Posts Tagged ‘ celeb mom ’

Vanessa Williams: Holidays Are About “How thankful and blessed you are to have family and friends.”

Monday, December 15th, 2014

By social-media demand, M&M has brought back M&M’s Crispy to satisfy your holiday chocolate cravings. Parents caught up with Vanessa Williams—singer, actress, former Miss America, mom to four kids, plus the voice of M&M’s Ms. Brown—about her family’s holiday traditions, what she wishes she knew when her kids were younger, and raising confident daughters.

P: M&M’s Crispy are a great holiday snack. What’s your holiday snack to make with your kids?

VW: I love Christmas cookies no matter what they are—sugar or Linzer Torte or chocolate. My parents were both music teachers so they’d always get cookies from their students. It’s one of the things that always makes me feel like I’m in the Christmas spirit.

P: You’ve had an illustrious career in acting and singing and now your daughter, Jillian, is a singer. Is Christmas a super musical holiday in your house?

VW: We listen to a lot and I’ve been lucky enough to do two Christmas CDs. I’ve done Christmas on Broadway and specials and always am delighted to have the music component. But Christmas starts too early now. It’s so commercialized. You barely make it through Halloween and then it’s the tunes. It’s nice to concentrate and focus on what the time should really be about: how thankful and blessed you are to have family and friends and to appreciate what’s happened through the year. The music for me is more reverential than commercial and that’s what we try to do with playing the music in the house and singing as a family.

P: Of your four children only Sasha is still at home. Is there any tradition that brings everyone back with childhood memories?

VW: We have a Christmas Eve pageant. When the kids were young they would each get a part depending on what class—second graders could be angels and if you were Mary and Joseph you were the stars. We still go to the children’s mass because we love seeing the kids. It also reminds us of how long we’ve been together and the roles they had. Then we come back to the house and I make a lasagna and the kids open one gift. Christmas Eve is the one we try to make consistent every year.

P: Your kids are growing up quickly, but is there anything about parenthood that still baffles you?

VW: I think it’s just the adolescent years. It’s a mixed bag every day. You don’t know what the mood’s going to be, the hormones are raging, their bodies are changing and their attitudes change as well. The biggest thing is to not take it personally. You have to be there and be consistent and set limits and [give] advice, but be steady.

P: What do you know now about being a parent that you wish you had known about those early years?

VW: I know so many parents are hyper-focused on achievement and test scores. It’s almost like you’re in competition with other parents, and the kids are overwhelmed and stressed out. Life will turn out the way it’s supposed to turn out. I think it puts too much pressure on the parents who micromanage their kids. It’s anxiety-causing. Within [kids who have the] same parents you’re going to get four different personalities, four different studying types, four different skill levels, and you have to tailor your energy toward each child. If you get a bad test score in 7th grade, guess what? You can still be the CEO of a company because if that’s what you’re good at and you work hard and life happens to bring you that opportunity, they’re not gonna know what you got on your 8th grade geometry test.

P: You have three daughters and there is a prominent dialogue today about raising women who are not defined by their appearance, yet we cannot deny that how you present yourself matters. How do you navigate this challenge as a mom?

VW: I think it’s getting worse, particularly when you have social media and the opportunity to take images of yourself and correct them. You’re presenting a perfection constantly and you’re always trying to live up to the perfect example on a day-to-day basis. Luckily for me and luckily for my kids I emphasize what they do, which is talent.

I’ve also had the luxury of taking my kids all over the world so they see the different body types and the different genetics that are different in Brazil than they are in Egypt than they are in Austria. Instead of trying to squeeze yourself into a box where you don’t fit, that’s the great thing about traveling the world. They can appreciate [differences] and I think it really helps in term of self-esteem and really feeling comfortable.

How to Make Sandwich Cookie Snowglobes
How to Make Sandwich Cookie Snowglobes
How to Make Sandwich Cookie Snowglobes

If cookies aren’t your favorite, find enough cupcake recipes for a year here!

Add a Comment

Evangeline Lilly’s New Children’s Book and the Need for Some Darkness in Kid Lit

Monday, October 27th, 2014

You might know her as Tauriel the eflin warrior from The Hobbit trilogy, or as Kate Austen from Lost, but actress Evangeline Lilly may soon be known best for her writing skills. Her new children’s book series The Squickerwonkers hits shelves November 18 and it’s different from any kid’s story we’ve seen. Parents caught up with mom to 3-year-old Kahekili about her creepy new children’s book, upcoming Halloween plans, how she cultivates creativity in her son, and why she thinks we all can use a bit of Squickerwonker spookiness in our lives.

