Christina Aguilera is known not only for her incredible voice and talent, but also for her openness about the hardships she's had to endure. She's been outspoken on the domestic violence she experienced as a child, saying it's those dark times that shaped her into the person she is today.
Now, as a mother of two, the 34-year-old is revealing to TODAY how her past has molded her as a parent and the lessons she hopes to pass on to her children and other moms.
"For me, I got my strength from the darker times in my life and they've propelled me forward," she told TODAY.com at an event in honor of HopeLine from Verizon, which works to help domestic violence survivors.
"I made a decision very young that I would never put myself in a situation where I would feel helpless to a man and that I would be able to make money for myself and my future children so they wouldn't have to suffer at the hands of abuse," Aguilera said. "Now, I'm a mother of a 7-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter and it's very important to me to provide them with an environment to feel safe and loved. I want to give my children the gift of loving music without having to use it as an escape, like I had to."
As a Grammy Award winner and coach on "The Voice," Aguilera has clearly turned that escape into a mega-successful career. Now, as a mother who made it through those rough years, she says it's important for every mom to find a creative outlet or release and maintain a sense of self.
"As much as we all love our kids, ultimately we all have ourselves that are separate and it's important to have a release just for yourself," she added. "We literally give so much of ourselves, it's important to make time some to be able to find a creative release or pampering release."
For the singer, it was yoga that helped her find calm in the "juggling act" of being a working mom, but she advises all mothers to get massages, go to the spa or simply draw a hot bubble bath to pamper themselves.
"We all have breaking points and it's hard sometimes to find patience and to find the energy when we're exhausted," Aguilera said.
"It's a really hard juggling act for working mothers and mothers who stay home. While yoga is not right for everyone, find a specific philosophy or type of release that speaks to you," she said.
"Finding your own specific outlet is extremely important as a human, but especially as women because our whole force of being is to give life."