Jenna von Oy’s Blog: Words to Love By

08/22/2012 at 11:00 AM ET

Celebrity blogger Jenna von Oy is a new mama!

Best known for her roles as Six on Blossom and Stevie on The Parkers, von Oy is also a musician who has released two albums and is set to publish a book, The Betweeners.

von Oy, 35, wed Brad Bratcher on Oct. 10, 2010, and resides in Nashville with her husband and five dogs.

They welcomed their first child, daughter Gray Audrey, on May 21. She is now three months old.

In her latest blog, von Oy — inspired by an article she read — shares her own words to love by.

You can find her on Twitter @JennavonOy, as well as posting on her new blog, The Cradle Chronicles.

Cherish and nurture love – Mimosa Arts Photography

Growing up is a brutal and beautiful journey. Succeeding in being graceful while doing so is an entirely different beast altogether!

I recently read an article on the Huffington Post, titled “10 Things I Want My Daughter To Know Before She Turns 10,” by author Lindsey Mead Russell. It really struck a chord with me, and I was inspired to begin documenting some of my own thoughts for Gray.

Although it’s a full decade before my daughter turns 10 years old, I am already making mental lists of the things I hope to teach her. Life lessons present themselves daily, and I long to impart every bit of wisdom I’ve ever absorbed. I wish I could transmit it all through osmosis, salvaging her from any future agony.

This is, of course, an impossible and impracticable task. Gray is bound to take tumbles, to get scraped and burned along the way, and to boast a few scars when it is all said and done. But don’t we all wish we could spare our children the struggle nonetheless? Call it a bittersweet symptom of parenthood.

Since most of the monumental lessons in life occur outside of the classroom, here is the start of Miss Gray’s “home-schooling.” By the time she is 10, I suspect I will have a comprehensive, epic novel-worthy volume for her to peruse!

People will expect you to behave badly – Mimosa Arts Photography

1. You won’t be liked by everyone and that’s all right. I won’t insult you by suggesting you always let that roll off your back, as it’s bound to hurt from time to time. However, I strongly encourage you to be yourself even when others don’t recognize how special you are. Combat their ignorance with your exquisite individuality. It may mean you aren’t popular for a while, but you’ll learn that sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason for popularity anyway. One only needs to reflect on the success of Hammer pants, Jersey Shore and lingo such as “chillax” to prove it.

2. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” Dumbledore voiced this in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and truer words were never spoken. Don’t be afraid to fight for what you believe in. That said, let kindness be the punch you throw. I’m a firm believer that true strength is in rising above the battle instead of dealing its final blow. The unfortunate reality is: there are folks who just plain love to stir the pot. You can’t keep them from stirring it, but sometimes you can take away their spoon!

3. Do your part to protect those who can’t protect themselves. Rescue animals. Stand up for the little guy. Defend the underdog. Loyalty can be a man’s best friend too.

4. Keep smiling. It’s a cure for the common scowl.

5. There is almost always someone a little better than you out there, and someone who isn’t quite as good. The former can be disillusioning; the latter can make you too proud. Remember that there is nothing quite so charming and endearing as humility. Because of this fact, never quit writing “thank you” notes.

Foster the funny – Courtesy Jenna von Oy

6. Don’t do favors or charity with the expectation of gaining acknowledgement for them, or having the favors returned to you. Extend them because that’s what is in that lovely heart of yours.

7. You’ll have your heart broken at some point, and you’ll inevitably break someone else’s. Pick up the pieces and let the hope of more love glue them together again. Don’t be afraid to throw yourself back in with reckless abandon the next time around. Your heart is only truly broken if you refuse to honor the love in it. All of the heartache allows you to appreciate the real thing when you find it!

8. If you kiss a frog expecting it to turn into a prince, you should anticipate coming away with slimy lips instead. Love is not meant to be a fairytale; it is meant to be a work in progress. Cherish it, nurture it, embrace it, and let it lead you.

