No one wears a pregnancy glow quite like Hilary Duff. The angelic almost mother-of-two is a hustler, and a good one at that, yet she never lets us see her sweat. Even with a baby bump. While promoting her latest philanthropic initiative; Imagine If, With Jif, which rewards $15,000 to one child entrepreneur in hopes of bettering the world, Duff was down to talk about how she’s currently navigating her transforming modern family with a baby on the way—a first for boyfriend, Matthew Koma.
Since Duff makes her role as head of the household raising her 6-year-old son Luca look so easy, we wanted in on her secret. How does she manage to travel, work, co-parent, plan a future with Koma, and be the face of a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of America and Jif?
Her short answer: “I know how hard it is to introduce nontraditional ideas, but you have to do what feels right.” We dove deeper with the Younger star about starting her blended family.
Parents.com: For starters, how did you introduce Luca to the idea of having a new baby sister?
Hilary Duff: I spend a lot of time away from [Luca] when I am [filming in New York] because he is in school in Los Angeles. So, I decided not to tell him until I knew my job was almost over. We had an awesome weekend together and I was like, “I've got to tell you some pretty big news.” He thought I was joking at first and he burst into tears and was like, “Why, why, why?” I obviously felt terrible and I was like, 'I made a huge mistake.' But, we talked about it and now he is great.
I'd say most days he is really excited about it and other days he's like, 'Is she going to drool all over my stuff?' There is still concern that I am going to have enough time for him and I worry about those things too. I've never had two kids. It is kind of big for everyone, but we are in a really good groove right now. I think that it is new for all of us, so we are just learning as we go but he is such a kind kid so he is going to be such a good big brother.
P: How do Luca and your boyfriend, Matthew, get along?
HD: I think that Luca liking Matt was the biggest concern of Matt's life. He didn't want to be forceful and bring a bunch of gifts over you know? He was like, 'I am just going to let him come to me.' I think it was a really smart move because now they have such a special relationship and they have their games that they play that I'm not really involved in. They call themselves the sweet team and I'm the broccoli team, which is so unfair. Matt is so helpful and so great with Luca. He knows that Luca has a great dad too, so he is like, ‘I feel so lucky that I get to experience watching him grow up and be his special friend.’ But he has a lot of responsibility and a lot of roles in the house.
P: How do you plan on ensuring Luca feels a part of this new family you are building with Matthew?
HD: Our whole household is about Luca, so I don't think that he has any concerns about not fitting in or not feeling a part of the family. I think he is more concerned that time will be taken away from him. Strangers come up to us on a daily basis and ask Luca, ‘Are you just going to be the best big brother?’ That’s a very big question. I think he is really excited, but I try not to put too much pressure on the role because he's so helpful around the house as it is. The other day my hands were full and we had to reach around our gate to get it open and he is like, ‘'ll get it because you have the baby.’ He is just like a thoughtful guy that it's just going to happen.
P: What advice can you give to moms who are juggling co-parenting while trying to navigate a new family dynamic?
HD: I think it has to happen slowly. I can only speak for my family and I know how hard it is to introduce nontraditional ideas, but you have to do what feels right. By the way, just because you are a parent doesn't mean that your needs aren't important. That was a big thing for me to get over through my whole experience of trying to stay a team and a family outside of some normalcy shifting. I feel really lucky that Luca has the dad that he does, we have the relationship that we do, and I didn't make any big decisions quickly like moving forward with my life or introducing another child or person. I took my time with everything and I think that was the best for me and for Luca. And watching what you say is key, key, key.
P: How important is it for you and Matthew to share parenting responsibilities 50/50?
HD: I don't believe in that; any mom would know that it's not 50/50. We have a way bigger responsibility always and forever. I think it is important that they help in a different way that doesn't always pertain to the baby and the kid. I am a very proactive person and [Matt] is extremely helpful and I know he is going to be a natural but, in the beginning, the mom has most of the responsibility, so they have to pick up the slack in other areas.
P: Why did you feel like working with the Imagine If, With Jif project was an important move during such a hectic time in your life?
HD: I have a six-year-old who has the best ideas of all time all day long so to have Imagine If, With Jif being all about nurturing kids' passionate ideas to affect someone else's life in a positive way or make the world a better place, I was like, “This is so amazing.” We get to go through and read all these stories and pick the contest winner and the fact that Jif is nurturing these ideas and pushing these kids to be bold and be creative and to have a voice is so amazing. And then the $15,000 too! Starting an entrepreneurial idea is so great and the resources it provides for the families is amazing.