What made you and your daughter sit down and say hey we are going to write this book?
We both have strong writing Spirits. I wanted her to publish a book of short stories after reading one of her stories when she was only 10 years old. At the end of the story, I felt like you would when a season of your favorite show ends, like nooooo, where’s the rest of it, what happens next!?! I had a lot of pieces unfinished and this book was one of them. I started the book solo about two years ago after several people commented about how great of a job I was doing with her or how our relationship inspired them. I was getting a lot of parenting questions or inquiries about our relationship, so I thought a book about my journey would be the best way to address them, but life happened, and the book was never completed.
By the time I revisited the book, more than a year later, so much had changed; our relationship had evolved into something bigger than just me being her mother and us having a great relationship to be admired. It was a relationship that overcame some serious obstacles for both of us, so I thought we should both tell our stories. I invited her to write, she said okay, and Changing Directions was born.
Did your bond become stronger after writing this book and talking about some of the challenges mothers and daughters face?
Yes, it became stronger. While we were writing, we were reminiscing, laughing about somethings we had forgotten all about, like how my entire mouth slammed to the floor when she showed me how she was dancing in her first dance class. (I’m laughing now thinking about it) We also were able to see our growth and how we handled things then and how much better we handle them now. It gave us an opportunity to reflect on our growth, both as individuals and a team and maaannn, we’ve come an extremely long way in a very short time!
Can we talk about Chapter 4 “Setting Goals and Crushing them together” what was going through your mind when creating this chapter, can you share some of the ways you and your daughter have set goals and crushed them together?
I know setting goals together requires both people to be vested. It almost creates a bond you can’t get out of and one that must remain positive if either one is going to achieve the goal. So, if a mother and daughter set a goal together, they will have to work as partners and as a team in a positive way. Since the day Makhyli told me she wanted to perform, goal setting almost became an unspoken ritual or game. It’s like, let’s say we want to do something and then see if we have what it takes to do it. Goal setting is more of a mindset than an action, so we worked on that first; believing in yourself and believing you’re capable of achieving the goal is the first step. Having a good work ethic, drive and passion for achieving the goal is also essential; with none of those, you’re not going to accomplish much. That first year we spoke about in the book set the foundation for goal-setting for us. She had to learn to believe in herself, once she did that, she worked harder. The more she accomplished from the hard work, the more driven she became. The passion is what started the journey in the first place. Once those were in place, the actions were easier to complete because the energy, desire and intention was already going towards the goal. So, getting her over her extreme shyness was a goal we crushed together. We also worked together for her to star in her first school musical, then getting her signed to an agency, becoming a lead singer in a band, and all the wonderful, but challenging steps of this journey were all goals we worked towards. Even reaching a financial goal for me to afford this journey alone, was a goal we worked on together. We did this by taking steps consistently toward the goal.
How is it living your dreams with your daughter?
Like an amazing roller coaster ride! Moving to LA required some new level type of goal setting. Crushing Michigan, hometown dreams felt much easier. I am a single-mother and when I say single, I mean that in the most single way possible. If you read the book, you know I didn’t/don’t have parental support and my children don’t have a relationship with any of their grandparents on either side or their father, so I found myself having to rely on miracles while on this journey. Sometimes it was extremely overwhelming and scary and other times, I cried from the joy of receiving so many miracles and the blessing of being able to be here to watch it all unfold.
How are you both feeling now that the book is complete are you two excited?
We are creating a crazy fun workshop surrounding the book’s principles and activities so although the book is complete, we’re only getting started. We hope to take this workshop all over the country. The book is more of a piece to something much bigger; the beginning of a mother-daughter love fest and hopefully the beginning of a profound mind shift. We want to see a more positive, confident, empowered and supportive mindset for all women.
Can you give us some tips on being an industry mom and having a daughter in the entertainment business?
Make sure she’s as passionate about putting in the work as she is with the end results because if she’s not, you will feel like you’re dragging her on the journey and that is not fun for anyone. I always give my daughter an out; if she ever decides she no longer wants to do this, I’m with her. I don’t care how much we invested; I didn’t do it only for her to make it big, I did it to give her an opportunity to chase her dreams. If it’s not her dream anymore, then our job is done. Lastly, I say be prepared for a lot of sacrifice. Mother’s need to be as committed to the dream and the process as the daughter is and she must be willing to put in more work at times.
What advice would you give to mothers raising their preteen daughters?
Empathy, Empathy, Empathy, remember how you felt at her age or in her situation, put yourself in her shoes. Remember how confusing of a time it could be and that her hormones are changing. Shoot, sometimes us grown women can’t communicate our feelings effectively or deal with the hormone changes, so we can’t expect for our preteens daughters to either. This is the time you’re going to need to shift from punishing and disciplining, to teaching and mentoring; from making demands to guiding and from telling her what she needs to do to listening to how she feels and what she wants to do. Pay close attention to her, make it about her feelings and less about yours as much as possible.
Purchase a copy of the book here: Changing Directions