Super Mom Jolie Walsh
You know those people that change you the moment you meet them? Jolie Walsh is one of those people. Jolie has so much joy inside of her that she sparkles when she enters a room. She doesn’t even need to speak! She smiles with her eyes, especially when she talks about her children, ages five, three, and two months. I can physically feel the love she has for life emanating from her body. She exhibits this love, a love that she learned in her family home as a child, by giving to others through her passions, which are dance and music. After learning more about Jolie and her beautiful family, I can truly call her a Super Mom, raising Extraordinary Kids that know they are valued and cherished. Her kids are going to be world changers because she is sharing her magic with them everyday. She listens, she tells them that what they feel matters, she respects their individuality (even at their young age!), and she gives them boundaries and limits that are reasonable and understood.
Jolie has been a singer her whole life. She began singing opera in a children’s choir in Puerto Rico at the age of five, and by senior year in high school went to a performing arts boarding school in Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the Cleveland Institute of Music and her Masters in Opera Performance at the Manhattan School of Music. Jolie stayed in New York City after graduating and crashed auditions for musical theater. She landed the role of Maria in West Side Story and performed at the Main Stage Musical Theater. She ultimately played the part of Maria in multiple theaters with multiple companies, including a European tour. Jolie was dating Michael Walsh during this time in her life and they were married in 2008.
A few years passed, and Jolie felt it was time for their family to grow. She knew she could not travel and be the mom she wanted to be, so she sought a new job that would allow her to share her passion for dance and music without touring. “When you’re a performer, you want to move people; if I can inspire someone, that would make me feel good, and I wouldn’t have to leave my children,” she said. Jolie found Soul Cycle in 2010 as her solution. She felt it was an outlet that allowed for inspiration, she loved the “dancing on a bike”, and loved to pair sounds that go together with movement. She taught Soul Cycle in New York City until transferring to Marin, CA in 2016. She felt that the time had come for her to follow her husband in his career, which lead them to the West Coast. She shared that, though she is a leader personality, with this big decision, she needed to trust. She said to Michael, “I will follow you and trust you.” This trust with one another is the foundation of their parenting and marriage.
The Walsh sons, Joaquin (5) and Javier (3) were blessings to Jolie and Michael. The boys have beautiful and unique personalities and love each other so much. And then little Penelope Rose arrived and their family was complete. “I prayed for that girl every single day,” Jolie said. “And the boys love their baby sister.”
I share my interview with Jolie about her parenting style and thoughts below!
Jennifer: What would you say is your parenting style?
Jolie: There are many kinds of parenting--the ones that hide the negative stuff, the anger, the bad stuff in the world, they just keep it all very Disney, like we never argue, we’re always smiling. There are so many other layers to a person, and I feel that the more honest I am with my children the more comfortable they’re going to be with their own feelings and sharing them with me. When they’re teenagers, I want them to feel comfortable trusting me and that it’s okay to talk about it and that it’s okay to make mistakes without feeling judged. And I try to say I’m sorry when I mess up. If we raise them with respect and allow them to be vocal about their feelings, the more they’ll feel free to speak to us as teenagers.
Jennifer: How do you talk with your husband about parenting issues? What is the process you two go through for parenting decisions?
Jolie: Well, we both know we are going to support one another; the base, the foundation, is we’re never going to show our kids that we are in disagreement. If we do disagree, we solve it afterwards. It’s not always easy, and we agree to disagree sometimes and come to one decision that we’re gonna do together. I love my husband, I really trust him, he’s a very wonderful man—very kind, very honest, very loyal and I admire him. Because of this, I trust who he is, I trust what he has to say. We have very different upbringings. Because of what I saw with my parents, I trust my instincts as a mom. I knew my parents were going to always be on the same page and that gave me such confidence. I loved feeling so protected. I knew there was a line, and they were both in it together. With me and my husband, I know if we are in it together and we can do a much better job than if I get my way or he gets his.
Jennifer: Do you think that there are differences in parenting each child?
Jolie: I think our values, our core, are always going to be the same for all of them, but they are all different, so our words, our techniques and ways of communicating are going to be different. I don’t expect them to be the same, so how can I treat them the same?