9. Don’t be afraid to color outside of the lines. Some of the most stunning masterpieces are abstract. I learned that from your extraordinary Great-Grandmother, and I’m passing it along to you. You may, consequently, be labeled a risk-taker, rule-breaker and fool. Thoreau once said, “Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.” Feel free to make THAT a rule you live by…

10. Your dad and I will embarrass you in front of your friends. This is inescapable, and otherwise known as a parental phenomenon called “Trytoohardosis.” In other words, the cooler we think we are, the better the chance we’re making you want to hide behind a paper bag. At some point in your life you’ll appreciate the fact that we were “geeks” or “freaks” or whatever choice word you’ll adopt for us in your teenage years. Until then, please try to exercise some patience. Every idiotic thing we do or say is, ultimately, because we unequivocally and unconditionally love you.

Keep your family close – Mimosa Arts Photography

11. Keep your family and your true friends close, and surround yourself with phenomenal women. Right about the time you turn 13, you’re going to feel like you are having a mid-life crisis, and no one can possibly relate to what you are going through. If possible, refrain from dyeing your hair chartreuse and piercing everything in sight. It gets better, and I promise you aren’t alone. Having strong women to guide you through this time is imperative. They will carry you, be honest with you when you lose your *@?!, and offer you much needed advice over a pint or two of Ben & Jerry’s.

12. You are beautiful inside and out. You won’t always feel that way when you stand in front of a mirror, look through magazines, watch TV shows, try on clothing or wear a bathing suit in front of your friends. This was often a source of difficulty for me too. The world can be cruel and relentless about appearance, and there’s a ton of pressure to be “perfect.” Be your own version of perfect. You may not feel totally comfortable in your own skin until you are in your thirties (if at all), but own it anyway. One day you’ll wake up and realize you’re no longer just pretending to be confident … you’re wearing it as a badge of honor.

13. Don’t swear just because everyone else is doing it. Sometimes we all need to metaphorically wash our mouths out with soap. (I’m sometimes guilty of cussing like a sailor, so don’t be afraid to remind me of these particular words down the road!) Similarly, don’t do things to impress anyone other than you. Your dad would like me to add that if you DO choose to do something to impress someone else, let it be for those you love and who love you in return. We will appreciate your efforts either way, and our support won’t hinge on whether you succeed or fail.

Dream big – Mimosa Arts Photography

14. Keep asking questions. Never let yourself think you’ve done all the learning there is to do. The old saying goes, “Just when I thought I had all the answers, they changed the questions.” In reality, they don’t change the questions, there’s just an endless supply of them out there. Ask away.

15. Master the following three things: another language, how to whistle, and how to handle your own finances. Then, if all fails, you can whistle while you work (or retire, for that matter) … in Italy.

16. Dream big, because there’s nothing more satiating than being hungry. One of the most eye-opening experiences will be the moment you realize there’s a big world out there that’s just waiting for you to make your indelible mark on it. If you believe in yourself even half as much as Dad and I believe in you, you’ll be unstoppable.

Your dad and I will embarrass you – Mimosa Arts Photography

17. Do what you love and love what you do, because passion begets more passion. I don’t care if you want to dance the Hokey-Pokey or raise hamsters to play the glockenspiel for a living. If it’s the road your convictions have led you down, follow it. (That said, here’s hoping you don’t take that Hokey-Pokey thing seriously. It may be the most abysmal earworm in existence.)

18. Foster the funny. Laughter truly is the best medicine, and should be consumed in high doses. If you find a partner who you can laugh with for the rest of your life, you’re a giant leap ahead. Beauty fades, but wit is forever. Don’t forget to have a healthy sense of humor about yourself too … Benign self-deprecation is a gift worth giving!

19. More often than not, people will expect you to behave badly … Disappoint them.

20. Never forget that you were literally the answer to our prayers. All of the dirty diapers, lack of sleep, drool, vomit, tantrums, scrapes, scars, tears, snot, and dollars spent are more than worth it, just to see you smile. Your dad and I know you may not fully appreciate our efforts until you have your own children, and we don’t expect you to. Every time you say, “I love you,” it will be a reminder of why we wake up each day trying to be the best parents we can be. So please don’t be afraid to express that sentiment often. We will never tire of hearing those words, nor will we tire of telling you the same.

