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Anna Trebunskaya: I Want to Be My Child’s Friend

12/11/2013 at 01:00 PM ET

Anna Trebunskaya Santa's Secret Workshop
Tiffany Rose/Wireimage

Seven months into her pregnancy, Dancing with the Stars beauty Anna Trebunskaya is finally beyond being surprised by the idea of becoming a first-time mother.

Not only has maternal instinct kicked in, but so has maternal humility.

“This whole experience has been so humbling in a way, just going through the changes with your body,” she told PEOPLE while attending the 3rd Annual Santa’s Secret Workshop, which benefited L.A. family housing, in West Hollywood on Saturday.

“Feeling like how an 80-year-old would feel like when you get up off the chair and you can’t walk quite fast, and me being so used to just jumping up and down and kicking my legs up.”

Not that the 32-year old has been taking it that easy — and it shows.

“I’m refusing to go to the ‘pregnant’ yoga classes — I still take my normal classes,” the dance pro says, fully aware that a woman in her third trimester is going to draw some stares in her regular yoga class.

“They do,” she says with a laugh. “When I show up with my yoga mat and they’re all standing on their head, and I’m just stretching in my child’s pose with my legs spread.”

While Trebunskaya recently told PEOPLE that her child will have Russian and American names, she has since whittled down the list of possibilities. “I have about 10 names,” she says. “I have about five girl names and five boy names.”

And that’s most likely where it will stay until the day her child comes into this world, as Trebunskaya firmly believes that she cannot name her little one until she finally holds he or she in her arms.

“I want to look at the child and be like, ‘That’s who you are,'” she says. “[My mom] had some names picked out, but she looked at me and she said, ‘No, this is you. This is your name.'”

It’s less a family tradition and more a shared sense that mother and child are in this together, so it only seems fitting that they both play an active part in their first big decision, with a bright and loving future to follow.

“I want my child to be their own person,” says Trebunskaya with a mother’s glow. “I want to meet them. I want to get to know them. I want to be their friend.”

– Reagan Alexander

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Showing 85 comments

sky on

A child needs a mother, not a friend. You have to set boundaries, etc.

ava on

I completely agree, sky!

kristen on

You can be friendly but kids need parents. Friends come and go, they don’t set boundaries, and they won’t push the kid the way a parent needs to. Friends are fun, parenting is work. It’s great work, rewarding work, but it’s work.

J on

Be a parent first, friend next.

I'm With The Band on

I came on here to state what has already been said, so I’ll happily second all the comments! I don’t understand the need to be your child’s friend. As a parent, you can still have an open and close relationship with your offspring and have fun. But a child will have plenty of friends throughout their life yet they’ll only have one mother and father to guide them through childhood and adulthood. What a wonderful job that is.

Mommytoane on

You can either be your child’s friend, or your child’s parent. But not both, its one or the other. Its normal for parents and kids to become friends in adulthood, but that is long after a parents job is “Done” so to speak. As parents, our role is to guide our children towards a good future. We are there to set boundaries, set rules, and teach our kids how to live life and work with what the world has. There is nothing wrong with letting your child be his/her own person, within guidelines, but a child needs a parent not a friend.

Somes on

You can be their “friend” when they’re grown up. A child need boundaries and discipline. I know many people who have been their child’s friend and now they are dealing with major adolescent issues!

Sharon on

Your child will have many friends, but she will only have one Mom, your name will be Mom not your child’s bestie.

Mytrice on

Congrats to you and your new addition. It’s an amazing experience to have a baby, but focus on bring the “mother” – you only get one; you have a lifetime of “friends.”

Rita on

I’m not a mother. But I know a child needs a parent over a friend any day.

Jazz on

She needs to understand that she needs to be a mother first, and a friend second. Some parents want to be their children’s friend and then have problems setting boundaries and disciplinng them cause their child dont respect the parent.

AKMGR on

Children need parents for a reason. No, it’s not always easy, and sometimes it’s heartbreaking, but no one will want to be your child’s friend if you don’t set some limits and learn to say no.

Marcia on

I understand what she means, that she wants to be close to her child. But you can’t be their friend.

lainie on

A child needs a loving parent, who sets boundaries and provides guidance. Friends can be made elsewhere.

