The Stork Magazine had the pleasure of interviewing Chudney Ross, youngest daughter of Diana Ross, as she shared the excitement of her baby girl, Callaway Lane! Describing her pregnancy as a “truly amazing experience,” Chudney reveals incredible insight about her pregnancy. We were more than excited to sit down with Ms. Ross as she told us about her unforgettable journey.
Congratulations on your baby girl Callaway Lane! How does it feel to be a new mother?
Being a mother is amazing, exhausting, an exciting learning experience every day. I’m truly enjoying the wild ride.
Ross: How was your pregnancy? And your birth?
I was very lucky to have an easy pregnancy. I didn’t have any morning sickness. I stayed active doing yoga and lots of walking, so most of the baby weight stayed right in my tummy. I worked at the my bookstore “Books and Cookies” up until my due date because I felt really good.
My birth was another story. This baby was enjoying herself inside my womb so much, she was almost 10 days late! I tried everything: walking, acupuncture, that famed “Pregnancy Salad”, but Callaway was staying put. Finally I was induced for the safety of the baby, which was not my plan, but I was happy to give birth to a beautiful, happy, healthy baby girl.
What is your advice for Expectant Moms and Expecting Models?
My biggest advice for expecting moms is to let go of any expectations. You probably have a vision of what you want your pregnancy and birth to be like, the kind of mom you want to be, and, you will be disappointed if things don’t go as planned. If you let go of those expectations, and enjoy the wild ride, it’s really a truly amazing experience.
Tell us about Callaway, how is she doing? What are you planning for her first birthday?
Callaway is a wonderful, happy, easy baby. I’m very lucky. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. She’s getting so big so fast. She’s crawling everywhere and climbing up on everything! It’s wild that she was just this tiny little baby swaddled just lying there and now she’s got this amazing personality. She laughs and she’s started to say words and do some baby sign language.
Callaway just had a huge jungle themed book bash at Books and Cookies for her first birthday. We had family and over 30 baby friends there to celebrate with us. We shared story time, rocked out to music and everyone went home with a stuffed animal and a book. It was a perfect celebration of her first year!
How did you choose Callaway’s name?
Callaway is actually her dad’s grand parents last name. We thought it would be fun to have a family name. I just think it’s a really special, strong name for a little girl. We also like Cali as a nickname.
How has Diana Ross, your mother,… been as a grandmother?
My mother is an amazing grandmother. She was very helpful when I first had the baby and came over every morning to help and bring me food. Now, she comes when she’s in town to spend time with us. She loves her so much. It’s very special to have grandparents close by to help and spend time.
How has your boyfriend been as a father to Callaway?
Joshua is a wonderful father! Callaway lights up when he is in the room. He makes her giggle always and truly has a talent for swaddling and putting her to bed. He’s very hands-on and I know I am very lucky.
As a model, do you plan to have Callaway be a model as well? Does she look more like you or her dad?
Callaway looks just like her dad. She is beautiful. She is a pleasant, happy, easy-going baby and so yes we definitely have thought about putting her into modeling, as well. If I had more time we would definitely do it asap. I think if little one’s enjoy it, it’s a great way for her to save up for college. I guess I will decide how I feel about show business, as she gets older, but for now I think it modeling is fun and I will cherish the photos.
Congratulations on your incredible success with your bookstore! What inspired you to open Books and Cookies?
I came up with the idea for Books and Cookies with a friend many years ago. As a writer and former teacher, I wanted to create a fun-filled, safe space to bring families together through literacy. I love books and what better pair than with some milk and cookies!
How have you felt reward from maintaining this business at Books and Cookies?
It’s been the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s hard work and a learning experience everyday, but it’s so worth it when you see the see the kids smiling and enjoying the space and the classes that I have created.
How have you balanced your business with your motherhood?
