RRP: How do you balance being an educator/principal and raising three children?
MH: My family is my greatest earthly joy. I now have one daughter at home, another in her third year of college, and a married daughter with our two precious grandbabies. Balancing these various life stages is challenging with everyone in different states, so we prioritize togetherness and cherish those moments. For my daughter at home, coffee dates, listening to music, and talking in the car on late-night Target runs are ways we enjoy being together. When family/work-life balance gets off kilter, we try to prioritize dinners together and what is necessary and set the rest aside. Sometimes, I cancel things when this happens and never regret it.
RRP: As a busy mom, how did you manage to develop the new school, The Oaks Classical Cottage School, and what was your inspiration?
MH: At the root of my inspiration was my daughter, Sarah Kate. I’m a busy mom, and we longed for a balance between academic life, family, and community life. The three-day model helps to provide that balance. Our motto is Academia, Civitas, Renovation (Academics, Service, Renewal). When our previous school closed, we faced a decision of where to go next. With much prayer and support from my husband, Judd, and co-founder, Claire Kennedy, The Oaks was born. We couldn’t have done it without our children. We spent many late nights working to set up the school. We included them in as many decisions as possible. Their input was invaluable.
RRP: In what ways do you foster a strong relationship with your children?
MH: I pray for them every day. I enjoy being with my daughters and talking with them. Spending time with them grows our relationships. I want them to know I support them. Now, I get the privilege of building relationships with my grandbabies. It is a dream!
RRP: Raising three daughters, do you find that your parenting style changed with each child and their personality?
MH: Yes. With your first child, as brand new parents, you are learning how to parent. As we had more children, we realized some of our expectations and priorities changed. We learned that with their temperament differences, they had different needs, ways of communication, and love languages. We tried hard to be aware of this and embrace their needs regarding how we spent time together, hard decisions, discipline, and boundaries.
RRP: Your middle daughter has Dyslexia. What advice would you give to other moms navigating this learning disorder?
MH: Research it and seek support. I remember feeling overwhelmed and not knowing who to talk to or what to do. When diagnosed, there was little help and support available at that time. Now, Montgomery has resources. In addition to different teaching methods, the biggest thing that helped me was allowing her to be who she is and leaning into what she enjoyed doing – art, music, Taekwondo, etc.
RRP: How has volunteering with the children’s program at your church impacted your life?
MH: I love children and enjoy teaching them in any capacity. Serving alongside others in our church fellowship to love our families this way has deepened that love. Children have unique needs. Building relationships and listening to them makes a difference and changes me as I learn so much from them. It is humbling.
RRP: How do you teach your children about self-love and self-care?
MH: The best self-care is to nurture your soul. Spend time in prayer and God’s word, and then do things you enjoy-things that renew you. I encourage them to find hobbies that help them feel refreshed, even if time is limited. My husband is good at leaving space for us to make this happen.
RRP: Being married for 28 years, how do you stay connected to your partner?
MH: Judd is my best friend. He is the best listener and my greatest encourager. We connect throughout the day while working. We try to make the small moments count and hug often. We take walks to talk, go on dates, cook together, and host friends in our home. We have also learned how to be silent in each other’s presence. We love doing life together!
Michelle Hough has been married to Judd Hough for 28 years and they have three children: Hannah (22), Susana (20), and Sarah Kate (14). They’re also proud grandparents of Haddon (2) and Charlotte (1).