21. Take solace in the fact that I will forgive you, even in the moments when you aren’t willing to forgive yourself. I have no doubt that I’ll make my share of mistakes with you, so I implore you to forgive me too. One of my favorite quotes goes like this: “Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.” Rest assured, I love you with all I have. When you are exceedingly angry with me, and all other reasoning is out the window, please know that fact is true above all else.

You are the answer to our prayers – Mimosa Arts Photography

To be continued …

Until next time,

— Jenna von Oy

P.S. As always, please feel free to leave me a comment here, or follow me on Twitter! Please also visit my newly-launched blog, The Cradle Chronicles, where I dispense even more of my motherhood anecdotes!!

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Showing 92 comments

cannat on

Jenna seems very sweet and Gray is just beautiful, but good grief, how many photo shoots can you guys do?!?

jay on

Thanks so much for this aticle. As a parent you struggle to say and do the right things in r/t your children but fail more than you want to. Those words were not just beautiful but straight from the heart. I could relate to every word b/c it’s exacltly what I feel as a mom I would like my girls to know. Wonderful!

Ashley on

That made me cry at work! It probably helps that I’m five months pregnant with my first daughter, but very good words of advice.

tifpal01 on

Beautifully written and wonderful idea! I may have to borrow a few of those for my baby girl. Thanks so much for sharing! Gray is already a lucky girl!!

momof2 on

Beautiful. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us. Made me cry tears of love and loss and memory.

Anonymous on

Absolutely wonderful article! Puts it all into perspective.

Lis on


Seriously, I have no daughters (just two little boys) and I think 90% can be aimed at anyone and everyone. Even made me reflect on myself. Great words to live by, and I think I might have to print this out and share it with my sisters and friends 🙂

Abbie on

Jenna – I am tearing up (at work) reading this. Mother or not this speaks volumes to me. Thanks for for sharing.

MadiMom on

I truly am amazed at how perfectly you put pen to paper! I could read everything that you write and I am sure I would love every word of it! I have a 9 month old and appreciate so much of what you write! I hope you don’t mind but I may have to give my little girl some of your words of wisdom from this blog!!

Candice on

Beautiful! Is it okay that I copy it for my daughter?? (and my three boys as well?) ❤

Audra on

Amazing list that made me choke up. Thank you for sharing!

Heidi on

I’m not misty eyed. It’s just the onions I have sitting here on my desk!! Absolutely beautiful! 🙂

What of it? on

Loved the post and your pictures are fantastic!

Shannyn on

Gray is just beautiful!!

Bree on

I started a notebook of quotes on my 18th birthday, 8 months later I met my husband and 12 days before our fifth anniversary (and 4 months before our first wedding anniversary) I found out I was pregnant with our now almost 9 month old daughter. The quote reflect everything that we have been through as certian quote appealed to me depending on what was happening in my life.

One day copies will be passed on to Elianna and any other kids we have. Such a great reflection of the life my husband and I have had together 🙂

Universality on

I enjoyed reading your blogs. It is inspirational and worth the read. Your family is beautiful. I wish you all many more happy years to come. The pictures were the topping on the cake.

Mommytoane on

Beautiful post. Beautiful pictures as well!! I particularly love the one with Gray crying and Jenna’s hand over her mouth. Too cute.

For those saying the photo shoots are to much. Think about this. Most parents take millions of pictures of their children within a 5 year span of time. A lot of families actually have monthly or “milestone” pictures taken of their children and family. So these are not that far off base considering she averages what one post a month? Lay off. They are beautiful pictures and I have a feeling Gray will look back on these and be glad her parents took the time to not only take pictures of her, but be in them with her. Its nice to see your parents grow as you grow.

Anonymous on

Fantastic post!! I am going to print this for my friends to read!! Beautiful family inside and out!!

Heather on

I love watching(reading) your adventures as a mom and dad. I have a grown son and a 16 year old daughter and what an adventure that has been. But PLEASE…you really need to put a kleenex warning at the beginning of all your blogs! OY VEY! I relive all the wonderful, scrapes and bumps included, memories of my kidlets as I read. Thank you for sharing your adventures. Here’s to many more!

