By Emily Parrino
New Orleans native Dr. Kim Henagan’s first introduction to Christian County was while she was stationed at Fort Campbell. After Kim got out of the Army, two close friends compelled her to make
Hopkinsville her new home. Since then, she has worked for the
Department of Probation and Parole for more than two decades and has been serving as district supervisor for the last 10 years.
She and her husband, Clint, have two children, 15-year-old CJ, a student at Hopkinsville High School, and 13-year-old Sydni, a student at Hopkinsville Middle School. Kim is a regular in the stands when CJ plays basketball and when Sydni cheers. A self-described “helicopter mom,” Kim elaborates on some of the challenges and victories of her dual role as a full-time professional and a full-time family woman.
Your career in probation and parole has a serendipitous beginning? Describe how it began.
It’s a very funny story. Honestly, I was looking into a job in the social services department. I went into the building, and I took a wrong turn and ended up in the probation and parole office. When I showed up, they said,”Oh, we could use someone in probation and parole,” and I got the job.
How would you describe a typical day at work?
We supervise and monitor offenders once they get processed in the court or after they get sent out of a penitentiary, making sure they
follow all the rules and helping them set up their finances, housing and treatment. Since becoming district supervisor 10 years ago, I have 50 employees in eight counties, so I have to travel a lot.
How often do you travel?
I take overnight trips about once a month for seminars or meetings, but if I’m going from office to office, that’s just a day trip, and I do that every week. I’m constantly in my car. You ought to see my car; it looks like my house, and that’s not a good thing!
How does your travel schedule for work impact your role as a mom? How do you balance the two?
When my kids were little, I think I sacrificed a lot of time with them. I was able to because I had a lot of help from my friends, but now that my kids are older and involved in school, I try not to do that. There are times when I’ll drive home from an out-of-town seminar for one of their games and drive the two hours back for the rest of the seminar. I want my kids to look up at the stands and see their mom. When I’m home, I want to be full-time.
Both you and your husband travel a lot. How do you stay connected to your kids?
When I’m away, I call a lot and they know I’m just a phone call away. When I call, the first thing I ask is, “Where’s your homework? Did you get it done? I need to see it.” I have my kids taking pictures of their homework and sending it to me!
How does working with criminals affect the way you parent? Do you try to shelter them?
I don’t hide the bad of the world. I let them see it. I tell my children, you can be a promising somebody, but one wrong turn can ruin everything. They get a chance to come up to work so they actually see where I work, what I do and who I am. They see it. Working in that environment is the reason I tend to want to hover over my kids.
With two athletes and straight-A students, you must be doing something right. Do you feel like “hovering” is a necessary part of the equation?
Actually, I’m trying to work on it; I’m trying to give them their space. I try not to be everywhere they are. It’s not necessary. Most kids know who’s good and who’s bad to hang with, but parents have to be involved with them. If not, of course, somebody else is going to turn their head.
How does your knowledge of local criminal activity influence your conversations with your kids?
I don’t identify people — I don’t need to. They know who’s in trouble because this is a small town and everything is online. If something makes the news, we talk about it. I ask them, “If you see situations like this, what should you do?” Other kids mess up because they don’t know how to get out of bad situations safely.
You have a strong influence over you own kids. Do you sometimes wish you could influence other local youth?
I do. I wish I could grab them all and say this is what you do when this happens and this is what you do if you’re in that situation. Sometimes, if my kids’ friends are sitting around and talking about a crime that happened, I join the conversation. I would love to go out and lecture.
Describe those who influence you in your roles as a professional and as a hands-on mother.
My husband Clint is very, very supportive. He’s a listening ear if I’m having a bad day. If I need him to come home, he will. If I didn’t have the support of my husband and my two best friends, I wouldn’t be able to get through it. I am blessed to have them.
When nobody is traveling, what’s your ideal family night together?
We’ll curl up on that couch, pop some popcorn and have a movie marathon until 1 or 2 in the morning. We love comedies and some of the sci-fi and action thrillers — but nothing scary.
I will not watch a scary movie. They call me a wimp, but they have to watch it on their own.
Favorite movie to watch with your family: We love comedies, but the ones we watch the most are the “Friday” series.
The one thing you can’t live without on an overnight trip: My computer. I have a second job teaching online, and everywhere I go my computer has to go too.
Iphone or Android: Android all the way.
Most embarrassing mom moment: My son was in middle school, and he was trying to hug me, and I was aggressively hugging him back, and we both tumbled onto the floor in front of every body. People just laughed and laughed.
Proudest mom moment: I have so many of them because my kids are forever making me proud, but they both make straight A’s.
Best surprise you’ve ever received: I don’t get surprised too easily because I’m very nosey, so if they’re trying to plan something I usually figure it out.
Best gift you’ve received from your kids: When they were little, my kids begged me to let them draw on a shirt for me to wear on Mother’s Day, and they drew all these pretty pictures, and they were so proud of it.
Three words to describe your husband: Supportive. Provider, and great parent — I know that’s two words, but he’s a great dad.
Favorite local restaurant: Buffalo Wings and Rings. The buffalo ringer burger, I am in love with that thing!
Best way to de-stress: Exercise. The kids and I, we’ll get on the Wii if it’s cold outside and dance around, and if it’s nice outside, I make them take a walk with me.
Spring/summer pastime that you enjoy: I love it when we take a break from everything. We’re a very busy family, but I love when we go to amusement parks and act like a bunch of big kids. Those are the best moments.