Brooke Burke: Four Kids 'Rocked My World'

03/04/2009 at 04:00 PM ET
Courtesy Mom & Baby for use on CBB

Dancing her way to the top — ultimately winning the disco ball trophy — on Dancing With the Stars, Brooke Burke learned far more than the traditional tango steps; For the mom of four, the decision to be a part of the hit show turned into her “biggest commitment [I] ever made professionally.”

With a strict routine that had her practicing eight hours a day, seven days a week, Brooke kept the communication lines open with her kids, letting them in on the experience as well. “As a family, it really brought us closer,” she tells Mom & Baby in their Spring/Summer issue.

Her dancing days now behind her, Brooke has focused her attention back on her family. For the 37-year-old, that means joining her children every morning for breakfast and shuttling her oldest girls — Neriah, 9 this month and Sierra Sky, 6 ½ – off to school, often bringing her youngest daughter, 2-year-old Heaven Rain, along for the ride and leaving Shaya Braven, turning one tomorrow, at home.

Juggling the schedules with four kids has become a learning experience, Brooke admits. “Three kids were easy. Four rocked my world.” Having “always wanted” a large family, but still “devot[ing] time to my professional life…and not let[ting] one compromise the other,” has been tough for the model, who has ultimately brought in a few extra sets of hands to help.

“Having Shaya, I finally had to accept the fact that I can’t do it all myself and I had to learn how to delegate, so I do have people helping me at home with my children. I never had a live-in nanny when I had just three kids. But with four, I physically cannot be everywhere at the same time.”

However, Brooke insists that her brood leads a normal life, one that includes the tradition of eating dinner together every night. “I try to get all my work done during the day and we always have dinner together,” she says. Maintaining a sense of normalcy for their kids is equally as important for Brooke’s fiancé David Charvet, whom the actress calls “an amazing father.” With a “completely hands on” approach to raising the children, Brooke reveals that David willingly does his daily share of daddy duties!

“He feeds the babies. He changes diapers. He gets up with them during the night. He’s very affectionate with the kids, and he spends a lot of time with them.”

More on Brooke’s breastfeeding experiences and the challenges of raising four kids below.

Still, despite David’s support, having two little ones in the house is hard work! “It’s a challenge having two babies in diapers and two babies not yet sleeping through the night,” she admits. According to Brooke, learning to adjust to being a mom to four was a lesson she learned quickly when she found herself unable to continue breastfeeding after only one week. “Nursing has never been easy for me. I breastfed Rain for eight months, but between feeding and pumping, it was a 24-hour job,” she explains. “It was really important to me to breastfeed my children, but with Shaya, I had to let go of that pressure and guilt. I wanted that bonding experience, but my body just couldn’t do it — I wasn’t producing milk — so I had to give myself a break.”

Despite the obstacles she faces, however, Brooke is determined to dedicate herself to her family, finding quality time for each of her children.

“Rain is in a mommy-and-toddler class with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while Shaya and I grab our moments when we can. When Rain is napping, I’ll take a walk with Shaya or get down on the floor with him and play. I think that’s the biggest challenge for moms with multiple kids: finding the time to spend with each of them individually.”

Source: Mom & Baby, Spring/Summer issue

Shaya wears coveralls from Janie and Jack.

FILED UNDER: Babies , Celeb Style , News , Parenting

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Showing 44 comments

gianna on

Shaya is adorable, he has a lot of david’s features but with brooke’s complexion. I like brooke a lot, she seems like a good mom and I like to read her blogs and twitter.

Marissa on

There are mothers with four children who do not have live-in nannies ;)

Diana on

Beautiful baby!

Chelsea on

Shaya is so cute! I think he looks a lot like his daddy!

beenie on

Marissa, to be fair, most working mothers with four kids do have some regular help with their children’s care. Live-in or not, when you work, you can’t be with them all the time obviously. Now I don’t know any stay-at-home moms with live-in nannies but Brooke clearly states she works so you should give her a little slack.

