Chantal Kreviazuk: On Her Rock Star Marriage and Life With 3 Boys
Chantal Kreviazuk has a lot on the go. The Winnipeg-born singer/songwriter first burst onto the music scene in 1996 with her debut album "Under These Rocks and Stones," and has been delivering emotionally honest music ever since. In addition to penning her own songs, she's also co-written tracks for artists like Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, Gwen Stefani and Carrie Underwood. Chantal married Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida in 1999, and they reside in Los Angeles with their three children, Rowan, 6, Lucca, 4-and-a-half and Salvador, 1-and-a-half. In addition to chasing after three active boys, she's busy promoting her latest CD, "Plain Jane," and will be touring with Lilith Fair this summer. Chantal spoke with ParentDish about raising water babies, following through on discipline and getting your kids to sleep.
Q: What's the best parenting advice you ever got?
A: The best advice came from my mom, and has nothing to do with kids, and that was "marry for love." But I think it ends up having everything to do with kids, because being a parent is hard. You can think you have a lot in common with your partner, but then you get married and you have children, and that's when you realize, we come from different worlds. Value systems can seem very similar, but the devil is in the details, and when we started to get into the nitty-gritty of parenting, we realized we also have different ideas about what will work. Raine and I love each other to bits, but we're both passionate and dedicated parents, and we'll duel to the death about how it should be done. So I think it's very important that you marry for love, because if you have any other twisted ideas of why you're getting married, it's not going to last once children come into play.
Q: What advice would you give a new parent?
A: Always follow through. If you tell your child you'll be there, be there, and if you tell your child there's a consequence, make sure there's a consequence. Spoiled, entitled children is what comes of not following through. Don't idealize having children, they're cute when they're babies and you get lots of cute pictures with them and it's beautiful and romantic, but these are human beings and we have the power to completely mess them up. We have to teach them responsibility, accountability, discipline, consciousness and respect, and I personally do not feel like raising entitled, spoiled little people. I want my family to be made up of people who care about the world around them, who respect others and who realize that they are no more important than anyone else in the world. I really want them to get the most out of life and I think the way to do so is to make sure they have a profound consciousness.
Q: What do you find most challenging about being a parent?
A: That's it! The challenge is to have children who have a rich life experience but letting them know that they are fortunate to have it. It's about letting them know it's not just about their experience, it's about the entire planet. That's the trick! I have friends who are not able to follow through and can't put the hammer down, and I'm like, you have no idea how that is impacting their entire soul right now, because you're giving in. I've had people tell me that if your children don't have a sense of everything else besides themselves by the time they're 6 or 7, they never will. We're working as hard as we can, and we screw up, we make mistakes. But we're always trying to approach everything with their emotional intelligence in mind.
Q: How do you manage working and parenting?
A: First of all, I married a really responsible man, which is key. Marry someone responsible. A lot of men these days are taking longer and longer to grow up. Raine and I share our duties, and he really steps up to the plate. Ever since I took Salvador off the boob at ten months, Raine became the parent in the morning, which is phenomenal. When Raine is away, I stay home, and vice versa. And there are very few days when we overlap, and when we do, there's someone in our little team of family or babysitters who will help out. We've been pretty lucky to make it work so far.
Q: Bedtimes or no bedtimes?
A: We have a schedule: 6:30 bath, brush teeth, pajamas, in bed, asleep by 7:30, if possible. It gives Raine and I time alone to watch a movie or read a book, to decompress. And I really see a difference in the children if they have an 11- or 12-hour sleep. I see how my children are happier when they are well rested, so it is a giant priority in our home to make sure they are getting a lot of sleep. It doesn't matter how hard your kid is crying, I don't care, on day three, they won't be. Those first few days you're doing it, it's so hard. But you have to do it. Some parents say, "We left it this long, we can't do it." No! Do it anytime, I don't care how old they are.
Q: What's your favourite activity for the whole family?
A: I love our water time. Rowan and Salvador are water babies, and Lucca is gaining confidence more and more. Pools, oceans, lakes, baths -- I think it's the most serene and peaceful, fun place for us to be. Everybody feels liberated a bit, a little bit independent. A lot of people in L.A. don't use the beach at all, which is really tragic to me. We've decided we don't want to be those people, so we ride our bikes on the beach and we run in the water and we frolic, as much as possible.
Q: What's your least favourite activity?
A: Lucca has an obsession with what he wants to wear, and trying to get clothes on him that he doesn't want to wear is really, really tough. I want to let him wear what he wants to wear, but when it's 100 degrees outside and he wants to wear a black, long-sleeved shirt and long black pants and black leather high-tops, you're sort of like, come on dude, let's be flexible a bit. But he won't, and that can be painful. I do respect it -- He's Johnny Cash and that's cool, he's got his thing and I respect that, but I sometimes wish I could get him in a T-shirt and shorts.