Kimberly Wyatt on dancing, parent-shaming and her big 'mum vs mom' debate
How did Davina McCall convince her 'mum' was a better name than 'mom'?
“We didn’t have lives," says former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt on her time in one of the world’s biggest girl groups. "Our life was being on stage. It was being a performer, it was being in shape, it was being the best dancer I could possibly be.
“One day I realised I might wanna have a family and in order to do that I’d have to make a few changes, and I’ve made those changes ever since.”
Kimberly’s schedule has certainly changed since leaving the Pussycat Dolls, sure, but it hasn’t ‘calmed down’ exactly.
She's not on stage in a new country every night... but she’s now mum to 1-year-old Willow, talent judging on numerous TV shows, and visiting primary schools across the UK to teach dance to kids as part of her WellFit program.
She’s also heading up Fisher-Price’s new #BeatBoBoogie campaign - encouraging mums to get their kids dancing along to their new range of musical toys, and sharing videos on social media. So she is still dancing. Quite a lot.
“I’m really passionate about kids learning through play. I love that the BeatBo is interactive. I love that it allows mums to take an easy road to teaching their kids to dance.”
“Willow’s fallen in love with BeatBelle - the girly BeatBo. And she loves the [dance] mat – it’s great to see her listening to some of the commands and following along with it.”
It’s a good way to get little Willow involved in dancing, but surely with mum being a pro, she was already set to follow in her footsteps?
“I’ll always follow what she wants. But already she has such an interest,” Kimberly says.
"“She loves to dance she’s doing the twist and twirls and lifts her leg. And when I take her to dance classes, it seems all the other kids are cuddled up to their parents and there’s Willow in the middle of everybody, performing.
“It’s funny, she’ll go on the fireplace and treat it like it’s a stage. Like, ‘where are you getting this? You’re 1!’”
Not that Kimberly’s going to be a pushy stage mum, or anything…
“I think sometimes we wanna force what we think they should be upon them and I’m really doing my best to be like ‘who are youuu? Let’s find out. You really wanna wear rain boots and a onesie, alright! Let’s do it’.”
The #BeatBoBoogie campaign also wants mums to share videos of their kids dancing online. And we did have to wonder: is it a nice antidote to the negative, parent-shaming posts we all see far too often?
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“As soon as you become pregnant, everyone has an opinion,” Kimberly admits. “Going from body shape to body shape I found a lot of kickback [online].”
“So it’s great encouraging mums to share the video of themselves with their kid, together. Dance is the perfect therapy. Everybody loves to dance - so hopefully that’s a better step in the right direction.”
But one thing Kimberly wasn’t so sure about is whether Willow - who was born in the UK - will pick up some of her American slang. And it turns out whether or not she’d prefer ‘mom’ to ‘mum’ was a HUGE internal debate for the New Jersey-born performer...
“This was a big thing for me! It took me a long time to sort of decide and I was so used to ‘mom’.
“It was when I was at Got To Dance and I’d hear Davina McCall’s little boy saying ‘mummy, mummy, mummy, mum, mum, mum’ and I loved it and I loved the accent, especially when little kids speak in an English accent.
“And it was when I won [Celebrity] MasterChef [in 2015] that I felt really embraced by this country and the culture and I kind of wanted to introduce her to that as much as possible - so I chose mum.”
That’s definitely something we can all relate to - do you want to be mum, mama, mam, mom? What about grandparents? What do you call aunties and uncles and cousins…? So many decisions!
For now, mum Kimberly and her model husband Max Rogers are preparing to settle permanently in the UK with a new home, she’s still dancing and cracking on with her (many) projects and most importantly, enjoying life with her little girl.
Well, that’s not the only thing she’s enjoying…
“Now I get to sleep in the same bed at night! It’s amazing... I really can't complain!”
Kimberly Wyatt has teamed up with Fisher-Price for their #BeatBoBoogie campaign celebrating music, dance and active play.
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