When it comes to work and family, Gwen Stefani is struggling to find the perfect balance.
Covering the January 2013 issue of Vogue, the 43-year-old No Doubt frontwoman opens up about why she was hesitant to record new material with her bandmates after an 11-year hiatus. (The band released their sixth studio album, Push and Shove, in September 2012.)
"Getting to the studio and not being able to make it happen, but missing out on being at home, missing out on putting the kids down. What's more important? I felt so guilty," she recalls. "'I am letting everyone down in the studio right now; I'm letting down my kids; I'm letting down myself.' Because time was so precious."
The toughest part, according to Stefani, was doing it on her own. In September 2011, her husband Gavin Rossdale's band, Bush, released their first album in ten years. The group spent nearly a year touring the world to promote The Sea of Memories.
"I mean, he was there for me mentally, but physically? These boys [Kingston, 6, and Zuma, 4] are physical. They wake up and they start punching each other!" she laughs. "One thing we've had in our relationship the whole time is that we can have it both ways: together, not together, and it's fine. But when you have kids? It's not so great. They need him. Once you have a family, it's just so obvious how everyone needs each other. So it's really nice to have him back."
Motherhood itself presented a new set of challenges for Stefani, who launched her L.A.M.B. fashion line 10 years ago. "It's super fun being a mom, but it's not what you think it's going to be. And it's really gradual. At first, your life is totally the same. You have this cute little thing that you get to drive around everywhere and you're so proud and it's amazing. And as they grow older, it really does start to change your life. Like, 'Oh, my God, they have school, they have to get through first grade, they have to learn to read.'"
She continues, "It starts getting so serious, and you're like, 'Aaaaaaah!' And to do all that while sustaining this insane childhood of my own. . . . I've never had to grow up in a way. When you think about it, [No Doubt was] in college together, and then we made our first record, and then we just took off and stayed in this bubble. Time kind of stops when you're in a band. It's this suspended childhood, and it's really awesome, that part of it. But then when you have a family of your own, it forces you to go into the adult world a little bit more."
Though she and Rossdale recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary, the "Looking Hot" singer admits they've hit a few speed bumps along the way. "You have to work at it. But, actually, it's fun to get to this point. Because you learn so much about somebody. It's like these wars that go on and then you kind of get through it to the other side, and it's like, 'Wow,'" she tells Vogue. "And obviously, you get stronger. And then having kids takes the whole relationship to another place. It is the ultimate collaboration. Both of us have such strong opinions about how it should be, and it's really fun to do it together."