Madonna may be the Queen of Pop—but she’s a soccer mom, too!

By Jeff Nelson
JStone/Shutterstock

In the new issue of Vogue Italia, the music icon opened up about life with her youngest kids in Lisbon, where she moved last year to foster son David Banda‘s budding soccer abilities. And many parents can surely relate to the sacrifices she’s made to cultivate her kid’s talents.

“Any woman who is a soccer mom could say it kind of requires you to have no life in a way, because things change from week to week and games change from weekend to weekend — sometimes they’re in the city, sometimes they’re not, and we would never know until Thursday night whether they’re on Saturday or Sunday, if at twelve o’clock or later,” Madonna told the European glossy about her son’s ever-changing schedule.

She added: “It’s impossible to make plans, and then you feel like you’re not being fair to your other kids, or being fair to me!”

Madonna’s 21-year-old adult daughter Lourdes Leon (with ex Carlos Leon) and 17-year-old son Rocco Ritchie (with ex Guy Ritchie) don’t currently live with their mom; but the Grammy winner says her younger kids — David and Mercy James, both 12, and 5-year-old twins Estere and Stella — have all settled into life in Portugal, after foregoing three other cities with soccer academies.

“What’s amazing is how resilient they are and how they embraced all things, especially music, dance, soccer and sports — things that connect them to other people makes adaptation easier,” she said. “They learned to speak Portuguese through doing all those things with people, not by sitting in a classroom and learning in a didactic way, like writing on a chalkboard. Instead, it’s fun, it’s interactive.”

Living in Lisbon has inspired he upcoming fourteenth LP, too.

“I’ve just met lots of really amazing musicians, and I’ve ended up working with a lot of these musicians on my new record, so Lisbon has influenced my music and my work,” she told the magazine. “How could it not? I don’t see how I could have gone through that year without being informed by all this input of culture.”

And while her children are all interested in the arts, the consummate entertainer doesn’t expect them to follow in her footsteps — unless they want to.

“Because of my work and traveling around the world, the things that I do and the places I find myself in, my children are very open-minded about everything, and I’m very proud of that. A lot of people say to me, ‘You must really want your son to be a successful soccer player, your oldest daughter [Lourdes] to be a dancer, Rocco to be a painter.’ And I always say no, what I want my children to be is loving, compassionate, responsible human beings,” Madonna said.

She added: “I just want them to be good human beings that treat other human beings with dignity and respect, regardless of skin color, religion, gender. This is the most important thing, you know what I mean? If they happen to be the next Picasso or Cristiano Ronaldo, then great, that’s just the cherry on the cake.”

Madonna and all six of her children recently visited Malawi, the southeast African nation from which she adopted her four youngest kids. Last year, her charity (Raising Malawi) opened the African country’s first-ever children’s hospital: the Mercy James Centre for Pediatric Surgery and Intensive Care in Blantyre, Malawi.

And for her upcoming 60th birthday, Madonna has launched a Facebook fundraiser for Raising Malawi. Per its mission statement, the organization “supports orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through health, education and community support.”

“I love when my kids are in Africa,” Madonna said last year in a PEOPLE cover story. “Their selfless behavior, compared to the normal complaining in the privileged world we live in, is great to see.”

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