Anonymous on

I certainly hope Anna reads all these comments especially the ones that say “A child needs a mother, not a friend”, they’ll make friends of their own.

Meg on

I really hope Anna reads these comments…..this is all good advice. Your child will make their own friends!

lola on

There will be plenty of time to be friends with your child….after they have grown up and you have gone through all the ins and outs and happy and tough times of parenting. Focus on being a loving, supportive and happy Mother. The friendship comes much later.

WhatIsHappeningWithThisWorld on

As a mother of two with very clear boundaries and discipline and very loving (I am Brazilian, and Brazilian moms are very protective), I can say that I totally understand her statement. Nobody here is getting it. I always thought the same, that I want to be my kids’s friend. This means listening to your child, giving advice, having long conversations, not only being the disciplinary. She also meant in the future, someone said here “You can be their “friend” when they’re grown up”. Of course! And I am sure that’s what she meant. There is no need for so much criticism over such a loving article. Enjoy Anna!

WhatIsHappeningWithThisWorld on

**kids’ friend**
Sorry for not proofreading it!

shidley on

“To each his own”. You can still be a good parent either way. I wouldn’t read too much into these interviews. Pretty sure Anna will be a fine parent without the input of strangers….

Brenda on

No No NO…you can be friends when your child is grown up and matured. Take it from someone who made that mistake. Sky said it all

Sherron Teal on

Too much of this friends stuff going on these days. Be a mother, hell have plenty of people to be his or her friend……but only one mom.

Juli on

I may be the only one who thinks that by saying she wants to be her baby’s friend Anna means she wants her son or daughter to trust her, confide in her, rely on her all the times. That doesn’t mean she won’t be disciplinarian to the baby when it’s asked of her to be.

Becky on

I love the idea of being your child’s friend. Friendships are beautiful. Friendships have love, acceptance, honesty, respect, loyalty. For all you who oppose this idea, I ask why? I am friends with my children and now grandchildren. I am that safe place of acceptance and warmth that everyone needs. They trust me and I trust them. Parenting that way is so effective. My children have turned out so well and now I get the joy of seeing my grandchildren become beautiful human beings. You can still be a parent with the added benefit of having a friendship when you get over the archaic idea of needing to be only an authority figure.

Megan on

It’s a sweet sentiment, but quite frankly she is clueless. All expecting first time moms are somewhat clueless, although I think most of us know that you need to be a parent, not a friend. Reality is going to sink in once the baby is born.

Anonymous on

Anna, rehab centers and shrinks’ offices are full of kids whose parents were their friends. Dina and Lindsay Lohan are besties. Are you sure you want to be your child’s “friend?”

Boston93 on

Anna, rehab centers and shrinks’ offices are full of kids whose parents were their friends. Dina and Lindsay Lohan are besties. Are you sure you want to be your child’s “friend?”

Marie on

No. You need to be your child’s parent.

Tess on

Be a mom first and their friend when they are a full adult responsible for their own decisions. That said, you will always be a mom first, that will never change.

Carrie M on

Sure….baby can be your friend and that;s when your kid will WALK ALL OVER YOU!

Joyce J on

Becky, My two daughters would tell you there is nothing wrong with a parent being an authority figure. That said, my daughters knew they could rely on me, confide in me, and trust me above all. But they also knew I had years of experience over them. My job was to give guidance, structure, morals, values, and ethics. Along the way they were taught to be compassionate and responsible. But as much as I loved them I knew there were times they didn’t like me. It meant I was doing my job right. Today at 32 and 29 they are my friends as well as my daughters. Children need parents to be loving, guiding role models not another friend. Too many parents get into trouble being a friend instead of the parent.

Becky on

Joyce J. You missed my point. My children and grandchildren have and are being guided by wonderful authority. There are many kinds of friendships. Most of you are equating friendship with your children as behaving like one of their peers. That is not what I am meaning. Open your mind to other types of parenting besides what we all have been indoctrinated with. Parenting can encompass many new ideas. God bless Anna and her new beautiful baby. She will be an amazing mom!!

anonymous on

You need to be a parent and not a friend. Look at the Lohans, Kardashians…etc. You can be your child’s confidante…but you need to be strong enough to teach the child right from wrong

Emma on

You have to PARENT your child, NOT seek to be their friend. Its pathetic when parents choose the friendship aspect over parenting.

