Lee Ann Womack: Communication is Key

05/09/2009 at 07:00 PM ET
Jemal Countess/WireImage

Singing comes naturally to Lee Ann Womack — but natural was the last way she initially felt as a parent! As mom to Aubrie Lee, 18, and Anna Lise, 10, Lee Ann felt so unprepared that she now thinks parenting classes should be “mandatory in school today.”

“A lot of young people don’t even know (or consider) the very basics of child rearing and home keeping anymore,” she explains. “I can remember my mom handing me a toilet bowl brush and saying, ‘Today you’re going to learn to clean a toilet.’ The same with cooking dinner, hemming a garment, doing laundry, taking care of pets … I just don’t know if parents are as engaged now as they were when I was a kid.”

Considering that “a shame,” the country singer goes on to clarify that it’s “not so much that people don’t spend time learning to clean a toilet, but that young parents don’t know what is a decent time to put their child to bed!”

As her daughters have gotten older, Lee Ann has learned “the importance of communicating with your children” and believe it is the one of the biggest things a parent can do for their child.

“Listen to what they have to say as if they are teaching you something, because they will! I sometimes play a trick on myself if I’m feeling a little disconnected at that moment: I pretend that I’m talking to a girlfriend of mine. It’s not long before my daughter has me either riveted or dying laughing at something.”

Lee Ann, 42, is constantly trying to find a balance between being a parent and a celebrity. “Maintaining celebrity is something that takes a lot of time. Too much time,” she says. She knows that “hands on parenting should take most of your time, with a little left over for what Mom/Dad wants to do” but notes that “the hard part is knowing that you have so many people on your payroll that are depending on you to maintain your status as a recording artist/star and trying to keep that up too. Expectations are high coming from both sides. Like anything, I do believe you get better at it the more you do it.”

Click below to read about why Lee Ann believes honesty is the best policy and that extracurricular activities are good for every child.

Lee Ann’s successful career has also proved a challenge because there is no such thing as skeletons in the closet! “You can’t hide your ‘teenage or college’ years the same way the rest of us can!,” she laughs.

“I’m not so sure hiding things from your kids is the only way to handle being a parent and a real person. I think being honest with them works the best for us. I try to just tell them when I’ve made mistakes and how those mistakes affected me. There is no better teacher than life.”

Both of Lee Ann’s daughter are involved in extracurricular activities which is something she believes is good for every child. “There seems to be a lot of controversy among parents regarding how much is too much,” she explains. “I think it’s very important for kids to not have too much time on their hands. I feel sorry for kids who are not involved in any extra curricular activities.” Lee Ann wants parents to remember the number of options that are out there. “Every kid doesn’t have to be a football player or a cheerleader. There’s dance, music lessons, gardening, cooking, creative writing, photography, and on and on. Help them choose something and then help them stick with it.”

While Aubrie and Anna are “good dancers and they both show an interest in music,” Lee Ann is most proud of her daughters for “their ability to empathize with others. I think they got it from Frank [Liddell, Lee Ann’s husband]!”

Aubrie is Lee Ann’s daughter with ex-husband Jason Sellers; Anna is her daughter with Frank, whom she married in November 1999.

Source: MomDot

— Angela

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 9 comments

Sammy-xx on

I Hope You Dance is such a great song, I am a big fan.

Courtney on

I Hope You Dance came out when I was pregnant with my oldest. I remember the first time she kicked that song was on the radio…

Still one of my all time fave songs and now all 4 of my kids like to dance in the living room to it.

Lorelei on

I’m a firm believer in extracurricular activities as well, but I know so many parents that have their kids so overscheduled there’s absolutely no time for anything else and the kids are so stressed. I think it’s important for a kid to be a kid-use their imagination, play and have some down time as well.

ambieAnnie on

i will take it a step further and say that I think there should be an exam and license to be a parent…no different than applying for a driver’s license

Tee on

AmbieAnnie, my sister says the same thing! “You have to take a test to drive a car and yet any idiot can procreate!” I love Lee Ann’s attitude about raising children.

Molly Mae on

She totally hit the nail on the head about putting kids to bed! I work at Starbucks and you wouldn’t BELIEVE how many parents have their babies, toddlers, and small children out at 10 o’clock at night. It’s so shocking. Now that I’m grown, my mom and I go out to eat a lot and we usually sit at the bar of the restaurant. We’ve been having dinner and drinks at 9pm and you wouldn’t believe how many times we’ve witnessed someone walk in and sit down at the bar with their 5 year old! There are SO many things wrong with that sentence! It’s stomach churning sometimes.

Angie on

I have gotten SO much flack for the bedtime I have chosen for my kids. While I would never take my kids to a BAR no matter the time, I have been out to the store at 9pm. My kids usually go to bed around 10pm and that works for our family and whose right is it to tell me when I should or should not get my kids to bed? They sleep the appropriate amount of hours for their ages and sleeping in until 9am or sometimes later is best for all of us. When my DD was little everyone said oh she needs to go to bed at 7:30 or 8pm to get ready for school. Well guess what? School starts at 11am so why should we get up super early? Those times work best for all of us. I could not imagine sending my kids to bed so early!!! I am a great mother, despite what some people may think solely based on what time my kids go to bed!!!

Megan on

It’s so odd to see the ages of her daughters. I remember watching the music video to I Hope You Dance and her youngest was just a baby. Hard to believe how the years have passed!

lauralee on

Molly Mae,

I’m sorry that my family churns your stomach, LOL. I have 3 kiddos (2, 5, and 7) and while the youngest goes to bed usually about an hour before, the older two are frequently up until 10:30 or 11pm. I have NO idea why this bothers people so much, except for maybe that they are secretly jealous? (In the sense that we never have to leave parties or get-togethers early, or work our family’s social life around being home by 8pm. We have many families we socialize with and our evenings frequently run til midnight or so, just hanging out, eating pizza, kids running around playing beautifully, adults chatting or playing board games).

What time you go to bed has zero CORRELATION with how much sleep you get, whuich is what is important. My kids all sleep in until between 9-10 am. We homeschool and so this is not problem (even before homeschooling, I have always been a SAHM and the only time my kids were ever needing to get somewhere in the AM was a 10am playgroup or MDO, which was no problem). They are well-rested, curious, bright, creative, and full of energy.

We often head out to eat at 8 or 8:30. Or run out to the store. My DH gets home from work around 6:30 so we have loads of relaxed family time together every evening, no hamster-wheel rush to dinner/ bath/bed like some families I know… then, my DH and I go to bed around 1-2am, so we still have 2-3 hours of alone time together every nignt to reconnect. We love our timetable and would never have it any other way. I feel sorry for kids who have to go to sleep when the sun is still out and my kids are riding bikes around the neighborhood with their dad!