Shakira's Next Act
With a new baby at home and a Spanish-language album in the works, the superstar lets us into her busy life as a mom of two boys.
Q: You were born in Colombia but are raising your sons in both the U.S. and Spain. Would you say your parenting style is a blend of three cultures?
Yes. In Spain, parents speak to their children as equals, and I feel that the children respond in turn. But in all three cultures, parents are attentive to their children. Their dad [soccer star Gerard Piqué] and I both grew up in very close-knit families, and that has made us openly affectionate parents.
Q: Which language is 2-year-old Milan picking up faster: Spanish or English?
I would have to say Spanish, since I'm the one he spends the most time with and it's my first language. I talk to him as much as possible -- it serves as bonding time and helps his language-comprehension skills.
Q: Music is obviously a huge part of your life. What kinds of songs do you play at home for your kids?
We listen to Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Green Day, Pearl Jam, Carlos Vives, old-school salsa -- something for every mood. Milan loves songs with a lot of percussion; I think babies are naturally drawn to those kinds of rhythms.
Q: Has being a mom helped you learn to delegate? How?
Becoming a mom forced me to re-prioritize and make room for the things that are most important, while recognizing that there are things I can let go of and the world won't crumble around me.
Q: How much of an influence was Milan in the line of baby gear and toys that you co-created with Fisher-Price last year?
He was a great influence, especially on the soccer ball -- he loves to kick the ball around more than anything else. I also wanted to include toys that I think are timeless. The blocks in the collection came from a vivid memory I had of playing with some in my own childhood.
Q: Our culture can be machista at times. What are you doing to raise your boys to be modern men?
Growing up with a working mom is a start. I also think their dad is a good example of a modern man to emulate. Gerard and I pretty much share all parenting responsibilities, although I'm definitely the disciplinarian.
Q: What's more daunting: making another record or having two young kids?
I really enjoy working on Spanish albums, but I always joke that Milan was easier to give birth to than my last album [2014's Shakira]! I apply the same amount of dedication to being a mom as I do to my music -- I guess you could say music was my first baby.
Originally published in the Spring 2015 issue of Parents Latina magazine.