P: You first wrote a version of  The Squickerwonkers when you were a teenager. Tell us about the evolution of this story. 

EL: I read it to my mom when I was a teenager and she was like “Sweetheart, you really should try to publish that.” As a 14-year-old girl not only did I have no idea how to publish a book, I also was used to my mom thinking everything I did was incredible even if it wasn’t because she’s my mom and she loves me. Twenty years later I was working on The Hobbit in New Zealand with Peter Jackson and I went into the Weta Workshop—which is the creative arm of his where they create his armor and all these other things—and there was so much creativity going on in that place. I was like “I want to create something of my own, too.” I want to start this [book]. For about five years, I’d been really seriously intending to start a writing career. That was my dream. I had all these incredible people and artists and resources all around me, so I ended up connecting with Johnny Fraser-Allen at the Workshop and he came on board to work on The Squickerwonkers.

P: His illustrations are so fabulous. They compliment your characters so well.

EL: I can’t say the story is completely independent of him and he can’t say the illustrations are really independent of me. We really collaborated. I knew the Squickerwonkers were what I would call human but not human. Johnny came on board and he had this idea that they should be marionette puppets on this traveling wagon. And I gasped, “Oh my gosh that’s exactly it.”

P: Part of your intention with this book is to purposefully put something out there for children that is a little darker and creepier. 

EL: I do think that there is beauty and value and meaning in having very uplifting, sweet, innocent stories for children. But I’m a great believer in balance and I think that everybody, children and adults alike, needs balance in their life. The good and the evil, the right and the wrong, the truth and the idealism. That’s important to me. I look around me and I see a lot of young people who are very entitled and who are very confused when life isn’t perfect. I think that often comes from some of the messaging we receive as children from our stories, but that’s really not life and especially not on the playground.

The Squickerwonkers is really a playground drama. How many times do mischievous little kids do something mean or unfair to a kid that’s just minding his own business or being perfectly kind? How does a child learn how to deal with those situations? How do they learn to deal with the side of life that maybe isn’t as pretty, but is very real and prevalent? And then very importantly for me: How does a child makes sense of “the devil within themselves?” Or when they do something and they know it’s wrong but for some reason can’t stop, how do they accept and love themselves with the good and the ugly? That’s important to teach children also. That nobody’s perfect. Mom and dad aren’t perfect. You’re not perfect.

P: You’ve said previously that acting is your day job and you said earlier that writing was your dream. Is this a transition period for your career? 

EL: I’ve always been an opportunist. Lost and starting acting…that was really just opportunism. I didn’t want to be an actress, but I saw this opportunity. I think I will always live to a certain degree that way. I will probably always take an acting job if it comes about in a way that feels like it was meant to be or if it’s a great idea, but really my focus is to transition to writing. It’s truly a dream come true for me.

P: How does being a mom affect how you pick your projects? Were you drawn to write a children’s book because you have a child?

EL: I started writing The Squickerwonkers immediately after he was born, so maybe? Nowhere inside of me was I consciously writing for my children. I can say that is one of the reasons why I took the first film job I did after LostReal Steel with Hugh Jackman. I remember distinctly thinking “You know, I’m gonna have kids one day—and hopefully one day soon—and this is a movie I would really love my children to watch.” It’s the kind of entertainment and the kind of film that I believe instills beautiful, incredible values in kids—to stand up against adversity, that if you’re the underdog you can make it in the world. What’s interesting is I’ve sort of continued on in that thread. The Hobbit is great family entertainment. Ant-Man will be great family entertainment.The Squickerwonkers is for the whole family. I think that’s the kid in me coming out. I never really grew up.

P: Your book takes place in this spooky alternate puppet world. The Hobbit is a fantasy. Even Lost was sci-fi. So you seem to be attracted to fantasy and imagination. Do you find that your son is imaginative?

EL: He’s learning it. It’s fascinating to me as a mother to realize that imagination is not innate. You have to teach it. I was a very imaginative little girl. I always assumed that was innate and that every child is born with a massive imagination that takes them to all different wonderful worlds. As a mother I’m learning Oh! You actually have to teach children about what it means to play imaginary worlds and invent imaginary characters. My son is 3-and-a-half and he’s starting to blossom into the little boy who has an imagination. It’s heaven to watch.

