Sheryl Crow Is a ‘Strict’ Mom

04/05/2011 at 04:00 PM ET
Naomi Kaltman

Her hit song “All I Wanna Do” may say otherwise, but when it comes to parenting, Sheryl Crow is not all about having fun.

“I’m strict,” Crow, 49, tells Prevention‘s May issue. “They have to understand that somebody’s in charge and sometimes the answer is no. It’s about being consistent.”

Does the singer have a hard time saying no to her sons Wyatt Steven, 4 this month, and Levi James, 1 this month?

“I really think that you do them a disservice when they get out into the world and they realize they’re not entitled to have everything,” she says.

Courtesy Prevention

“I think we’ve gotten to that place where parenting has been equated with making a child happy.”

While the single mom has a happy family life, she admits that raising two boys on her own has its challenges.

“I never thought I’d be raising a boy by myself,” Crow says.

“Now that I’m three and a half years in and I see Wyatt going into a little testosterone phase, I’m like, ‘Whoa!’ But he has great role models. He sees his two uncles and his granddad often.”

–– Alla Byrne

FILED UNDER: Babies , Kids , News , Parenting

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Mama on

Such sage words, congratulations Sheryl you’re doing a fine job.

Strict Mom too on

Wow, how refreshing to see a celebrity who believes in setting limits for their children. Way to go, Sheryl!!

Megan on

As an elementary teacher let me just simply say THANK YOU SHERYL! I couldn’t agree more with what you said and i speak for your sons’ future teachers when I say thank you…ITA that life has become about making kids happy and everyone needs to remember they won’t always be happy–and I LOVE that “someone is in charge and sometimes the answer is no” Bless you Sheryl…haha just bless you!

Toya L. on

I 100% agree with the style of parenting she speaks about in this interview. Kudos!!

Proud to be happily married BEFORE children on

Finally, common sense out of the mouth of a celebrity! Refreshing!

Kate on

I totally agree with her about setting limits. Her boys are gorgeous. I wish this awesome trio health and happiness.

Heather on

a) I couldn’t agree with her more. This is exactly how we’re raising our two


b) I find it incredibly ironic that this article precedes an article about Jaden and Willow Smith… They’re two of the most overindulged kids in Hollywood today IMO.

Sarah S. on

I agree wholeheartedly with Sheryl!! She sounds like a common sense, down-to-earth Mom–love that about her!

Chris on

Love the interview!

Daze on

I didn’t know she had two. I remember when she adopted the oldest one. Congrats Sheryl. Sounds like you are doing a fine job.

kelly on

It seems like she is giving them a normal childhood and I like that she is setting boundaries and that even though she is a celebrity doesn’t mean that they are entitled to have whatever they want. Another celebrity just talked about this but I forget who? Maybe Kate Winslet?? I like that she is open to how she’s raising her kids and she seems very down to earth about it. Way to go Sheryl!! 🙂 You’re doing great as a mom!

amanda on

Good for her! Her boys are beautiful. I’ve always liked her music, it’s nice that she seems down to earth too.

Grace on


And she is 49? She looks fantastic.

Wyatt’s shirt is awesome. I wonder where it’s from? So cute.

eternalcanadian on

That is an adorable family picture! And Sheryl is right it is important to be a parent first. Too many parents want to be their child’s best friend, often not setting rules or having a “whatever” or “let’s party” attitude. Children need regularity or consistency and if they test the boundaries there are consequences. I’m not talking about harsh punishment, far from it (I don’t believe in hitting or spanking or isolation). But knowing when to put one’s foot down in the midst of wild public tantrums takes a lot of effort and patience, which I am sure Sheryl has in spades! 🙂

Jen on

I met Sheryl and her two amazing boys at an Austin hotel last summer. She was hanging out by the pool with her boys and a nanny. Sheryl conversed with me and my girlfriends (we were on a moms weekend away trip) and she honestly is the most down to Earth celebrity ever! She spent over an hour talking about her boys – normal conversation between a bunch of moms including topics like fussy babies, breastfeeding, raising little boys, etc. I loved this article – it is so true.

Lorelei on

Love, love, love how she’s raising her boys. As a mom of a teen and two preteens I think those limits starting young make all the difference. I am not their friend. They have many friends, but only one mom. I see it in my daughters friends that are making their families decisions. It is scary to watch the parents cower and give in to everything these children want!

Kelly on

Not a fan of hers at all, can’t stand her music. But she seems to be parenting them well.

Sat on

CUTE baby boy and young “little man”!

Hea on

Two thumbs up, Sheryl!

alice on

so cute!

