Sara, Jay, and their seven kids (plus a friend) in 2010. (Tom Burns/Getty Images)Seven may be a lucky number, but when that's how many kids you have, it may represent something much different. Mom-of-three Sara Evans more than doubled her brood in June 2008 when she married sports radio host Jay Barker, who had four children of his own. But while seven kids (ranging in age from 7 to 13) could make any person pull their hair out, the country singer insists "I'm not overwhelmed." So what's her secret?
Every morning from 8:30 a.m. until noon, Evans has a housekeeper come to her Mountain Brook, Alabama, home "who really helps me not lose my mind," she jokes with omg!. "She's helping me with the laundry; she's helping me with the grocery shopping. She's sort of like my wife. Ever since Jay and I got engaged, we decided we would need somebody like that because I can't manage this career and keep up with everything in the house with seven children — or I would lose my mind."
But getting help with the household chores was something that Evans, 41, initially resisted. Not only did she grow up "old-fashioned" on a farm, but she worried that it would make her seem like she wasn't doing her job as a mother and wife. "I think being lazy is one of the worst traits that a human can have, so it was really hard for me to give that over to somebody and have someone actually do my laundry," she adds. "But Jay, he was insistent on the fact that 'You need to focus on songwriting, performing, and doing all the other demands that are on you. You know, you've got to let somebody come in here and help.' And I'm really glad I did. It really does keep me stress-free."
And that calm has even helped her to be a better parent and wife. "Jay and I talk about this all the time: What if I was so stressed and you came in and I was like, 'I'm just so stressed, can you help me?' We would probably quickly move out of that newlywed phase. But as it is, I'm not overwhelmed." Another trick Evans and her husband use to also make their marriage less stressful is that every night, all seven kids have to go upstairs at a set time and leave their parents alone. "In other words, 'Leave us!'," she jokes. "Every single night, Jay and I spend time together, whether it's watching a movie or having a glass of wine or whatever. And we're really funny parents. We don't take things too seriously and so we're always like, 'We need this time at night to talk about you behind your back, talk about how bad you are.'"
Although Evans and Barker would like to have a child together, for now, their eighth little one is the family dog, a Maltipoo named Roman. The furry little guy has inspired his famous owner to partner with Nutro for the company's Room to Run charity, which provides grants to build or spruce up dog parks nationwide. The white fluffy pup "is just so special to our family, so it's such a great partnership for me," says Evans. "Also, because I love to take Roman out on walks and take him to dog parks, and it's such a fun thing I can do with my kids and let him off of his leash and run like crazy. So this is just a great national project to help improve dog parks all across the U.S."
But her true passion is still her music. Evans is back at work on her seventh album, just a little more than a year after the release of Stronger, her first collection of new music since her messy divorce. Now that she's in a truly happy place in her personal life, the material obviously reflects that. "I've been writing a ton," she tells omg!. Her inspiration? "The feeling of being just really, really settled, really, really happy, and feeling very blessed. But at the same time, there are some songs that are total heartbreak songs," she continues, noting that she's most focused on the lyrics. "I'm much more creative and such a better songwriter when I'm happy, as opposed to when I'm stressed."
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