Someone needs to sit down with this twit and explain that to her.

Sam on

You need to be a Mom (parent) first….friend second.

Kat on

Be a friend but also parent your kids.
She has her head in the clouds about motherhood.

Vida on

Be a mother, that is what your child will need.

Mina on

Growing up my mother was the strict disciplinarian but she was also the first person I turned to when I had a problem. Now that I’m as adult I consider my mom my best friend. I think parenting is a balance of both kids need structure and discipline but, you want them to know that they can come to you when they need a friend instead of getting the wrong advice somewhere else

gymluv on

My mom gave me a candle that sits on a plaque. The plaque says “A daughter, is the baby girl you raised, to be a strong and gentle woman. A woman that becomes your treasured friend.” Perhaps this is what Anna was referring to. I think we all agree that children need a mother, but as a child becomes an adult, you can become friends as well.

Joe Petitjean on

Love Anna

kathy on

I’m sorry but does anyone know who the father is?

Nancy in Illinois on

She’s beautiful and I enjoy her work on DWTS. Should be, until she finally holds him or her in her arms, not he or she. Writer, get an English handbook, please.

Anonymous on

I hate to be rude, but who the heck is she? and why does she want to be her child friend? a child needs a parent, not a friend.

Beth on

I agree with Becky and Juli in their parenting sentiments. I think when talking about being your child’s friend, what is meant is that your child would be able to talk to you honestly and confide in you. It would be based on a relationship with established mutual trust and support for one another.

My mother and I have this kind of wonderful relationship. From day one, my mother has been there for me in more ways than any of my friends put together have been there. I consider my mother my best friend, and this has been the case ever since I was a child. My mother has always maintained being a parent first and foremost of course, but I have always loved, trusted, respected and confided in her above anyone else. My mother has always had the saying of “If you can’t trust me, who can you trust?” The bond my mother and I have is we have each other’s backs. This is what is meant by friendship.

Also, wouldn’t you want to be a friend to the person (or people) you love the most? :)

Anonymous on

Blah. Babies and kids need parents…not friends. They will make their own friends.

suzydiamond on

WRONG! The kid will have plenty of friends BUT only ONE mother. That’s the problem in this world with kids today. The mother wants to be friends instead of being a mother.

Kat on

PEOPLE, please try to use basic grammar rules in your articles. This is embarrassing: “she cannot name her little one until she finally holds he or she in her arms.”

“Until she finally holds him or her in her arms,” you mean. Or even better, “until she finally holds the child in her arms.” This is second grade stuff.

valeskas on

Be a parent, we see what happens when parents are friends to their children, they act up.

Jay on

Sorry Anna but you can’t be a friend to your child. You need to be the parent, the disciplinarian. They will have plenty of friends but only one mother.

Carolyn on

Shes worried about being her child’s friend? How about providing it with a father?

Lil Red on

Your child comes into this world needing a parent, not a friend. Friendship with your child comes after they are adults.

eviewg on

Be a PARENT… you child will have plenty of friends later on in life.

Kate on

I think her sentiment probably stems from the guilt that this child won’t have its father in their life. Anna if u didn’t use a sperm bank do the kid a favor and include the father if u can. They need a mother and a father and not friends

Angela on

I don’t think her comment needs to be taken to an extreme, ladies. You may not be able to be both, but at the same time, you want your child to feel like they can tell you anything like they can their friends. You don’t want your children to be afraid of making you made or disappointing you over being able to trust that you can help them out of a sticky situation without slamming your fists down. There just needs to be balance between the two. If you can accomplish that, then your child will greatly benefit.

Misty on

You may say that now, but wait until you have a little hellion because you didn’t put your foot down early enough because you were too busy being a friend rather than a parent.

Cari on

Your job isn’t to be a friend. It’s to be a parent. You don’t just “meet” your child. You raise and form your child into the person they will be one day.