Mia on

Aw, her son is so cute. He looks exactly like his father, but has his mom’s coloring. They make beautiful children :) He’s almost a year old.

crimpe on

He’s cute! And I know that some women do indeed have trouble nursing one child but not another. You just never know. I have four children, nursed them all a year, but it was not easy for me, and each child was different. And Marissa, I totally agree!! I have no help with my kids (my husband helps when he’s home). Then again, I am not able to take my baby to a mommy and me class, nor can I do that with my toddler. I can’t go for a walk while one is napping. And I am not on Dancing with the stars, either.

millefleur on

I sort of hate to say it but…if you can’t manage caring for four kids, don’t have four kids! Plenty of working poor single mothers do it without help, so why can’t a rich celebrity with a partner? It’s all about privilege and priorities.

Kate on

I’m sorry, I don’t know any “working poor single mothers” who raise four children without help. Where are their children while they are working? Who’s taking care of them then? Even if these children are school age now, they weren’t always, so who was taking care of them then?

It’s nearly impossible to raise one child let alone four if you are a working mother of any kind without help. You have a relative that provides childcare? You have help. Send your kid to daycare? You have help. Have a live-in nanny? You have help.

Unless your home all the time raising your children without any outside assistance, you use some kind of help.

CM on

why should someone with the means to hire help not do so b/c “there are working poor single mothers” who do it without the help. I really dont understand when people criticize celebs who have help. Just b/c there are mothers out there who make do without hired help doesn’t mean if they had the choice they would still choose to do so. I know plenty of middle to low income families who would love to have a nanny or at least a cook and maid around the house

Levi on

Um, Brooke is not exactly a “working mom” she takes modeling jobs, or whatever when she wants too. There is no shame in having help, but hey, it is definately a luxury, one she can obviously afford. But she definately wants to have it both ways here.

Marissa on

Just to clarify, I was responding to Brooke’s comment that she needed a live-in nanny with four kids because she couldn’t physically be everywhere at the same time. There are many moms of four who do it without live-in nannies, thus it is physically possible. I have nothing against people with the means hiring help, but it does irritate me when the moms ‘justify’ it by making it seem like a necessity, when really it is just to make life easier.

Rose on

Marissa: I agree.

I think people should do whatever works for them – if they want a nanny hire one, if not then don’t – but it bugs me when people act like it’s impossible to raise four kids without a live-in nanny. Why don’t they just own it and say, “I have a nanny because it makes things easier” instead of acting like it’s absolutely impossible to not have one. I’ve heard people use the same justification for having a housekeeper – when really I would respect them a lot more if they would just say, “I have a housekeeper because it’s just easier this way” or “I hate to clean so I hired someone else to do it.” I guess it’s just sad to see people feeling like they have to justify their decisions by claiming it was absolutely necessary instead of just saying “this is what I’m doing.”

Moore on

This article makes it sound like she has to work to keep her family together but notice how it didn’t say one live-in but a few extra sets of hands. She has people helping to raise her kids not even counting her husband. She has two children at home during the day. Sure she may need help whenever she has to go and do work but its seems like, like Marissa said, she has live in help to make life easier beyond necessity. Yeah you can afford it but stop making it sound like its tough to handle things you don’t have to handle.

If I were my mother I would tell her to man up.

Ella on

Brooke looks beautiful – as does her son – I love his outfit!

It’s great that she can hire help – if she has the means to do it – why not – by having help, it probably lets her have MORE energy to pay MORE attention to her 4 children…Seems like EVERYONE is better off!

If most people had the means to do it, I’m sure they would…it seems to me that people who DON’T have the means to hire help – like to criticise those who do…that’s just bitter and twisted – it doesn’t make someone a better mother because they criticise someone else who is trying to do a good job in their own way…

