Jordin Sparks is no stranger to the highs and lows of motherhood. The American Idol winner, who’s the proud mom to 15-month-old son DJ, has been open on both social media (hi, joyful Instagram account!) and in the press about life with her little one, from the baby blues she experienced after DJ’s birth to the way her family has fun these days.
Not surprisingly, summer fun includes time in the water. Sparks says DJ “has loved water ever since he was born” and has been getting pool time since he was about 3 months old. “I mean, he sees a pool and he points at it and goes, ‘pool! Pool! Water! Water! Water!’ all of the time,” she says. “He wants to be near it.”
Of course, being the mom of a newly mobile water-loving toddler has made water safety a priority for Sparks — and made her recent partnership with Kalahari Resorts & Conventions for National Waterpark Day a no-brainer.
“Now that he’s walking and he can open doors [water safety] is even more important,” she said. “So we’re going to start enrolling him in classes, but my husband and I have [also] been taking him in the water, showing him where the steps are, trying to get him to learn how to float and all of that stuff. He’s very comfortable around [water]. He doesn’t know how to swim yet but he’s not scared of it, which is great.”
That was evident on a recent trip the family made to the resort. “DJ’s eyes got so big because he saw all the kids in the water — he saw the fountains, the slides, the basketball hoop, the swings,” she recalls. “He was in heaven and for us, as the adults there, it was a lot of fun too because it was stress-free. It was sooo much fun. And I’m so happy that we got to do that experience.”
It’s nice to hear Sparks, 29, talking animatedly about sweet — and stress-free — parenting moments, especially since she’s been frank about the anxiety she felt as a new mom.
“I had the baby blues,” she says. “My anxiety shot through the roof as soon as the baby was born. Just fear. Fear of everything. Germs, going outside, fear of other people, fear of people coming into the house, or of people touching him. And it would overwhelm me at times.”
Sparks credits her husband, Dana Isaiah, with getting her through that tough time. “My husband was my rock. He was so great with, you know, being gentle with me and understanding that there was a lot going on with my body and my hormones and everything that happened and that essentially a trauma had just happened to my body, and that I needed time to heal.”
These days, Sparks is experiencing a whole new phase of motherhood. “It’s so much fun because he’s learning,” she says. “Every single day he does something new or he just, like, will point to something and I’ll say something and he’ll repeat it. And it’s clear as day that he is looking at it and registering what I’m saying and it’s just so fascinating. His motor skills are becoming finer and his brain is just so quick, he’s so sharp. It keeps me on my toes.”
And with baby’s age comes mama’s wisdom — the knowledge that she can trust that he’ll be in capable, caring hands when she has to be away from him for work or (gasp!) even a date night, yes — but also an appreciation for just how precious these moments are. She recalls realizing recently, as she rocked him to sleep, that her once-squishy little babe was a little heavier and less squishy. “I was just like, ‘I can’t believe this is going by so fast.,'” She says. “The days are long but the years are short. It’s so true, he’s already almost a year and a half and it went by like that. So I’m cherishing every moment.”
Cherishing — and sharing them with the world, as well. DJ figures prominently (and adorably) in Sparks’ Instagram feed. The decision, which she and Isaiah talked through before DJ was even born, has certainly opened her up to a bit of mom-shaming: Sparks says that right after DJ was born people were like, “where are his clothes?!” because he was always in a diaper (hello, it was summer in LA!). But overall has been a positive experience.
“I remember we had the conversation, like, ‘are we going to post him? Do we feel comfortable with people knowing what he looks like?’ and all of those different things. And then it was like, ‘well, he’s a beautiful part of our life. Why wouldn’t we want to share that?’ … There are a lot of moments that we keep to ourselves, as well — I think that that’s an important thing — but the moments that we do share, we know make people’s day. The world is so crazy right now. If we can bring joy to somebody at some point, why not do that?”