As the proverb goes, if you want something done, ask a busy person. With that in mind, it was no surprise that Claire Khodara made time to catch up with us. With two businesses to run (STARROCK & La Famille) and three kids under the age of four, the singer-songwriter (yes, also!) made a cross-country move at the height of the pandemic. Don't believe it's possible? Read on to learn about this powerhouse woman, how she balances her career and motherhood, and so many words of wisdom for new and expecting parents.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ve been up to these days.
Hi! I am a mom of 3 under 4, singer / songwriter, talent agent, business owner, and autism advocate. My family and I moved from Brooklyn to LA this summer and are enjoying the space and sunny lifestyle. I gave birth to our daughter Olympia in October. Winston is almost 4 and Constantin is 1.5. I have never had more on my plate, but I am in love and grateful for every moment.
What inspired you to go into your event production business, STARROCK Productions?
Just after finishing American Idol Season 9 in LA, I moved to NYC to fulfill my dream: sing. Immediately upon arriving in NYC, I put a band together and was performing at private parties, sports events, and local hot spots. I loved working with my booking agent, but quickly realized I was my own best agent. I put a team together and started booking myself, quickly deciding to scale by booking friends bands and, well, things kept growing. Now we do half corporate / half weddings, booking events around the world with offices in NY and LA. With over 200 events during a typical non-covid year, I never dreamed it would scale to this. When COVID hit, events were at a standstill and so were we. I was eager to continue my work with the amazing brands we provide live music for and therefore, co-founded a non-exclusive brand x influencer agency with my dear friend Madeleine Fawcett, called La Famille. Now STARROCK is back as vaccines are flowing and weddings are booking again, so I have 2 businesses up and running. I love being a creative entrepreneur. Working on my terms gives me the flexibility to be a present mom while inspiring me to give my all to my clients.
What does a typical day look like balancing motherhood and running your business?
I try to be present in every moment of the day, however hard a feat. When I am with the kids, I put my phone away and bury myself in their world of pretend and joy. When I have a minute to work, I am focused on the task at hand and am giving my all. As they say, the days are long and years are fast.
You moved across the country with three children. Any travel tips for new and growing families?
Be flexible day to day and take it easy on yourself! You are doing the best you can. That being said, try to have a set routine wherever you are for your kids so that they can have something to look forward to. Daily routine is everything for us. We moved 7 times during the pandemic until we settled at our house in LA. On Friday March 13, 2020 we left Brooklyn and never went back. We were always planning to move to LA, but covid put a wrench in things as it did for everyone. In each new place we went, I had to constantly adjust from the bedrooms for napping to the therapists in the backyard (with masks, of course!) for my eldest son Winston. Winston is autistic and having a child with special needs on top of moving all the time, being pregnant, and having another baby was a true test. You don't realize how strong you are until you need to be.
What was pregnancy like for you? Was it different each time around?
I am that annoying person that loves being pregnant. That being said, I had a harder time towards the end of my pregnancy with Olympia. It might have been a mixture of carrying a girl (different hormones?) and constantly moving throughout the pandemic, but I had to remind myself to take it easy.
What have been the best and most challenging parts of pregnancy?
Watching your baby grow inside of you is literally a miracle. Everyday felt like the greatest science project! They call it the miracle of life for a reason. The most challenging part of my recent pregnancy was trying to keep up with my two toddlers. You need a lot of rest while pregnant and making the space to do so was challenging when I already had a demanding life.
Any favorite book that got you through (pregnancy, postpartum period or parenting book, or all three!)?
OH CRAP! for potty training has been, hands down, the best parenting book thus far. Ina May's Guide To Childbirth was great before I gave birth to my first.
Any words of wisdom for soon-to-be mothers on how to approach the birth experience or get through it?
We are made to do this! Breathe and be present. Stop absorbing others' birth experiences. Yours will be your own. For me, giving birth is really no big deal other than the most spiritual moment of your life. I would give birth every night if I didn't have to deal with the aftermath. No one talks about breastfeeding and the shit show that is life with a baby in the beginning. For me, that was the hard part!
How do things change from having one child, to two...to three?
One to two kids was the biggest shocker for me. Two to three was just an addition to the clown show.
You have one hour to yourself...how are you spending it?'
Songwriting, exercising, or finishing my book (on how to find your soulmate...).
Best piece of advice for new and expecting mothers?
The hardest thing for me about postpartum is boundaries. Yes, the sleepless nights seem endless when you're in the thick of it, but really, they fly by. It is the saying NO that I have the hardest time with. And yet, there I was in the beginning of October, just having given birth to a beautiful baby girl with a mother-in-law and mother both living in my house. They were there to "help". And yes, they were so helpful! But not the help I wanted. I wanted to be left alone with my new baby and my little family so we could have time to get to know our new unit and how that would shape us as a whole.
Abundant, challenging, wondrous, and all I could have ever dreamed of!
Body Lotion: Weleda Baby
Car seat: Doona for infants, Maxi Cosi for the big kids
Stroller: Running stroller for the burbs, YOYO for the city
Playlist: My music (Khodara & Claire Khodara), Bonnie Raitt, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Elmo, Frozen, Lion King
Book for bedtime: Love You Forever; The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Giraffe's Can't Dance; Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?...
All image credit to The Inside, provided by Claire Khodara