Shakira on Raising Children: 'I'm Always Looking for Help'
She’s no wolf — Shakira‘s a tiger!
“I’m one of those tiger moms, who is all the time looking for help and information online and researching and reading. It’s not easy to be a mother,” the singer said Thursday in New York City during the Fisher Price‘s Happy Factor Panel, which focused on the challenges of early motherhood.
“It’s one of the most difficult things I’ve done in my life,” she explains. “I’ve been on the most challenging stages performing in front of really demanding audiences and I’ve been meeting with world leaders who sometimes make you a little bit apprehensive, but nothing has made me so self-conscious as being a mom.”
She adds, “Every day I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. I just want to improve in the job, the hardest job on earth.”
Shakira developed a line of toys and an app with Fisher Price to help moms educate and nurture their children.
“Toys are not a frivolous or superfluous thing for our kids. So don’t ever think you are spoiling your kids by buying him toys,” the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador says. “Of course there are toys that do spoil them, but most of them are didactic and help them in their development.”
Adds the 38-year-old, “This line of products that I have developed with Fisher Price, we’ve done it with two things in mind: One, to reach as many moms as we could to provide them with tools to help them stimulate their children. And also, 100 percent of my benefits go to child development programs in Latin America, which is a cause I am committed to 100 percent.”
That isn’t the only thing Shakira’s doing to help families during the early childhood stage. On Tuesday, the Colombia native urged global leaders to invest heavily in early childhood development at UNICEF’s Meeting of the Minds event.
“More than 100 million children are out of school and 159 million boys and girls under 5 are physically and cognitively stunted due to a lack of care and proper nutrition,” Shakira said.
“Every year that passes without us making significant investments in early childhood development and initiatives that address these issues, millions of kids will be born into the same cycle of poverty and lack of opportunity.”
Her organization, The Barefoot Foundation, is working to combat this problem in Colombia. “We have been able to work with kids who come from displaced families, kids who have been experiencing terrible life situations and come from conditions of extreme poverty and vulnerability,” Shakira explains.
And she’s not going at it alone: Gerard Piqué, who Shakira refers to as her “sort of” husband, is contributing as well.
“We even partnered with institutions such as the Barce Foundation. I was able to use some of my influences there — I am sort of married to a soccer player for those of you who don’t know,” Shakira jokes of Piqué, who is the father of her two children.
“We integrated sports as a key component in education and tried to promote other values, because to me, schools are not only desks and learning materials enclosed in four walls.”
While education is very important to Shakira, love trumps everything.
“Love is the most crucial thing. It’s what really will help them thrive later on in life … That is the question that I ask myself every day when I wake up. ‘Am I making my kids feel loved?’ ” she says. “This is the daily bread in my life. The everlasting question mark … because I know that that is going to be the most vital component and sense of security in life.”
— Maggie Parker