P: What do you do to encourage his imagination

EL: I play with him. And it’s funny because I don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion that parents need to play with their kids. In my generation, nobody’s parents played with us. Nobody. There’s a pressure nowadays to play with our children and I think it’s unnecessary, but I can’t help myself. I want him to have the gift and the joy of an imaginary world the way I did. Maybe not to the extent that I did. I had more imaginary friends than real-life friends. He’s a much more grounded little man. He’s a very practical, responsible, grounded little person. Very unlike his mother.

P: Is he more like his dad?

EL: A little more like his dad and, honestly, just his own person. I sort of go Where did this come from? He just sort of came out that way. He’s a little Taurus. He’s a little bull so I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

Horoscope for a Taurus Baby
Horoscope for a Taurus Baby
Horoscope for a Taurus Baby

P: Speaking of all things spooky and creative and playful, Halloween is coming up. Do you do anything special? 

EL: Now that I have a child and my partner’s kind of into it, he makes sure the three of us have costumes. As we speak I’m at a consignment store, we just finished finding his costume this year. He picked it out himself.

P: What will he be?

EL: He’s gonna be a Depression-era child. [Cracking up] We were thinking of maybe a minion or something because he loves the minions from Despicable Me, but he picked out this crazy concoction of old used clothing. He put it all on and he LOVED it. He just looks like a little street kid from the 1930s.

Find your child’s Halloween costume at Shop Parents.

P: What is your favorite part about being a mom to Kahekili?

EL: Discovering the human being that is within him. I feel like parenting is such a wonderful unearthing. It’s like archaeology. It’s all in there already and it’s just a matter of what you uncover and what you dig up. You get to meet this human being and you go “Oh my gosh, that’s who you are. You’re your own person.” It’s so much fun.

Photographs: Evangeline Lilly / Sarah Dunn, courtesy of Warner Bros.

Add a Comment

Ali Larter’s Relaxed Approach to Mommyhood

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Sweater season is here, and we’re going to need hot soup to keep warm as the weather turns brisk. Dole—typically known for their fruit—just launched ready-to-serve Dole Garden Soup. Actress and cookbook author Ali Larter will judge the Dole Souper Gardener contest to find America’s best gardener (could be you). Parents caught up with Larter, mom of 3-year-old Theo with one on the way, about her childhood gardening memories, cooking for her family, and why she eats what she wants while pregnant.

P: You’re no stranger to trying new recipes since you came out with your cookbook. What is it about food and cooking that excites you?

AL: You know, I grew up cooking with my mom all the time and she always would have dinner parties. I remember sitting at the top of my stairs and hearing all the laughter and the incredible smells that came from her cooking. As I got older and started moving into different cities I realized that that was my connection to people. It’s how I make friends and how I like to spend my time. There’s no happier place for me than at a farmer’s market or in the kitchen cooking and feeding my family and friends.

P: Do you incorporate your son in the cooking process?

AL: I do. He’s an amazing sous chef. He’s got his own measuring cups. He has his little apron that he wears. Yesterday we made gingersnaps and buckwheat scones, which he loves. I always include him in the process. He just loves to make a mess. I have to keep him from dumping things into the bowl.

P: What is your favorite recipe to make for your family?

AL: I love my ricotta meatballs. I often double batch it and freeze one batch. Then I do one night of meatballs with a beautiful cauliflower puree and the next night do meatball subs. There’s no way I just cook for one meal. We either freeze one or eat it for lunch or dinner the next day.

P: When you don’t have time to cook, what’s your son’s favorite go-to snack?

AL: He loves hot dogs, but he does not get them often. When you read the ingredients in a hot dog it can make you kind of sick. I let him have them on special occasions.

P: With such a passion for food, is this season and Thanksgiving just your favorite?

AL: Well I just starting cooking with the ginger flavor, fresh ginger and cloves and nutmeg. Getting all those flavors out. I love cooking in the fall. Fall and spring are probably my favorite times to cook. I do a gingersnap crust with my pumpkin pie that I got did for my grandma because she used to love gingersnaps so much she’d put them in her coffee. So, I created that pie for her. All the fall flavors are just so rich and delicious.

P: You’ll be judging the Dole Souper Gardener contest. Do you have a green thumb?

AL: My grandfather was a big gardener and also my aunt. When they asked me to judge America’s Best Super Gardener I was really excited. We’ll looked at all the pictures, and someone will win $5,000 for themselves AND $5,000 for their local community garden. I’m excited to see everyone’s passion.