gianna on

I like brooke, and voted for her on DWTS. And I think she tries to be a good mom. That being said I saw her at lax with rain, shaya, and david and 2 nannies back in november. And she also had nannies back when it was just neriah and sierra, she talked about it when she started dating david. I don’t find anything wrong with celebrities or anybody in general that can afford a nanny, because everybody could use some people and as long as you don’t have the nannies doing everything for the kids,it’s not a big deal. That being said I agree with some of the comments here, brooke makes it sound because she has 4 kids, you just need a nanny. If you ever read her baboosh blog too, she often says stuff like david and me finally having a date, sorta acting like she never gets to do anything because of the kids. If you read her twitter too, she talks about working out, yoga, she has plenty of time for herself without the kids. David doesn’t have a huge career, so i’m sure they really don’t need more than one nanny, but since they have the money they go for it.Her oldest 2 daufghters, are also often with their bio dad,and brooke’s career isn’t as demanding as other celebrities. So as much as I like her, a lot more people in the world have it much harder.

Rose on

“it seems to me that people who DON’T have the means to hire help – like to criticise those who do…that’s just bitter and twisted”

Unless you know the personal situations of all the people who have commented in this thread, you’re making quite a leap to call them “bitter and twisted.”

I personally disagree that most people would hire nannies if they could afford it. I worked as a nanny for many years in a very affluent area, where everyone could afford nannies but only a small percentage actually did. Some people just prefer raising their children without help – and some people don’t. It does no good in a discussion like this to fall back on broad generalities, or name calling.

Joy on

Jealous much, ladies?

gianna on

Rose i’m mainly talking about celebrities though, very few celebrities don’t have nannies nowadays.That goes from the big celebrities, to the not so big celebrities Even people like jennifer garner and gwen stefani who seem like very hands on mothers, you see their kids with nannies sometimes. I don’t think it’s because they choose not to raise their kids, like mothers without nannies do. I think it’s because these people are actors, singers,run businesses, etc, and it’s kinda hard for them to do all that without someone helping and watching their kids. You just can’t compare them to moms that don’t work, or work partime or from home, etc. It’s different worlds we are talking about here, just like how the discussion of people saying they would never spend as much money on clothes or baby stuff that some of these celebrities do. A lot of parents that are doctors, lawyers, etc often have nannies for their children

Sasha on

“Jealous much, ladies?”

I don’t see any jealous people in this thread. I don’t even see any people in this thread saying that they think having a nanny is a bad thing. I see people making very valid points that some celebrities try to pretend like either they don’t have a nanny when they do, or to pretend like it’s absolutely impossible to raise children without nannies when it clearly isn’t.

Why do you assume the people in this thread want nannies? I personally find it a privelege to be able to be there 24/7 and wouldn’t want to hand any of that time over to someone else. But I understand that there are some people who feel differently, and that’s okay too. Not everyone wants the same things in life.

Rose on

“Rose i’m mainly talking about celebrities though”

I’m confused gianna. Did you mean to respond to someone else. Because my post wasn’t in reference to yours. My post was in reference to ella’s post who said that most people would have nannies if they could afford it. I was responding to that saying that I don’t think money is the issue – I know lots of people who can afford nannies but don’t have them.

Pearl on

Honey, I know in my neighbourhood, most of the moms including myself would love to go to a pilates class, yoga class, art class, gym, lunch with friends heck even just a coffee just by themselves or with gal pals…non-celebrity parents don’t have this luxury, so yes, I think I have bigger household issues than she does. She has it good, she should not allow herself to feel any different than lucky.

Pearl on

Cont – The greatest gift they have is having so much free time to spend with their kids.

DJE on

I have 9 kids and no nanny and yes I do manage to spend time with all of them! I do credit a great Daddy for making that possible, however it can be done

Mia on

I just wanted to comment again on how adorable her son is. He looks exactly like his father (who is gorgeous) but has Brooke’s coloring. He looks like a very happy, bright, and alert baby. I know they really wanted a boy. He must be treated like a little prince at home lol. I bet his older sisters are going to love dressing him up when he gets a bit older hehe.

And about her comments, she said she does have extra help now with her 4 kids. Maybe there was just a lot going on when her son was born, and having an older baby at home too, and being busy with work, it can add up. Also keep in mind, although these actors/musicians/models have a lot of time off and make a lot of money doing certain jobs/projects, they do work double the hours and that work span equals out to about the same as the average work load.

