In the Baby Zone with Jewel
Even four-time Grammy nominees struggle with finding work-life balance. Get in the Zone with Jewel as she shares her thoughtful and refreshing parenting style.
She’s an acclaimed singer, songwriter, poet, actress, painter, philanthropist and children’s book author, with a new book, Sweet Dreams for You, out September 17, 2013. But Jewel’s most important role to date? Becoming mom to 2-year-old son Kase Townes Murray. “My priorities have forever changed, and being gone for long periods is no longer an option for me,” she said. “But I do enjoy my job, and enjoy the fact that Kase will benefit from knowing he is my priority, but also seeing a mom who is tenacious, has a work ethic, and is passionate about something.”
Wishing Jewel was part of your mommy group? Us, too! Read on for more of Jewel’s relatable take on parenthood.
What’s your golden rule of parenting?
To realize perfection is a myth. My job is not to be perfect or provide the illusion of a perfect life for my child. My job is to give my child the skills to handle life for what it really is–an ever-changing set of variables, ones that don’t always go our way. My job is to model a good set of skills as I handle the joy, disappointment, triumph and struggle of life so my son can feel confident that he can learn to handle anything life throws his way.
What’s been your best moment of parenting so far?
It’s a little thing, but it helps in a big way—I try to break skills or concepts like sharing and manners into simple steps that Kase can learn and follow. This lets him know what I expect of him ahead of time and makes a huge difference.
Take sharing, for example. Instead of just saying he has to share once a child is already trying to take a toy from his hand, I explain the rules of sharing before we even get to a play date. This ‘ahead of time’ teaching is easier and less emotional for him, and makes it easier to enforce the rule once the kids are engaged in playing.
Before we go to a restaurant to eat, I will explain what’s expected of him. We then play a game and practice our manners as we drive. I’ll virtually walk him through what to expect when we’re there. I help him enthusiastically and consistently once we’re there, and he really enjoys pleasing me and feels very proud of himself, and looks forward to more chances to practice his manners.
Since I started helping set him up to win, by breaking things down into steps instead of just expecting him to understand concepts that are actually complex, I’ve noticed his confidence and enthusiasm grow. As adults it’s easy to take these complex concepts for granted, forgetting things like sharing are actually learned skills with several steps of behavior involved.
And the worst?
I lived in a cave ‘til Kase was 1.5-years-old—I never took him to town, and just enjoyed being home with him mostly. I never wanted anyone else to carry him or hold him—I was a total baby hog [laughs]! I have had to work hard at socializing him now, and let him get used to other care givers, and I actively hunt down play dates for him now. I basically stalk moms at the park and if they have a child in his age range, I accost them [laughs]!
What’s the best advice you ever got about parenting?
I’ve had some great books recommended to me like Dr. Marc Weissbluth’s book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Also Dr. Harvey Karp’s series, including The Happiest Baby on the Block and The Happiest Toddler on the Block. I also believe our amber teething necklace worked for Kase. I can’t explain why, but his teething pain was so noticeably reduced that my skeptical husband even had to concede that the hippy remedy worked!
What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
Right now it’s Fluff, Kase’s stuffed bunny. If we lose Fluff, we are in big trouble!
Finish this sentence: You know you’re in the Baby Zone when…
A relaxing day at the beach by yourself just isn’t as fun if your 2-year-old isn’t there getting sand in his mouth…
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