Jessica Rowe reveals her 'tricks' for talking to teen daughter: 'I bite my cheeks'

Photo: Jessica Rowe and her daughters, Allegra and Giselle. Instagram
Photo: Jessica Rowe and her daughters, Allegra and Giselle. Instagram 

Jessica Rowe believes that being a mum is a continual process of 'letting go'. 

With two teen daughters, Allegra,14 and Giselle, 12, the TV presenter and author is watching her girls grow up and push boundaries.

"From the moment they are born, you are letting them go," she tells Essential Kids.

"Then they are teenagers and it's that push and pull. They want to experiment, they want to push those boundaries and you want to give them that independence." 

"As a parent, that's what can be hard.. you are trying to work out, 'actually am I ready for this yet?'"

It's a strategy she has been using with her own girls as they navigate puberty and the often rocky path through adolescence.

"Rather than say, 'sorry you're not old enough to do that yet', I reframe it and tell them 'I'm not ready for you to do that yet'. So it puts the onus back on me."

"Its tough growing up," she continues. "I would not want to be a teenager again and its even tougher now with the pressures of social media and a wider peer group.

"I marvel at my girls. I marvel at their resilience, their courage, their outspokenness, their rawness, their way of finding out who they are and making their the way in the world. And I feel very lucky to be bringing up two amazing young women."

Photo: Jess and her husband Peter Overton with their daughters. Instagram.

Rowe is bursting with sage and realistic advice about parenting and raising two daughters who she shares with her husband, Channel 9 newsreader Peter Overton

She has picked up many tips from the wonderful community of women she has created via her Crap Housewife movement.

Toast for dinner is okay 

When the mum-of-two started posting photos of what she really cooked for dinner every night with the hashtag craphousewife, she never imagined for a moment it would strike such a chord. 

"I like to think of Crap Housewife as the phoenix that rose from the ashes of my postnatal depression (PND), she tells Essential Kids. "That was the serious part of it. I felt like I had to be perfect and I think as women we do far too much of that."

Jess is passionate about 'cutting the crap' and trying to reset the bar for mums everywhere; to take the pressure off and do things like give their kids toast for dinner and feel not one ounce of guilt about it. 

"I'll be 51 this year. It takes time to learn those lessons," she reveals. "You are enough. Not every day is going to be a perfect day. You could all be tired. It's okay to have toast for dinner or cereal sometimes."

"Pick things that bring your joy and try and find short cuts around the other stuff which is boring."


A post shared by Jessica Rowe (@jessjrowe)

Rowe, who has teamed up with Meat and Livestock Australia, is all about keeping things as quick and simple in the kitchen as possible.

"Talk to your butcher," she urges any crap housewife. "That is key. I have learnt so much from mine. They have so many good pre-marinated meats and ready-made meals. I'm currently loving this One Pot Mexican beef bowl recipe using my fave, mince. It's so easy and tasty."

And as for Jess's top lunchbox tip? Do a canteen order.

It's exactly this perspective that the Crap Housewife community adore and embrace. And we could not love anymore either. 

"It's important because it's a conversation. And it is a community, and I know that connection makes such a difference for me, so I do try to reply to everyone," she says about her legion of followers on Instagram. 

It's these values of kindness and courage, along with the ability to have a laugh, which Jess strives to pass on to her daughters.

Rowe is proud that her girls both 'speak up about issues and ideas' and want to make a difference.

"They get angry about injustice far more than I ever did when I was their age," she explains. "Giselle is an environmental warrior... and Allegra is always the first to speak out when someone is unkind on social media."  

Rowe is also passionate about talking to her girls about the hot topic of consent - and believes parents need to take responsibility for these discussions, even if they are uncomfortable. 

"As my daughters get older, I want them to enjoy sex.. and see it as a positive wonderful thing, as opposed to something to be frightened of or not right. I want it to be on their terms, when they are ready and in their control," she explains. 


A post shared by Jessica Rowe (@jessjrowe)

In general, Rowe has a few key strategies when it comes to having a chat with her daughters, including turning up the music for a 'daggy mum dancing session'. 

"I take a deep breath beforehand and I don't force them to talk," she admits. "I just try to be available to them and open. Listening is something I am trying to get better at, as opposed to talking at them.

"And I also bite my cheeks so I don't look shocked or surprised! That way I will hopefully have a deadpan face, no matter what they say" she laughs.  

While many parents complain about being a taxi service for their kids, Rowe has found a silver lining.

"You can learn a lot eavesdropping on your kids when they are in the back seat", she reveals. It's a great way to get to know their friends and what's happening in their lives."

As Rowe wisely points out, there are always challenges being a parent.

"Everything has a stage in life, she concludes. "You always want your kids to know you are there for them. It doesn't matter what's happened or what they have done, you are there and you are a safe ear."