MA momma on

Jenna, Jenna, Jenna! Each item on your list made me laugh and cry (at work mind you). I especially loved #15 (I could hear my grandmother in those words). I’ve got it covered accept I don’t know another language, regrettably, but if I follow your #14… Italy, here I come! You write so beautifully and I’m excited to check out your new blog. As the mother of two daughters, one of whom starts kindergarten in a week (yikes!), I’ve been feeling a roller-coaster of emotions of late. My “baby” is starting school, riding a big yellow bus, her life is changing and all I want to do is wrap her in my arms and keep her away from the world, but I know, as a mom, that that’s not possible, so I have to trust that her daddy and I have given her what she needs to be confident and careful, but also carefree. Keep being an inspiration to us all Jenna, I for one appreciate it!

sasha on

your blog posts are by far one of the best i’ve ever read.. I’ve been a fan of yours for as long as I can remember and you add to that after every blog post.. congrats again on the baby

KO on

I truly love all of your blogs they always bring tears to my eyes! I am going to print this blog and share with everyone I know. You are an amazing writer! 🙂 ps…your daughter is beautiful!

Mom of two girls on

Beautiful, but not to be learned in ten years but a lifetime

snowspartan on

I just have to say, as someone who has never commented on an article post (but often finds herself reading all of the comments), Jenna, not only do I love the way you write, but… I love that the commenters below all seem to be so respectful… what a rarity these days and how refereshing!

Anonymous on

Well said..beautifully written

anniegrey on

What a lovely heart you have. Your child is blessed.

kt on

This is perfect. Jenna, your daughter is so lucky to get to hear these words at such a young age. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Charlotte on

This is just absolutely the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.

ward on

I have never posted comments on any blog, but would be remissed not to after reading these words from Jenna. I’m a father of three kids ranging from 1 to 5 yrs old, and I too am sitting here tearing up. What a sound life philosophy to pass on to your kids! Thanks for sharing!

Laura on

Your daughter is beautiful! Great blog post.

Anonymous on

please write a book, this is lovely.

J on

By far the best blogger to date-you are a beautiful writer and your words inspired me. Pay no mind to people commenting on pictures-take a thousand, for one day they, along with your words, will be all there is left to remember!

Amber on

I’m typing and crying. Beautiful. I don’t have children yet, but what a wonderful gift to give them. Thank you for sharing.

P_bailey on

I can honestly say that took my breath away. I honestly love this and thank you for sharing. I’m sure i’m not the only one but I sobbed reading this.

Lauren on

That is so well written, and so beautiful! Your little family is so cute, and I adore all your pictures! The owl hat is my favorite!!

Lauren on

Also, I agree with a previous post–please write a book! You are such an amazing writer and mother I think new Moms could learn a lot from you!

chika8 on

I just want to commend you on being the most prolific writer I have seen on these blogs yet! You get it – you write it- and I suggest you make a book out of it! Congrats to you and your husband – your cutie-patootie will benefit greatly from your wisdom! Blessings!

Shenae on

Great blog! Sorry, but I’m not loving some of those family photos. What’s with the animal theme? The owl hat with long braids?

Gray is a cutie pie, though!

Anonymous on

Jenna, you are an excellent writer. I want to save this for my 11 month old daughter. It is simply beautiful.

cathy on

LOVE THIS! 🙂 You should write a book like this for all moms to be able to give or make for their kids. ❤

SLK on

Holy that girl is chatty. Good thing the little girl looks like her.

melyssa on

Lovely! My favorite? People will expect you to act your worst – disappoint them.

DaisyMoon on

Dang it!
Number 20 has got me choked up…

Sharon on

You are an amazing writer. I too, teared up reading your list. I have two daughters and may need to borrow the list if that is ok. Please never stop writing and enjoy your family. One thing I say to my girls every night, before they go to sleep ” I love you up to the sky (they respond “and back down”) for always and (forever). Take care.

krista on

Beautiful, smart and inspiring! Your daughter is lucky to have you 🙂 I especially love #21 and the quote in there.

Marni on

Brought tears to my eyes as I think about my own little ones. Thank you for that dose of reality!

eri3love on

Wow that made me cry. For a second I was thinking I wish she was my mom and I’m 30.