It is so hard to balance being a mother and a business owner. My priorities have changed so much in the past year. Books and Cookies was my baby since it’s opening in 2011, but now my focus is Callaway. I am very fortunate to have great staff who I trust to carry out my vision day to day. It’s also the perfect place to take the baby to work. I am lucky that Callaway loves Books and Cookies and so we are there a ton to over see and make sure everyone is happy. Mostly, we do a lot of chatting and hanging out with the other families. We have created a wonderful community for moms, and now as a mom myself, I am so lucky to be a part of that.
Aside from your business and motherhood, you have also written a children’s book series called Lone Bean. What was your inspiration for your book series about Bean Gibson?
The character Bean is loosely based on me as a child. She is funny, a little quirky and trying to find her place and how she fits in the world around her. I had this sweet little character inside of me that I thought people would enjoy, so I wrote her story. The book came out when I was very pregnant. I didn’t do a book tour, but I love that kids are reading it and enjoying it. I’ve spoken at schools and shared at events and it’s very exciting to watch my written words come alive. I am very proud of this book and hope to write more again some day soon!
Assuming that it can be overwhelming at times, how do you maintain your serenity?
It is very overwhelming and I wish I had more time to breathe and relax. Right now, I don’t but I also don’t want to miss any of these amazing moments with my growing child. Right now I find my serenity in rocking Callaway, quiet moments nursing in the early morning, a walk on the beach or a glass of wine with Joshua under the stars. Hopefully soon, I will get back to yoga, spinning, manicures and pedicures. I think those moments just for yourself are so important for your well being and serenity.
Why did you decide to add the extra elements (baking, learning toys, and having parties) to a bookstore? What did you feel was missing from other bookstores?
We are so much more than a children’s bookstore and that was always the plan! I love bookstores, but what I decided to create was a community of families and children who love to read. To create a space where children get excited about books, a place where moms can meet other moms, and where you will learn something new and possibly celebrate kid birthdays. I knew we needed to offer more to be a successful business , with people buying books online and using kindles.
What is your advice for entrepreneurs and business women who are also new mothers?
Someone once told me that woman start businesses from the heart, but men start businesses with the profit in mind. For me running my business and being a mom is all about following your heart and doing what you love. I would never want to be working as hard as I do, working at something I didn’t love doing. I feel stretched too thin sometimes, but at the end of the day I know it is worth it! I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to follow my dreams while still spending so much time with my baby.
What do you hope to teach the children that come to your store? And their parents?
I hope to bring lots of joy into the lives of the families that visit my store. Whether it’s through finding a book they love that they will share every night before bed, or creating a friendship with another family. Or something as simple as having a place to share lunch and not have to worry about your child making too much noise or even breast feeding with freedom.
“Books and Cookies” is a safe, happy, fun community for all who visit.
How do you want to influence children and their parents with your bookstore?
If I can share my love of books with families and the bond you can share with your child thru reading, I would be very happy and proud. I love each night when Callaway and I read stories before bed. It’s so simple, yet so special and I hope at Books and Cookies we help spark that joy of sharing a good book.
How has literature influenced you? What do you hope to pass on to your new daughter, Callaway Lane?
I love that in the pages of a book, you can do or be anything you want to be. Books have unlocked my creativity and imagination and I hope to pass that on to my daughter. My mom always encouraged us to dream BIG and that’s an important and special lesson, I hope to share with Callaway.
What do you hope for in the future regarding your business? And you’re writing?
To be completely honest, I am working hard every day to keep Books and Cookies in business. Bookstores and children’s activity centers are struggling in this economy, but I know for sure I have created something special that is worth the struggle. Every day I figure out the magic ingredient to make Books and Cookies a long lasting brand. I also plan to start writing again and find sometime for myself! There are not enough hours in the day, but I know I am truly blessed and for that I am thankful!
Chudney Ross is a successful model, writer, business women and now new mom to her beautiful daughter, Callaway Lane. As she prepares to embark on the next chapter of her life, we congratulate her and wish her nothing but happiness as she embraces the all the beauty motherhood has to offer.