The actress and singer opens up about son Titan, how motherhood has changed her, and the best advice she's gotten from her mom friends.
In her February Parents' cover story, Kelly Rowland got real about her first year of motherhood. Now, her son Titan is 17 months old, and while raising a toddler has come with an entirely new set of challenges, she also says loving him is the easiest thing in the world.
While soaking up every possible moment in this exciting stage of her son's life, the busy mom and Destiny's Child alum has been working on tracks for her next album, filming episodes of Fox's "Empire," and hosting a new reality show called "Chasing Destiny," a search for the next big girl group, which premiered April 5 on BET.
Parents.com chatted with Rowland about her most recent project—partnering with Claritin to help fund the makeover of outdoor spaces at three Boys & Girls Clubs across the country—and how she still struggles to find a work-life balance.
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Parents.com: You made it through your first year of motherhood—congratulations! Are things coming easier to you now?
Kelly Rowland: For the most part, yes. It's so easy to love him. It's so easy to care for him. It's so easy to kiss him. It's so easy to hug him. It's so easy to show him stuff. It's so easy to read to him. It's easy.
P: What challenges have come up with raising a toddler? What's Titan doing at this stage that's throwing you for a loop?
KR: The communication. He's learning to talk and he's learning Spanish and English right now, so it's taking him a little longer to get certain things out. Right now we have "car." We've got "car" down to a science. Everything is a car. It's his favorite thing. He's pretty awesome. You can speak to him in Spanish or English and he completely gets it. That blows my mind. When you ask him, "¿Dónde está la luz?" and he looks up at the light—it's amazing.
P: Do you speak Spanish?
KR: No, but I'm learning. My husband and I really wanted him to learn a second language. Both of our nannies speak such beautiful Spanish, and they are right on top of it. He's very good at learning right now.
P: How did you get involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America?
KR: I had an event with them years ago in New York City and I loved the work that they were doing. I saw how excited the kids were. I heard their stories about the challenges that they would have growing up and how they were overcoming and how they wanted to be leaders. I was like, I'm here for this. I completely want to be a part of this. So I've had a great relationship with Claritin for the past two years, and I presented the idea to them and they said they wanted to invest in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America—and that's exactly what they did.
P: Now that you're a mother, do you have a greater appreciation for their work?
KR: I do. I've always had a great appreciation for it, but now raising my son, you really understand how the next generation can change the future and how the power's really in their hands when they understand their strength.
P: How do you think being a mother has changed you?
KR: Oh my goodness. One, I didn't know I had patience. I swear to you, I didn't know I had patience at all—and I have a lot of it.
P: What's been your biggest parenting fail?
KR: I feel like I fail when I'm away. I hate being away from him. I remember getting back home and the nanny was like, "Oh, he went to the potty today." And she literally saved what he did in the potty! I was bummed that I wasn't there, but I'm happy that she saved it. It was his first and I wasn't there, but she made me feel like I was. Finding that [work-life] balance is a challenge and I'm still learning about it.
P: You mentioned in your February Parents feature that you call all your girlfriends who are mothers for advice. Who's had the best advice, and what was it?
KR: All of them! I think the best advice I've gotten recently was from my best friend LaLa [Vazquez]. She says, 'Put the phone down.' In front of your kids, put the phone down. They have to know that they're the number one—it's not the phone and then them. I think it's great advice because we are always with our phones. You have to cut it off.