RRP: As a seasoned mom of twins, Haley and Hannah, who have started their lives out in the world, how has your role as a mom of adult women changed from when they were younger?
I now enjoy that we can be friends! They still come to me for advice about recipes, life, etc., but for the most part, they are on their own. They will always be my little girls, but I now enjoy the friend relationship we share as mom and daughters.
RRP: Having your youngest child, Olivia, start her senior year of high school this year, how will you handle becoming an empty nester when she goes off to college?
I will miss the activities, friends, and fun with Olivia. But when she moves on to college, my husband Scott and I can visit all of our children and family more. We can also enjoy each other and more time alone together.
RRP: Understandably, when teens begin the journey to make their mark on the world, not only can it be somewhat unnerving for them, but also for their parents. What advice did you give your daughters to prepare them for their college careers?
I tell them, “Do your very best to be you. Don’t worry about conforming to what others do and say. Remembering who you are and where you came from is the most important thing.”
RRP: How did you balance being a working mom while being a constant presence in the lives of your daughters while they were growing up?
I was always fortunate to have jobs that allowed me the flexibility to attend most activities. I did not attend every class party, field trip, volleyball game, etc., but I did not miss much. My husband was also very active in the girls’ day to day lives.
RRP: You are in what most people call the sandwich generation, caring for your children and also your mother needing assistance. What advice do you have for other moms who might be approaching the same situation?
Take the time to enjoy them all because, all too soon, the time will pass. As the children need you less, focus that care to your parents. But always find time to care for yourself, too.
RRP: All moms parent differently. Did you ever find yourself raising your daughters similar to or opposite from how your mom raised you, and why?
I find that many of my ways of raising my children were similar to that of my mom. We both had full-time jobs and raised our families with supportive spouses. I have also found a more open relationship with my daughters, due to the changing of the times. I am fortunate that my husband and I both came from families that instilled strong core values.
RRP: In having a generous age gap between the twins and Olivia, what lessons did you learn that changed your later parenting years?
I realized I had been too concerned about how others were raising their children, with trying to keep up with everyone, and with how others’ lives looked so easy. I finally realized we could just be us. We are all unique, and Olivia is unique. I was definitely more laid back with her and less focused on what others thought.
RRP: How does it make you feel knowing that you have impacted your children to get where they are today?
It feels good to know Scott and I have given them a good foundation with Christian values. I look forward to watching them grow into adults. I am very proud of all of them.
RRP: Is there advice you would like to share with younger moms beginning their parenting journey?
Try not to focus on what others are doing. Focus on and enjoy your own unique family. Each child is different. Embrace each one of them.
Donna Hughes is Sales and Marketing Director at Angels for the Elderly. She was born in Perry, GA, and moved to Montgomery as a child. She’s been married to her husband, Scott, for 30 years and they share three daughters.