Catca on

For all those anti-single mom people out there – take note! It’s not Sheryl’s money that’s raising those boys with boundaries – it’s her. It’s definitely easier in a two parent family, but merely having a mother or father in the picture does not magically equal a great situation for kids. It’s the quality of the parenting process that matters. Sheryl is living proof of that.

susanne on

Too bad she isn’t providing a father for those boys. Why is it we have demeaned the importance of a father in a child’s life? Haven’t we learned anything-that children from single parent homes ( most notably those headed by only women) have great risks of violent behavior,drug and alcohol abuse than those raised in a two parent family? Prisons are full of men raised by single mothers yet here we are still to prove children don’t need a stable two parent family.

Jennifer on

It’s selfish of her to have deliberately brought those kids into her life without a daddy to whom she’s married. ALL KIDS need a mummy and a daddy… including celebrity kids.

pubear on

I say well done well done!! Society today is raising a bunch of self-indulged entitled children and the world is going to continue to become a very scary rude place if it continues. My son is a very well rounded, respectful boy at Age 11 and we run a scrict house with rules and limits and rewards and consequences. If you don’t when they finally become adults they will be the people we have in society today who quit jobs and get in fights because someone tells them no or disagrees! Well done Sheryl! Final some common sense is spoken out loud!

Brittany on

What??? She didn’t know she would being raising a boy on her own? Didn’t she adopt these kids without being married or even in a long term relationship?? Seems like she knew what she was getting herself into. Stupid celebreties, get over yourselves already. And yes you should make your children happy, life is too short. I don’t see the correlation between happy children and a lack of discipline.

J.J. on

Kudos to Sheryl for doing this! I’m sure her boys are the loveliest little boys out there and will be very strong and independent men thanks to the love, nurture and upbringing by their mother who taught them to RESPECT always. Btw Sheryl looks so gorgeous at her age, especially at 49!! She looks around 30ish IMO!

Lisabeth on

(Sarcasm) How DARE she adopt to children without a daddy? She should have left those babies alone…perhaps sent them to a nice foster home with a Mommy and a Daddy. (End Sarcasm.)

For all of you out there, just because a Dad is in the picture doesn’t mean it will always work out. How many well-educated young Moms do I know who are now raising their children on their own because “Daddy” was no longer interested in doing the job?

Way to go, Sheryl. I think she’s doing a fantastic job.

Liz on

I agree with what Sheryl Crow said. Too many parents wanting to be a “buddy” with their child instead of the parent. A lot parents out there trying to work out their own self esteem issues, etc. through their children which is unfair to the child not to mention a burden they don’t need. All the best to Sheryl and her boys.

Sue on

Thank you Sheryl for believing in discipline! Your kids will grow up with a good sense of themselves. Could you maybe chat with Tom and Katie? Apparently “No” is not a word that their little darling is supposed to hear.

Toya L. on

I think she realizes the importance of having a male role model in her children’s lives or she wouldn’t have stated that they have great role models in their uncles and grandfather. Children as young as this lose their fathers to death every day and they turn out fine. A lot of men in the penal system didn’t have ANY male role models closely involved, this scenario is different.

Shannon on

She sounds like a great parent. Involved and loving! Those boys will grow up to be well adjusted, positive, good citizens. I am raising my kids the same way. Couldn’t agree with her more. As for the comments regarding a father, I don’t think in this case it matters all that much. Some kids have their dads pass away at a young age or parents get divorced or what not. These boys have a great mom, and as she mentioned they are very involved with their grandpa and uncles.

Steph on

@Jen, How could you have met her and both of her children last August when her second child is only a month old?

And Sheryl, I think you’re doing an incredible job. It was great to see you and Kid Rock singing together at his birthday concert. You two look great together!!!

Chris on

My daughter was raised in a single-parent home, and she’s a wonderful, caring, successful college graduate. Her father had no interest in being part of her life; he was willing to pay for an abortion, that’s it. I’m not rich or famous, but I raised her to know right from wrong and to think of the repercussions of all of her actions. I was active in her education; I showed up at school many times to find out what homework was missing and why. Her grandparents were, and still are, very much a part of her life too. Sheryl is raising these boys in a loving, healthy home; they might otherwise be in an overcrowded orphanage or with a foster family who would rather spoil or ignore the kids. Hopefully, she’ll keep them out of the spotlight and let them have a normal childhood.

Grace on

Love her! She is right on.

Erin on

@Steph – I think you may have read the article wrong. Her second son, Levi, is turning 1 this month… not 1 month. She announced his adoption last June. He was born last April:

Miche on

Steph, her younger one is 1 YEAR old this month. Not one month old.