P: Aside from gardening, what is your favorite outdoor activity with your son?

AL: Right now I’m just into laying outside because I’m pregnant and I enjoy laying around more than ever. This morning we played construction trucks so we’re out in the morning with all his trucks and I sit there and pick up rocks with the dump loader.

P: Are you nervous about having to introduce him to a baby sibling?

AL: I’m actually not. I think everyone has different issues with their kids, but he seems extremely receptive and is very very excited.  I feel really lucky with that.

P: How have you managed to stay healthy during your pregnancy and what’s your craziest pregnancy craving?

AL: I wouldn’t say I’m the healthiest pregnant girl. I try my best, but I definitely crave a lot of carbs and cheese when I’m pregnant and I allow myself to have them. I just tell myself that the baby needs it. I’ll be like Paleo as soon as the baby comes [laughs].

Use Parents‘ quick app to track your pregnancy weight gain and body changes.

P: Theodore was born in December and you have this new baby coming in the winter. How do you make sure that a birthday is still a special day without being overshadowed by the holidays?

AL: That’s definitely hard. It gets to the point with presents where it becomes silly. There are so many kids out there who need presents. I think we’re gonna start introducing experiential birthdays where he’ll be able to choose an experience instead of just a ton of gifts. Whether it’s traveling somewhere he always wanted to go—the Grand Canyon—or apple-picking, or going on a boat. It’s figuring out ways to do it where we can have an adventure as a family rather than gifts at the house.

P: You and your husband have a very special relationship. With a 3-year-old and one on the way, how do you keep the romance alive?

AL: I feel really lucky that I do have help and that gives us the opportunity to go out to the movies or dinner. It is busier than ever, but [my husband] loves being a father and that’s a huge part of it. We love parenting together and I feel really lucky to have found someone who is such an incredible father to our son.

Horoscope for a Sagittarius Baby
Horoscope for a Sagittarius Baby
Horoscope for a Sagittarius Baby

Photograph: Courtesy Ali Larter

Add a Comment

Samantha Harris: Looking Good Feeling Better

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

After being diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing a double mastectomy, Samantha Harris (former host of Dancing With The Stars) has had a year of change. A ball of energy, she celebrated her cancer-free status last night at the 30th annual DreamBall for Look Good Feel Better, an international organization dedicated to boosting the self-confidence of men and women dealing with breast cancer through beauty and style workshops. A mother of two—Josselyn, 7, and Hillary, 3—Harris sat down with Parents to talk about surviving breast cancer and the delicate balance between looking good and feeling better.

P: What does it mean to be the Look Good Feel Better’s 2014 DreamGirl?

SH: It’s such a special organization and to be honored by them for being inspiring through my diagnosis almost seems wrong because I’ve been inspired by so many other women. I feel that I’m really representing all these other survivors who reached out to me through social media to share their stories and open up to me about getting through the treatments and living through the diagnosis and coming out the other side. There was this elusive “other side” that everyone talked about and now I can officially say I am on the other side and I am a survivor.

P: You didn’t undergo chemo or radiation, so did you take advantage of LGFB?

SH: I did attend one of the LGFB workshops in Northridge, CA at one of the hospitals there [before my decision about chemo]. The women in the room were so tremendously inspiring because they had the strength to come in and sit in a room of strangers and take off their wigs and headscarves and be clean-faced. But the point of the workshop is to be able to give women and men tools to find normalcy at a time in your life that is far from normal and help regain some of that confidence. Even though on the one hand you say “Health is all that’s important who cares what you look like” what you look like is what gives you the confidence to be able to focus on only taking care of yourself.

P: You chose to tell your daughters about your diagnosis separately. Where did you come up with that plan? 

SH: Knowing that I needed to communicate that Mommy was undergoing something pretty intense but not scare them was a daunting task. One website said it’s important that the message is delivered in a different way depending on their age. My mom had had back surgery recently and it was the first time my older daughter experienced seeing someone laid up in bed. So I said “Just like Grandma had back surgery and she was in her bed for a little while getting better but now you see her running around Mommy also has to have some surgery.” I also wanted to make sure that the first time she heard the word “cancer” it wasn’t some deep dark scary thing to whisper in a corner like years past. I was really open with them.

P: How did your diagnosis change your perspective on motherhood?

