In 2006, Britney was slammed by tabloids when she was photographed driving with her infant in her lap instead of buckled into a carseat. She later called her decision a mistake, explaining that she was just desperately trying to escape the paparazzi (an overwhelming and imposing presence in her life that we’ve seen turn malicious and even dangerous). But fuck what you've heard—Britney Spears is a great mom.
The Princess of Pop grew up in the public eye, dancing her way into the Mickey Mouse Club at the tender age of 11 (though she’d auditioned for the show since she was 9) and launching her career with ...Baby One More Time, which she started working on at 16. By the time she was photographed with her baby in her lap, the then 25-year-old was in the midst of a beleaguered few years that would involve a high-profile breakup with Justin Timberlake, a 55-hour marriage to her childhood friend, a knee injury that required surgery, a disastrous relationship with Kevin Federline, multiple rehab stints, and an ongoing battle with her on-and-off manager. All of this culminated in Britney’s highly publicized 2007 "meltdown," after which she was placed under her dad Jamie Spears’s conservatorship and full custody of her two sons was handed to Federline, who has six children total.
Today, Britney’s baby-driver incident seems like a mere footnote in her life; a punchline in a Snatch Game episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Though she’s remained a sympathetic character through what many consider a relatable breakdown, the 36-year-old is still suffering consequences from it more than a decade later, fighting to end her conservatorship and regain full custody of her two sons.
Britney has evolved from a saccharine teen singer to a cultural icon before our eyes, and as she’s become healthier and more stable over the years, her reputation as a loving mother has also grown. She’s a role model, a single mom who seems to Have It All: a successful Las Vegas residency show that she’s taking abroad for a summer world tour, a gig as the new face of luxury fashion brand Kenzo, and two beautiful sons, 12-year-old Sean Preston and 11-year-old Jayden James.
This Mother’s Day, I want to celebrate Britney "my kids come first" Spears for not letting the world destroy her sense of self, her career, and her relationship with her kids. Get ready to say "awww," because I’ve compiled evidence that the world would be a better place if more parents were even half as supportive as she is.
She put in work, bitch!
In 2015, Britney told People that she started taking math classes to better help her kids with homework. "They go to a really hard school, and this week we had three hours of homework [a night]," she said. "Some of it is hard for me. Next year when [Preston’s] in fifth grade, he’s going to be doing pre-algebra, and I’m taking classes so I know how to do it!"
She pens love letters to her kids
In 2016, Britney Spears published a love letter to Jayden and Preston in Time. "I pray as a mother I teach you strength and passion to carry through the struggles in the world," she wrote. "Most battles will always be won on your knees. I pray you find your dreams."
The pop star has also written multiple songs about her kids and the way motherhood has changed her, most famously 2005’s "Someday (I Will Understand)" and 2008’s "My Baby."
"Someday, I will understand in God’s whole plan and what he’s done to me," she sings in the former. "Someday, I will breathe and I’ll finally see, I’ll see it all in my baby." And in the latter: "How did I get through all of my days without you?"
Her Instagram is a Mom Zone
Britney’s Instagram page has become something of a peephole into her life, a place where she seems to have total creative license and control despite her conservatorship. Replete with goofy videos, throwback pics, and inspirational quotes, Brit’s Instagram page defies curation and is heralded as a genuine online presence that humanizes the star. So, it’s telling that many of her posts—viewed by nearly 20 million followers—are of her children, capturing them skateboarding, playing the piano (with a caption that says "lil Mozart"), and drawing anime.
Here are just some of the sweetest examples over the years:
Happy Mother's Day, Britney! I'm going to go comment "mom" on every one of her Instagram posts now, bye!