Kelly Rowland on giving back, raising 2 boys and co-parenting: 'Turns out I'm the firm one. I don't like that.'

·7-min read

Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of child rearing.

When it comes to spreading holiday cheer, Kelly Rowland doesn't hang about — and we'd expect nothing less from the star and producer of Lifetime's Merry Liddle Christmas series and one-third of the vocals behind the legendary Destiny's Child album 8 Days of Christmas.

"The day after Halloween, literally, my Christmas tree was up," the singer and mom of two tells Yahoo Life in a new video interview. "I do not play Christmas games. I love to feel Christmas — at least for two months, sometimes two and a half months."

This holiday season Rowland's plans include making sure families in need are also feeling the love by partnering with Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) in their mission to provide a "support system" for those with ill or injured children. Launched in 1974, the nonprofit organization runs more than 685 family-centered programs worldwide, including accessible health care outreach and housing for families who need to stay close to a child receiving medical treatment. It's a cause that has long been close to Rowland's heart. She first visited Ronald McDonald House locations in the early ‘00s after appearing with Destiny's Child in a McDonald's campaign.

"I've met these families," she says of meeting people helped by RMHC, which in 2020 provided more than 1.4 million overnight stays. "I've seen the looks on these kids' faces, the relief, the joy, the staff. It's really a lot of heart and joy and love that goes into this. It's all about making families feel and stay connected, and that's the most beautiful part. And who doesn't want to feel that at Christmas time? It's all about family. It's all about joy. It's all about togetherness."

Rowland's own family has a new reason to celebrate this holiday season, which marks the first Christmas for her infant son Noah. The star and husband Tim Weatherspoon welcomed their second son on Jan. 30 of this year, making 7-year-old Titan a big brother. While the boys are close, the "Dilemma" singer admits that accommodating their six-year age gap and trying to entertain both kids at the same time can be a challenge.

"The space in between is so wild," she laughs. "I was like, 'Oh yeah, this is gonna be great. [Titan's] gonna be a great helper.' But literally, if Noah's learning to walk, Titan is actually ... learning to play chess. It's such different times and developmental things [that they're each going through]. Granted, Titan is the best big brother, but the space in between, I'm like, oh my God, what was I thinking?"

Though she says she "wouldn't have it any other way," Rowland acknowledges that "their needs are different" and navigating the balance of keeping them "both emotionally satisfied and content" can be tricky. As a baby, Noah is more reliant on her, but she says she's careful to make Titan "feel like his brother's needs are bigger than his."

She adds, "I'm so happy that kids seem to be connected more to their emotions. So he'll tell me, 'Mommy, you've spent a lot of time with Noah. Can I have some time?' And I'm like, oh my God, I feel bad that he even had to say that. But I've learned to balance it as much as I can."

Rowland also says that she tends to be the firmer parent when it comes to enforcing rules around the house.

"He's like, 'Oh, it's no big deal' — he's that guy," she says of Weatherspoon. "I'm [like], 'No, we have to be in bed at 7:30.' I like to [stick] to a schedule because I think that it's good for them. It's healthy for them and makes them feel empowered. I just like the developmental benefits that you get when they are on some sort of schedule. So, turns out I'm the firm one. I don't like that."

When it comes to hard-and-fast rules in her home, Rowland has little patience for complaints of boredom — "There's so much stuff for you to do, don't you dare complain that you're bored!" — and back-talk.

"I will allow my son to have an opinion ... because I think that having an opinion as a kid is really important because if you can have an opinion in your home, you can have an opinion in the world," she explains. "So I have him say whatever it is that he feels like he needs to say, but you have to say it with respect. I said, 'Do I talk to you crazy?' He said no. I said, 'Well, then I don't expect you to talk to me crazy.'"

She also told him, "We're best friends. Our whole objective is to respect each other's space, respect each other's words, respect each other's thoughts. And you do the same with your friends at school ... but I'm your mama — it's different."

As far as her marriage is concerned, Rowland's big rule is to always make time for date night, even if it proves difficult. Rowland shares how she and Weatherspoon recently struggled to find room in their respective schedules for some kid-free quality time after she returned home from shooting her latest movie.

"You literally just have to find the time," she says. "Communicating, honestly, is the name of the game, but you make time for the things that you want to make time for — and we make time for each other."

Between acting and singing, Rowland's schedule is pretty full. Titan, however, is largely unaware of her fame.

"He gets it when we're out sometimes," Rowland says. "He saw it at Coachella. He saw it at rehearsals for Coachella. He saw it when I was doing The Voice in Australia. ... If I have a performance or I have somewhere I'm supposed to be or I'm on a movie set, he gets it then. Or if we're at an airport and someone asked me for an autograph, he just watches; he doesn't ask any questions.

"But the first time he did ask and he was like, 'What are you and Auntie Mimi and Auntie Bey-Bey [Michelle Williams and Beyoncé] doing on stage together?" she recalls. "He has no idea who Destiny's Child is. He just knows that's Auntie Mimi and Auntie Bey-Bey. And so I ... explained to him what happened and I showed him all the videos and he thinks it's the coolest thing. He goes, 'I wanna sing with my friends one day.'"

Until then, Rowland is just happy to soak up the cuddles and special bonding moments. She calls being their mother the "sweetest blessing that I feel like I've ever gotten a chance to have."

"It's just like this moment in the world where only our space exists and we just sit there and we talk," she says of spending time with her boys. "And to talk to a little human and to hear their perspective and how they digest things is just mind-blowing because it's so simple, but it's so effective. And when we have those moments, I just cry. ... Even with Noah, just wrestling with him in the bed and him just looking at me and then kissing me on my nose — I'll never get those moments back. You kind of wish you could just save them and put them in a special box. It's so beautiful. I'm so grateful to be a mom."

As she supports RMHC's efforts to "provide comfort, care, a safe space and kindness" for families, Rowland reflects on her own blessings with her two boys: "Every morning is like Christmas with them," she says.

—Video produced by Olivia Schneider.

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