She's a three-time Grammy winner, a judge on The Voice, and a general music and style icon, but the realities of being an international pop star who is also the mom of three growing boys aren't quite what Gwen Stefani anticipated.
"When I first had them, I was like, 'I don't care, I'm just going to take them with me!'" Stefani shared. With her first pregnancy, she toured until her fourth month, had baby Kingston, and went back in the studio when he was eight weeks old. "And then by the time he was eight months, I was in rehearsals and went on a world tour and took him everywhere. And that was a crazy experience to be on these long flights with a baby."
Because of her job, the superstar says her experience having kids meant a lot of traveling—not quite the traditional parenting track.
"I think I was like, 'I'm not doing that, I'm doing it my way,'" Stefani confessed. "But then you kind of realize, no, you're going to do it the way that's going to be best for them."
The Voice judge has always been adamant about how her experiences traveling provided inspiration for her music, style, and more recent creative projects like her children’s TV show Kuu Kuu Harajuku. She’s excited to share the same formational experiences with her sons, but for now, they’re staying closer to home.
"It's so hard to take them out of school and do things," she explained. "You kind of have to keep them working hard and in their routine."
As she watches her sons grow—“my boys are so old now!”—Stefani said she realizes how much her life has changed since those first touring adventures with Kingston.
“Now that I have my ‘baby’ who's 11, you look at new moms and you think, ‘You're not even a mom yet. That's like a doll and you can still be you.’" Stefani said those first years with babies are "really all about you and having this new love in your life. But as your kids get older, it really is about them and their lives.”
“I've been so lucky to be in a band until I'm forever-old and really have this extended childhood and fun travel life, very self-absorbed and creative,” Stefani reflected. “But having children, it's really interesting to watch them and have the responsibility of trying to make them good people.”
Overall, she said, “Parenting is terrifying, but it's also so incredible and rewarding.”