Ever Gotten

ByJessica G Hartshorn

People tell you plenty when you're expecting or have a new baby. Here, parents share the advice that turned out to be right on the money.

"You Make Me This Way"

Yes, Your Teen Is Gaslighting You — Here Are The Red Flags, Say Psychologists

ByJessica G Hartshorn

Raise your hand if your teen (or preteen!) has told you “You're crazy” or “You’re just being paranoid.”

Numbers Game

Should You Pull Your Kid Out Of Standardized Testing? The Pros & Cons

ByJessica G Hartshorn

Once anti-test, I now recognize that it depends on the kid and the family.

What about Jack or Diane?

17 Totally Awesome Baby Names Inspired By Gen X Memories

ByJessica G Hartshorn

These names have some serious nostalgia cred, hearkening back to the time before the turn of the millennium.

Fighting Words

A Relative Is Body-Shaming Your Child. How Do You Shut It Down?

ByJessica G Hartshorn

Virginia Sole-Smith, author of Fat Talk: Parenting in the Age of Diet Culture, shares talking points for *those* relatives.

Middle-School Milestones

3 Life Skills Tweens Should Have Heading Into The Teenage Years

ByJessica G Hartshorn

An unofficial accounting of things your kid needs to master from about fifth to eighth grade, before high school.

Modern Families

10 Celebrity Moms Who Are Seemingly Nailing The Whole Co-parenting Thing

ByJessica G Hartshorn

We take note of what they’re doing right with their post-divorce, shared-custody arrangements.

Food Fights

Is Keto Safe For Older Kids? How To Respond When Your Tween Or Teen Asks To Try

ByJessica G Hartshorn

Dietitians have a lot to say about this “trend.”