Welcome to So Mini ModiYahoo Life parenting series on the joys and challenges of raising children.
British-born singer-songwriter Joss Stone is entering this holiday season with a little more gratitude after welcoming her son Shackleton in October after a near-fatal 30-hour labor and delivery.
“There’s a different compartment of your heart that opens up. And it’s completely indestructible, completely unconditional,” says Stone, 35, of being a mom. “My life got bigger and my love got bigger. My feelings got bigger, the good and the bad. The fear got bigger, the excitement got bigger, everything got bigger. big. Now, when you create something, it’s for a greater purpose. It all feels heavier. And lighter.”
‘What Christmas Means to Me’ singer who shares Shackleton and 2-year-old daughter Violet with partner Cody DaLuz thanks kids for inspiring her to write her first Christmas album Merry Christmas, lovewhich dropped in September.
“It’s wonderful to spend Christmas with the kids,” says Stone. “When we’re kids, it’s really a magical time of adorable stories, but that kind of wanes and goes as we get older. Then you start having adult Christmases. Yeah, it’s still a wonderful time of year. It’s still festive, it’s still magical, it’s still full of love. But that little sparkle, that wonder, lasts until you have kids again. Now, it’s back, and it’s back with bells on it!”
However, being a globetrotting mother with an infant and toddler at home requires a high level of patience, especially with regards to the family’s sleep schedule, which she says took over the second time around.
“Violet didn’t sleep through the night until she was a year and a half,” she explains, which is why she and DaLuz are doing sleep training for Shackleton. In essence, it is a childcare program that emphasizes parental control over the child’s sleep, play, and feeding schedule rather than allowing the child to decide when to eat, play, and sleep.
“I’m definitely trying something different with the Shack. Because of the year and a half [with Violet]I was like, ‘Please God, let’s find another way,‘” says Stone. Given her busy work schedule, she says it’s been a great experience having the kids around when she and DaLuz travel, in part because she knows it won’t last forever, so now she’s making the most of it.
“When they’re little, that’s the time when you can just do your own thing, because you’re not anchored in school,” she says. “When that happens, it’s about 4 or 5. And at that point, you don’t budge. Unless you want someone else to take care of your kids, which I personally don’t. So that means, [being] in one place at a time and you can’t leave. But, for now, they’ll do whatever mom and dad do and it won’t scare them.”
In fact, Violet is already showing signs of having the same zest for life as her mother.
“She’s so sweet. She’s not fazed by anything. She’s cool with everyone,” says Stone. “I think it’s because we had a lack of structure — and that goes against every children’s book you’ve ever read. They say ‘No, no, you need structure. You need routine.’ But we did the opposite and it worked amazingly.”
Stone, who has lived in England and the United States since she was 14, couldn’t help but point out some of Western culture’s major flaws with regards to mom shaming, especially when it comes to the nuances of breastfeeding. .
“You have to support your female companions [whatever feeding method] they choose, whether it’s formula or breast, whatever. We have to support each other,” she says.
The singer, who has breastfed both of her babies, says no matter what choice mothers make, it’s important to have support during the postpartum process.
“You get to week three and you cry. It’s harder than pregnancy,” she says of breastfeeding. “Pregnancy is really tiring, but it’s actually like sticking needles in my nipples every day… It’s hard, and we need our sisters to unite on this.”
Making matters even more difficult, Stone says she suffers from mom guilt when she drops her kids to go to the studio. “It’s awful, man,” she explains. “You just want to be there all the time. But I also have to work, and being a working mom is tough.”
At the same time, she’s well aware of the privilege her position affords her and is “so grateful” to have a partner who gains weight when recording music. The biggest piece of advice she has for young mothers is simple: Take things one step at a time and never be ashamed to ask for help.
“We as women, we’re amazing human beings, obviously, because we can do anything,” she says. “But just because we can fucking do everything, doesn’t mean we should do everything.”
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