Meredith Jacobs is CEO of JWI, a nonprofit with the mission of empowering women leaders and ending violence against women and girls. She is an award-winning parenting columnist and former editor-in-chief of Washington Jewish Week. She authored The Modern Jewish Mom's Guide to Shabbat: Connect and Celebrate--Bring Your Family Together with the Friday Night Meal (HarperCollins). She is the co-creator, with her daughter Sofie, of the Just Between Us journaling series (Chronicle Books), and the co-author of many of the journals in that series. Jacobs earned a BA from Haverford College and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.
Sofie Jacobs is an MBA candidate at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. She previously worked in ICM Partners' Theater Literary Department, where she assisted in representing playwrights and stage directors both on and off Broadway. Along with her mom, Jacobs is the co-creator of the Just Between Us journaling series (Chronicle Books), and co-author of many of journals in that series. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Columbia Publishing Course.
It all started with the boy with the swoopy hair in Sofie's third-grade math class. It was her first ever crush and she had no idea what to do about it—she asked her friends, but they all had conflicting advice (and it didn't help that they were 9 years old). At the end of the day, Sofie knew there was only one person she could talk to: her mom. But she was nervous and embarrassed to tell her mom about her crush, so she just wrote about it in the journal she used every night, instead. One day she had an idea—what if she could give her mom her journal, and her mom could read it and write her back? That way Sofie could talk to her without any of that awkward face-to-face stuff! Sofie told her mom her idea and she loved it! They picked out a notebook at their local bookstore and began writing in it over a piece of chocolate cake -- and the Just Between Us journaling series was born.
A mom's perspective
This is me when I was 9. Starting with this one because I thought it was cute. Obviously, I had a Brownie meeting after school that day. Wondering why I had to layer up on the shirt under the uniform. Hmmmm, I'll have to call my mom about that. And, I still part my hair the same way. The barrette thing is coming back, no? Maybe I'll try it again.
Okay, this is me when I was 10. I know! It was 1977, in case you couldn't guess the decade from whatever it is that I'm wearing. I think it's a poncho. And, my mom loved my hair like that. I think the next year she made me get a Dorothy Hamill haircut. If you're reading this, I'm guessing you're much younger than I am now, because I'm assuming you have children who are tweens. But Google Dorothy Hamill—famous Olympic ice skater, who was clearly a style icon. But I digress.
I'm showing you what I looked like when I was this age because, like Sofie, I also loved to journal. I'd write poems that were quite melodramatic. And, I'd write about how my mom made me get haircuts I hated and about how Lisa Lee was being mean to me and how Andrew Berman asked to borrow a pencil, which I was certain meant he was truly in love with me. So, needless to say, when Sofie asked to keep a journal with me when she was nine, I jumped at the chance. And, here's the wonderful thing—something about writing in a journal made me feel like I was that little girl again, with all the dreams and all the challenges I faced then. Which made it all the easier to really connect and empathize with what Sofie was going through and wanted to communicate about to me.
Now that she's 24, I can look back and say that journaling was one of the greatest things we ever did together. And, I think our relationship, to this day, is a testament to that.