Her confidence was born early on, at — where else — a baseball game: Zobrist was leaving the stadium around midnight with 8-month-old son Zion on her hip, when an older woman got on the elevator and criticized her for keeping her baby up until midnight. “I cried to Ben that night,” she remembers. “I was thinking, ‘I’m a terrible mom! I’m not supposed to put them to bed at midnight! Maybe we shouldn’t go on the road with you, maybe I should get them on a normal schedule [like] we’re told we’re supposed to!’ And then I realized, [that woman] doesn’t know that Zion sleeps until noon the next day. She doesn’t know that he takes a nap at 5 to be prepared for a 7 o’clock game. And that moment was very empowering for me as a mom, because I realized everybody has their own idea of what works for them, and it was going to be very, very important for me — if we’re committed to our careers and to our family — to be comfortable in my own skin enough to just say, ‘This is our life, and this is the way it works for us.’ ”
That was eight years ago, and baby Zion is now grown into a charming 8-year-old mini-me of Ben (who was named MVP in last year’s drought-ending World Series run). There are also two daughters in the brood: 5-year-old Kruse and baby Blaise, 18 months. The kids have the same fiery energy as their mom — our photo shoot was a full-on dance party, Kidz Bop playing in the background and the oversized checkerboard coffee table Zobrist designed acting as a stage, just for today (“We’re allowed to dance on the table today, mom?!” Zion asked excitedly).
“We ooze [creativity] in this family,” says Zobrist, who styled herself impeccably for the shoot, starting in a neon yellow skirt, long-sleeve dinosaur tee and fishnets. “It’s like a massive muscle and there are all different parts of that muscle — decorating a home, fashion, music. I try and cultivate it in our children as much as possible. When the kids have an idea for their room, I help them in any way to implement it. I let Kruse dress the way she wants to dress. … They’re all very musical. Zion has quite the ear and is very aware of rhythm; Kruse loves to perform.”
Zobrist, too, is a performer. Her third Christian album, “Shatterproof,” released last summer, and she just wrapped a speaking and singing tour during Ben’s off-season. “Our lives are just simply logistical nightmares,” she says. “It was imperative for us to have a plan set in place.” So that’s exactly what they did: They never go more than six days without seeing each other; they have a rock-solid team, from homeschool teacher for the kids to booking agents who coordinate gigs around the whole family’s schedule; they plan family outings and date nights months in advance.
While Zobrist goes upstairs to change into her second look — a flouncy pink dress and her absolute favorite shoes, a pair of oversized glitter-encrusted snowboarding boots — Zion offers everybody a mini glass bottle of Diet Coke, his mom’s favorite guilty pleasure. Kruse happily grabs an apple to munch on while she sneaks in and out of the next few shots. Back downstairs, the perpetually sunny Zobrist speaks to the kids like they’re her adult peers in the most refreshing way. As a family, they’re fun to watch.
“It has been increasingly important for [Ben and I], from day one, to fight for family and fight for love,” Zobrist says. “We decided — when he put that ring on my finger; when we found out we were pregnant for the first time — that family was always going to be worth fighting for. And neither of us would ever want to accomplish any degree of success and then look back on our lives and [see] our family had fallen apart.”
We could all take a page from Zobrist’s book — and soon enough, we’ll be able to. She’s currently channeling her creativity into writing — during Blaise’s naptime or any other snippet of solitude she can seize — an as-yet-unnamed tome, set to release next spring. The book will be humorous and inspirational, much like the author herself. “It’s something that a young girl could read, or a 30-year-old woman could read, or a woman in her 50s whose kids have just left the house,” she says.
It’s a wild, crazy and colorful life, but at the heart of it Zobrist is still a mom, a wife and a career woman, three roles that connect her to countless others across the planet. “It’s been years of trial and error,” she says. “‘But my mom always said, ‘It’s more about the motive than the method.’ If there’s love behind [your actions] — if you’re just honestly trying your hardest to be a good mom — that’s going to weigh out more heavily than the method of how you parent.” A winning strategy, indeed.
We played house with Julianna Zobrist — wife of Cubs second baseman and World Series MVP Ben — in her super stylish home last month. While the kids had their own mini dance party, she posed like a pro and tickled the ivories, playing notes on her white grand piano (an eBay purchase!).
Photographer: Maria Ponce
Hair & makeup: Andrea C. Samuels