LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Jennifer Garner attends the Premiere Of STARZ's "Party Down" Season 3...
Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage/Getty Images

Jennifer Garner Admits She Was A Super Protective First-Time Mom

“I was all over her. I was a nightmare for everyone around me.”

Anyone who follows Jennifer Garner on social media would probably describe her as a mom. She’s full of mom jokes and fun cooking tips and she just gives off a really strong mom energy. Let me add that she gives off a very capable, very confident mom energy. Which makes sense since she’s been a mom for nearly two decades and has three kids. But before you start telling yourself that Jennifer Garner has it all together and you can’t possibly live up to her, be comforted in the knowledge that she admitted she was a “nightmare” first-time mom. Which we shouldn’t find soothing but we do nonetheless.

In a new interview with Allure, Garner opened up about the early days of raising now-17-year-old daughter Violet, before welcoming now 15-year-old Seraphina and 11-year-old Samuel, with ex-husband Ben Affleck. After initially offering the interviewer some helpful advice about kids “figuring things out” for themselves, Garner admitted that she wasn’t always great at letting that happen herself. “I was such a first-time mom. [My eldest daughter] didn’t have a shot. She couldn’t have a free thought — I was all over her. I was a nightmare for everyone around me.”

Impossible to imagine Jennifer Garner being a nightmare, yet somehow oddly comforting. Because first-time motherhood is truly such a tough time and it’s easy to forget that other people struggle too.

Jennifer Garner struggled as a first-time mom to daughter Violet.Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Garner actually had plenty of experience with kids before she became a mom for the first time. She told Allure that “being a mother was one thing I knew I was going to be,” before adding that she was training even as a kid. “I had a babysitting company with my friend Carrie — C & J’s Babysitting — from, like, seventh or eighth grade.” She also had a doll she carried everywhere, but it’s kind of not the same thing as having your own kids.

And Garner has always been open about driving the “struggle bus” of motherhood, letting her kids see her as fallible along the way. “They see me working my tail off,” she told Romper in 2021. “What matters to me is that they see me as a beginner. I'm a neophyte in every way and just struggling with my own ego, with how ignorant I am and how willing I am to say, ‘I don't know. Can you teach me?’ And that I just keep showing up no matter what, even if I get frustrated with myself for not remembering every single thing that I've heard before or how it all fits together. That's what matters to me, for my kids to see. And I think they are taking that in.”

She’s come a long way since her days as an overprotective first time mom. But, like all of us, Jennifer Garner is still learning as she goes. That’s kind of all anyone can do.