This really spoke to me, I’m a mother of two beautiful children and I think that’s a great listen to be learned. My oldest is a girl and she is unique as they come. I have times where she comes crying in my arms because she’s different and nobody understands her. She’s only five years old but finds herself not having a lot friends. I told there be a time where one day there will be people knocking at her door to be her friend. At alone five years old she some what understood what I meant. She can’t wait to start school so she can meet new and exciting people.

Thank you for this and thank you people for posting this. I was at a point that I was going to stop reading your magazine. You got me hood for another year.

Bonnie on

Simply perfect.

Ana on

I LOVE your blog. I have three boys and absolutely agree with your list. My oldest is 15 & we just talked about #21 a couple of months ago! We’re going through the stage where we don’t always see eye to eye, but I explained that REGARDLESS I love him, we may not always agree, we may get mad at each other from time to time, but I love him always & forever.

Ralory on

Your words are precious and seem so heartfelt. It’s wonderful to know that you have so much love for your daughter. Hope she always appreciates you.

Jacksgran on

This family exudes love! Beautiful!

Tina on

“Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.”

Wow…I am so using that one on my child.

Lauren on

This was the sweetest thing I have ever read. I am not a mother myself, but reading this brought tears to my eyes. I was imagining my relationship to my own mother as well as my role as a teacher to 31 1st graders and how I hope to impart a lot of wisdom on them this school year. Thank you for sharing such personal messages with the public. Your advice, while meant for your sweet baby girl, has touched this 30 year old woman very much. I will be printing out your wisdom and reading it often. THANK YOU!!!

Older on

I have not seen Jenna in a long time and just tonight saw her on the Parkers and now this article about her and hr husband and 3 month old baby. Wishing her the best and loved her on Blossom as well.

Sara on

I have never commented on an article before, but if any blog is worth it, it is this one. On the off chance that Jenna reads these comments – Bravo to you for putting your hopes for your daughter so eloquently on paper, and at the same time speaking so wonderfully to all the mothers out there who are hopelessly in love with their little ones. Enjoyed every word – and I’m a very, very picky reader.

beazley on

This is perfect and beautiful (like your baby). Thank you for sharing. =)

Zainab on

Beautiful thoughts. If all parents or caregivers instill these kind of values early in tje childhood, hopefully the world will be a better place.

Nina on

Favorite blogger ever. I love her writing…especially her wit. I just saved this beautiful list for the children I will one day have as a starting point/idea for my own list to my kids.

Donna on

Beautiful baby, beautifully written blog.

B on

I just wrote my daughter a letter on my blog a few weeks ago, too funny!

What a beautiful little baby… all the best to them!

B on

Love the name Gray, by the way!!!

sugarkessler3 on

Jenna, that was lovely! As a mom of 2 young girls, it brought me to tears. I hope you don’t mind if I use this and post it in their baby books! It speaks directly to me and I couldn’t have said it all better myself.

Thank you! And, ps– I was the biggest BLOSSOM fan ever and Six will always be one of my favorites. You look great and am happy to see you’ve found love and started a family!

neraknjack on

Beautifully written! I hope I am half as articulate as she is when talking to my children!

Liz on

Simply beautiful. These are lessons I will share with my kids and wish my parents had shared with me. Well done, Jenna!

Jholmar on

LOVE this!!

Em's Mom on

Lovely. Just lovely.

Karen on

such a cute family!

Misty on

Beautiful sentiments, beautifully written. You have a gift for conveying your thoughts and words. Thank you for sharing!

sugarkessler3 on

Seriously? This is a rude comment. As a mom of 2 girls, I only WISH I had that much perspective when my first was three months old! I wish I’d taken time to reflect and made better decisions during her formative years– 0-6 are the most formative years in a humans life we could all only be so lucky to have a mom like Jenna who is laying it all out there for her daughter NOW. Hopefully, she will read and continue this passage over the years! It’s very special– so please don’t knock it. Negativity never helps anyone.

Marilu on

I’m not a mom and these are beautiful words I will put to use because I needed them n then when I do have kids I will, thanks so much!!

Cole on

Jeez, Jenna… you’re always making me laugh & cry simultaneously with your blogs. It makes me happy to be on this crazy journey of motherhood with you (my girl is now 4 months as of last week!) Writing words of wisdom down for your girl is a lovely idea & you’ve inspired me to jot down a few of my own so we can both look at later on down the line when she’s a little lady & I’m an old one. Please continue to share mommyhood milestones with us – they are MUCH appreciated!