Angela on

First off I have to say that I really hate the comment section on the baby and fashion articles! The comments don’t post half of the time, or they post hours later. It’s ridiculous..People Mag, change it to Discus!

Ladies, it doesn’t have to be to the extreme either way. You can be both your child’s friend and their parent as long as their is balance. Yes, you have to set clear boundaries and being a parent ALWAYS comes first. But, you also want your child to feel comfortable coming to you with any and everything and in order for that to happen, you have to be their friend. Balance is everything as a parent. It’s hard, but it’s doable. Don’t take it to the extreme either direction. That never works in your child’s favor.

Angela on

Carolyn, you don’t “provide” a father..A father isn’t clothing, shoes or a roof over their head. You don’t go out and buy a father or even search for a man just so the baby can have a father. What a ridiculous comment! I’ve been a single mother for 10 years and of course I wish my children had a father to look up to (since their dad isn’t around), but I’m not going to marry a man for my children. I will marry a man for ME. Of course I’ll want that man to be a man that my children are proud of and love..but I will be with that man after my kids go off to college and start their own lives and I want to be married to someone that I’ll enjoy and have a great relationship with regardless of kids being in our home or not.

Amanda on

My mom and dad were always my parents first and friends second. That’s the way it should be.

Anonymous on

Big mistake! A child needs a parent. S/he will have plenty of friends.

Anonymous on

Setting the kid up from the start to have issues as teen/adult.

guest on

You shouldn’t be friends with your children. They will have plenty of friends, they need parents since they will only have one set. Remember friends will tell them what they want to hear, you as the parent will have to tell them the truth, regardless of how much it hurts.

aubrey on

Who is the father?

Anonymous on

First off, I just wanted to note that the name of the article is misleading. Why name the article “I Want To Be My Child’s Friend,” when that is the last sentence of the article? Why not name the article on what the focus of the article actually is, something like “Anna Trebunskaya: Pregnancy Is A Humbling Experience”? Unless there is the possibility that the author (Mr. or Ms. Alexander) wanted to cause a discussion like this.

Second, I don’t see why everyone is bashing what Ms. Trebunskaya is saying. It’s her decision and her prerogative to parent how she feels, and no matter whether you agree or not, at least respect her decision. Everyone does parenting differently, and it’s not anyone’s issue to comment on that parenting or stick their nose where it doesn’t belong. So people, please keep the criticism to yourself.

So why don’t we just celebrate the fact that another life is coming into this world? Another life that no matter what the circumstances will be loved and cherished.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

jenna on

ok, well, when your kid is the next ethan couch, then you’ll wish you’d been a parent, not a friend.

JoAnn on

Parent shaming at its best in the comments, as always. I have a child and one on the way. While I don’t consider my son a “friend” , I also don’t waste my time giving advice to women who haven’t asked for it, or judging others parenting skills. To each their own, and I’ll leave the judgements up to God.

Melissa Ann Reed on

Kids have enough friends, this baby needs a mother. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be friends with my daughters but only after they’re adults and no longer in need of my authority and discipline.

Brandi on

@ Carolyn you don’t sound very bright at all…having a “father” doesn’t guarantee that everything is going to be perfect for a child. One of my closest friends grew up in a two-parent home with a militant father that was so emotionally cold and absent that she had to get finally had to get into therapy to get some help dealing with lingering issues from his parenting. My siblings and I grew up in a single parent home (our father was killed in a car accident six months before I was born) and we had an awesome childhood :) We were close (and still are) and grew up happy with a one-in-a-million mom and a big family surrounded by love, encourgement and positivity. I think as a new mom-to-be that Anna’s focus should be on bringing her child into the world and developing her relationship with her baby than “finding he or she a father”. We don’t even know who the child’s father is or if he is or will part of the baby’s life but we do know that Anna is a successful and financially well-off woman that is more than capable of caring for a child on her own.

Nancy on

I hate it when people say that they want to be their child’s FRIEND. You are the PARENT! Sometimes you have to be unpopular and do the right thing for your child. Set boundaries and guide them. The world won’t be their friend so you have to teach them how to go out in the world and DEAL!

