'Fixer to Fabulous' stars Dave and Jenny Marrs say their HGTV fame can be 'kind of embarrassing' for their 5 kids: 'They don't want to be singled out'
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Dave and Jenny Marrs are doing their best to monitor their children's screen time.
The Fixer to Fabulous hosts, who are raising five children on a farm in Bentonville, Ark., say that while they used to be "really strict" when it comes to screens, their point of view has evolved as they've added more kids to their brood.
"I was like, 'no screens ever at all,'" Jenny tells Yahoo Life's So Mini Ways. "But now we have five kids, and they range in age. We don't have strict guidelines around it, but we're pretty limited in screen time. Nobody has an iPad or a computer."
"They don't have cell phones," Dave adds. "If it's a screen in front of us, everyone's there." And if the HGTV stars see their kids "getting sloppy," then it's time to encourage them to go outside. "We don't like anybody being buried in a screen in our house," Dave notes.
The couple has teamed up with fan favorites Ben and Erin Napier for a six-episode season of Home Town Takeover, premiering Sunday, April 23, at 8 p.m. EST and streaming the same day on discovery+. Along with a crew of other HGTV and Food Network talent, they'll help complete 18 renovation projects across homes, local businesses and public spaces. It's a massive project, in addition to their own home renovation empire. That's why the Marrs say their biggest parenting challenge right now is giving each of their kids enough individual attention.
Asked what he needs most, Dave answers, "Time! I think every parent can relate to that. It's never enough. I always want more time with my kids."
"We try to be really intentional and be present, which is also hard because we're still working all the time," says Jenny. "Because of the cell phones, we're accessible all the time and people anticipate [that] if they reach out to you and they just get an answer. We're working under really tight timelines. So there's lots of pressure and people need answers yesterday on everything."
While the duo didn't predict their rise to HGTV stardom, they have realized that navigating fame along with their five kids can get a little tricky.
"We always said when we started the show that our kids did not choose this, so if they want to be a part of this show, they can. And if they don't want to, then that's that season of life for them," Dave explains. "I think maybe when we first started, we probably pushed them a little bit more." Some four years after the show's 2019 debut, the couple have found that "inviting people into our living room" can be a complicated blessing.
"There is [the public] knowing a lot about our family, a lot about the kids. We're just still trying to navigate that, and we're probably not doing a very good job with it," Dave shares. "Every year, it gets a little bit more and more difficult."
Recently, the couple were surprised to be recognized by fans while on a family vacation in Italy. That level of notoriety can be a bit off-putting for their children.
"It's just hard, especially when we're out with the kids. We keep getting stopped, and so a lot of times the kids don't want to go to things because it's like they don't want to be singled out. It's kind of embarrassing for them," says Jenny, adding that she was stopped 10 times at the nursery recently while buying plants with her son. "He's like, 'Mom, I just want to buy some plants and go,' and I'm like, 'I know, I know.' I think there's a bit of pressure sometimes that we feel as a family."
Despite the challenges of raising five kids, the parents are determined to teach their little ones to explore the world.
"We do that because we want them to see other cultures, we want them to get to know people that don't look like them, that don't have the same language, that don't eat the same foods, that have a very different life than they do," says Jenny. "Because then they realize 'Oh, they're just like us.' It's just developing the idea of linking arms with other people."
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