Amy Clark

Mommy Interview: Holly Robinson Peete

The Hanes team contacted us to see if we would be interested in interviewing some of their moms from their spokesperson team. They have created a fun resource for parents and picked some amazing parents to represent their brand.

We look forward to sharing some really great mommy interviews with you and to inspire you to try new things with your children… like volunteering!

We got the opportunity to interview Holly Robinson Peete and chat with her about volunteering. Holly is an actress, author, mother, and runs a nonprofit organization, HollyRod, with a mission to help improve the quality of life of people plagued with devastating life circumstances inspired by her father’s sad yet inspiring battle with Parkinson’s Disease which ultimately took his life in 2002. HollyRod has expanded it’s mission recently to include many children’s causes focusing more pointedly on improving the quality of life of the children in the Gulf Coast post-Katrina and those who live in several townships of the surrounding areas of Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.

As a working mother, what is your biggest challenge when it comes to balancing work and motherhood?

Carving out time for myself…If I’m stressed, EVERYONE is stressed! My kids and family are my number one priority, but sometimes I just need to focus on me! When I take time for myself, whether it’s going to a yoga class (it’s amazing what breathing can do!), going to a spa or just walking our dog, I feel recharged, re-balanced and ready to take on anything!

You are a very active volunteer and have made great strides in building and creating your own nonprofit organization. What are some ways that moms can begin adding volunteer work and community outreach to their mommy resumes?

Figure out what issue speaks most loudly to you and focus on that cause. While I encourage any volunteer service, I also think it’s important to take the time to seek out a program you’ll stick with. Ask your place of worship if they have any affiliate activities, search online for local community outreach, or ask friends and family. If you educate yourself before making a decision, you’ll find a cause that feels right and one that you’re more likely to stay committed to.

Also, be realistic about how your volunteer service will fit into your life and don’t offer more than you can give. I strongly believe we all have a responsibility to give back in some shape or form, but as women and mothers, we do have additional time challenges.

Do your children volunteer? How have you been able to show them the importance of making an effort in other people’s lives?

Our children understand how noble philanthropy is and that it is mandatory if you are a ‘Peete!’ As parents, my husband and I are really trying to live up to the adage that actions speak louder than words. We try to show the kids a world that’s beyond their own lives and most recently took them to the shanty towns of South Africa. We also make sure to volunteer with them and we regularly sponsor Christmas for several families by dressing up like Santa and delivering gifts. I’ve found that volunteering makes our children more aware of the world around them and of themselves.

Can you share with us your favorite family traditions?

Kwanzaa is a beautiful holiday that we love to celebrate. The kids learn more about their culture during those 7 days than they do all year at school.

I also just love my kids’ birthdays. Each year I try and carve out some time for just me and the birthday boy or girl (or twins!) to celebrate and this time is usually spent making something together. We’ve made chocolate chip pancakes, photo collages, string bracelets and special birthday tees. Hanes has the best tees to do this – not only are they super-soft and comfy (not to mention tagless), but they’re the perfect “canvas” to work with. We’ve tie-dyed, puffy painted, used our hands and feet dipped in paint – you name it, we’ve done it! The kids then wear their birthday tees all day and sometimes even to bed (an attempt to prevent another birthday from ending). The one thing I can look forward to when my kids get older is looking back on all their birthday tees!

You and your husband have been together for a long time (especially in Hollywood years)! Do you have any marriage tips for busy and tired moms?

Sexy, spontaneous hotel runs do the trick for us…well… maybe not spontaneous!!!

Sound Off: Do you volunteer with your children? What are their ages and how have you incorporated this into your family?

Published March 24, 2008 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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