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Kelly Rowland and educator Jessica McKay are sharing their sweet ode to modern motherhood. The duo came together to write the recently released children's book, Always With You, Always With Me, a "lyrical celebration" of working moms everywhere.
Speaking with ET about the book, Rowland revealed that she and McKay initially met through their sons before deciding to work together.
"Our boys go to school together and we had play dates and she was just telling me more about herself," the 41-year-old shared. "She's a teacher and, of course, a wonderful wife, beautiful mother of three kids, and she's also an author. She had, like, five or six books written, and she said, 'I don't know what to do with them.' I said, 'Well, I have never written a children's book, but we can figure it out together!'"
Rowland noted that after she read the beginning of what would become Always With You, Always With Me, an idea grew between the two. The singer marveled that she had "never seen anything like this before."
"There's no book for a working mom and their child and the dynamic and emotions -- those big emotions of what takes place when you are separated from your child," she explained. "I had several days or moments where I was getting ready to go out of town and crying on my way to the car, missing my kids. Now it's two and it makes it even worse because I don't want to miss anything."
Rowland, who shares 7-year-old Titan and 1-year-old Noah with husband Tim Weatherspoon, said the idea resonated with her, especially after growing closer with her boys during the COVID-mandated lockdowns. Their "thick bond" makes it even harder to leave when she has to work.
"I think that as a woman, we're just expected to have a balance and we're really admired when we do or show a little bit of balance, but I think that we're so dope that we figure it out every day and we make it look easy," she shared. "And I think that for so long, society has just put the woman in the home and when we venture out and we have these big dreams and big ideas, it's like, 'Well, how the hell [do] they go home and schedule this, do this and figure out this and go to work?'"
The book, Rowland explained, shows what it's like for mothers as they figure out that all-powerful balance. It shows the inevitable 'Mom Guilt,' as well as how hard mothers work to ensure their children's happiness.
"That's because of the mom hustle," she declared. "There's nothing like it."
The Merry Liddle Christmas Baby actress revealed she likes to arrange miniature scavenger hunts for her sons to embark on while she's away. She also works love letters into Titan's lunch kits so he can find "magic traces" while Rowland is away.
"And my magic traces [of] him [are] when I find a Lego in my purse or my pocket, or a car in my purse or my pocket," she sweetly recalled. "I'm like, 'Ouch,' [and] sure enough, it's a Lego sticking to the inside of my nails. Our magic traces are always found by each other, it's cool."
When asked if Titan is aware of his mother's work, Rowland shared that her firstborn "knows Mommy does a lot of different things and he's proud of it all."
She added, "It was so cool, this past Sunday at the LA Festival of Books, him and Chase -- Jessica McKay's son -- were there and they were watching us read the book [with a] beam on their faces... He's just smiling and so proud and that was such a great moment."
She recalled the moment Titan saw the book for the first time, recalling how excited her son was by the cover. “The first time he saw it and it was done, he was like, 'is that me!?' I was like 'yeah, I mean, when you didn't cut your hair!' Because he had the cutest little fro. And now Noah has a fro. So, it’s perfect," she shared. "I was like, 'yeah, it’s you man.' And it is. I think it's a version of every Black boy. How often do they see themselves in books? How often do we see Black women in books being architects and leading a whole space of men to build something great?”
"We love everybody so much that we wouldn’t toy with it, but I do think that... you would deserve a surprise," she said. "I feel like everything is just so planned so we see it before it happens and we see the process right after it happens. It's just a lot, like, we deserve spontaneity, we desire to be surprised and I would hope Destiny's Child would be a pleasant surprise."