Interviewer: So, as the disciplinarian, do you have any good tricks?
Madonna: I just take things away. I take privileges away. They get to watch movies every Sunday, so if they’re naughty, they get their movie taken away. They have to be particularly naughty for that one – if they’re just a little naughty, then no stories before bed. My daughter has a problem picking up in her room, so if you leave your clothes on the floor, they’re going to be gone when you come home. So we’ve gone through periods of almost emptying her room – we take all of her clothes and put them in a trash bag, and they get stuck somewhere, and she has to earn all of her clothes back, by being tidy, picking up her room, making her bed in the morning, hanging up her clothes, stuff like that. We also have a little bit of a homework issue with her – she goes in an out of doing it – after about 20 minutes, she’s had enough and she’s not doing it anymore. We try to give incentives. If she gets her homework done, then she gets to play a computer game, which she loves.
Interviewer: Do you find that raising a boy is different from raising a girl?
Madonna: Yeah, way different. Girls care a lot more about the way they look than boys do. That’s problematic – we have at least three tantrums a week. Lola’s been like that since she was 4. Very into clothes and the way she looks – it gets worse as they get older. But we have a motto: Clothes are not worth crying about. So if you’re going to throw a tantrum about your clothes, they’re going to get taken away. So we have gotten down to one outfit; she wears the same outfit every day to school until she learns her lesson, and then she calms down, and can go back to being normal in the morning when we get ready for school. I hope my son doesn’t turn out like that – it doesn’t seem like it. He likes to play soccer, chess, play Uno, all card games, board games. Card games like Yu-Gi-Oh! They usually involve superheroes or some kind of violence.
Interviewer: Do you have an ideal of what kind of man he’ll grow into?
Madonna: I just want him to be … curious and inquisitive. I never want him to take no for an answer. I don’t want him to settle for mediocrity. I want him to ask questions and never stop until he gets the answers. I want him to be compassionate toward other human beings. For my daughter, it’s exactly the same.
Interviewer: Does Lola remind you of yourself as a little girl?
Madonna: I was way more scared of my father as an authority figure, and way more respectful – I would never talk back to my parents, ever. My daughter is not that way at all. Certain aspects of her are like me – she’s a show girl. She loves to dance, to perform, she’s not shy at all. She walks into a room, she’ll talk to anybody, she’s very gregarious.
Interviewer: Do you think of yourself as being the same type of mom as your own mother was?
Madonna: No. My mother died when I was 6, so there’s not a lot I remember. But I know she was very affectionate, nai”ve. She was very young and religious, and she didn’t have any expectations of herself other than to be a good mother, and a good wife. That’s very different with me.
Interviewer: Do you feel any sort of spiritual connection with her now?
Madonna: [She falls silent for a while, looking down, balancing her chin on her bent knee.] I don’t know. My mother was a religious zealot, a Catholic – there were always nuns and priests in my house growing up. I don’t know how curious my mother was, how much she pushed to know what was going on behind the curtain, and that’s my personality – I want to know what’s going on behind what I can see. I’ve read some letters she’d written. My mother was certain she was doing the right thing, so maybe we have that in common. I think about her, but she’s an ideal – she’s not really a reality. She’s an energy – I feel she’s there, somewhere, but it’s kind of intangible. Now that I’m a mother, I know more what it was like to be her. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for her to be dying and have six children. I can’t imagine that feeling of leaving your children and not knowing what’s going to happen to them. I feel her pain now. I understand who my mother was by being a mother. I guess I’m really only getting to know my mother now.
Interviewer: Do you talk to your children about the grandmother they never got to meet?
Madonna: Not with my son so much, he’s too young. But my daughter always says, “Mom, what was it like? Why did she die? Did you miss her? Where did she go?”