Jessica G Hartshorn

Jessica Hartshorn writes lifestyle stories for Scary Mommy with an eye to helping parents achieve 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.

For ten years, Hartshorn was the Entertainment Editor of Parents magazine. Before that, she was the Senior Lifestyle Editor of American Baby magazine for more than a decade. Between the two, she spent twenty-plus years evaluating and rating toys and baby gear. If she reflexively looks at your stroller brand she’s not judging, just researching. She holds degrees in journalism and world literature from Penn State.

Hartshorn has gotten her own kids into their teens and now counts on friends to let her hold their baby. She photographs her cat, flowers, and cakes too often, and is happiest traveling, especially with the fam.

Happy Father’s Day!

40 Practical Gifts Any Dad (Even The Impossible To Shop For Ones) Would Love

These gifts are clever, practical, and under $35 — perfect for dads who “don’t want anything.”

Money On My Mind

Should You Really Share A Bank Account With Your Partner?

Experts make the case for — and against — joint expenses.

Take Anything But My Phone

We're All Obsessed With Kids' Screen Time — But What About Ours?

A pediatrician mom helps us stop scrolling so our kids can, too.

Smells Like Teen Spirit

How Do You Tell Your Tween Or Teen They Smell Bad? Because Damn

Kids don't just grow, they ripen.

Potty Talk

How Gross Is It To Bring Your Phone Into The Bathroom?

Your me time is your pee time, and you bring your phone in there for a quick scroll, because we all do. But is this a dirty habit? We asked around.

Kids Making Choices

Is It OK For My Kid To Be A Vegetarian?

If your child asks to not eat meat, you’ll want to eyeball their diet to be sure they are a healthy vegetarian.

Chasing Zzzzs

The Cold Truth About The Best Temperature For Sleep, From An Expert

If you and your partner disagree on where to set the thermostat, this noted sleep psychologist has what she says is the right temperature for bedtime.

Who Knew?!

This Viral Broccoli-Cooking Hack Is Being Hailed As Genius

TikTok is teaching us how to cook our broccoli. Or did you already know the upside-down tree trick?

Remaining Nameless

Do You Have To Name Your Baby Right Away? An Expert Explains.

Is there a rule that you have to name your child before you go home?

Getting Help

How To Choose A Mental-Health Professional For Your Child

Finding the right person for your child’s mental wellbeing is a journey.

Talk About It

What Is Perinatal Depression Anyway?

In revealing her pregnancy news, Britney Spears reignited a question: what is perinatal depression in the first place?

Independence Days

What American Parents Can Learn From Japan’s “Old Enough”

On the show, parents charge preschoolers with running errands. They are surprisingly up to the task. Maybe it’s time to give my own kids more responsibilities!

Moms In Crisis

The Safe Haven Baby Box Has Gone Viral On TikTok, But What Exactly Is It?

Founder Monica Kelsey’s viral videos are bringing new awareness to what happens when babies are given up anonymously through safe haven laws.

Keep Dreaming

Looking For The Ideal Age To Travel With Your Kids? LOL

Traveling with toddlers is insane. School-age kids can make you crazy too. But “waiting for them to be old enough to appreciate” travel is pretty much a joke.

Selfie Life

What Does Posting Photos Of Our Kids Online Say About Us? A Lot, Apparently

The results of a new study show a link between sharing our kids’ photos on social media and permissive parenting. But maybe we just adore our kids.


Can You Give Your Kids The Old Toys You Saved From Childhood?

A mix of old love, thriftiness, and desire to cut down on waste has us handing down toys from one generation to another. But are vintage toys safe?

Unnecessary Panic

Going Through The College Process With My Teen Gives Me Wedding-Planning PTSD

Starting a full year out! Fielding everyone’s opinion! So much judgement and, in the end, whatever you do is fine.

LGBTQ Parenting

So Your Non-Binary Kid Wants To Change Their Name. Here's What To Do.

Parents play a pivotal role in helping a child change their name to best fit their identity. Here’s where you might start if your child asks to be called something new.

Ace It

How To Nail The Parent-Teacher Conference

You only get a few minutes to hear how your child is doing in school. Here’s how to make the most of a meeting with the teacher.

Post-Pandemic Life

Teens Are Staying Masked, Not Just For Health, And I Get It

My son hasn’t shown his full face in school for two years. I’m not surprised that he and most of his high school classmates are keeping masks on.