Ryo on

Some people really do sound bitter. I agree that she makes it seem like she NEEDS a nanny but why does having a nanny automatically make it bad that she feels overwhelmed sometimes? Or that she wishes she had more time for each kid? Even moms who work all day work 9-5 – celebrities put in 12, 14, 16 hour days! There’s not a whole lot of time to fit your children in is it? Granted she isn’t working now, but maybe she doesn’t have a live-in nanny.

CelebBabyLover on

To the people saying that she had nannies when it was just Neriah and Sierra, Brooke never said she didn’t. What she said was: “so I do have people helping me at home with my children”. Note the key phrase “at home”. Maybe when it was just the two older girls she only used nannies when out and about.

That said, I totally agree with Kate. Unless your husband/partner is a stay-at-home or work-at-home dad (I don’t consider having your husband/partner take care of the kids to be having help, per se. He’s helping YOU, yes, but TOGETHER, you raise your kids without outside help.), you use some kind of help for your kids if you work.

Daycare (whether in-home or center based) and relative care are as much forms of “help” as a nanny (whether live-in or not) is! Oh, and when Brooke talked about it being phyiscally impossible to be everywhere at once with four kids, I’m sure she meant that it is that way FOR HER, NOT neccesarily for everyone!

Georgia41 on

The only thing that annoys me with celebrities is when they make comments about how they never have time for themselves or their relationship and when they don’t fess up to having one or more nannies. I have to say, if we could afford it I would have a cleaning person come in everyday and clean my house and do my laundry!! (of course, I’d probably have to clean my house first so she didn’t think we were dirty). I honestly wouldn’t have a nanny. I am the Mom of three girls, ages 18, 4 and 2 1/2 and I also provide care for two newborns everyday, any woman can do it. It’s all about what’s important to you and it is important for us to raise our children. I’ve never been a big fan of Brooke Burke, I think she’s kind of phony and I’m sick of reading about how busy her life is. We all know she has it made!!

eva on

Shaya is a cutie.I love brunette babies (we have lots in my family). Now I’m going to say something and please don’t jump at me throat its just an observation and not spite. I find it a bit odd that Brooke Burke keeps saying “four kids” and “two babies” but she’s in the cover with only one kid.I guess I can understand the oldest daughters not being on the cover because it looks like a magazine about babies, but if the littlest girl is still spoken about as a baby I would have expected to see both babes with her on the cover and yeah, the oldest kids too (family pic IDK).Oh well,it is a cute picture and again, Shaya is darling.

Valerie on

Marissa, I completely agree with you! She should just state that she made this choice to make things easier. It is a little overboard for her to say that it’s physically impossible.. well, maybe for her it is- I guess she ultimately is saying she struggles a lot whereas others may not. I know two mothers of 4 who had no live-in nanny and they made it! But I guess everyone isn’t able to do it. Also, I don’t really care for the word “delegate” when it comes to caring for children.

Jane on

Joy:
That is such a bad and old stereotype- that when women disagree with the actions or opinions of another woman, that they do this out of jealousy. This is a blog that includes intelligent and open-minded debate and I often find that I learn a lot from what people write.

crimpe on

Georgia41, I totally agree with everything you wrote. And as for all the “bitter” accusations, well, I would love to be able to do more one-on-one things with my kids, I would love someone to pop in and clean once in a while, yes. Am I bitter that I have four kids and don’t have all that Brooke has? No way. We may be a messy household with shared everything, but my kids are not spoiled and I’m thankful for what I have.

