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Jewel Talks Parenting

Our favorite Alaskan transplant Jewel has succeeded in several different pop culture endeavors including selling 27 million records, releasing a bestselling book of poetry, and getting the song “Who Will Save Your Soul” forever stuck in our heads. But in recent years she has switched her talents over to penning beautiful lyrics inspired by son Kase, born July 11, 2011 with rodeo cowboy hubby Ty Murray. Jewel wrote her album Lullaby while she was trying to get pregnant, and The Merry Goes ‘Round while knocked up. Her latest project was That’s What I’d Do, an original song the singer adapted into an illustrated children's book about the amazing bond between parent and child. We called her up to get the scoop on her son’s unique name, her new book, and whether Ty changes diapers. We caught her just as she was putting Kase down for a nap at her Stephenville, Texas ranch.

So, did you get him down?

Yes! He’s always been a very good sleeper, I’m lucky.

Any advice for other moms whose kids don’t sleep?

Sleep needs change from newborn to baby into toddlerhood. I’m figuring out moving up his bedtime, and being proactive when his needs change. They get fussy, so you realize it’s time to alter something, such as consolidating two naps into one, which Kase just did.

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Tell us about the inspiration behind penning That’s What I’d Do.

I wrote this while I was pregnant with Kase. I was just thinking about all the things I wanted to say to him. I wanted to use my imagination, and the words became a metaphor for that. When you are an artist, you want to use that creative side of yourself, and it struck me that I wanted to make a book out of the lyrics I was writing. It was fun to see the words come to life with the illustrations.

What other children’s books can you recommend?

Kase likes the [Matthew Van Fleet] books, such as the CAT one, and the DOG one. He likes to pull the tabs out!

Kase was born two summers ago. Did you have a favorite hot weather maternity outfit?

It was a record 110 degrees every day in Texas during my pregnancy, and I couldn’t stand anything tight on my body. I wore a lot of sundresses.

How did you pick the name Kase? Did you know you were having a boy?

We did find out. I was very happy. We were just looking for a single-syllable name that would be hard to turn into a nickname. Ty came up with it and we both liked it.

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How was your healing process after giving birth?

It’s a trip. Your body changes and you really have to give your body over to this person. It’s not yours, and its taking care of a baby. Don’t expect your baby weight to come off the second you deliver. My friend said it was going to take me 9 or 10 months, and that was about true for me. It was very hard for me to diet because I was breast-feeding. I just tried to trust the process and see the time after Kase’s birth as an extension of my pregnancy. I ate good, though! I worked out, and took the weight off slowly. People say I look back to normal, but my stomach isn’t the same for sure!

What is the mom community like in Stephenville? Does Jewel go on playdates?

I just spent the summer in Telluride, Colorado. They have an amazing community there for moms. I took Kase to a sign language class at the library, it was amazing. So when I came back here I couldn’t find a single baby group! I don’t think one exists. I was thinking about starting a little music class here at my house.

You told Good Morning America that being a mom is like a “present you get to open for the rest of your life.” Are there any hard days as a mom? Has your son thrown any tantrums in public? And how did you handle it?

I haven’t run into the tantrums yet but I’ve been reading about it, and I am open to all suggestions! I think being a mom is a fluctuating process. We put so much pressure on ourselves. We have an idea of what it should be like, [and can feel] like we’re not measuring up. I think giving yourself a break is good idea. You’re not going to damage your baby. I think your baby understands it’s a gift of love, and there’s a lot to figure out. There are definitely some days that are easier or harder. It’s all a journey.

Will Kase learn how to ride a horse?

He’s already been on horses since he was about 3 months old with his dad! I’m still deciding when we will let him get on one on his own. It’s nice for him to learn responsibility through the horses on our ranch.

You said in an interview recently that real men change diapers. What other things does Ty do to help?

Ty is a great dad. I had to leave for a few days and he took care of the baby, himself. He’s very competent. He even stuck to the nap schedule. He’s really committed.

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You don’t have a nanny. How the heck do you guys manage everything?

One of my best friends lives here, and Ty’s mom comes over a lot. I put my career on the backburner for now. I’ll probably get back to my music career to some degree, such as a greatest hits album that is coming out soon, but I’m not touring now or putting out major records. You only have so much energy. I kind of divide up my time the best I can and if it costs me money or fame I’m OK with it. I don’t think anybody can exist without friends and family pitching in. There may come a time I’m on the road and I need more help. I know it’s a big issue for moms feeling like they have to do it all. Our kids will love us no matter what.

Let’s say your best friend is having a baby shower. What would you bring?

I like a book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. There’s so many philosophy-based baby training books out there. I like this one because it’s science-based. No matter if you like the Attachment Parenting or the Cry It Out method, there’s a sleep solution for you in this book. I’d also bring an Amber teething necklace. They don’t chew on them; they just they wear it around their neck. Just make sure it is real amber. My husband was skeptical about it, but Kase started teething really early and he still drools a lot but he’s not miserable.

You were homeless at one point in your career, and started your charity Project Clean water in 1997, putting 35 wells in 15 different countries! You’ve obviously had a lot of success but given back, too. How will you keep Kase humble even though he has such a great start in life?

That’s something I think about a lot. Ty and I were raised so poor it was impossible to spoil us. You didn’t want toys because you knew your parents couldn’t afford them. Ty and I are both successful in our fields and we’re very lucky. I think the fact that we live on the ranch helps us stay grounded. There’ll be chores and work for Kase. He’ll have horses to feed and clean up after. We’re not materialistic, so I don’t think we’ll mess him up too bad!”

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