What My Daughters Really Think About Us.


What a difference a decade makes!

I recently asked my 2 adult daughters the same questions about their opinions of our parenting – and here are their responses (and my clarification/feedback – if necessary).  

For information purposes – Sierra is 28, married and has three children of her own (she is my step-daughter and I have helped raise her since she was 3).  Nina just turned 18, is still in high school and still lives at home.


  1. What parenting style would you say you were raised with? 

Sierra (28):  Authoritative 

Nina (18): Not gentle that’s for sure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was bad parenting. My parents made sure we dealt with consequences and knew what the real world is like. It’s the reason I am who I am today.

[Mom: I’ll take that as a parenting WIN.]

  1. What is one of your favorite family traditions? And will you carry it on with your children?

Sierra (28): My absolute favorite family tradition was eating together almost every night for dinner at the dining room table with no electronics allowed. I still value that togetherness today and want that with my family.

Nina (18):  It’s not necessarily a tradition, more of a “thing”. I will continue our “I love you” ASL symbol tradition to my own children. I think that’s the one thing I would never forget about my family is our way of saying I love you.

[Mom: I did enjoy the family dinners, too.  Unfortunately for Nina – I was no longer a stay at home mom and eating at the dinner table nightly hasn’t been a thing in our house for a while.  I love her response about the ALS symbol.  We actually both have the symbol tattooed on the back of our neck and it was drawn by Sierra]

  1. What is a family tradition you do not like?

Sierra (28): I didn’t fully like having to buy most of my things with allowance. I think learning to use my own money and save for things was great and I will teach my kids that but I sometimes felt like I couldn’t enjoy outings or vacations because I felt as though I had a mortgage to pay.

[Mom: We give the kids a flat dollar amount on vacations to use for souvenirs and extras – so that they don’t constantly beg us for stuff.  We would give them the cash upfront and make them decide how to spend it or they could choose to save it, too]

Nina(18):  We don’t have any to be honest, but I do not like when they cook fish for dinner if that helps 

[Mom: ummmm, no words]

  1. What was something you felt was so strict at the time —  but now realize you will probably do the same with your kids?

Sierra (28): The restrictions of friends/technology. I used to hate that I couldn’t have as many sleepovers as I would have liked but now I am not going to be a big fan of them with my kids. I also think being forced to do kid things rather than spend all my time on phone/computer/tv helped me become a more productive and present person/parent.

Nina (18):  Not being able to drive without a license. I never understood why mom and dad never let me drive with a permit, even to a store down the street. It wasn’t until I saw my own friend have to beg her way out of having the cops called after hitting someone with no license.

[Mom: So what you are really saying is that we were right?!  LOL]


  1. What age did you first get a cell phone?  And when do you think you’ll allow your kids to have a cell phone?

Sierra (28): I believe I was 12? It depends on the circumstances. For example, I walked to and from school so it made sense. But I would like to keep my kids off of a cell phone for as long as possible. 13-14 maybe?

Nina (18): I think I was 12 or 13. I don’t really know when I’d give my kid a phone. Life nowadays is kind of changing so it’s hard to say – most likely when they get to middle school.

  1. What type of phone/internet restrictions did you have and what will you do with your kids?

Sierra (28):  I was allowed an hour a day on the computer and had a cell phone before the “unlimited talk/text” plans were a thing. No phone calls past 9:00pm. I think I will be as equally if not slightly more strict with my children. For me, less access would be ideal.

Nina (18):  I had screen time at 10pm , no internet after 10pm , screen time limit to 4 hours a day, no snapchat until 8th grade, no instagram until 6th grade, & Mom controlled what apps I could have. I will not be doing that to my kids, they will have their own privacy. There will be restrictions when they are younger for bedtime. Now if they break my trust with things, that’s when I will be putting consequences.

[Mom:  We shall see]

  1. What was your favorite family vacation?  Where did we go — what did we do?

Sierra (28): My favorite family trips were to the ranch. It was such a peaceful place where we could all focus on each other and phones didn’t really work. We would build the best bonfires, cook, play cards and “gamble”. Hunted occasionally. It was just my favorite quality time spent together. 

[Mom:  We really have some great memories from the ranch]

Nina (18): Montana, we went skiing for the first time. I turned 13, and we got to have Christmas with snow & beautiful mountains.

