Exclusive: Shawn Johnson Reveals the One Thing About Parenting She Hopes to Leave Behind in 2023

Training for the Olympics helped prepare Shawn Johnson for raising toddlers: she learned to be flexible, take obstacles in stride, and show up each and every day with boundless energy. How else could she hope to keep up with her 3-year-old daughter Drew and her 1-year-old son Jett? But one part of her gymnast past doesn’t translate to her home life, and she is working to change it. SheKnows caught up with the gold-medalist-turned-social-media-influencer to chat about her mom goals for the year, including one major thing she plans to leave behind in 2023.

Our interview started on a somber note. Right before New Year’s Eve, Johnson’s father-in-law tragically passed away, leaving her and her husband, former NFL football player Andrew East, reeling from the loss. But through the pain, the couple is focusing on their kids, who Johnson calls their “little bundles of joy.” She tells SheKnows that the one thing she is most proud of from 2022 is just how much time she spent “loving my babies.”

Looking ahead, Johnson also wants to love herself a little more this year, which is why she resolves to get rid of the mom guilt. When asked what the one thing she wants to leave behind in 2023 is, she decisively answered: “perfection.”


A post shared by Shawn Johnson East (@shawnjohnson)

“I feel like with being a mom, the hardest part is that mom guilt and obsessing over not doing things perfectly,” she explains. “And I just kinda want to live in the moment and just do my best every single day that I can — whatever threshold that is — and leave the rest behind.”

Unlike her past gymnastics training, “perfection” isn’t a realistic or sustainable goal when raising kids — and Johnson is admirably working to undo that mindset. It’s inspiring!

One way she plans to sever the pressure of feeling perfect? By living in the moment. “One of our biggest goals this year is just to really live it up and take full advantage of being parents and doing all the activities and just truly have fun,” she says. “And just prioritize family.”

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We love that! It’s time to let go of the guilt over not having a spotless house or Instagram-worthy meals and embrace the fact that laundry doesn’t always get done and letting kids use screens is okay. And ordering takeout is okay, too.

A post shared by Shawn Johnson East (@shawnjohnson)

In fact, “everything in moderation” is Johnson’s philosophy. “I feel like we live in the world of social media that tries to portray this idea that everything has to be extreme,” she says. “Whether it’s the most extravagant decorations or meals or whatever it is. We just truly try to lead a life of moderation in our house. We can have cookies or do takeout or watch movies or have a binge day. But as long as we have that good balance of moderation, I think we’re doing a pretty good job.”

This year, they are gearing up for a big watch party with friends for Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12. (Well, “watch” for the adults — “play dress-up in princess dresses” for Drew!) To help prepare for hosting the event, Johnson is falling back on her go-to meal option: ordering the Honey Baked Ham meal.

“I’ll probably do the same exact thing that I did with Christmas and New Year’s and Friendsgiving, which was ordering the Honey Baked Ham meal,” she says. “It was the easiest, most amazing thing.”

“I even took everything out and plated it, and it looked like a gourmet meal,” she adds.

Convenient fact: Honey Baked Ham ships their famous bone-in ham nationwide, so it’s an easy option for parties, holidays, or anytime you are craving a home-cooked meal without a ton of effort. They also offer turkey and a variety of side dishes and desserts, so you can spend even less time in the kitchen and more time relaxing before your next event!

“I’m all for like ease and convenience these days,” Johnson says, adding that she also likes ordering something she knows her kids will eat. “Jett will eat anything,” she explains. “Drew is picky, but she loves ham!”

Saving time in the kitchen also gives Johnson more time to keep up with her energetic kiddos — something that is much harder to do during the winter. And as a mom of three, ages 5 and under, I was dying to know: how does she keep her kids entertained when they are stuck indoors?

“Oh my gosh, that’s the good question of the century,” she laughs, before admitting: “Umm, I don’t know. We’re in the same pickle here.”

It’s tough! But the important thing is finding creative ways to get their energy out. “I’m just trying to find ways to be active,” she says. “We do a lot of like trampoline gyms or we go to the science center or go run around the mall. Kind of just any place where they can be free and wild, even an indoor football or training facility. We just try to go where they can run.”

As for how she keeps up with her little runners? “I just literally chase them, that’s it,” she says with a laugh. Hey, keeping your kids happy while getting in your own workout? That sounds like an Olympic-level win-win to us.

Even when you’re famous, Mom Guilt is a thing, as these celebrity moms show.

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