Amy Roloff exclusive interview

Nov 13, 2008 at 3:02 p.m. ET

The Roloff family are television stars with their TLC hit, Little People, Big World. At the heart of their universe is mother Amy. She told SheKnows the keys to triumphing over life's challenges, regardless of their size.

Matt and Amy Roloff, stars of Little People, Big WorldIf the TLC show Little People, Big World is foreign to you, Amy and her husband Matt are both little people and they have a pair of twin sixteen-year-old boys, one a little person (Zach) and the other, Jeremy, average teenage height. Also being raised by Matt and Amy is teen Molly and the youngest Roloff, Jacob.

Witnessing Little People, Big World is a terrific study in not only succeeding in life despite its curve balls, but also in lessons in how to raise a family in 2008.

Amy Roloff called SheKnows from her family farm in Oregon eager to share the secrets to television success and familial bliss.

Making it work

SheKnows: First of all, I have to ask, do you have any secrets to keeping your head on straight? You're somebody who has so many balls in the air. Is there a key to it?

Amy Roloff: From watching my show, people probably feel that I don't have organizational skills. I think it's a matter of juggling everything and keeping track on a calendar. It is making sure that I remind the kids of what's happening on each day. They also need to inform me on what's happening. In the morning, we get together – even in the rush. What's going on? Who needs to be where? What's happening later in the week? Communication to me is the biggest thing. I always check in with them on Sundays about what they have going on for the week. Everyone seems to know what everyone else is doing, so if things don't exactly work out – the kids chip in, especially Molly. Molly will remind the boys about everything!

SheKnows: The side benefit of good communication is they say the key to successfully raising your kids is knowing what's going on in their lives.

Amy Roloff: I think so too. Being a part of their life while still letting them think their life is their own, it's a whole mix of things. I have my own things to do. We can still continue to do what we want to do without cutting off. I enjoy my kids, I love hanging out with them. I think they like me being a part of that and interested in what's going on with them.

SheKnows: It's not hard to notice that. You guys are so close. I saw you all at the San Diego County Fair this past summer.

Amy Roloff: What a great fair.

SheKnows: Right by the ocean, it's a dream. Now, even though you are there for work - promoting the show – does it still feel like a family vacation when you all do something like that?

Amy Roloff: Sometimes, but the kids are up on stage and they need to stay in their certain spot because you are in the public eye. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. When it does – we would never have thought of going to the San Diego fair – we had an opportunity to see another fair. It was a very, very fun fair. Meeting so many people and having that opportunity – you look at it like 'didn't we get a lot more good out of it and offer a lot of good as opposed to the inconvenience of what we thought we went through?' In the long run, I think it's been a positive experience.

The family that plays together...stays together!

Television trepidations

SheKnows: When you were first approached with the idea for the show, are there were any apprehensions you had that indeed actually came true, or maybe, apprehensions you had that never materialized?

Amy Roloff: Wow, that's a good one. You'd have to go back to the first two seasons. The kids and I weren't really thrilled. In fact, we weren't interested in doing a TV show about our life. Matt saw beyond and really wanted the family to be a part of it. Not only to get the message out about little people, but just in general for people with disabilities. For us, it was an invasion of privacy. As a parent, I was more concerned about losing our space in the sense of my kids can just hang out. This farm is a place for them to just do what they want to do. When they leave the front door, that's where you better have your character on, you better have your etiquette, better be the best person you can be. But sometimes that's a lot of pressure. You need a place to unwind. That's where our home fits in. Now you bring these cameras in and it's like 'where do you go?' As time went on, we got used to it. Some of the fears of us changing drastically didn't come about. I was nervous as a parent when you go down the media road. People have this view of you, but it's really just a moment they're viewing.

SheKnows: Your children appear completely the same with years on TV and fame.

Amy Roloff: I wanted my kids to be the same after it all left. Overall, I think my kids have done really good. I think they are who they are. They still have their base friends. Overall, it's been good. And what an opportunity we've had just to meet so many people. We've been inspired by people and the stories that we get to hear. What an example to be learning from each other instead of putting all these barriers up. Inside, we want the same things.

The Roloff family from TLC's Little People, Big World

Big dreams

SheKnows: I think that would perpetuate your passion for Little People, Big World.

Amy Roloff: Yeah, to tell you the truth, it really does. I have a tendency to be a very private person. You grow up all your life being different. People tell you that you can't do things. Making fun of you, ridiculed, after a while, you start to have a hard show because you have to protect yourself. If you constantly let it get to you, God knows where you'd be. You have a tendency to put a wall up. When TV comes into your house, you know what? I can't worry about what people think. I surpassed that long ago. I can't stop. I have to keep moving. And after being exposed on TV, it's just me doing the best I can. It's also faith. We're here for a reason. We're here for a purpose. We're not perfect that's for sure. But we're out there doing the best we can.

The family visits paradise on vacationSheKnows: Not only as people confronted with obstacles, but the show is inspiring to watch you all simply as a family. Has your parenting style stayed the same or has it altered to address the spotlight?

Amy Roloff: You know I have really tried. I will tell you the truth. The producers and company, I wasn't their best friend in the beginning. This is my kids' life. They go to school. They need to be who they are and that is priority. TV is second. Even little people being little people parents, raising little person child and average size kids, we need to be able to have that flexibility to do what we would normally do.

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