Emily Maynard Johnson: At Home in Charlotte

Emily Maynard Johnson's new book, “I Said Yes,” hits stands March 1. We chatted with her about her new family life, and here’s what she had to say.

Many remember Emily Maynard (now Maynard Johnson) from her appearances on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.” Now settled into life after the reality TV shows, she has a new book titled “I Said Yes: My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption and True Love,” (HarperCollins, $24, pre-order $16 on Amazon) on stands March 1. In the book, she opens up about her high-profile search for love on the ABC reality shows, as well as the uncertainties and frustrations she faced as a single mom at 19, and how she navigated stardom, traveling the world, paparazzi and the breakups, and her spiritual journey that led her to find peace inside herself.

She met her husband Tyler Johnson, who she married in 2014, at Forest Hills church in Charlotte. She and Johnson are now parents to baby-boy Jennings Johnson, as well as 10-year-old Ricki Hendrick. We chatted with Maynard Johnson about her new family life, and here’s what she had to say.

Editor’s update: Not long after talking with Emily, she announced she is pregnant with her third child, due summer 2016. Congratulations to the family!

MH: It’s been a couple years since we talked. You’re married and you have a new baby, Jennings. How old is he now?

EMJ: He is 7 months old.  

MH: How is life?

EMJ: Everything is really great. Crazy for me to see how much God has done in my life and answered a lot of my payers. It’s so cool. I have a baby, and Ricki has always wanted to be a big sister, and she’s loving it too. Everything is normal these days.

MH: It’s been 10 years since you had a baby. How is it different this time?

EMJ: When I had Ricki I was so young, and I was so scared I was going to mess something up. Honestly, I really don’t know what I’m doing now either, but I’m little more confident because I’m older and know I can’t mess him up. I’m enjoying the baby stage more. I know how quickly it goes and I'm trying to be appreciative of every little minute I have. It makes it easier when you have one so much older — you realize how quickly it goes.

MH: How do you share parenting duties with Tyler?

EMJ: He is the best dad. Jennings likes him more than me already. We Facetimed with him at work today, and he (Jennings) died laughing at his dad. When Tyler is home, he’s all about it, and I let him take the lead.

MH: Where does Tyler work?

EMJ: He runs Hendrick Lexus, and works long hours.

MH: Tell me about your jewelry line?

EMJ: With the book and Jennings, I didn’t do another line this season. Working with Towne and Reese was great, and they taught me so much. I loved doing the jewelry, but right now it’s not where my mind is.

MH: So you’re home full-time with Jennings?

EMJ: I am. Right now I’m home sick. I have strep throat. My mom just moved here. So she has him.

MH: Do you think there will be another go around with a baby?

EMJ: I think so, but I’m the worst pregnant person ever. So either me or my husband may have to leave town for the whole nine months because I’m not a fun person when I’m pregnant.

MH: Were you sick through the whole pregnancy?

EMJ: Yes. I was sick the night before going to have him. I think God gives you amnesia after you have a baby. I hated being pregnant. I now think it wasn’t so bad, but it was because I was super sick.

MH: What three pieces of advice do you have for pregnant women?

EMJ: Well not sure I’m the best to ask, but this is what I followed:

Eat everything in sight while you can.

Sleep as much as you can.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it will be over, and despite all the terrible things you felt while being pregnant, you’ll still miss being pregnant.

MH: What advice do you have for moms with infants?

EMJ: It gets easier when they start sleeping through the night, and it gets more fun when they learn to sit up. With every month comes new milestones. Don’t be too prideful to ask for help. Have the courage to say I need help, I need a nap or I need to go to grocery store by myself or whatever.

MH: Do you have a community of moms you hang with?

EMJ: Funny, one of my best friends, Amy, has a daughter Ricki’s age and then she has two inbetween, and she had a baby two weeks after me, so we are on the same time schedule. We have 6- and 7-month-old boys.

MH: Why did you write the book?

EMJ: Well, I was happy being done with the whole public world. I was pretty much over it, but two years ago Tyler and I told our story at our church — Forest Hills — and a Christian book agent saw it online and approached me about a book. I felt it was a way of God saying, you’ve been looking for a reason why you were on the show, and this is it.

MH: So what do you want people to take away from the book?

EMJ: Women, in general, search in so many places for fulfillment. I just wanted people to like me. I felt something was missing and thought a husband would fill that empty feeling, but it wasn’t until I found my relationship with Jesus that I found peace that can only come from Him. I really struggled with it.

MH: Do you have any kid-friendly restaurants you like to visit as a family?

EMJ: Ricki’s fave is Nothing by Noodles. It’s been her favorite since she could eat solid foods. We like Pisces at Metropolitan a lot. It has big booths in the back so if the baby starts crying, no one knows. And while Jennings is little and sleeping through dinner, we go to Stagioni. Ricki even likes it. She likes the pizza.

MH: Who are you rooting for in Ben’s season of “The Bachelor?”

EMJ: Honestly, I haven’t been keeping up with this season. I did watch the last episode. And I like Lauren and I like Joelle. I really like Becca, but she was sent home.

MH: Is Tyler a fan of reality TV?

EMJ: No. He thinks the TV I watch is ridiculous. He’s never watched “The Bachelor” including any of my season, and I’d rather keep it that way.

Michele Huggins is editor of Charlotte Parent, and is mom to a 6-year-old and a 4-month-old.