Balancing It All
If you're a Project Runway fan, you definitely remember Season 3's elegant redhead Laura Bennett, who seemed to roll out of bed each morning wearing heels and red lipstick. As one of the final four, Bennett, 44, announced during taping that she was pregnant with -- count 'em -- her sixth baby.
The New Orleans native, who now lives in a Manhattan loft, says the show completely changed her life and career. Now along with architect husband Peter Shelton, she is parenting Cleo, 19, (from a former marriage) and sons Peik, 12, Truman, 9, Pearson, 5, Larson, 4, and Finn, 1. "Finn is short for finished, which I am...I think," she laughs.
When Parents.com finally got her to sit down long enough for a chat, she took the opportunity to multitask and watch her 12-year-old son play hockey at New York's Chelsea Piers.
Parents.com: Your life sounds crazy! How do you handle it all?
LB: On a wing and a prayer! No, actually I am very, very busy but organized. I have narrowed it down to a few projects, but large and encompassing ones.
Parents.com: How does anyone have time to be fabulous with six kids?
LB: Part of it is illusion but I also take time every morning to get dressed. It's so easy not to do that when you are a busy mom. But if I take those 15 minutes I feel better all day long. Women prioritize everyone else in their family and put themselves last. But if I take time for myself it can only be good. In the long run it makes everyone in my family happy because I am happy.
Parents.com: Do you have a team of people helping you every day?
LB: I have two girls that help me. One has been with me for 12 years. If my kids wake up crying they usually call for Alicia. She comes in the morning and another girl helps me in the afternoon to bathe everyone. We powwow and figure the logistics every day. It's all about the logistics. I also have a great husband. Sometimes we aren't on time or not at every practice and we get a lot of slack from our friends. If I am in a meeting and its running over I will call one of the other moms and ask if she could pick up my son. I am not afraid to ask for help and I think that's really important. Women tend to get stressed out trying to handle everything by themselves. But who are you really trying to impress? I think a lot of women don't ask their husbands for enough help. Sometimes it's perceived that what they do is more important than what women do at home and that just isn't true. My husband is so great at helping me and I would encourage other husbands to do the same.
Parents.com: You seem so put together. Do you ever have days where you just wear sweats and no makeup?
LB: I don't have help on the weekends and sometimes if I think I am not going to be leaving the house I have a pair of stretch velvet pants I wear. My nanny laughs because they're sort of upgraded sweat pants. But I think it's a slippery slope. If I am dressed dumpy, I am going to eat badly and act dumpy. It's such a simple thing to get dressed and feel better about yourself.