LeAnn Rimes is trying to be a little bit braver these days. The one-time youngest country star to hit the charts, Rimes has been in the spotlight for most of her life — yet she's still discovering new parts of herself. The "How Do I Live" singer's latest endeavor is her positive living blog Soul Of EverLe — something she's wanted to do forever but just now found the courage to begin.
A blog seems fitting for the 34-year-old Rimes — these days, she's all about self-reflection. In February of 2017, Rimes released her latest album, Remnants, a personal and powerful new work that features the song "Mother" — a forgiving ballad to the woman who "did as much as she could" for the singer. Rimes herself is the stepmother to husband Eddie Cibrian's two children: Mason, 13, and Jake, 10. Watching her stepsons grow up has become a big part of her life. The rewards of co-parenting with Cibrian, who shares custody of the kids with his ex-wife, is something that has surprised even the songstress.
Refinery29 caught up with Rimes, who spoke about her latest blogging endeavor, her life as a stepmom, and why she loves chill backyard days with her family most of all:
How do you and your family celebrate Mother's Day?
"It changed a little bit every year since I've been married. The kids spend Mother's Day with their mom, so Eddie takes me out. He tries to make the day special for me, which is very sweet. Then we go and spend the day with our moms and my stepdad and his dad, and it becomes a family-oriented day of celebrating our parents, as we're both only children.
"I learned about Stepmom's Day a few years ago, which is the Sunday after Mother's Day. We celebrate with the kids as we have the last couple of years. We go to dinner and do the whole thing. I love the fact that there is a stepmom's day and an option [for stepparents to celebrate]. It's so different for each family. I love that we have a separate day and I think it's important that people know about it.
"I've been posting about it for the last couple of years on Instagram and Twitter and not many stepmoms know about it. For me, we have the kids half the time, so I feel like I am mothering, which is crazy as someone who has never had [biological] children before. I think it's great."
"When I was first around the kids, I didn't know what was expected of me."
Are there any unique challenges to being a stepmom?
"I think parenting is challenging, period. I didn't really have a childhood, so for me it's interesting to be around kids that get to be kids. They were two and six when I was first around them, and now they are 10 and 13. To be around them, and to watch them have a childhood, it's been amazing to see. I greatly appreciate the fact that they have that piece of their lives, and we try to keep that part of their lives alive as much as possible.
"When I was first around the kids, I didn't know what was expected of me. Little things that were so childlike about them that I didn't have about me. It's been a really big learning experience for me. It's pushed my buttons, which has always made me look and see where I need more healing on myself. It's been really rewarding to see them grow up, and know that I have a part in that. That responsibility, to help raise kids, it's something that hits you really hard. It was something I was up for the challenge of. They bring so much joy to my life, and it's a new experience every day."
You speak about your own mother in the song "Mother." What does that song mean to you?
"My mom and I have had a really interesting relationship. She kind of lost me to the world when I was 13. She lost half of my childhood, basically. I have had a way of keeping her outside of my life, for a long time... I was really angry at my mom the day I wrote the song, [which is] all about healing, understanding, and acceptance, and I thought 'I'll never get here with my mom.'
"Then, about two weeks later, something happened with my stepson, and I really wanted to protect him, but I couldn't, and I could only imagine what my mom must have felt when I was young, trying to protect me as I was out in this world singing and touring. I probably felt a tenth of what she felt. It hit me really hard. I was texting, and calling her, and it was a very healing moment.
"A lot of songs on this album, I've felt like I've stepped into. My last album, I felt like I was writing and in the moment. There were a lot of messages on this record that I felt came through me on this record, and knew where I wanted to be and where I was heading. I had to fully embody the things I was writing about. I wrote 'Mother' a few weeks before I even knew what I was writing about."
How do you teach your stepsons to respect women?
"I think the most amazing thing is with Eddie. The way they see him treat me. He's so respectful, and so generous, and he's that way with his boys too, they're very affectionate with one another. It's really beautiful the way he treats me in front of them. That's essentially something he told me: 'I want my kids to see the respect I have for you, the love I have for you... I think that's important to bring them up around.'
"We're both really aware of how we treat each other. The energy of the household, the way they get taught to treat the human they are in a relationship with... I think that's the most important piece of it. Not so much about empowering them by words, but more about showing them, and I have a wonderful husband that shows them that."
"This blog is a part of my healing: to be messy in the world and not always show the slick side of perfection that celebrities always try to project."
Do you have any working moms in Hollywood that you admire?
"Honestly, any working mom I have respect for because it's a lot to juggle, especially in Hollywood where you are in the public eye. Kate Hudson I've always loved, she's such a free little spirit. She seems to let her kids be really creative and playful, and be able to juggle it all. I've read a lot about how she handles her kids and it's really inspiring."
Why did you choose to start your blog at this point in your career and life?
"I think fear was one of the biggest things, honestly. I had to let go of the fear. I'm such a perfectionist and I've been one to wait until things are almost perfect because even though I know perfect doesn't exist, in my mind [I wanted to wait] until things were perfect enough. I finally had to let go of some of that. It was realizing I was going to sit on this for the rest of my life if I didn't begin. I think that's the biggest lesson for me, with the blog, is just beginning. It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be a huge launch of a ton of content. For me, it just needed to be super heartfelt.
"I started 'chalk talk' on Instagram, which was a complete accident, about a year and a half ago. Eddie had made me this chalkboard for the kitchen. I felt like I needed a dose of inspiration at a time. I happened to Instagram one [of the inspirational quotes on the chalkboard] and people gravitated towards it.
"I feel like as I'm healing myself, which I started the day after my 30th birthday, when I checked myself into a rehabilitation center for anxiety and depression, and I knew I finally needed to take control of my life. The healing that I've experienced in the last four and a half years, the journey has been so interesting. People are constantly asking me what I'm doing, what I'm reading, taking care of my body, what I'm eating, all of those types of things. I hope to touch upon all of that on the blog.
"I've always connected with people through words, and... [this blog] is a part of my healing: to be messy in the world and not always show the slick side of perfection that celebrities always try to project. To be messy and be human, I think that's important. I think the blog will allow me to do that.
"[The blog] is spiritually based, but it's a lifestyle blog. It's a lot of work, I didn't realize how much work a blog is! But it's so fun to be creative in a totally different way."
Were there any existing blogs that inspired you to start your own?
"GOOP [Gwyneth Paltrow's blog] has always been my favorite, [as has] MindBodyGreen. I've had this [desire to start a blog] for a really long time, but fear was always getting in the way. I hope to aspire to [those blogs] one day... MindBodyGreen is something I go on at 3 a.m."
What is your idea of a perfect day with your family?
"Just being at home. It's wonderful in the summer. We have a pool in the back and the kids love the pool. Just being able to be at home with nothing on the agenda except probably cooking and grilling out in the evening. Just being at home with the dogs and the kids and Eddie... Having my feet in the grass and watching them play. That's my perfect day because I don't get to do it often enough."