Dawn on

*happy sigh* Always a pleasure, Jenna.

sofia on

You are an amazingly talented writer. I cried while I read this. I could never have children of my own which will always make me sad. But, I read this and realized these are words to live by for me as a person and I can also apply them to my goddaughter, nieces and nephews. Thank you. You are a beautiful person inside and out and your daughter is very lucky to have you as such a loving mother and human being. I used to watch you on Blossom and am so happy to be able to read your blogs.

MissusG on

Jenna – Thanks for taking the time to put this together and blog it. My daughter was born the same day as yours, and now I want to put something like this together for her.

Sue on

Beautiful column again. Congratulations! A gift to your daughter and others!

Mary on

This is fitting that I read this article on my sons 4th birthday!! I love reading your articles!!! This is my first post and I agree with every word you wrote!!! I agree that this is something to last a life time!!!

Gray is beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing pictures!!! You are a beautiful family!!!

Anonymous on

This was truly touching and had me in tears. I am 3 months pregnant and definitely want to share this kind of wisdom with my child, too. Jenna – thank you for sharing your inspiring and beautifully written words.


Beautiful. I am going to give this to my sons.

Kelly on

As I just put down my 4mos old back to bed from a feeding, it is now 2 in the morning and I just finished reading this extraordinary blog! It completely moved me to write something similar to my baby (and my older 2). I also did read that Huffington Post as well. But nothing compares to these words that you wrote……..beautiful!

ellepop on

Eloquent and rich. You are a gifted writer. Thank you for sharing your talent. Your daughter and husband are blessed to have such an effective communicator in their lives. Please, never stop writing.

Tee on

Jenna, I have never enjoyed reading a new mother’s blog more than yours and my baby turns 20 on 10/10 (your wedding anniversary *smile*). I absolutely love all of Gray’s pics both by herself and with you and your husband. I had to post one of her pics on my FB just because she is so incredibly beautiful. I plan to share this blog as well, you write wonderfully! Thank you, until nex time.

Stacey on

Most charming and sweet blog I have ever read! Thank you so much for sharing. Those lessons you have recorded for your daughter are good for ALL of us to remember from time to time!

Hope on

That was incredibly moving and beautiful. She may want to consider writing as her next career. Also, it was nice to get beyond the me, me, me of some of these celeb mom posts.

Donna on

What a beautiful family!! Thank you for sharing!! Your baby is beautiful and precious. God has truly blessed you and may He continue to bless you!!

I'm Standing Right Behind You on

Very well written with some beautiful pictures of a lovely family.

Alyson on

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!! Great advice! I love this family and Gray is ADORABLE! Thank you for sharing! ❤

donna on

i would just like to say i read your blog it was true but i was writing to let you know that your daughter is so sweet and beautiful… i wish you all the best in the next phase of parenthood…… thank you for your time

Julianna on

Jenna is my favorite blogger. I’m crying with a big smile on my face because of this. It’s beautiful, and so heartfelt. And the pictures are just adorable! The one with Gray crying made me giggle.

macmomma on

This is what every mother wants to say to her children. Thank you for the wonderful post!

Amanda DeWitt on

I stumbled upon this blog a couple months back and now I can’t wait to read Jenna’s next entry. The best part is that I’m not even a mom, but if I’m ever blessed to get the chance I will heed her advice and insights. So eloquent and beautiful in her candid revelations. I’m going to print her list of thing’s she wants Gray to know, just in case….Thanks for sharing with such an open 3rd eye and heart!

Alexandria on

I cry every time I read your blogs. You are a beautiful writer and you speak with such honesty and the perfect amount of humor. Your precious daughter is so fortunate to have you as her mother! Your family is beautiful!

Donna on

Jenna, You are phenomenal !! What great advice you have put on paper for your daughter. Two things I always remind my 6 year old 1) when you see an ambulance fly by… stop what you are doing and say “please LORD, let who ever is in there be ok,(my Mom always told us that), and 2) Never look down on someone unless it’s because you’re helping them up. Enjoy your baby…they grow so fast..