Jenna Bush Hager has opened up about her ‘laissez-faire’ upbringing, saying she is grateful that her parents gave her and her twin sister, Barbara, the freedom to run around their neighborhood unchaperoned.
The Today star, who is the daughter of former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, reflected on her childhood in Texas on Tuesday’s show while discussing the challenge of raising kids who are independent but also abide by rules.
Bush Hager, 40, explained to her co-host Hoda Kotb, 57, that her parents were ‘strict in many things,’ but they had a ‘hands off’ approach when it came to her and her sister playing outside.
‘They were laissez-faire in that we had freedom, which I appreciate,’ she said. ‘I want to be like that. I want free-range kids. You know, wild, feral. I want feral children.’
Jenna Bush Hager, 40, reflected on her childhood in Texas on the Today show Tuesday
Bush Hager recalled how her parents, former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, would let her and her twin sister, Barbara, run around the neighborhood unchaperoned
Bush Hager shares three children — Mila, nine, Poppy, six, and Hal, two — with her husband, Henry Hager.
‘You want kids to not need you all the time,’ she explained.
However, she admitted that it’s difficult to find a balance between being a ‘very strict mother’ and wanting ‘feral children.’
Bush Hager added that she could also relate to Jay Z and his daughter Blue Ivy after a video of them sitting courtside at game five of the NBA finals went viral this week.
‘They were laissez-faire in that we had freedom, which I appreciate,’ she said
Bush Hager noted her parents were ‘strict in many things,’ but they had a ‘hands off’ approach when it came to them playing outside
When the camera focused on the rapper and his daughter, he pulled her in for a hug and kiss that she initially tried to shrug off.
Bush Hager recalled having similar experiences with her own dad while growing up in the public eye.
‘We would go to baseball games all the time, and my dad would sort of get called out,’ the former first daughter explained,’ saying she would sometimes get ’embarrassed.’
‘He taught me how to keep score — because I think he wanted me to close it,’ she added, pretending to zip her lip. ‘Those nights under the baseball lights were some of the best memories of my life.’
I want to be like that. I want free-range kids. You know, wild, feral. I want feral children,’ Bush Hager explained to her co-host Hoda Kotb
However, she admitted that it’s difficult to find a balance between being a ‘very strict mother’ and wanting ‘feral children
Bush Hager and Kotb have been all about the ‘Feral Girl Summer’ trend, which celebrates being wild and free.
It’s the opposite of ‘Hot Girl Summer,’ which was coined by Megan Thee Stallion in her 2019 song of the same name.
The Today hosts discussed the trend on the show last month, with Bush Hager saying it embraces ‘the wild child that lives inside all of us.’
‘This is the summer who doesn’t care, you can go crazy, you can be undone and wild and free,’ Kotb explained, saying the concept reminded her of an Anne Lamott essay.
Bush Hager shares three children, Mila, nine, Poppy, six, and Hal, two, with her husband, Henry Hager
‘You want kids to not need you all the time,’ the mother of three explained
‘[It] talks about how you spend your life talking about “how will I look in this bathing suit?”‘ she said. ‘”How will I carry myself?”
‘She says “One day don’t you just want to be free and feel the water on your body. To just enjoy, to close your eyes, pop out of the ocean and not worry what somebody thinks looking at you?”‘
Bush Hager added that it reminded her of the Mary Oliver poem ‘I Worried.’
‘You spend all your time worrying about what you look like and then towards the end of your life, you realize what a waste that was,’ she explained. ‘And you get into the water and you’re free.’