Sara Evans: Making Family and Fame Work Together

For country music legend Sara Evans, music and family go hand in hand, now as much as ever. Evans grew up on a Missouri farm, playing music and singing songs with her parents and six younger siblings. When she turned five, her family formed a band and performed gospel and bluegrass music at festivals and church revivals in and around her hometown. She loved her upbringing on the farm – the home-cooked meals, strong sense of family and community, wide spaces, and fresh air – but she dreamed of making it big as a country singer, eventually leaving Missouri for Nashville to give the music scene a real go.

Today, Evans is one of the world’s most accomplished and beloved country singers. She’s produced six albums (two gold-certified and three platinum) and has won numerous awards including Top Female Vocalist at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2005. Two of her albums (Restless in 2003 and Real Fine Place in 2005) topped both the country and pop music charts, while five singles reached No. 1. Yet her down-to-earth lifestyle holds little of the glam and glitter associated with stardom, and remains true to her roots. With a blended family of seven children (Evans has three of our own and four stepchildren with husband Jay Barker), she juggles the demands of modern motherhood with a thriving, high profile career.

How does she make it all work? Family first, career second

Known across the country for putting her family first and her career second, Sara Evans might serve up hit after hit on the country music charts, but she also serves home-cooked meals to her family of nine at least three nights a week. Her fans can see what she’s cooking, in fact, on her personal blog, In the Kitchen with Sara, where she shares recipes like lasagna, tomato pie, chili, and the cookie-covered dessert her own mom cooked for her as a kid, dirt pie.

What’s her secret to success? As she explains in her blog, her house manager and “do-it-all-gal” LaVilla helps immensely. Also important are the rules she’s set up over the years to make her home life less chaotic and harried, and more calming and restful. What rules and guidelines keep her household humming?

In an interview with People magazine, Evans talks about the tight ship she runs — and the structure and consistency she set in place and believes kids need to mature and thrive. For one, Evans learned the hard way that she doesn’t want to play the role of a short-order chef. So she cooks one meal — and one meal only — for dinner, despite whether her kids like what she serves or not. She also developed a firm set of household rules that everyone follows. Laminated and hung in prominent places around the house, her rules include such chores as “make your bed every morning” and “be respectful of each other and yourselves.” According to Evans, the rules have gone a long way in setting boundaries and teaching the kids that they can have fun, but they need to pitch in first — and can’t run the show.

Though Evans possesses an almost superhuman ability to plan and get things done, she knows her limits and sometimes makes rules that apply to her and her husband, too. “Our Saturday rule is that the kids are not to disturb us until 10 a.m.,” she says in People. “They’re old enough to get up, make their own cereal, turn on the television or whatever until we get up at 10 and get our coffee.”

Want to learn more about Sara Evans — and even see her perform live? On Sunday, November 3 at the Pegula Ice Skating Arena at Penn State University, Evans will take the stage at the Musselman’s Apple Sauce Family Skating Tribute (part of the Musselman’s Apple Sauce Celebrate Family Sweepstakes), where she’ll perform a number of songs and talk about the importance of family. Purchase your tickets, and make it a date for the whole family! Can’t make the show? Mark your calendar for November 24, 4 to 6 p.m., and watch it on NBC.