SH: It made me feel sad for my daughters because now they are at a higher risk because their mom had cancer. But I turned by perspective on that to say that my girls have a leg up because they will be checked and monitored much more closely than had I never had cancer. Hopefully, G-d forbid if cancer is in their path, we’re gonna find it earlier and get rid of it faster. Or hopefully G-d willing we’ll have a cure. That would be even better.

P: The idea of Look Good Feel Better is such a poignant one, yet the focus on women’s appearance is a hot-button issue. As a mom of girls, what is your approach to this seesaw?

SH: It’s hard in a very modern feminist world to justify that I feel defined by my looks, because I’m not defined by my looks. But you are very much yourself when you feel like you like yourself.As for my girls, my 7-year-old has started to become more body aware and it’s sad to me that it’s starting so early. She’s noticed that she has hair on her arms and her legs. She’s been wearing pants in the hot weather. I thought, you know what I can’t believe I’m going to be shaving my daughter’s legs this early (not with a razor, just men’s clippers) but there are enough things to be self-conscious about I didn’t want her to be self conscious about body stuff.

It’s a double-edged sword because how you present yourself in the world influences how people perceive you. As women we have an asset because we can use products to make us feel better outwardly and if that little bit helps your confidence on the inside then you’ll be more successful in everything else you do. I think it’s important for girls to know it’s ok to care about your appearance—it’s important—it’s not ok to obsess about it. That, I think, is the distinguishing factor.

One great way to look good and feel better? Check out our pregnancy fitness workout below!

Celebrity Pregnancy Workout: Total Body Tune-Up
Celebrity Pregnancy Workout: Total Body Tune-Up
Celebrity Pregnancy Workout: Total Body Tune-Up

New to working out? Check out our mommy exercise tips.

Photograph: Samantha and family

 

Add a Comment

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Jessica Alba

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Parents attended a taping of  The Meredith Vieira Show, featuring special guest Jessica Alba. Movie star, entrepreneur and mom of Honor, 6, and Haven, 3, Alba is now a billionaire thanks to her venture The Honest Company. Dissatisfied with the home and baby product options on the shelves when she first became a mom, Alba founded the venture to provide non-toxic, truly organic, eco-friendly products in the baby, bath and body, cleaning, and wellness markets. But the conversation wasn’t all busines. Meredith and Jessica had a ton of fun on set and the audience learned a few things about Alba that they didn’t know before:

1. She loves her 30s. Alba confessed that her teens and her twenties were a time of insecurity. She says that she had a lot of the “normal” worries, but that much self-doubt came from her lack of a college education, which made her feel she wasn’t smart enough. Alba says that becoming a mom and making it over the hump of 30 was when she truly came into her own.

2. She can’t sing. At bedtime, moms will do anything to get little ones to go to sleep. Alba and her husband resort to singing. Well, Honor had a sleepover recently and Alba was going to tear her hair out if the girls didn’t get some zzz’s. So she sang to them. Honor’s friends were mortified because Alba is completely tone deaf (even though Honor never realized it)! Still, we have a feeling that with her acting chops, Alba will be just fine.

Playing With Baby: Let the Music Play
Playing With Baby: Let the Music Play
Playing With Baby: Let the Music Play

3. She has trouble at school drop-off. Alba admitted that just like a lot of moms out there, taking her eldest to school is much harder for her than it is for Honor. Alba misses her daughter during the day, saying that she wishes that during nap time she could just sneak in and cuddle with her.

4. She loves hand-me-downs. Alba is not too good for passing down pre-loved clothes to Haven. In fact, she prefers it. She loves seeing the outfits a second time around and reliving the memories of Honor wearing the same ensemble.

Shopping for your first? Parents has tons of recommendations for cute baby outfits!

5. She’s good at guessing games. This episode of The Meredith Vieira Show pitted Vieira opposite Alba in a guessing game much like “25,000 Pyramid.” Although Vieira’s team won in the end, Alba put up a good fight!

Jessica Alba appears on Wednesday, September 10th’s The Meredith Vieira Show, check your local listings or visit MeredithVieiraShow.com to find out when and where it airs in your city.

Photograph: Jessica Alba & Meredith Play The “Baby Talk” Game With Two Pregnant Audience Members/Courtesy The Meredith Vieira Show

Add a Comment

Laila Ali: Be The Best You Can Be And Then Teach Your Kids Those Habits

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

On Monday, Parents joined the United States Tennis Association and boxer turned TV host Laila Ali to kick off National Obesity Awareness Month at the U.S. Open Championships. As an athlete and mom of Curtis, 6, and Sydney, 3, Ali is passionate about getting kids active from a young age. She shares her best advice for getting your kids up off the couch.

