How do country music singer Sara Evans and hubby Jay Barker manage to keep the peace with seven children in their home?
For this modern family, “it just really works,” but not without a few house rules.
After marrying in 2008, Evans, 40, and her three children – Avery, 12, Olivia, 8, and Audrey, 6- moved from Nashville to Alabama where Barker hosts his radio show and shares custody of his kids – Andrew, 13, Braxton, 11, Sarah, 10, and Harrison, 10. But instead of a sprawling mansion, the couple decided to keep things cozy, purchasing a 3,700 square foot home.
“The point was to bring the families together and it’s a lot easier to do that in a smaller house,” says Evans.
Posted in the kitchen of the home is a set of house rules. Included in the list: Make your own bed when you wake up; Boys use only your own toilet and shower; and be respectful of God, parents, one another, and yourselves. But there weren’t always such clear guidelines at the Evans-Barker home.
“In the beginning, we were so concerned about the adjustments the kids were going through, we wanted it to be all fun and games,” admits Evans. “But then, Jay and I realized we were spoiling them, and it wasn’t doing them any favors. They need boundaries, they need rules, they need to know they can’t run over us!”
Another helpful step was giving each child something they could all their own; even if it was just a locker in the garage to house their sports equipment.
“It is important for each kid to know they belong in this family,” Sara tells People. “This is my locker, my bed, my cubbie. But [it] also teaches responsibility – to take care of your things.”
And when it comes to meals?
“We eat at home together at least three nights a week,” says Evans, who adds, “My rule is for lunch, I’ll make you whatever you want, but for supper, whatever I cook is what’s for dinner. In the beginning, I tried to make everyone happy. I was like a short order cook! It was ridiculous!”
As for sleep, Sara says that’s another area where she and Jay draw a pretty hard line. “Our Saturday rule is that the kids are not to disturb us until 10 a.m. 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 out coffee.”
For exclusive photos inside the homes of some of your favorite country stars, including Sara Evans, Brad Paisley and Lady Antebellum, pick up the latest issue of People Country.