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Life Lessons: Hillery Shay

Say hey, hey, Hillery and welcome! If she looks familiar to you, there’s a reason. Hillery joined the Good Enough Mother team as our newest columnist, where she’ll be writing about race and raising her bi-racial girls and interracial family in Raisin In Minnesota. Hillery and I used to run in the same journalism circles and now here we are together again, trying to make an impact in the world of social media. So sit back and take a read of Hillery’s Life Lesson. And we’d love to hear from you too; drop us a line and we’ll get the questions right out to you!


Are you happy at the moment?

Right now, yes! It has been tough since being laid off from an industry I love. I didn’t know how much the newspaper business had gotten to me until the news wasn’t my job any more.

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

“Hey you, enough, with the aqua net! Not only are you flammable, it’s not cute!”

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

That I can survive anything and I am resourceful! You always wonder how you’d survive if you lost your job, I know exactly what I’d do now.

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

Aside from total world domination, I’d like to ease comfortably into my new career, and buy a new refrigerator!

What’s your secret to happiness?

My secret to happiness is laughing at me, laughing at my husband and laughing at my kids. The more I laugh the sillier things seem. If I have my family, I’m good!

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Prayer. I know I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)

What’s your biggest regret?

My biggest regret is not traveling more with my mother while she was living. She died in 2008 and our last 6 months together she spent in my home on hospice care. She was on a lot of oxygen so she was pretty tethered to the house. I wish I had just taken off more time and hit the road with her when she travelled! We often don’t appreciate all of our freedoms until they are gone.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

Prayer, and the healing power forgiveness. When you forgive you take the burden off yourself and can move through life with less dead weight!

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

Self doubt and defining myself through my career. I thought I was really confident until last year.  When my title was taken away from me it set in that I was still here. My family now defines me. Everything I have done and will do was for their security and well being, and now even more so.

Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

Right now, I would have to say getting my MBA. It was hard work but took amazing foresight. I could feel the walls closing in at the newspaper.

When were you happiest?

The days I held my daughters for the first time, hands-down. “I make people, what’s your super power?” was the slogan on a t-shirt I just bought a good friend of mine. Best line ever!

What ten words best describe you?

Funny, geeky, artsy, loving, smart, fierce, friendly, neighborly, spirited, magnetic.

Hillery Smith Shay, is a proven leader in Visual Communications and New Media Marketing. She holds a MBA, from Bethel University and A Bachelor of Fine Arts from Haverford College. Shay is an award-winning photographer who has worked for the Associated Press and various newspapers. Hillery resides in West Saint Paul with her husband Jeff and their daughters Jenna and Hayden. She is also the proud stepmother of Erin, Ginger and Jack. Read more about her at and follow her on Twitter, too.


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