Family Life

Jackie Tisdell

OCCUPATION: Public Information Officer for Ascension Public Schools
HUSBAND: Eric Tisdell
CHILDREN: Jackson, 15, and Max, 13
HOBBIES: reading and playing softball

As a Public Information Officer for Ascension Public Schools, Jackie Tisdell is always on the run. She also serves on the board for Volunteer Ascension and as a parent representative on the Special Education Advisory Panel for the board of Elementary and Secondary Education. But, on top of all that, she is a mom to two teenage boys, Jackson and Max. Honesty is the best policy in her house, along with communication, empathy, and quiet evenings with a book and a glass of wine. For Jackie, the best part of being a mom is watching her sons grow into young men and find their own interests. Oh, and the hugs!

What does a normal day look like for you?
I get up, and I get both of my boys up and out the door so I can bring them to school. Then, I get ready for work and head into the office for 8 a.m. My job is all over the place, so I never have a typical day; I could be at a different office or a different school, which definitely varies depending on what’s going on. Every Tuesday night, we have school board meetings, so I will work until 7 or 8 at night on those days.

What are some of the joys and challenges of raising your children?
There are so many joys! I love watching them develop interests as they grow up. Jackson and Max are both in 4H shooting sports, so they are learning how to use a shotgun by shooting at clay targets, and it’s been interesting watching them develop that skill. Max also plays the saxophone in band. He’ll be trying out for Dutchtown’s band, and I love seeing him carry that love of music into high school. Right now, Jackson is at a critical point in his life where he’s trying to decide on his after-high-school path. Sophomore year is such a crucial time for our kids, you know. We’ve been having lots of discussions this year about what his interests are and what he wants to do. 

What are your qualities as a mother?
I am very open, honest, firm, and empathetic. I do have a rule with my kids that “I’m going to find out about it,” so if you tell me about it, it will go much easier than if I found out about it some other way. I work for the school system, so I’m going to find out about it eventually. It’s been a good approach for us so far. I feel like we have a lot of trust in my house.

What do you like to do as a family?
We like to go to the movies and go bowling. We are also frequent visitors of the WWII museum. We do regular family bike rides around the neighborhood, which was a great destressor during quarantine. It got us out of the house, and we’ve been able to carry it on today. I treasure things like that as long as I can.

What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
The hugs. My kids are in that awkward stage where they hate to hug their mom, but they have to do it anyway. It’s a rare moment where they show me affection when nobody else is looking. Regardless, I love watching them grow into young men. 

What has parenthood taught you?
Patience, and that there’s no one-size-fits-all way to raise a child. Our two boys have very different personalities, so there are two ways you have to approach them in different situations. It’s important for me to give my kids choices. It’s not always my way or the highway or completely black and white; instead, I give them opportunities to have a role in certain choices they may not like.

What are some things you hope to teach your children?
Empathy is huge. I teach them that empathy for anyone will help you bridge any gaps where you might not agree with them. Honesty is really important, too, along with accountability. You have to own up to it, even when you’re wrong!

What is something your job has taught you about parenting?
My job is to communicate, so the value of communication and honesty reflects in the way I interact with my kids. I have also learned a lot about diversity. In the school system, you’re exposed to people from all walks of life, and I think that is a huge plus that my kids are in the public school system because they’re exposed to lots of different people. They learn how to interact with people who do not come from the same background as them or even speak the same first language as them.

How do you tackle any challenges you face as a mom?
I tackle everything in partnership with my husband. I’m very fortunate that we parent very strongly together and can talk through the real tough stuff such as how we’re going to have a certain conversation with the kids.

How do you make time to relax?
Those are my evenings. I like to read, so I’ll grab a glass of wine and read a book on the back patio to unwind every evening.

What personality trait of yours do your children also have?
Max has a lot of my outgoing personality, and Jackson is very quiet but has a lot of empathy and insight. He absorbs what’s going on; he’s a big thinker.

Any advice for other parents?
There’s no one way to do it. Parenting doesn’t come with a manual. Also, surround yourself with people you can talk to during tough times. Every parent is going to have a rough patch, so your circle of family or friends is a necessary outlet for when you do come across challenges. 

Quick Q&A
Before I go out, I always check to make sure I have…
my cell phone.
In my fridge, you will always find…almond coconut milk.
My favorite dessert is…pecan pie, but only my aunt’s recipe.
My favorite food is…mac ‘n cheese.
My guilty pleasure is…shopping on Amazon.
The first thing I do when I wake up is…check the weather.
My dream travel spot is…southern Germany.

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