Jennie Garth shares her co-parenting advice: 'Divorce affects each of the kids differently'

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Jennie Garth on co-parenting, raising three daughters and being a young mom. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Jennie Garth on co-parenting, raising three daughters and being a young mom. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of childrearing.

Good things come in threes for Jennie Garth. In her case, it's daughters; the actress best known as teen queen Kelly Taylor on Beverly Hills, 90210 shares Luca, 23, Lola, 18, and Fiona, 14, with her ex-husband, Twilight star Peter Facinelli. 

With Mother's Day just days away, Garth is helping other moms get some love through her partnership with Kelley Blue Book's Best Family Cars of 2021; through May 17, the guide is running a sweepstakes for a Mother's Day tech prize package. 

She's also opening up about being a girl mom who started raising her kids at a young age, admitting it was "weird" having a baby in the 90210 dressing room. Read on for her thoughts on co-parenting, seeing her girls grow up and staying tight with fellow mom Tori Spelling.

You have three daughters. What's it like being a girl mom?

How much time do you have? Three girls — three young women — it's a lot, especially right now, just with the energies of the world and being a woman. It's such an exciting time to be a woman right now, and I can feel that in them and they feel their options are endless and that there's just so much out there for them. And that's really exciting as a mom to see, and to sort of nurture in them that belief that the world is yours for the taking. There's nothing you can't do. I know my mom always told me that that there's nothing I can't do, and I believed her and I hope to instill that same belief in my daughters.

Your oldest daughter is now 23. How has it been seeing them grow up?

Yeah, it's weird, I'll tell you what. I was just saying to Luca, my oldest, who's 23, "You are the same age now that I was when I had you. So imagine your life — your fancy, fun-loving New York City life — with a baby." She was like, "Noooo, I don't want that." [laughs] Hopefully I'm teaching them something, but, yeah, my second daughter is 18. She's getting ready to go away to college in the fall. Not looking forward to that — I mean, I'm really looking forward to that [laughs]. And then I have a 14-year-old, so she'll be the last one in the house. And she's a little worried because all of my energy will be now on her and all of my focus. She's kind of excited about it, but at the same time, like, "Ooh, that's a lot of Mom time." 

What were the challenges of being a young mom?

I mean, of course, I wouldn't change anything; I would do it again in a heartbeat. I love that I was a young mom. I was always the youngest mom in the grade; I felt like I was one of the kids rather than one of the moms most of the time. But if I knew then what I know now, I would wait maybe, just to experience my life a little bit more and have a little bit more of my feet on the ground as far as just who I am. But I did things differently, and I learned who I was through my kids and with my kids, and I sort of grew up with them in a weird, probably pretty unhealthy way [laughs], but we're all good. We're all good. 

You co-host the 9021OMG podcast with Tori Spelling. Did you ever think back then that you'd one day have eight kids between you [Spelling has five] and still be such close friends?

I remember when I had a baby and we were working together and I would bring my baby to work with me on the set of Beverly Hills, 90210, and that was just weird — that there was now a baby in our dressing room with us and just hanging out. But to fast-forward and to have eight children between us is insane and hard to even [comprehend]. But it's so awesome because she has her crew and I have my crew and there's just more loving to go on all the time, But it's not something we saw coming. 

Do you have any advice for co-parenting?

Co-parenting can be very challenging. You have to really just continue to put the focus on the kids, and what's important for the kids, and take any emotion out of it. Their dad and I have been divorced for quite [some] time now, and time has passed, but you have to remember that divorce affects each of the kids differently. And a lot of people want to just say, "Oh, they're fine, they're resilient, they'll be fine." But I'm really a little more sensitive to the impact that it has had on each of them individually and how that will affect them as they grow into adults and parents of their own and a married person of their own. I think that [it's important] remembering the impact that it has on the individual kid and recognizing that and being sensitive to it and helping them more than you help yourself through it. So often when couples break up and get divorced, it's all about them and the divorce and the drama of all of that. But there's so much happening to those kids during that time, and I think it's important that we focus on that.

You're working with Kelley Blue Book as it shares its Best Family Cars of 2021. As a parent yourself, how important has finding the right vehicle been?

Challenging, definitely. That's where Kelley Blue Book comes in, thankfully, because I'll soon have three girls behind the wheel of cars. I'm not the best at researching. It's a huge decision: How to find the safest and most practical and reliable car, something that they're going to like and think looks cool... There's a lot that goes into those really big decisions and second to buying a house, buying a car is a big deal for families. So Kelley Blue Book has a great resource for everybody out there...

This is the same Kelley Blue Book that my dad used to use when he would go to buy or sell a car. I can remember him using it. So now to be "Kelly" and working with Kelley Blue Book in a whole different world, I'm so excited to do it. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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