Eric Decker’s Method to Balancing a Career and Being a Hands-On Father

The Deckers have two young children. (Photo: Instagram/Jessie James Decker)

Balancing a professional football career and caring for a family is likely quite difficult at times, but New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker has some unique methods for making it all work.

At Listerine’s Unlock Your Bold launch at Inscape on Tuesday night in New York City, Decker dished on the benefits of taking moments out of the day to refocus his energy and stay sane amidst the chaos.

“When I’m in the car driving home from work, that’s my time to chill — to get off the high from being around all the testosterone and know that I’ve gotta flip the switch and go home to be the husband and the father that my family needs me to be,” he tells Yahoo. “The balancing act is hard because you’ve gotta shut off your thoughts and your mind and refocus on what’s important when you go home.”

Decker shared that taking time to pause — whether it’s the 30 seconds it takes to use his favorite Listerine mouthwash or a quick drive home from training — helps him to stay sane. Hitting the pause button also gives him time to focus on building his confidence, which affects his performance both on the field and while performing daddy duties for his two children, 3-year-old Vivianne Rose and 1-year-old Eric Thomas II, with his wife, country singer Jessie James Decker.

“Going from high school to college or college to the NFL — it’s kind of a transition where you don’t know if you’re good enough and you kind of question if you have the ability,” he says. “As a father, it’s a whole new experience. I love kids. I know that I’m nurturing. But to take care and provide for kids —  you kind of question, ‘Am I really ready for this?'”


Despite his uncertainty about his own abilities at times, Decker wholeheartedly believes in instilling confidence and the idea of unlimited potential in his children at a young age.

“I think they know how much love they have — not only from their parents but from their other family members and other people around them. That’s the biggest thing. It goes such a long way in their development if, at a young age, you just nurture and give them everything that you can.”

In passing along this message, he acknowledges that there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

“I read a lot of books because I always want to do things right, but there’s no perfect way to parent,” he says on preparing for fatherhood. “The biggest thing is just to love your kids and show them so many different things, give them opportunities, and let them figure out who they are and what they want to do.”


With such young children, Decker shares that he’s gotten used to a chaotic household — and teaching and learning with his children has even helped him to learn more about himself.

“It’s definitely insane, but I think you get used to the chaos,” he says about the Deckers’ family life.

“My wife and I always laugh about it because we used to be the people on the plane that said, ‘Oh my God, we’ve got a kid on the plane,’ and now we’re those people!” he says. “It’s kind of funny because that’s just life. You can’t really control your baby crying or getting upset about something. You just gotta figure out what it is — it’s part of life, it’s part of the day, it’s part of the journey — and I love every moment of it.”

He adds: “Not only do you figure out so much about yourself, but you get to help them as children figure out who they are.”


“I’d say the big thing is finding that balance and trying to get to a good place mentally,” he says about the key to juggling his many roles.

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