Jennifer: Do you think that there is a difference in birth order? Not in parenting style, but how they behave day to day?
Jolie: That’s what people say, but I don’t really think so. I think it’s just their personalities. I’m a better parent with three than I was with one. I was intense with just one. I would have asked too much from just one, and I wouldn’t want to do that to him. My son Javi is not the typical “middle child”; I don’t see that. He’s very disciplined, a very hard worker, and very focused. He’s such a good big brother to my daughter. He says very proud, “I am the big brother.” My sons compliment one another and help one another in different ways.
Jennifer: How do you nurture yourself inside of your busy typical day?
Jolie: I found my groove when I had the two, then when I had the third one I had to figure it out. Before, I exercised by myself at 5:30am, not teaching, just alone time. But for now, that teaching time is my time. I need 45 minutes to an hour for myself so I can be a better wife and better mom. I’ve always been like that, since I was like 12. So I spoke to my husband and I said, “I don’t know what we’re gonna do, but I need a little me time everyday because I’m feeling lost and out of balance.” I get up early to be by myself. Not just exercise, sometimes it’s just a walk. It’s just about waking up and hearing the news, it’s getting outside of my bubble. I can come back in and feel more cheerful. I get everything ready at night. I have to simplify it. The one thing I’m still struggling with is how to put them to bed and still have alone time with them. I’m not getting that right now because Penelope needs the milk right then and I can’t go to the boys. I feel like they open up so much at night. But now my husband’s being the lucky one that gets to read to them. But I still sneak in and get a hug from them before they sleep. You’re always feeling like you’re not giving enough or having enough time with anybody. That’s the hardest part for me, letting go of that guilt. Why do we have so much guilt? I think women do this to themselves, we expect ourselves to be heroes. Women can be a support to one another, no matter if we are different in how we choose to raise our children. And if we are judging one another, it just makes it so much harder. As a group, we should just help each other to feel more confident. I want to be a support to other women.
Jennifer: What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
Jolie: That’s very hard. I think watching these people that I created, just watching them become their person, becoming who they were meant to be. Just watching them laugh, or talk or play. I really love just watching them. I feel honored that I was able to bring them to this world. I was just kinda chosen to bring them into this life, and they teach me, so I like to watch them because they teach me to be a better person, they teach me to see the world differently. It’s incredible.
Jennifer: If you had to tell a new mom one thing to focus on as a mission statement for herself as a parent, what would it be?
Jolie: To be present. When I find myself not present, I lose balance, I’m missing moments with them.
Jennifer: If you had to teach your children one life lesson only, what would it be?
Jolie: I want to say trust themselves. I also want to say be kind, but I feel like if they trust their hearts and listen to that voice, and trust what they know is right and what they’re meant to be doing, I feel they’re going to be okay. I feel like they came into this world prefect. I feel like the world messes them up, to be perfectly honest, but if we allow them to just really get to know themselves and to really know what they love, their inner voice will speak to them. If they trust God and have faith, they’re gonna be okay. There are so many things I want to speak to them, but I know if they listen to that inner voice, they’ll be okay.
Jennifer: What is one thing you’re looking forward to ten years from now as a mom?
Jolie: I look forward to having grown up conversations with them. They’re going to be immersed in whatever it is that they care about. I think I’ll just be enjoying them doing their thing. I started having kids when I was older. I was ready to give everything to them. I don’t have regrets. Someday I will again go back to singing, but right now, I want to just have the time to dedicate to them. I hope ten years from now I just get to see them love something and work so hard for it and give it their all.
Jolie’s closing beautiful thoughts for her kids: “Everyday I tell my kids I pray for them, I say ‘You know I pray for you, I’m praying that you have the most amazing day, that you don’t get hurt, that people are nice to you, that you’re kind to others.’ And it’s just like that your heart went outside and you just gotta let them be.”
To experience Jolie’s rock star Soul Sycle Marin class first hand, visit https://www.soul-cycle.com/studios/mrin/23/. She books up fast, so grab a bike and hold on for a beautiful ride!