[Mom:  It was a beautiful time of year…but super cold]

  1. What is something that your Dad always says/does and still says to this day?

Sierra (28): “No good deed goes unpunished.” “SHLU” Calls me “kiddo”  and he is and always has been a night owl who falls asleep at his computer in his “office” chair.

Nina(18):  He still calls me mama-c or his little nightingale because I sing 24/7.

[Mom: Louie loves making nicknames for everyone.. Still does]

9..  What is something that your mom/Darcy always says/does to this day?

Sierra (28): “60,000”  “everyone and their brother” 

She does that cute little thing where she rubs her nose when she gets excited and always sends sweet “just because” cards to me.

[Mom:  awwww she remembered the cards and my nervous/excited habit]

Nina (18):  She bites the insides of her cheeks & she ALWAYS uses “seventeen THOUSAND” as a number for anything

[Mom: I do tend to exaggerate numbers –  I even got a tattoo with ‘17’ on my hand]


  1. What is a favorite memory of your Dad – something random but you will always hold dear to your heart or will always make you laugh?

Sierra (28): My favorite memory with dad is when he and I stumbled across the two newborn white-tailed deer. Also him getting me twizzlers and slim jims at Archer City Feed store. He would take me to the ranch and let me eat all the worst possible foods for a kid and I got to be as tom-boy as my heart desired. Jamming along to Creed and Eminem in the car.

Nina (18):  This one time , I messed up a mattress pickup and I was so upset and was crying. My dad went to the store and got me a stuffed animal elephant & my favorite candy. I still have that elephant in my room.

  1.   What is a favorite memory of your Mom/Darcy – something random but you will always hold dear to your heart or will always make you laugh?

Sierra (28): Two things: You taking us to work with you at C & B and hanging up my drawings I made you. It made me feel so cool. Also when you and I would hang out super late together when Dad was out of town for work. We would talk about friends, boys, bake and pass out in your bed watching Grey’s Anatomy. 

[Mom:  I was and am always proud of you.  And we still have great 2 hour long talks about random stuff]

Nina (18):  LOL she might not even remember this, but we went to the doctor when I was young, like 6. She needed to get her ears unblocked because she kept getting infections. Well as she’s in PAIN from the doctor reaching in her ear, I have the nerve to say “Mom, Where’s your phone? I  wanna play a game”. It was that one stupid game on the blackberry where you can move that little ball in the middle of the phone. best game to this day. sorry mom.

[Mom: Why is this even a memory LOL]

  1. What is/are some traditions/parenting styles you will definitely do with your family?

Sierra(28): I will for sure be stricter on the technology side of things than I think even you and Dad were. I love our family’s traditions surrounding the holidays and togetherness of meals and cooking. I loved how we were all open in talking to one another and I hope to have very open communication with my family. Quieter communication 😉 I want my children to have chores as part of the family.  I also hope to instill a decent work ethic so I want them to be involved in whatever businesses we have. I think I may take after dad in the whole “no boys” department but definitely less so than Dustin. And holidays and birthdays will definitely be a big deal. I hope to have an Authoritative approach that has a gentle side. I want to give my kids enough privacy but also not too much freedom that it is harmful. I hope to be able to take them on trips like we did and raise the kids to be part of the team. I also want to teach them to give back like you taught us.

Nina (18):  My family will help a kid in the foster care system for Christmas. All of us will get a sibling in a family and get them gifts.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to be blessed the way we are. We will do our part in helping our community –  as well as help volunteer if natural disasters happen.

[Mom: I love both of these answers.  Sierra’s because she is currently raising her own kids and sees the importance of parts of our parenting.  Nina’s because she watched us help after Hurricane Harvey and how we currently help make Christmas better for local foster children.  And I love how she plans to do the same with her family,]

I 100% plan to readdress these questions when Nina has her own kids and when Sierra’s children are in middle school.  Should be interesting to compare.

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Darcy Esparza
Darcy started her professional career in CC in 1994 and immediately moved away for her job, got married to her husband, Louie, and started her family before moving back to the Coastal Bend in 2012. Darcy grew up in Florida before making Texas her home. She has a journalism degree from the University of Florida but is more known for her middle school math teaching career and her now title as co-owner of a local mattress store, BoxDrop Mattress (social medial handle @boxdropcc). Darcy and Louie have been married for more than 20 years, have 4 children, 2 granddaughters, and 2 dogs.