Country music singer Trisha Yearwood, 46, knows all about rhythm. But it took her a while to get in sync with being a wife to Garth Brooks and mom to his daughters, Taylor, 18; August, 16; and Allie, 14. Now, though, the quintet is humming along.

By Patty A. Martinez

You and Garth got married in 2005 after dating for five years. What was it like to inherit three daughters?

I was scared to death! I'd only taken care of my dog. I'd never even babysat, so I had no idea what to expect.

Who's more strict—you or Garth?

He is. I think if I tried to be the stern parent we would have slipped into Cinderella mode—with me as the evil stepmother! But since I've known the girls for 10 years, I'm not afraid to speak up if they're doing something wrong.

Has anything surprised you about raising teens?

It's tough to let them grow up when you want to protect them. I had a harder time than Garth watching Taylor turn 16 and drive off in her car. He's struck a good balance of shielding the girls while still trusting them.

Tell us about when he proposed to you onstage.

I was shocked! Even though he's an over-the-top performer, he's usually private about his personal life. But even in front of 7,000 people, I couldn't see anyone else once he went down on one knee. It felt like an intimate moment.

What's your favorite way to spend family time?

Eating dinner or cooking together. The kitchen is the heart of our home.

You recently published Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood. Any dishes for busy moms?

Out of 125 recipes, more than half are quick and simple. With the girls' busy schedules, I can't spend all day in the kitchen.

Does Garth keep his cool living with four women?

If he gets overwhelmed by the estrogen, he'll go do "cowboy stuff," like mending fences or bulldozing something!

What's the key to a happy marriage?

Honesty. We tell each other what we're thinking—no matter what.

Fast Facts

Impressive Record Trisha has three Grammys, three Country Music Association awards and 19 top 10 singles under her belt.

One-on-One Time "It's important to carve out alone time with my daughters. Whether we're working on a science project or shopping for a prom dress, each one needs to feel special."

Bonus Mom "The girls already have close relationships with their parents, so I just give extra guidance and support."

Hidden Talent "When I was 15 I got a crochet kit—and I've been giving afghans as presents ever since!"

Cause I Care About "For the past two years I've done the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure. It's inspirational and energizing."

Originally published in the September 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine.