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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:
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  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
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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!
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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.
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Thursday, June 19th, 2014
In anticipation of this summer’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action movie, we caught up with actress and new mom (again!) Megan Fox. While many may recognize her of Transformers fame, her favorite role is mother of two boys under the age of two. Parents talked with Megan about the challenges and joys of parenthood, her rules about TV (unexpected for an actress!), and what she looks forward to as Noah, almost 2, and Bodhi, 4 months, continue to grow.
P: Now that you’re a mom, how does that affect how you pick your projects?
MF: The main thing it does is it affects how much I’m willing to work. I’ve never been an extraordinarily ambitious girl or career-oriented, but especially once I got pregnant with my first son and now [having] my second, it’s so hard to be a working mom especially when your heart is not in your work, when your heart is with your family. I have to make one movie a year because I have to invest in their future and I have to be able to pay their way through college and be able to provide for them. I’m looking for movies that will shoot in Los Angeles, for projects where I’m part of an ensemble so I can shoot in and out in 10-20 days. It’s all about trying to spend as little time away from my kids as possible.
P: What is it like having two kids under 2? What’s the most enjoyable part and most challenging part?
MF: It’s total chaos obviously. Before you have kids you really do not understand how much work it is and how consuming it is. And then you have one and you’re like, “Oh my God my baby is my whole world.” Every moment of the day is dedicated to this one baby and then all of a sudden you have two babies! Their needs are so different because Noah is nearing 2 and then my newborn is 4 months. It’s really hard to manage because I also don’t let them watch TV. It’s not like I’m going to sit Noah in front of the television so I can take care of Bodhi. I have to figure out how to incorporate Noah into the process and have him help me take care of Bodhi and make sure he doesn’t get jealous and make sure nobody’s neglected and everybody’s needs are being met. As a mom it’s hard because I don’t feel like I’m ever giving either one of them 100% of my attention or 100% of myself, so I carry a lot of guilt. Do they each understand how special they are and how much I love them? And are they understanding that they’re unique? It’s hard to make each one feel like an individual when you have to raise them together and manage them together all of the time. So that’s the most difficult part.
The most amazing part of it aside from being blessed to just continue to have children: Noah’s starting to interact with Bodhi. He’ll try to comfort him sometimes when he cries and he’ll do the “sh sh sh sh” and to watch him do that melts my heart. I’m excited for the future, to see them be brothers and be best friends and I know that there’s gonna be lots of fighting, but there’s also gonna be lots of hugs and kisses. It’s sort of mind-blowing to think about how amazing the future is going to be with them, holidays and birthdays.
P: When did you first have that “I’m a mom” feeling?
MF: I was really connected during my first pregnancy. But even during my pregnancy I had no idea how worried I was going to be for the rest of my life. From the moment I gave birth to Noah, that was the first time I was like, “I love something so much that I will never be the same again.” I will never be relaxed again because I will always be worried about him and hoping that he is ok and safe and happy.
P: You said you don’t let the kids watch TV. When is the age range that you will let them?
MF: I do let them watch movies, I just don’t let them watch TV. With movies I feel like there’s a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s linear. There’s a clear story. I think that it’s different than just putting a kid in front of the television, because it’s just nonstop. They’re just being bombarded with all of this sort of live media and it’s very overwhelming and it’s too stimulating I think for anyone. I don’t watch television because it’s just too much it overwhelms me. I just can’t deal with it. But I do let them watch movies. Movies are so nostalgic and they can remind us of these amazing times in our childhood. I remember going to the theater to see movies with my dad or my mom and those are special moments for me. One day they’re gonna watch television. I can’t keep it from them forever. My intention is to keep it away as long as possible or to introduce it through Apple TV so they’re not being exposed to the commercials constantly. My goal is no computers, no cell phones until at least 8th grade.
P: Tell us about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. How was it filming while pregnant?
MF: I constantly had a big box of saltine crackers with me wherever I went. So in between takes I would scurry away and shove a bunch of saltines in my mouth to keep me from being nauseous.
P: Your character, April, is a confident woman, and you yourself are also very strong. Do you have any confidence tips for young girls?
MF: You know it’s hard growing up. I’ve always been someone who’s been really assertive and willful and that’s just something I was born with, but I had to learn how to temper that and focus it in the correct direction because it was sort of becoming a detriment. I wasn’t using it correctly. You have to trust yourself. The idea of being really intuitive and listening to your own conscious and listening to—I’m sort of a spiritual hippy so I don’t want to be off-putting but—you gotta listen to your higher self and trust that you know what is right. Be prepared to maybe lose friends or lose relationships. Be prepared to maybe make some people upset and that’s ok as long as you’re pursuing what you really believe is right and correct and true.
We love the names Noah and Bodhi! Find your perfect baby name with Parents‘ Baby Name app.
Photograph: Megan Fox as April O’Neil in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles / David Lee
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Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
The sun is shining and families everywhere are kicking off summer—including Busy Philipps and her brood! Cougartown actress and mom of two young girls, Busy lives up to her name by packing the season with tons of fun activities. She’s teamed up with Banana Boat to make sure she and her gals stay protected from the sun, and Parents chatted with Busy about her daughters, Birdie, almost 5, and Cricket, almost 1, her penchant for arts and crafts, and the parenting problem she grapples with every day.
P: You’ve teamed up with Banana Boat for the Best Summer Ever campaign. Why did you want to get involved?
BP: The whole idea behind having the best summer ever is helping moms. Summers can be long. Look, let’s be honest: You need some help thinking of new activities to do with your kids. You want to be outdoors and encourage outdoor play and you want to limit the time watching television and playing video games and sometimes you need an idea or two to get you through.
P: A lot of families choose to sign their kids up for camp to keep them engaged. Cricket is a little young, but does Birdie go to camp?
BP: Cricket goes to sleep away camp. She’s 1 [Laughs]. No really, Birdie goes to day camp in the summer. We have a two-week Frozen dance camp.
P: Sign me up!
BP: Yeah! We’re all in that one together [Laughs]. She’s going to kindergarten next year, so she’s doing a little getting ready for kindergarten camp at her new school, which I feel like a lot of kids do during that transitional summer. She’s doing one of my favorite camps called Magic in the Forest that two women run in Los Angeles. It takes like 12-15 little girls, although there are occasionally some boys along for the ride too, and they explore for fairies in the park. Honest to God almost makes me tear up talking about it. Every year it’s a different story—what’s happened to the fairies and what they have to help the fairies do. It’s magical.
P: What—aside from fairy camp—is the key ingredient to the best summer ever?
BP: I think that what makes summer so special, even if you’re a working parent, if you’re able to take a week off to really spend that time with your kids and be focused on them. Let’s get out—and that’s where the sunscreen comes into play obviously because you need to remember to be protected. Coming up with fun activities even if you only have a Saturday with your kids that they’ll remember and cherish.
I read this book called No Regrets Parenting and there’s this statistic in it. It’s like you have only 900 Saturdays [P: 940 Saturdays] I’m gonna start crying—940!—from when they’re born to when they’re 18. When you consider that so many of those Saturdays are birthday parties and soccer games and Little League and all these other things, why aren’t we spending these Saturdays just loving every second of it? Especially in the summer. Put your phone in your back pocket and don’t check it for three hours. The world is not gonna end. I do this myself. Get outside and spend good quality time with your kids.
P: What are some fun outdoor activities you like to do?
BP: For Mother’s Day this year Birdie and I did a tie-dye project in the front yard. She made me a tank top I could wear to work out. I made her a sweatshirt. We both collaborated and made Cricket a onesie and little pants and my husband a T-shirt that he could work out in. It was so easy and it was the perfect 2.5 hour activity from start to finish.
P: Obviously you’re very crafty. What’s the craft of this summer?
BP: We haven’t come up with it yet. I feel like Birdie really loves sewing and she wants to learn how to crochet. That might be a good thing for us to kind of do at the beach. She and I just started doing a cross-stitch together and that’s hard for me even. We might do some good scavenger hunts when we go to the beach with her cousins in North Carolina. I haven’t been there since I was on Dawson’s Creek. It’s gonna be weird, but I’m excited to go back.
P: Summer is big for family events because of so many birthdays in your household. Cricket’s first birthday is coming up. Any big plans?
BP: So many birthdays. I feel kind of strongly that first birthday parties should be sweet and small and with family. We don’t have to Martha Stewart it up. They’re 1. Let’s be easy on ourselves. You’ve raised a baby and she’s made it to 1. That in and of itself is a triumph. We’re doing what we did with Bird: a small park party with a few friends and family obviously. And Cricket loves Elmo. She’s never seen Sesame Street. We just had some leftover Elmo dolls from Birdie and Cricket loves him so much. So I’m gonna make Cricket an Elmo cake. Her mouth will be red!
P: With two girls, are there any moments where Birdie or Cricket does something and you think wow, she is such a mini-me?
BP: [Birdie] asked me the other day if she could buy clothes online like I do. Like, if that was possible for little girls. “Can I buy clothes online like you do?” Not saying that I’m setting the best example, but that is so me. Also, the personality traits and [mannerisms]. She was shaking her head the other day and she goes “you know I got that from you.” She knows: The shaking her head she got from me.
P: Is there anything about parenthood that still continues to baffle you?
BP: I think the guilt and the worry that you’re not doing right by your children or that you’re not doing enough or you should be doing better or you should be calmer or you shouldn’t have been so upset. I think that’s the one thing that I have the hardest time with is going easy on myself. Giving yourself a break. But, if you’re not worried about messing it all up, then you’re probably messing it all up. Right? If you think you’re nailing it, you’re probably not nailing it. Like all moms who are trying to do a good job, feel like they’re not doing a good job or that they could be doing better.
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Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler star in Blended in theaters now.
By Patty Adams Martinez
Drew Barrymore is pretty much every girl’s fantasy BFF. She’s smart, talented, and ambitious, while still being all about girl power and wanting to lift other women up rather than tearing them down. If all of that wasn’t enough, she’s also super down-to-earth and relatable, and just about the coolest mom on the planet.
The actress—whose latest movie Blended is in theaters now—and mom of two dishes to Parents about sharing screen-time with her “cinematic soul mate” Adam Sandler, surprising pregnancy side effects, and dressing her kids—Olive 19 months, and Frankie, born April 22—in hand-me-downs (just like the rest of us!). After reading this, you’re going to love her even more!
In Blended, you and Adam Sandler go on a really bad blind date, and end up together with your kids at a secluded family resort in Africa, where you can’t exactly escape running into each other. Then, of course, funniness ensues.
Yes, I love this movie. It had been about three years since I made a movie because I needed time off to create my family, but my cinematic soul mate, Adam, got me to go back to work, and I couldn’t be more proud and excited about this film. It’s fun because it’s where Adam and I are at in life now that we’re parents. It’s also really, really funny, but still pulls at your heartstrings—which I love.
Is it different being cast in mom roles, like this one, now that you’re actually a mom?
I think it means more to me now; it’s more emotional, because I know what it feels like to have daughters and to know that kind of unconditional love, which is such a powerful, powerful thing. And I like that this character isn’t perfect, because I don’t believe in perfection. But I do believe in growing and that’s why my favorite thing about being a mom is what a better person it makes you on a daily basis.
You’re putting others first. It’s not about yourself anymore—it’s about these amazing little people you want so badly to take care of, and you really learn to be patient. Even if you already thought you were, this is a whole new level of patience. You also find out how to live in the moment, and to breathe, and to never take your life or the people in it for granted.
After three movies with Adam, what have you learned about being a good parent by watching him with his daughters?
He is just such a sweet and patient dad. He’s the opposite of the macho male. He really cares about their happiness and how their school is going and how they’re getting along with other kids. He loves hanging out with them and they are his priority in life.
Ok, dish! You revealed you grew a lovely “red goatee” when you were pregnant with Olive. Did you have any surprising pregnancy side effects while you were knocked up with Frankie?
I didn’t grow leg hair for like six months! It was the oddest, raddest thing I had ever experienced in my life. I was so happy, but sadly it didn’t last.
Are there things of Olive’s you’re excited to pass down to daughter Frankie?
Yes! When I found out I was having another girl I thought, Well that’s convenient, because I already have everything I need—including Olive’s duck onesie, which I loved and so sad when she grew out of it at four months. I would say about 70 percent of Olive’s clothes I got from my sister-in-law because she has two girls. So Olive wears her cousins’ clothes, and Frankie will too!
Download our free lion coloring page so your kids can go on an African safari, just like they do in the movie!
Image courtesy of Warner Brothers
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Friday, May 9th, 2014
Best known for her role as Grace Adler on Will & Grace, Debra Messing also plays another role she loves: mom to 10-year-old Roman. Her most recent gig, Outside Mullingar, was just nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. Now she looks forward to spending summer allergy-free and enjoying the outdoors with her son thanks to Zyrtec. Debra caught up with Parents to talk about juggling her career and motherhood, her most memorable Mother’s Day, and thoughts on her upcoming television series The Mysteries of Laura.
P: Congratulations on Outside Mullingar‘s nomination for a Tony Award. What was it like to juggle being a mom to a 10-year-old and acting on Broadway since time to leave for work is basically dinner, homework, tucking-in time?
DM: It was very very difficult. I’ve been offered plays in the past and it’s always been something that I couldn’t consider because normally when you sign on for a Broadway show it’s for a year. I just felt I couldn’t do that as a mother—that wasn’t the best choice for my family. This play came in and it was a limited run, just three months. I sat Roman down and told him what it would mean in terms of the structure of our week changing and he said “Mom, do it! You gotta do it!” It was hard to miss that time. But, being on that stage was a lifelong dream of mine since I was maybe 7 years old and it came to pass when I was 45. It just made me feel like it’s never too late for anything.
P: What is it like in general to juggle being a mom and a full-time acting career when your schedule is changing depending on your current job be it TV, film, theater?
DM: I try and just take it hour by hour. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed as a working mom. Juggling is just a constant part of your life. I happen to be a single mom, so there are extra challenges in that. It’s a matter of leaning on family, friends and people who can step in and be some support when needed. I think flexibility is really the key, but also trying to keep certain things a constant so that there is a feeling of consistency.
P: What are the kinds of things you and Roman enjoy doing outside now that your allergy symptoms are managed?
DM: He loves sports, all sports. Playing soccer, playing baseball, playing basketball, going on his little scooter, anything. He’s a very very active boy. It’s great. [With Zyrtec] I no longer have to worry about “Am I gonna be able to participate?” It’s like, “You wanna go? Let’s go!” That’s comforting.
P: Is there anything that Roman does that is just like you when you were a kid?
DM: Yes. [Laughs] He is a very very curious child—and I celebrate that and encourage that—but sometimes he can be a little too curious for his teachers and can ask too many questions in a class. When I was in third grade my parents were called in for a meeting with the teacher and they said, “Debra asks so many questions we are going to limit her to three a day now because there are other children in the class and there’s just literally no time for anyone else to ask a question because she’s always asking questions.” That’s a family story that people like to share because it is funny, but I’ve had similar conversations with Roman’s teachers along the way. I recognized it immediately. I was like, “That’s my fault!”
P: Where does Roman get his name? Is it a family name?
DM: Roman is not a family name. We just wanted a name that was strong and confident, unique, but not pretentious.
Download our Baby Name Chooser app to find a great pick, like Roman, or find tips in the video below.
P: Well, with a strong name and precocious personality, what is the parenting rule that you always seem to give in on?
DM: I try and do candy just on special occasions, so just at birthdays. Inevitably something will happen. We’ll be at the Harlem Globetrotters and they’ll have some guy walking around and saying, “Here kids! Here’s some candy!” Roman will look at me and say, “Mom?” I just can’t say no.
P: Does he ever outsmart you?
DM: He’s very tricky. He’s tricky and he’s smart. I think he’s discovered lying for the first time. I’ve caught him in a few fibs. He’s being a typical boy.
P: Mother’s Day is around the corner. Do you have a favorite Mother’s Day memory?
DM: I can’t remember if it was when Roman was 2 years old or 3 years old: He made a special book for me with pictures of us and he wrote in his hand little love messages he scribbled. It just meant everything to me.
P: Your upcoming television series The Mysteries of Laura is about a working mom doing her best to balance it all. Aside from being a working mom, how are you similar to Laura, if at all?
DM: I think that’s pretty defining, being a working mom. She’s also going through a divorce, and she’s very very passionate about her work. It’s something that she’s very good at and she loves. I related to that because I am fed in a way through my work that nothing else can [match]. In a similar way, being a mother feeds me in a way that nothing else can. I can’t imagine either not being a part of my life. But, one hour she is doing well balancing and the next hour she’s really messed up. I just relate to that. I relate to baby steps and little victories and trying not to beat yourself up over those mini failures.
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Monday, April 14th, 2014
This past weekend, Parents joined Josh Duhamel as he closed out National Volunteer Week (April 6-12) and kicked off the Advil Relief in Action volunteer campaign. As part of the annual New York Cares Day Spring, Josh helped clean up Franz Sigel Park in the Bronx. The actor, husband of Fergie, and dad of 7-month-old Axl took a break from the dirty work to chat with us about volunteerism and fatherhood.
P: You’ve mentioned that your mom made volunteering a part of your life.
JD: Yeah, and my dad really. For my mom it was more about organized volunteering. Getting out and doing things in the community. But my dad is a really selfless dude, too. He’s always helping somebody do something.
P: What kind of volunteering did they have you doing when you were young?
JD: Everything from parking cars at events for the football team to the local downtown cleanup. It was always kind of a drag for me when I was a kid. I always felt good afterwards, but it wasn’t until recently when I started organizing things [that I became passionate]. I was having a bit of a problem with just putting on a suit and going to charity events and calling it charity. Even though they are raising money for a worthy cause, I didn’t feel like I was really doing anything. I started organizing youth runs throughout Los Angeles where I go recruit people in schools to come out, raise money for Haiti or Japan and then again we did it in Minot where I’m from. Ever since then I’ve just sort of been an advocate of volunteering. I just read something yesterday where it’s the lowest it’s been since 2002, volunteerism, which is a little bit disconcerting.
I really believe that nothing really meaningful happens without the help of many. So we’re here with Advil and the Relief in Action campaign trying to get people to go pledge to volunteer in their communities and share their stories and re-inspire people to get out and volunteer.
P: Obviously Axl’s a bit young, but how do you hope to encourage this spirit of volunteerism as he gets older?
JD: The best way to do that is by showing them by example. Definitely gonna take him [to volunteer], also to keep everything in perspective. There are consequences to not going to school, doing drugs, things like that. Take him to soup kitchens and places like that, not only so that he’s helping, but so that he can see “better keep myself in line.”
P: What other values aside from volunteerism, generosity, do you hope to impart to him?
JD: Hard work is one. Valuing money—things just aren’t handed to you. It’s going to be hard because people want to give [us] stuff and I don’t want him to think that that’s normal. Mom and dad had to work hard for what they got. It’s a tough thing to do in our position, in that town, but we were both raised with very modest houses.
P: When was the first moment that you felt that “I’m a dad” feeling?
JD: Immediately when he was born. There’s this excitement-slash-terror that comes with a newborn baby like “Oh my God I love him! Oh my God I gotta take care of him for the rest of my life!” But it came pretty naturally. I’ve been wanting this for a long time. All my friends have kids. There haven’t been any major shockers, but, you know, I still look at him sometimes and go “Omg, I can’t believe that’s my kid. That’s my kid. We made him.” He’s got a very sweet nature about him, which we love.
P: I know you grew up with three sisters. How do you think will it be to having a little man around the house?
JD: Honestly, I was expecting a girl because I have three sisters, [my wife] has a sister, our dog is a girl. Everything around me is female, so when they said ‘boy’ it took me a minute to actually register. He’ll need me as a male energy in the house.
P: Father’s Day is a little ways off but at Parents we’re already working on our June issue. This will be your first Father’s Day as a dad. Any special plans?
JD: In June he’ll be close to 10 months. Maybe we’ll go to the zoo so he can see all the animals. I do look forward to that.
P: He’s still a baby, but what do you enjoy doing with him on a regular Sunday afternoon?
JD: Right now he’s learning how to roll. He rolls all over the place, that’s how he gets around. But he has this car that was given to him by one of our friends, it’s a little Ferrari—it’s the only Ferrari that he’ll ever own as far as I can control him—but he gets in that thing and he’s all over the place. He becomes very independent and it’s very funny to see him explore in this little car. He loves to go in the pool; he loves to sort of kick his feet and play in the water. I’m gonna teach him how to swim as early as possible because that’s one of my biggest nightmares.
P: Sounds like safety is constantly on your mind.
JD: Unfortunately you have these crazy scenarios that run through your head that I think are there to make sure that you’re keeping him as safe as possible. I see things vividly and I’m like “No no no no no, that’s never gonna happen. We need to put a fence around the pool immediately,” or “We need to put a door here because this is not safe.” You know that he’s gonna get hurt, but it’s just a matter of how hurt.
P: Some actors decorate their kids rooms with paraphernalia from movies or projects that they’ve done. Anything like that in Axl’s room? Maybe some Transformers goodies?
JD: No, he’s got nothing but Safe Haven posters all over his room. [Laughs] Ah no. We’re just about to move into our house. We didn’t make his room too babyish, so it’ll be a room that he’ll grow into. Behind our house is this beautiful little ravine, this valley with all these birds and geckos and there’s a fox down there. We painted a mural of all those animals that are down below. One of the things that I look forward to is taking him down to explore. That’s the kind of stuff I did growing up. It’s all about imagination and nature.
Help get your child’s creative juices flowing with these fun activities.
Photograph: Getty Images for Advil / Duhamel is encouraging everyone to join him in taking the #ReliefinAction Pledge on the Advil® Facebook page and commit to volunteering this year.
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Friday, March 14th, 2014
Finding time to work out can be tough for any mom, even supermodel Miranda Kerr, mom to 3-year-old Flynn. Just recently, the Australian beauty teamed up with brands like H&M and Wonderbra and squeezed in time to make this steamy commercial for Reebok’s new Skyscape collection, a line of sneakers inspired by (get this!) the same molded foam you find in bras. Parents caught up with the self-proclaimed yogi at the shoes’ launch party this week in New York City, and she had a lot to say on staying fit while raising a strapping toddler.
P: From a mom’s perspective, what appeals to you most about Reebok’s Skyscape shoes?
M: What I like is that they are just so lightweight, which makes them great to walk around the city and take my son to the park. Because I have to be in high heels a lot, it’s great for me to have a shoe that I feel really comfortable in and can also wear with jeans. They are really fashionable at the same time; I love all the colors, especially the pink! And the 3D foam technology makes them so cozy.
P: Being that you’re so into fitness, how does that influence the kinds of activities you do with Flynn?
M: Ever since he was a baby, he’s been there when I do Yoga and Pilates at home. Now he jumps on me when I’m trying to do Yoga and Pilates–that makes it more intense! And I do squats and lunges with him, especially when he was even younger. I’m always like, “Come on Flynn, do it!” I try to find fun ways to encourage him to be active. We go to the park together and run around, but then at home we turn the music on and we jump on the trampoline together. He loves it, and it’s very healthy for him. He also helps me make my smoothies. Just the other day he said, “Mommy, they’re full of antioxidants.” He’s like a little sponge soaking up everything I say!
P: What else do you do together?
M: I love reading stories to him. He still likes Goodnight Moon and The Jungle Book. When he was really little he used to love Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? I actually took him to the opera at Lincoln Center, and we got a couple of books there we’ve been reading as well. And I let him draw in the books, so it’s more fun. It’s a really good way for him to express his creativity. I like it when he draws in a book because it’s like a good little memory as well for me when he grows up.
P: For busy moms, what advice do you have for fitting exercise more into their routine?
M: Do things that make it fun and be as active as you can be. Take just 15 to 20 minutes to turn the music on and dance around with your child or go chase him around in the park. Give yourself that time and don’t feel like it’s not enough. Every little bit helps. Even little exercises if you’re in the car on your way to work or traveling on a train or airplane, you can flex and tone different parts of your muscles, like your legs and calves, just by clenching them. I feel like when you’re a parent you’re multitasking a lot, so this is a good way to work out your body in between.
For all you brand-new moms out there, here are some tips for post-pregnancy exercise!
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