Gwen Stefani feels like she's letting everyone down

Dec 18, 2012 at 12:43 p.m. ET

The rock star admits to Vogue that no matter where she is, who she's with and what she's working on, she feels guilty about letting the other bits slide.

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale in the park

It's not easy being a mom cum rock star cum fashion icon, Gwen Stefani tells Vogue in an interview for its January 2013 issue. In fact, Stefani feels both guilty and torn, pretty much all the time, like most other working moms.

That guilt has intensified in the past year, with No Doubt putting out its first record in more than a decade, September's Push and Shove.

"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?" Stefani asks. "I felt so guilty. I am letting everyone down in the studio right now; I’m letting down my kids; I’m letting down myself."

Stefani says she started her first fashion line, L.A.M.B., 10 years ago because "I was preparing myself, knowing that the music thing was going to end."

In addition to L.A.M.B., Stefani designed for her two other labels, too: Harajuku Lovers for teens and Harajuku Mini, a line sold at Target. In 2011, she hired another designer to work on the lines, so she'd have more time for other pursuits. But her "free time" quickly became encumbered.

“Who knew that 10 years later, I’d be doing a No Doubt record, be married, have two kids, have three clothing lines? All at one time! It would be ridiculous to do that. And it is ridiculous. It’s impossible," says Stefani. "That’s what this whole record was: trying to balance it, trying to be my creative self but also be the new me."

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Stefani says her new responsibilities crept up on her: "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. It starts getting so serious, and you’re like, Aaaaaaah!"

Not that the early stages of sons Kingston and Zuma was easy:  "I did my first solo record and went on tour while I was pregnant," she remembers. "I would want to throw up during certain songs. Certain outfits would make me sick. It was torture. I toured until I was four and a half months pregnant, showing. I came home and had Kingston, and when he was eight months old, I went back on the road. I nursed him for fourteen months, so I would literally do my hair and makeup, go back to the bus, nurse him, put him down, and walk out onstage. And I did that for 100 shows."

It sure helps that Stefani has a loyal partner in husband Gavin Rossdale, whom she's been with for 16 years (married for 10): "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."

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Last year was particularly challenging for the Stefani-Rossdale partnership, since Rossdale's old band, Bush, reunited, put out a new album, and went on a nearly yearlong tour to support said record. Being on her own with two vigorous boys was a challenge.

"I mean, he was there for me mentally, but physically? These boys are physical. They wake up and they start punching each other!" Stefani says.

Rossdale and Stefani used to enjoy time off from each other, but these days, it's not fun being apart: "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."

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