The professional volleyball player/model/sports announcer mom and pro surfer dad share their take on some of the toughest topics in the parenting game.

By Libby Ryan

Although Gabby Reece is best known for her moves on the volleyball court and Laird Hamilton is famous for catching waves on his surf board, the couple has plenty of thoughts on the parenting game.

Reece and Hamilton embrace the ups and downs of parenting their three daughters and try to get as much quality time together as they can, whether it's at home in Hawaii or taking to the shores for some watersport bonding. Here's what the sports-star duo and Invisalign spokespeople had to say about some of the toughest parenting topics.

On Perfect Parenting

Gabby: Parenting is an exercise in humility each day. I think you blow it as much as you get it right and sometimes you feel like if you get it right it was sort of a fluke. Listen, it's the hardest most wonderful thing you could do but to think you can get it perfect, I don't think it's realistic.

Laird: The whole thing is set up so that no matter how much you do, you feel like you could do more. The way I think there is a sort of selfishness that you need in order to be a good parent but in that process of you being selfish so that you can actually be a great parent, you feel that there is some neglect. That there's a piece of neglect in there that you just feel like, wow, I should be able to do that better.

On Being Role Models

Gabby: Laird and I both say that your kids really don't listen to you, they watch you. And so if you can be an example or show them through your own enjoyment of something, I think that's one of your best shots and then introduce them to a bunch of stuff and see if they gravitate towards something.

Laird: If you know how to have fun and you know how to enjoy yourself, they're going to use that as an example. Because it's a learned skill, knowing how to have true fun and really enjoying yourself is kind of a learned skill.

On Modeling Good Self-Esteem

Gabby: We're all so unique and individual. [We tend to] compare and to try to be something that we're not instead of saying who am I, how am I my best self? [I try to] get them to understand, what do you like? What skill sets can you develop? It isn't, oh i feel fat. If I have that dialogue, they pick up that dialogue.

On Keeping Kids Healthy

Laird: I don't think we connect enough importance to the health of our mouth to our overall health. Your overall health, your jaw health, the way your [neck] sits on your spine: Everything's connected.

Gabby: We really got into this with our middle daughter, we did some investigating and she ended up getting Invisalign treatment for her mouth to shift her smile over. We then learned about our own teeth through that experience where there were ways we could correct certain cross-bites.

On How the Speed of Childhood

Laird: I think probably the most surprising thing is how fast your part is going to be over. You're always going to be there and be their parent but they're going to say goodbye and have their own house and be their own people.

The speed of how quickly that happens, what do they say? Long days, short years. It's just going to happen so quickly and they're going to be gone. And then you're going to be like, wow, maybe I should have participated a little bit more. Or wow, that happened a lot quicker than I thought.

On Their Parenting Mottos

Gabby: The thing about parenting, one of my favorite things that Laird says is: parenting is for us to grow up. They don't call it kidding. They call it parenting.

One day I think I was outside crying by the garbage cans, you know hiding from children, and Laird came home and he said, listen, you love them and you're here. And some days, maybe it comes down to that. You love them and you're there.


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