Hilary Duff Talks Mommy Wars and her Inner Mama Bear
Melanie Abrahams: Was there ever a time when you were pregnant with Luca that you did not feel confident? Or even after you had Luca?
Hilary Duff: Of course. I'd never really been around newborns or even that many young children, so I was scared! I read a lot of books and did research, but until you're holding your baby, I think you're always a little worried because it's the unknown.
Even now that Luca's a year old, I have days where hearing someone say, "I'm so proud of you," or, "Look at the wonderful mother you are" can just make me cry -- you know? Because you need to hear it so bad, because as a mom you're stressed and you give so much of yourself away. Of course you'd do anything for your children, but hearing that reassurance can just mean the world.
If you could go back in time to when you were pregnant, and tell yourself something you didn't know then -- but that you've learned through being a mom, what would that be?
Hilary: Oh my gosh, that's really tough. I guess I'd really just want to shake myself and say, "You've got this!" I realize now that it's the love you have for your children makes everything possible -- the sleepless nights, the times when you're most scared or stressed, you feel like no one understands you or no one's in the position that you're in. The love you have for your child is so much greater than any challenge you'll face as a parent, and that's what helps you through.
It's such a simple message, but it's actually pretty important. You don't realize until you've done it. My husband and I just had Luca's first birthday, and really it was kind of more of a party for the two of us!
I saw pictures on Instagram!
Hilary: Yeah! It was fun! We just thought, this party's for us -- because we did it! We survived! That first year there are beautiful amazing experiences, and there are tough ones, too. So there's a lot to celebrate.
Speaking of tough experiences, and moms needing encouragement, we've all heard a lot about these Mommy Wars that are going on -- moms being judgmental of other moms. What do you think about all the negativity being bounced around?
I just think that there's so much judgment in the world, whether it's coming from women in general or from men onto women -- it's a lot. And when it comes to being a mom, I wish everyone could band together and realize that everyone has different beliefs, different styles, and different things that work for them and their family. Hopefully you can speak up when you absolutely need to, but otherwise keep your mouth shut. If there's an issue that's important to you, just know that it may not be important to another mom -- and that's okay. You don't need to push your beliefs onto other people! I think it's important to have a backbone, but it's a sensitive subject, there are things that aren't okay. It's like telling someone else's kid how to behave when you're out in public. It's like, "Um, that's actually not your child."
Have you ever had anyone question the way you're raising Luca, or have you ever wanted to question another mom?
You know, I actually had a little incident the other day. This little girl at the play gym pushed Luca, so I picked him up and moved onto a different play area. But then she sought him out again and pushed him off his little Rody -- I was like, "Hey! Whose kid is this?!" It turned out the nanny was there with the kid, and I was like, "If you know she's a little aggressive sometimes, you need to keep a better eye on her." So I obviously didn't say anything to the kid, but to the person who was watching her, I mean, you can't just let your kid push other kids! There is a line that gets crossed, and that's when you say something -- but knowing where that line is? That's the tricky thing. It's funny though, because my inner Mama Bear came out. That's not something that had happened to me before!
What is it about Johnson's Baby Cares that speaks to you? Why did you get involved?
As a mom, it's so important to feel confident in what you're doing. Johnson's Baby Care and Save the Children are teaching moms parenting skills, but also confidence -- so they know they have the tools inside of them to take the best care of their children. Moms need encouragement and strength and support, and I think it's wonderful that Johnsons Baby Cares is here to give it to them.
You've gotten to know some of the moms and babies who benefit from Save the Children's programs -- what message would you want to send to them?
There's so much pressure on moms to "know what to do." You're supposed to somehow just know your child and you figure these things out on your own -- but it's actually very daunting and scary. So first, I just commend all these moms for realizing it's okay to ask for help and to find support in places even outside of your own family.
You made Care Cards to support moms today. Are you going to be sending them out on Facebook, too?
I stuffed one I made into my bag for my mom -- and I'll definitely be sending out many, many Care Cards on Facebook. It's a very generous program for Johnson's Baby Cares to be doing. For every Care Card that's created or liked or shared, they donate a dollar to Save the Children! It's so easy. Basically, all you have to do is click, and they're donating a dollar to help mothers who need it most.
Who gives you the most encouragement as a mother?
I think I have to say my husband. It's a big one because he's there every day all day and that's a huge growing thing, too -- having a baby with your husband or your partner -- a lot of growing happens there. You have to have a lot of patience, and he sure has with me! He's really wonderful with Luca, and I feel blessed to have him. He's complimentary and appreciative of the things I do for him every day, but sometimes I can forget to tell him that he's doing a good job as well!
Maybe dads need care cards too!
I know, I know! They do! They might even need them a little more sometimes!
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