P: We’re here today to kick off National Obesity Awareness Month. How important is this cause to you as a mom and an athlete?

LA: It’s so important because it’s an epidemic here in the Untied States. Whenever children are involved they can’t be to blame. I’m always trying to spread awareness and inspire people to be the best that they can be, first, and then of course teach their kids those habits.

P: How do you get your kids to stay active and healthy?

LA: First and foremost, my kids see their parents being active. We live an active lifestyle so they get included. They’re introduced at a young age to different sports and they realize they like it. I think the key is getting them started young, giving them options and taking them outside.

P: What do you say to a parent whose child doesn’t want to get up off the couch?

LA: I think you definitely have to get involved as a family. Parents can’t be like, “Get up and go outside.” Sometimes you have to go outside with your kids, sometimes you have to go to the park, you have to go skating, you have to go to the beach and go biking. There are so many things that you can do just to get active. Also set parameters. “No you can’t watch TV right now, figure something out,” like they used to say back in the day. You’re going to find something to do because you’re going to be bored. It takes work and it takes consistency.

Find inspiration for fun with your child with Parents’ Activity Finder.

P: With your son just turning 6 and a 3-year-old girl, do they often have sibling squabbles? How do you deal with them?

LA: It’s a constant struggle in my life: these two fussing and arguing and my daughter coming in and wrecking whatever her brother built. He gets upset and I say “I understand you’re upset, but you can’t fight.” There are a lot of time outs in my house. They get tired of sitting out and they learn how to play.

It Worked For Me: Genius Discipline Tricks
It Worked For Me: Genius Discipline Tricks
It Worked For Me: Genius Discipline Tricks

P: What are you most looking forward to as your kids get older?

LA: I’m looking forward to getting them involved in sports because that’s a regret that I have—that I didn’t get involved in sports at a young age. I’m definitely getting one of those nets and racquets and setting it up in my driveway. I can get out there and play with them. I’m really excited about that and learning as I go.

Photograph: Courtesy of USTA

Add a Comment

Jennie Garth: “It’s always family before friends, and the girls respect that….Family first.”

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Set your DVRs, ladies, because tonight is a 90210 reunion! Well, kind of. Jennie Garth and her longtime gal pal Tori Spelling are teaming up again in the new ABC Family series Mystery Girls, premiering tonight. Parents caught up with Jennie a few weeks ago and then met her at a special Mamarazzi screening event, hosted by The MOMS of SiriusXM fame. The actress and mother of three daughters, Luca, 17, Lola, 12, and Fiona, 8, opened up to us about raising her girls to be confident women, recovering from divorce, working her latest volunteer project, and filming her hilarious new sitcom.

P: Your girls are growing up so quickly. Is it tougher to be a parent to toddlers and preschoolers or tweens and teens?

JG: Oh my god I would have to say younger is tougher because they cannot articulate what they’re thinking or what they want or need so well. The language barrier is definitely a problem.

P: What traits of yours do you see in each of your daughters?

JG: All of my best ones [laugh]. I can definitely see qualities from myself as well as qualities of their dad. Good and bad from both of us. Luca today was listening to the same exact music that I was listening to at her age, which was The Cure. She didn’t listen to it today because of me, she listened to it totally on her own. So we have similar musical taste. She’s also beautiful. She has very similar body, dance, movement style. My middle one, Lola, is very organized and very much an organized thinker, a list-maker and she likes to have tasks and complete them—that’s how my brain works. My little Fiona, she’s very competitive. So when we play board games she likes to win, and she’s very quick-witted and those are definitely both qualities of mine. You definitely see yourself in them for good and for bad sometimes.

P: Is there a childlike thing that you get excited to relive through Fiona, since she’s your youngest?

JG: All of it. Easter egg coloring, and you know, she loves to play board games. Coloring. Coloring book coloring. I love just sitting and coloring. She loves any kind of game. Puzzles. We do all that. And reading with her. We still snuggle in bed together, where the other girls do their own thing at bedtime, you know. The book-reading at that time is one of my favorite times of the day.

P: Having three girls is no easy task, and you’re a single mom. Do you have any best piece of advice for women dealing with the same situation and transition?

