In a Parents study, Carrie Underwood was voted the celeb mom YOU would most like to babysit your child. We sat down with the country star on behalf of Almay to talk about taking care of 8-month-old Isaiah; her new album, Storyteller; and her mommy makeup tips. One thing's for sure: Carrie is beautiful inside and out.
P: What is your go-to morning beauty routine now that you have an 8-month-old?
CU: It has to be easy and efficient and make me feel good. I start with Smart Shade everything pretty much, from foundation to blush to doing my eyes. I tend to keep things pretty neutral [in color] but the great thing about all this, especially the intense eye colors, is you can build. If I end up getting lucky enough to go on a date night with my husband, it's easy to make things a little more intense and glamorous.
P: What about hair?
CU: My hair holds water like nobody's business. I have to blow dry my hair every day, and I've become pretty good with a round brush. Takes one step out of my day, if I can round brush it as I dry it, then I don't have to curl it.
P: Now that you have your son at home, what's something from your childhood that you're excited to experience again through his eyes?
CU: I think it will be fun for the first time to really get to have family vacations. My sisters were quite a bit older than me and we didn't really do family vacations. We had none with all of us—my parents and myself and my sisters. We had two separate families, kind of, because of the age gap between us.
P: Are you seeing bits of his personality start to come through?
CU: I feel like he's starting to look more and more like Mike. Sometimes [I see] his facial expressions and I'll be like, "That's your dad." He's just so sweet and happy. Neither [Mike or I] are morning people, and first thing in the morning Isaiah's smilin' happy. I don't know where he got that because both of us are like, "Don't talk to me, I need to have my breakfast and my cup of coffee before I can function." He's just always smilin' and it's weird but it makes it easier to be a parent. If he's fussy in the middle of the night, I'll wake up and go upstairs and try to calm him down and he'll just look at me and just start grinnin' and I think, Well, it's 3 o'clock in the morning, but this isn't so bad. It's ok because you're happy I'm here. You're happy to see me.
P: I know you're an advocate of arts ed. Regardless of any career aspirations, will you encourage Isaiah to embrace the arts?
CU: I think it's so important for schools to have those kinds of activities, and not just the arts but sports, too, because your kid is gonna find something that they enjoy at school if those things are in there. I know school is school and it can't always be fun and games, but at least there will be one element of the day that it's like, "I can't wait for that." I was excited when I was in choir. It was something that I felt I excelled at. It made me want to go to school.
P: You almost got a record deal as a young teenager. What's your take on rising to stardom a little bit later in life?
CU: I am so happy that I got to experience life before everything happened. I was still a baby, I was 22 when I graduated—ha, when I graduated—when I won American Idol. So I was still in my early 20s and still figuring things out, but I had the opportunity to pay my own bills and I had jobs and I got to struggle a little bit and grow up before everything happened. I'm so glad that didn't work out for me when I was younger. I don't think I'd be where I am now and I don't think I would've been able to emotionally handle that. Even if Isaiah...is gonna be musical, I don't think I'd ever push him to do anything before he kind of figured out where he stood.
P: You released the song "What I Never Knew I Always Wanted." Did you grow up wanting to have kids?
CU: I guess I kind of assumed that Mike and I would have children. We just decided to leave it all up to G-d and say, "Ok, if we're meant to be parents it will happen, and if we're not then we're not." We're both crazy busy people. I guess I always assumed someday I'd have a husband, but I didn't sit around thinking about 'Oh, this is the kind of guy, this is what my wedding is going to look like.' I never daydreamt about any of it, and then I found Mike and we were just kind of always together and I was like 'Oh, well this is how much better life can be.' The same thing with Isaiah. We were like, 'Let's just see what happens,' and now we have him and it's like, 'Oh, we didn't know we were missing this.' They both make my life better.
P: You've admitted to being plagued by feelings of mommy guilt.
CU: That was hard standing at the door saying, 'Mommy's gotta go, be good, and bye-bye.' That's no fun. I think about my life and how it is unconventional, and in so many ways that's wonderful. But then I think about [Isaiah] and how he's gonna grow up kind of not normal. My husband and I are going to try to make it a priority to have him do all the things that kids should do and kids his age do, but he's gonna spend a lot of time on a bus. That's not normal. He's gonna be in random cities and basements of venues. That's not normal. Sometimes I just think, I'm sorry we're in this tiny hotel room in Lord-knows-where. I just hope he doesn't ever resent his childhood.
P: You mentioned that date nights can be rare, so how do you and Mike keep your relationship strong?
CU: We don't go out often, and the last time we did [we debated], 'Do we go out before Isaiah goes to bed so we can get back, or do we put him to bed and then go out? How do we do this?' We went out kind of in between the two and we were just both so tired. By the end of it it was no dessert, let's just go home. That night felt like 'we need to go on a date night so let's go on a date night.' It's just nice to go for a walk and say let's do this together, let's make dinner together. We always have dinner at the table and try to talk. I think communication is key no matter how that comes about. FaceTime now is super important. I got to see them both this morning!
P: I know Isaiah is teething—
CU: Yeah, he's got six now.
P: It happens so fast! Is there any song you sing to soothe him?
CU: Honestly, parents are going to hate me for saying this. He went through teething like a champ. No problems. He was cool with it all.
P: When he is fussy, though, is there a song?
CU: He loves going outside. Any song I end up singing him is some stupid song to make him laugh. We make up songs all the time. I sing songs about changing diapers. Songs about getting him dressed. I change the lyrics to popular songs on the radio. But if he's ever fussy we'll take him outside and he just looks around and gets super calm.
Ruthie Fierberg is an editorial assistant at Parents. Though she does not have children of her own, she's practically been raising kids since her first babysitting job at age 11. She is our resident theater aficionado and can be found constantly running around New York City to find the best new show, the most awesome dance party, or the hottest Bikram yoga studio. Follow her on on Twitter @RuthiesATrain.