Dawn on

I’m sorry, but I disagree that working mothers who send their kids to daycare is “having help”. They send them to daycare because they need to support their children and getting them ready to go to daycare everyday is work. We are paying for a service yes, but we still do a lot of things each day to take them there. In reality, those hours are kind of a wash since you are at work, and the child is at daycare. You still pick up where you left off when you pick them up after work. It is not like you have someone to watch them when you are doing the grocery shopping etc. There is a difference.

mmh on

Dawn — I thought something very similar when I read what she said. When she says she and Shaya take a walk when Rain is napping — who’s in the house with Rain? Most of us don’t have that luxury to do something else while baby’s napping! And it is a luxury. Having someone help out while you work is completely different… I come home from work and I still need to try to find time to exercise, clean, cook, fold laundry, make time for my hubby and my friends… I wouldn’t change my life for anything, but she needs to realize it is a luxury…

That said, Shaya is so cute and is completely his daddy in miniature!! I appreciate her openness about breastfeeding. I also tried for one week with my son — between trying to nurse, pumping and feeding him what very little I pumped through a bottle and then realizing my milk was not coming in, I knew something had to give and I had to accept that it wasn’t working. Trust me, if your milk isn’t coming in, it’s a nightmare for everyone involved (vicious cycle where your baby won’t latch on because nothing’s coming out, and nothing comes out because he won’t latch on!) I still pumped for a month and gave him what little I produced. It was a relief when I stopped trying, but also was extremely painful for someone who was determined (and financially desperate!) to nurse…

Aimee on

Ok I think everyone is taking Marissa’s comment out of context. I was going to say exactly the same thing as her. I have one baby and if I could afford a nanny I would totally get one. But I wouldn’t be telling people it was because it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to manage. That was the point Brooke said it is physically impossible to raise four kids on your own without help which is not true. She should have said “I have a nanny cos I want one” so what. Also she implies that she uses nannies when she is not working eg when taking her girls to school she’ll sometimes take Rain which means she must leave Shaya at home. So it is not just when she is working. Good on her like I said if I could afford it I would too but don’t do the whole it’s cos I have to thing

CelebBabyLover on

Aimee- Maybe her husband watches Shaya when she takes the older kids to school? And in her case she probably does NEED a nanny. I mean, who would take care of her kids while she worked if she didn’t have a nanny?

Illinoisan on

Shaya is one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen. He has such beautiful eyes. Of course, his parents are very attractive as well, but he is really cute baby. He’ll be a heartbreaker when he gets older!

Mel on

@#2, You guys are talking her nanny comment out of context.

OF COURSE you can be a mother with 4 children without a nanny. I think she meant in her lifestyle, balancing a career in entertainment with 4 children, she physically couldn’t do it.

Even though it wasn’t said, I thought that was just understood.

amy on

You guys are all totally nit picking at Brooke’s comments. In all of our daily conversations we say things that could be misconstrued or blown out of proprotion. A conversation can be very subjective.

And I’m a single mother. I don’t have a live-in nanny, but I do have a nanny. I also have a cleaning crew come in once a week. It makes my life so much easier and relaxed.

I agree with the “bitter” comment. It does seem like a little jealously.

Dawn: As for mothers who ARE NOT SINGLE, work is then a luxury. Why doesn’t your husband just work and you could downsize. Putting a child in daycare so you can work when you don’t really need to is a luxury and selfish. The extra income is a luxury.

I am “affluent” and I’m a single mother. I’ve never had any help with my daughter. (No grandparents, no husband, no daddy) A lot of other women and mothers are jealous of me. Especially women who can’t afford what I can afford. I think everyone would like a nanny if they could afford it. And why shouldn’t you? It doesn’t make you a bad mom. And most people have their parents, friends, siblings, etc, helping them (I think)… It’s the same thing basically, but with the nanny you are in control.

CelebBabyLover on

amy- I agree with you except for one thing: For some families, having two incomes IS actually neccesary. For other families, living on only one income would mean that they couldn’t give their child the best possible life.

Mmind on

I have nursed three children, and had a work outside my home(100%)at the same time. This was not easy, and nothing I can recommend, but it worked.

PrincessTara85 on

thats a beautiful picture.they are both beautiful.i love her coloring and her son is adorable.

BEC on

my mother raised me and my 3 sisters and she did a great job WITHOUT a live-in nanny!

anonymus on

seldom passes that you do not get off breast milk does not? I mean, I have a baby and am breastfeeding and enough milk to give …. not. I am a strong supporter of extended breastfeeding and like my mother made ​​me be the one to decide when they want to stop breast, you know …. I think it is very important to them.

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