At 71, Maye Musk is a supermodel, entrepreneur and public speaker all rolled into one incredibly fashionable and accomplished woman. Musk's new book is A Woman Makes a Plan: Advice for a Lifetime of Adventure, Beauty, and Success. We had the pleasure of asking Musk a few questions in early December about parenting, life, female friendship and so much more.
What's been your parenting style, and how do you stay close to your kids when everyone is so busy?
My parenting style is similar to my parents'. They were kind, generous, polite, adventurous, considerate, respectful and hardworking. They never raised their voices. They never degraded or insulted us. As they were working all day, we were independent and responsible for our own choices. I studied to be a dietitian, worked from home in my private practice, and enjoyed helping people eat better and become healthier. In the same way, my children are doing good for this world. Hopefully I set an example.
We usually plan to get together regularly, with flexibility in how many days we can spend together. We aren't resentful if any of us have to work. We are often working when together, as the grandchildren love playing with each other. For example, I will be in China over the Christmas holidays, so our family is celebrating the weekend before I leave, including my reclusive twin sister.
What's the best part about being a grandmother, and what's your favorite thing to do with your grandkids?
When my 10 grandchildren were young, it was fun to spend time with them. Their ages are 6 to 16 now, so they are quite independent. When it came to my daughter, I had to stay with her for eight months to help her with her twins. I often babysit them. I now have a new granddaughter by my daughter-in-law. She is 16 and also gets along fabulously with my grandchildren. So I now have 11 grandchildren.
What advice would you tell women in their 30s, 40s and/or 50s?
The advice I would give to younger women would be to get out of a bad situation quicker than I did. You always forgive and trust people who are hurting you. If they are being cruel but confessing love, plan to get away. Mix only with nice people.
What does your fitness/health routine look like on a daily basis?
When I am home, I walk my dog four times a day, 30 minutes on the stationary bike, 10 minutes weights, 20 minutes stretches. When I am traveling, I like to walk a lot to explore different cities. However, just trying on all the wardrobe for an event is an exercise in itself.
I know you've had some tough times, especially as a single mom at age 31. What got you through those tough times?
I went through some tough times and had unhappy relationships I could return to if I couldn't earn enough to feed my children. However, I was determined and worked so hard to never return to a bad situation. Fortunately, as a dietitian, I can eat on a budget. Peanut butter sandwiches and bean stew were our source of protein and good-quality carbs.
How important are your female friends as you age, and how do you stay in touch with them?
I have great female friends. They are all intelligent, interesting and fun. We stay connected through emails and social media. When I'm traveling and have some spare time, I will contact my girlfriends in that city. We catch up very quickly and always enjoy each other's company.