We asked some of the best parents we know to tell us about the most important thing they’ve done as parents and have shared their wisdom below.

Laura Lejuwaan | Photographer & Actor

As the mother of four children, the most important thing I did as a parent was to give them my time and creativity. When they were young, the artistry in me came out strong. We made space for acting, pottery, painting, singing, photography, dance, going to the library…you name it, we did it. Because I was fortunate enough to be a freelance photographer with flexible hours, I was able to take them to and from school, volunteer in their classrooms and be with them for snacks and after school homework. As a single mom, I even tried to make dinners memorable – whether it was Taco Bell or steak and potatoes, we would light candles and sit around the table sharing our “highs” and “lows.” Now that they are adults, they still love coming home for family dinners and are pursuing their own careers as artists and entrepreneurs. Life was not always perfect and easy for me as a mom, but looking back I would hardly change a thing. Read more>>

Talitha Phillips | CEO

I took my oldest daughter with me to Uganda for the first time when she was 3 years old. Since then, she’s come with me on several other trips to Africa, and her younger sister joined us when she was 6. Exposing them to the world outside of the United States has made a lasting impression on their young lives. I encouraged them to play in the villages, hold babies in orphanages, teach little kids in school, and help us with our medical clinics. They were in turn exposed to famine, disease, death, pain, and injustice. So many of the things that we try to shelter our kids from here in America. Each time that we’re there, I find myself answering many of their tough questions about what they’re witnessing. They’re often the same questions that I’m still processing myself. Read more>>

Heidi Robbins | Astrologer & Poet

When my I launched my first book of poetry – This Beckoning Ceaseless Beauty — I had a party. My children were 10 and 5 at the time. I gave a talk and shared some poems and signed books. And even though the kids were little, I wanted them both there. My daughter (age 10 at the time) sat in the front row and beamed. My son sat with one of my best friends. I don’t know what they remember. But I always want them to feel and know me as their mama who loves them beyond beyond, but also a woman in the world creating and teaching and offering guidance. I want them to witness a woman who is doing her best to offer her authentic self to the world. I have always tried to include them in the WHOLE person I am. And I hope this is permission giving and freedom inducing for them both as they journey through their lives. Read more>>

Danielle Axelgard | Artist

To me, the most important thing I’ve done to impact my children is to make sure our home is a safe place for them where they can feel free to be purely themselves. My husband and I do our best to allow our children to cultivate their own creativity, growth, and sense of self being with also guiding them down the right path as best we can. We never want to be the type of parent to force a certain sport, interest, career, etc on our children. If my son isn’t as interested in art as I am, but he likes music then we try to cultivate that. If he would rather learn to cook than play baseball, then we will provide the space for him to do so (and plan to raise our infant daughter the same as she grows). While we aim to help them navigate living in this crazy and unsettling moment in time, we want to ensure they have a safe space to open up and learn about themselves. Read more>>

Natasha Ray | Celebrity Manicurist & Life Coach

I am a single mother of two children ages 22, 19. When my kids were 14 and 12 I decided to walk away from an abusive relationship and uproot my kids from out comfort zone in Washington, D.C. and drive cross country to Los Angeles. I had. I job waiting for me, no place to live, and no one in LA I could turn too. I left my kids with my mom for 2 months while I travels by car to LA got here and stayed in a hotel searching the web for employment. Once I was able to settle into a job I flew my kids out to LA to begin our new life minus of friends and family. Of course this was devastating for the kids yet my reasoning would be way more impactful than their initial response. We lived in a one bedroom on air mattresses for a year and a half until I was able to get our belongings shipped from the east coast. I had a goal- I had dreams and I knew ALL things are possible when u believe. Read more>>

Brandy Ferner | Author & Podcaster

This is a big question and the answer is yet to be revealed by my children as they grow older and someday sit on a therapist’s couch! I don’t think my answer and their answer to this question will necessarily be the same, but one of the things I’ve done that feels important is expanding the idea of what a mother is for them – humanizing myself as a person with needs, hopes, and dreams separate from just taking care of others. This shows up in lots of different ways, but one specific way is me continuing with my interests, career, and creative pursuits while being a mom. When you become a mother, it’s easy to find yourself erased – your entire purpose in life silently switching to care-taking your family. It sneaks up on even the most feminist and independent among us. It’s been a challenge to find the time and space to do so, but I have shown my kids that I am more than their mom. Read more>>