Lauren on

Your child will have enough friends. She will need a parent to provide guidance and discipline as she grows. Don’t be one of the many parents I have seen that are afraid to be a parent because they are afraid their child will not like or love them. If you give your child love, respect and guidance she will love you forever.

Meowsies on

This might be the stupidest thing I have ever read. Your kid will have plenty of friends, but only one mother.

Penny on

She hasnt had the baby yet. A lot of new feelings and emotions come once your actually holding your baby in your arms. You think you will be a certain way with your child, but once you have them you realize how precious life is and how scary the world is. You just want to protect them from everything. My parenting style was so different than what I imagined it would be before baby. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be your childs best friend. Every mother wants that role! I am sure she will figure out a good balance.

Carolyn on

To those who ridiculed my comment that the baby needs a father with negative comments let me say this–I am talking about a decent man who is kind and loving towards his child and his wife/partner. There is no substitute for this in a child’s life and it’s a shame that so many women choose so poorly or are so careless that they bring children into the world with little or no thought. So please, enough with the comments about single motherdom and how wonderful it is. Most of the time it’s just not so great for the mother or the child.

RTTR on

As a person who had a friend for a “parent” I would have to agree with everyone who has posted. It would have been more helpful for my mother to have been a mother rather than a confidant. I’m fine, but looking back, I would had preferred a parent to an adult friend.

Nancy on

I agree with Carolyn. It’s a fact that children do better in TWO PARENT households. We are not talking about dysfunctional households but loving homes where there are two parents who love and support each other and set an example of love for their children.

Jenn on

I agree with most of you about the “friend” comment, but I think she’ll learn as she goes.

Brandi on

@ Caroyln I ‘m glad you clarified your comment. Kids do better in homes where there are two loving, stable parents in a healthy relationship, but those that are raised by single moms aren’t hopeless or pre-destined to have difficult, miserable lives and that was the point that I was trying to get across. Different strokes for different folks ♡…as I stated earlier, we don’t know the situation regarding the baby’s father as far as his present or future involvement in the baby’s life, but if she chooses to raise the child on her own, that’s perfectly fine. There are lots of women out there that want kids but never find Mr (or Mrs) Right to have a family with so they choose sperm donors or similar situations so they still can have kids and raise on their own.
We live in a world where finding a father for a child isn’t a part of every single mom’s agenda. I agree that there is no substitute for a father or father figure in a child’s life, but your comment still came across as a little insensitive towards moms that are happy being single moms and children that are in happy, loving single-mother families. ♡

Anonymous on

1st kid…she wants to be friends. :) She’ll figure it out. LOL

Linnea on

Good grief! Anyone can be a friend. Being a mother is the hardest, yet most rewarding work around!

Dian on

W R O N G ! ! ! Your responsibility will to be a parent and raise your child through influence and example. Children do not make BFF’s. Maybe when they’re adults, but not through formative years. Think twice before you engage your mouth.

Anonymous on

I got very attached to Anna and her (now ex) husband from watching Dancing with the Stars. They did things like dance to their wedding song, and choreograph a dance in honor of a fellow dancer fighting cancer and her husband…and they were married many years. I was holding out hope they’d get back together, but it seems that bridge has passed. I hope this baby has a father figure!

Angi on

The title of the article is definitely misleading. It was one statement of a long paragraph. I think all good parents agree that first and foremost- you should be your child’s parent- not their friend. But there are a lot of parents out there that have a wonderful relationship with their children. My coworker has an amazing relationship with her daughter- and on her birthday yesterday her daughter said “Happy birthday to my best-friend- and wonderful mother” So yes… parents can do a dual role of being a parent and being a friend. And I think that’s what Anna meant in her statement- she wants to meet- and get to know her child- and develop a loving relationship with him/her.

Deb on

Thank God for these comments. I like Anna, and I hope she doesn’t mean it the way it sounds, because parents being a child’s ‘friend’ instead of their parent is why we have a lot of the problems we have in this world.

Karen on

Kids have friends, their mother shouldn’t be one of them. She’s a Russian so maybe they think differently. I wonder who the father is? She got pregnant right after her divorce. I wonder if she was cheating and her husband found out and divorced her.

beezerbomb on

Your duty is to be this kid’s Parent, not its pal. Two different things.

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