Liz on

Thank God somebody is learning to set limits with kids. Sheryl Crow understands that being a parent is not all about being a kid’s “friend.” It’s about showing them right from wrong, and that includes letting them know they can’t have everything they want, when they want it. From now on, if somebody says, “These Hollywood people don’t know how to raise kids,” I’ll say, “I’ve got two words for you: Sheryl Crow.”

steph on

Steph, Levi is turning 1 this month. So last August he would of been 4 months old.


Nicole on

@Steph, her child is “1 THIS month” aka turning one year old in April (I think you just misread what was written).

Betty on

There is a person in Colorado who needs to take some lessons from her, She was on the Today show her child is going to be a mass murder when he is 25. He is a 8 year old with anger issues and I dont think the mother really cares she had droped the ball big time.

To the people who feel the father needs to be there, your full of it. My niece and nephew were raised by my sister alone one is 25 law student, my nephew is in his second year of college all payed with grants and student loans they are paying The father has never been in there lives because he thought himselp more then the children he made.

I think Sheryl is a wonderful person who will raise two very special people and if she wanted these children I think they are very lucky to have he to be there MOTHER!

Lisa on

I am not a Sheryl fan. Having said that, she deserves some defending here against those people who are way too quick to pass judgment on single moms with adoptive children. And btw – I am a happily married woman with two kids.

Sheryl’s comment about not imagining she would be a single parent most likely refers to many women’s desire, including hers, earlier in life, to raise a family with a husband. That ceased to be an option for her when she and Lance Armstrong broke up and she was already over 40.

To those of you who know nothing about adoption, the option to adopt becomes more difficult for people as they get older, and even more difficult for over-40 single would-be mothers. I learned this from adoptive parents who struggled through what was a long adoption process.

I can only presume that she had to seize the opportunity to become a parent while she still could – regardless of whether there was a man in her life.

Those boys have a loving mother who sets boundaries for her children. Would you rather they grow up without a parent?

Cecelia on

Having both a mother and a father is not a recipe for success. Single parents, by choice or circumstance, have every right to parent just like anyone else does. With a multitude of male influences, those boys aren’t missing out on anything in the same respect that someone like Elton John’s son isn’t missing out on not having a mother present. A loving parent or guardian that cares for the well-being of a child or children is what matters most.

FoghornLeghorn on

Yes, a male figure is important. But at least have it be a good one, and it doesn’t have to be a “daddy”. Should she have settled with a man-ho like Lance Armstrong – you know, because he’s just Father of the Year material and all? No thanks. Great athlete, scumbag of a man/potential husband.

These boys needed a life of love and care – and she stepped up to the plate.

jo on

Agree with all the comments about adopting as a single mom who BTW is more than able to provide for them. Also agree with comments about the assumption that to have a child’s dad (or mom for that matter) is always best and right for the child. Really? What if they’re abusive, neglectful, dealing with addictions, etc.? Im sure there are times when it’s as or more healthy to have it be someone else who will provide love, stability and a good role model, in Sherly’s case it sounds like male family members. And they are obviously fame chasers or we would have seen or heard from them by now. Good luck Sheryl and here’s to teaching our kids better values and how to be CAPABLE rather than entitled!

Felice on

This blog has been an pleasure to read, and I am so glad to connect with more no nonsense Moms. I too am a strict mother of a 5 year old little girl and find myself shocked at the freedom and leeway that my daughter’s little friends recieve. Children need boundaries and limits. They need to hear “No”, and realize that they are not precious to the world, and entitled to everything. Adults know what is correct and appropriate when, and children must fall in line.

jamtx on

@ Steph – I am not Jen but it says that he is 1 year old this month so I would assume last summer he was a baby.

Diana on

Parents can be any kid’s worst nightmare. Parents nowadays want to have FUN and no one disciplines or “parents.” Parents are the first to blame everyone else, especially their child’s teacher.
I always told my now adult children, “you can have thousands of friends but I am your one mother and I am doing my parenting job.”
My kids by the way, are fantastic, responsible, educated adults and I would not have changed a thing.

Kim on

In response to Susanne, my son is 19 yrs old, raised completely by a single mother, Me. He had wonderful role models in my brother, his uncle and my father, his grandfather! My son is currently in college taking Criminal Justice as his major and intends to become a Police Officer. He was involved in JR ROTC in High School and remains friends with wonderful boys and girls from that group. My son is honest, kind, empathetic and does not smoke, drink or do drugs, nor do his friends. I raised my son the way Sheryl is raising hers, he was spoiled, but not a brat and he had rules and I said No when it was warranted. He will never end up on drugs or in prison. So not every boy needs to be raised by a mother and a father to turn out good!!!!

Angi on

Anyone who badmouths an a adoptive mom is a jerk. She gave a home to children that could have been aborted if their birth mothers had not gone through the pregnancies. I for one am thrilled they have her as a mother.

