Erykah Badu, 38, who gave birth to her third child this past February, recently sat down with Babble on her tour bus bound for Brooklyn to homebirths, veganism, homeschooling and life as a mother to Seven Sirius, 8, Puma Sabit, 5 and 6-month-old Mars Merkaba.
The mom of three, whose children were all born at home, also took to the internet during labor with her daughter Mars and Twittered between contractions.
On delivering her children at home: “I had all my children at home, naturally. First my son [Seven Sirius] was born at home in 1997, because that’s the natural environment, the old way. There’s not a lot of fuss and moving around. I had a very wise doula and midwives giving me the freedom to continue living my life. I didn’t have to uproot myself… Maybe to some it’s scary, but preparation is the whole key. When a mother has found out she’s going to have a baby, her whole life — her diet, her mood, her energy — should kind of prepare her. After she prepares herself, fear is never a part of it. I expected success and health, so I made sure I surrounded myself with it. By the time I had my third baby, childbirth seemed a very natural part of life to me.”
On tweeting her birth: “I was dared to do it. Actually, Questlove of The Roots — he said, “I bet you won’t Twitter while you’re in labor.” I said, “I bet I will.” So I did. I tweeted about what was happening with the birth between contractions.”
On homeschooling her children: “I wanted to give Seven Sirius [who is entering sixth grade in the fall] special attention academically, to give him an advantage. So by being home-schooled he learned how to learn — he learned how to solve problems in a nontraditional way. In doing that he developed an edge in his schoolwork. He enjoys challenges. He pushes himself. He does his homework voluntarily. He does not want to miss school or be late or be untidy or not have his things in order because that was a big part of how he was brought up [Seven was home-schooled until he entered second grade]. I don’t have any idea what Seven is going to choose to do, but he knows how to be disciplined and how to learn, and because of that he’s one of the top students in his school, and one of the top students in Dallas.”
On raising her kids as vegans: “When Seven was born I was a vegetarian and his father [Andre 3000, of Outkast] was too, so it was a natural progression for him in life to eat the things we eat. Puma [whose father is the rapper The D.O.C; Mars' father is longtime boyfriend Jay Electronica] is the same way. It’s just what’s in the house. They also now have an understanding of how to read ingredients — it’s Mommy’s lifestyle so it’s their lifestyle… I don’t in any way force them to have the same lifestyle, but I think they should know the benefits of having a healthy body. If they were to choose to do anything else after they become high school students, I would have full confidence that they know how to take care of their bodies and themselves. By making sure they use preventive medicine — getting plenty of water, plenty of chlorophyll and vegetable juices and good, healthy rest and activity — I know they’ll be able to take good care of themselves.”
On what she thinks is the worst parenting practice in America today: “Parents not participating in kids’ schooling. I don’t think it matters what school you go to, but I think it’s important for parents to be involved. And to know that when school stops, learning continues, and to continue teaching at home.”