JG: I have so much encouragement and wisdom to pass along to people. When I first was on my own, everything was so challenging. Everything was stressful. Everything was more than I could handle and I didn’t know if I was gonna be able to get through it on my own. I felt like I was swimming upstream all the time. And at some point it just changed. And all of a sudden, mornings are pleasant again. The morning rush isn’t stressful. It isn’t like “I can’t do this,” it’s like “Yeah, we got this guys.” Me and my girls will handle it and it will all be great. It rounded a corner for me and I think that that happens when it happens for everyone and nobody can force that, and it’s really hard to believe when you’re in it. Hold on to that faith and knowledge that it will get better.

From a kid’s perspective, it’s an ongoing condition. My kids are never going to not be sad that their parents aren’t together. And me acknowledging that and holding that really gently and tenderly is the best thing that I can do. I can’t change the situation unfortunately, but I can hold the fact that their feelings about it are always gonna be right there at the surface no matter how old they are.

P: It sounds like you are all so close. With such a busy career it can be tough to keep that “family unit” feeling going. Are there any routines to carve out family time?

JG: We do dinner every night together. It’s tough because my teenager’s got a full schedule. But it’s always family before friends and the girls respect that and they take that seriously, which is cool. I just keep it really tight. Family first.

Spice up your family dinner night:

How to Season
How to Season
How to Season

P: You’re involved in a new campaign that starts July 24 “Get an A+ in Eye Care” to help other families. Tell me about your work with this cause.

JG: Well with the three girls, two of them are now in glasses. I wear glasses. Eye care is something that’s a part of our family. I see when we provide vision care for the kids that don’t have access to it what a difference it makes in their lives. It’s pretty profound. I love being a part of it and this campaign is a very simple one. For every “like” on the Eye Solutions Facebook page Alcon is donating a dollar and that money goes directly to free exams and eyeglasses to children in need. I’ve been there and I’ve helped kids get fitted for their very first glasses.

P: Is activism and volunteerism something you hope to cultivate in your girls?

JG: Absolutely. It’s something that’s been instilled in me since I was a little girl. It’s something I’m just naturally handing down to my girls. It’s not something I really thought about. You pay it forward, that’s just what you do in this lifetime.

P: Mystery Girls with your longtime friend and co-star Tori Spelling premieres tonight. Tell me about the show and how you help your girls create solid healthy friendships like the one you have with Tori.

JG: Tori’s and my friendship is a pretty unique situation because we were on [90210] for ten years together. Not a lot of people get to experience what we did. So we have this crazy bond together and we are so blessed by that and able to carry that into our next job together. This is very a special love for each other. For my girls it’s just about teaching them their self-worth, first and foremost. Teaching them to love themselves and respect themselves and to gravitate toward other people who do the same and also to give them that same respect.

P: How did being a mom affect your decision to go back into the studio full time with Mystery Girls? 

JG: For me it was location. It’s very close to my kids’ school and our house, where we shoot it. The hours of the day that we work, sitcom hours, are much less than any other show you can shoot, and we work three weeks on, one week off. So I can have a solid week with my kids. And also, our kids come to the set and it’s so close to their school that they just come right after school. If this was a show that shot in West Los Angeles or something, it would be a totally different decision to look at. When you have kids, for me, they come first and my job comes second. So I have to look at all those factors, location and traffic and drive time all that stuff.

P: Your character, Charlie, is a bit concerned about being perceived as a cool mom by her daughter. How concerned are you with being a cool mom?

JG: I try to be not cool. I’m the mom with the tattoos. My kids admire the fact that I am kind of edgy personally, and they actually try to keep me in line. But I try to be not cool because I don’t want to be their friend. I want to be their mother.

P: Your book Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde puts it right out there: don’t stereotype me. How do you help your girls be confident young women and defy stereotypes?

JG: I think just in my actions and them seeing me function, you know. I’m so independent and capable that they have no other way of seeing a woman. I set an example not by choice but because that’s how I have to live. It’s so easy to stereotype women. Even my 16-year-old daughter is cast in plays as the “pretty girl,” the cheerleader, and she does it beautifully and she does it with depth and a certain depth I wouldn’t think they were expecting, but I’m already cognizant of what’s happening with her. It’s something that we’ll be facing and working on and discussing I’m sure for the rest of all of their lives.

Mystery Girls premieres Wednesday, June 25 8:30/7:30c on ABC Family. Check your local listings.

Photograph: Courtesy of Jennie Garth

Add a Comment

Tori Spelling: “This little community of love I created…that’s my legacy to pass on to them.”