Catca on

I feel I should apologize for starting all the single mom stuff as until my comment, no one was commenting on it. I was just trying to hold Sheryl up as an example of a single mom we should admire and respect.

Also, for those of you commenting about how children raised by single moms end up in prison – yes that’s true, many do. But that because the statistics are skewed by the fact that many single moms are teenagers or in impoverished circumstances. You wouldn’t dream of making comparisons between children of married couples of vastly different economic circumstances – yet we as a society do it on a regular basis to attack single moms. It’s an abuse of statistics and it ignores the real issue which is children being raised in poverty (that’s not to say their aren’t very good parents how are poor – they just face alot more challenges that other couples don’t face).

I’d also like to point some examples of children who turned out pretty darn well who were raised by a single parent: (1) President Barack Obama (2) President Bill Clinton (3) Sonia Sotomayor (U.S. Supreme Court Justice) (4) Oprah Winfrey (5) Micheal Phelps. And how about some other famous single moms besides Sheryl whose kids are doing just fine – Ruth Bader Ginsberg (U.S. Supreme Court Justice) and J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter novels). So maybe the next time you judge single moms – you should remember that two of the last three presidents were raised by single moms, as well as a sitting Supreme Court justice, the most successful summer Olympian in history, and a massively successful media mogul.

To recognize that the mere fact that being a single mom is not a recipe for disaster and does not mean you are degrading the importance of a father. What it does mean is that the mere fact that a father is present isn’t what’s needed – what’s needed is an involved father. It’s about the quality of the relationship – not the quantity. It’s hard to be a single mom and having a father who is involved and not merely present does make it easier to raise a child successfully. Father’s and mother’s are both important – but that does not mean that the absence of one is automatically bad. One of the most offensive comments is to call a single mom by choice selfish when that same accusation is not laid against a couple who has a child to save a marriage.

I know many single moms by choice and every single one of them spent a great deal of time thinking about their future child and how they will raise a child as a single parent. That couple where you have a mother and a father are having a child for reasons that have everything to do with them and nothing to do with the child. There are a lot of other examples of married couples who have children for selfish reasons.

Allegra on

I’m so confused by some of these comments. Sheryl is doing the best she can on her own and even acknowledged the fact that her sons need male role models (which they get from her dad and her brothers).

What if her husband died while she was pregnant? Or even died right now (as in, when she has both kids)? Would she be incapable of raising them on her own? Obviously not. Some of you REALLY need to look at the bigger picture here.

amanda on

My friend’s mom thought her kids could use a father figure when theirs deserted them. Her stepdad began molesting her and her sister at a young age which graduated to forced sex whenever he had a chance. So I have to disagree that not ALL children need a father figure.

dsfg on

“Anyone who badmouths an a adoptive mom is a jerk. She gave a home to children that could have been aborted if their birth mothers had not gone through the pregnancies.”

Um, ANY of us could have been aborted, adopted or not. So I don’t see what Sheryl adopting them has to do with the fact that they could potentially have been aborted.

My mom could have aborted me, but she didn’t. And I wasn’t adopted.

Adoptive parents are people trying to build their family. They are not charity workers and they are no more or less saintly than other parents.

MiB on

Well said Catca!

emily on

Sheryl- Seriously when Im 49 I want to look like her. AMAZING she looks so young but not fake. Fresh and beautiful.

Brecken on

Lisbeth, why should men be interested in staying in their kids’ lives when single moms do so well on their own? Sure the men need to send a check. Money from the men is very important, but as long as he’s paying for stuff, he can never see the kids and people don’t sweat it because…dads aren’t necessary.

The fact is that women used to think that men didn’t deserve to live with them and have children with them if they couldn’t commit. For men, marriage means commitment (my friends have mini-marriages where they live with a woman until it stops being fun and then they leave without the messiness of divorce). These men might say they’re committed to the women they live with and have children with, but they believe the women know the score about how temporary the relationships are. Based on the responses here, I think my friends are right that women do get it and that women don’t care about the men leaving anymore than the men do. Who knows if the kids care?

Brandi on

I am raising 2 children in a single parent home and they are doing just fine. Whether you choose to or you are unexpectedly put in that situation, it is how you handle it that matters. I can assure you my, and a few other that I know personally, children are more well adjusted, smart, HAPPY children. Neither have ever made below an A, last year alone my 10 year old won two talent shows for singing, an art show and 3 state wide short story writing contests. She also ranked 98% nationally on her SAT’s. I’m not saying this to “brag” per say, I am saying it to prove that single parent homes do not always = broken homes. As a single mother I have gotten my masters degree, a job with the DoD and provided a great life for my kids. So please keep your self righteous “all kids deserve a dad” speech to yourselves, it’s irrelevant.
And kudo’s to those on here who have enough common sense to see that!