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Attention all 90210 fans! Tori Spelling and her California co-star Jennie Garth are back with their new sitcom Mystery Girls, premiering tonight on ABC Family. Parents caught up with the pair at a Mammarazzi screening event hosted by The MOMS, one of a series of town hall style events hosted by the mommy lifestyle brand. In terms of mommyhood, not all of the mysteries are solved yet, but Tori revealed to Parents what it’s like to go back to work with four kids at home (Liam, 8, Stella, 7, Hattie, 3, and Finn, 2), the secret behind her fabulous birthday bashes, and her proudest accomplishment as a mother.

P: Having four kids, how did your mommy duties play into your decision to go back to work full time?

TS: Having done a lot of reality work since Liam was born, I’ve had that luxury of always being able to have them with me, so this is my first job that takes me away from them in eight years. It’s been a definite transition. I don’t think I was completely ready. Finn is still so young. But the timing was right and in this business you don’t always get a second chance, you know? We had an amazing show that ran for 10 years and to me that was like lightening in a bottle and that is what this felt like with this show. It felt like Wow this is the moment for it so I gotta take it and create it and do it. The nice thing is they do get to come to set, so I get to see my kids. We shoot very close to where we live, so it’s a nice balance.

P: Not only are you starring in the sitcom, you’re also the creator and executive producer. Where did the idea for Mystery Girls come from?

TS: When I first came up with the idea it was “Mystery Mom” because I was a mom and I wanted to do something in the realm of comedy, but I also love mysteries. I love like the 80s, 90s mysteries and I was like “I’ve never seen a sitcom do it, why not?” And two women doing it! The idea that [our characters] used to be on a show together was a wink wink to 90210. It went from Mystery Mom to Mystery Girls because it opened it up to everyone. But what we bring to these roles, it’s not just like you could have hired any two actresses to play these roles because there is a friendship and a sisterhood that goes for 20 years that you can’t write that.

P: Before Mystery Girls, your birthday parties on your reality show were famous. Do you have any fun parties planned and where do you get your inspirations?

TS: I did it the wrong way. I’m just putting it out there. I did it backwards. I went all out for the first two and then I kept having babies and now at four I’m like “There’s always a party, oh my G-d.” As a fulltime working mom, you just can’t keep doing the big parties. We’re scaling back now and we’re remembering it’s about family and who’s at the party, not about how big they are, even though I do still fixate on the details. It’s all about the DIY. Stella’s definitely a mini-me as far as decorating. Inspirations just come from when I was a kid. Everything that is out kind of comes back. So I always try to bring things back. Right now we’re into Jell-o molds. Bring em back!

Sign up for our Best Birthdays newsletter to throw your kid the party of the year!

Birthday Party Ideas: Star Candy Cake
Birthday Party Ideas: Star Candy Cake
Birthday Party Ideas: Star Candy Cake

P: You mentioned Stella got your decorating sense. Are any of your four kids a mini-me?

TS: I’m gonna have to hear that question again because as soon as you said four I was like oh my gosh I have four. All of them have a little, yes. Liam is definitely stubborn like me. He’s creative and passionate like me. He holds in his feelings like me. Stella does the same. Stella’s a DIY goddess, so she got my crafting gene and love for it. She loves fashion like I do. Stella does everything I do. We have a lot of fun together. We’re best friends. Hattie has a much bigger voice than I’ve ever had. I would love to have Hattie’s voice. I’m still trying to find my voice and Hattie has it. She’s loud and proud and she’s number three. I will see her using her hands like me—I talk a lot with my hands. The other day she was on the phone and she had her hands on her hip just how I talk on the phone. I saw her walking and I was like “That’s my walk.” And then Finn. Finn and I have a really special bond. I had a hard pregnancy with him, so he and I…I just want to hold him and never let him go. He has a little soulful spirit and he looks a lot like me when I was a baby. Oh my gosh there are so many.

P: What has your proudest moment been as a mom?

TS: [When they show love to each other.] Mine are so little that they were kind of their own people and now they’re starting to love each other. They are just starting to help each other and the other day Hattie needed help off the couch and she was starting to cry and she was like “Sissy Sissy!” Stella came running over and lifted her off the couch. She changes Finn’s diaper and he looks for her. It’s knowing that there’s a little community of love I created. That they have each other and that’s my legacy to pass on to them. I’ve given them this. I’ve given them love that will surround them forever.

Add a Comment