14 Celebs Talk Work-Life Balance
Carrie Underwood, Will Smith, President Obama, and more famous folks talk about how they balance their careers and family life.
If you're a working parent, you know all too well the struggle to balance your never-ending personal to-do list with your never-ending work e-mails. While you might really love your job (or just really need two incomes), finding a way to make it to every meeting and every soccer game, dance recital, and parent-teacher conference is enough to send your mom-guilt into overdrive.
Believe it or not, many celebrity parents feel the same tug-of-war game in their own lives, and they've spoken out about it. Next time you get anxious about whether you're doing enough on the career or the home front, let these quotes remind you that you're not alone.
The head of The Honest Company, action film star, and mom to daughters Honor and Haven says the key to balancing it all is just saying no to guilt. "Don't be hard on yourself," she told Parents Latina. "Doing your best to be present wherever you are is what's important."
The Girl Boss also recommends working mamas take some time out for themselves on the regular. "It's worth it to recharge once a week," she explained. "Get sleep, have a date night or a girls' night in, and drink some wine!"
We like the way she thinks! And if her Instagram account is any indication, Alba's definitely got the whole best of both worlds thing down!
Like many moms, the country music star and new mother to son Isaiah struggled with returning to work after having a baby. "I think mom guilt is rampant in my life," she told the Associated Press. "I am sure it is in any mom's...I still constantly wonder, 'Is this fair to him? Is my life fair to him?'" Underwood discussed how exhausting it was to be up with a baby all night and then on tour to launch her new album, Storyteller. "He's my No. 1 priority," she said. "But it's just a question of how am I going to do this?...I'll probably never find the answers to those questions."
Jennifer Garner brought down the house at the Elle Women in Hollywood celebration in Beverly Hills last year when she gave a speech that touched on gender inequality in the industry—especially between fathers and mothers. The honoree spoke of her then-husband, Ben Affleck, and the difference in interview questions the two received while on a press junket: "I told him every single person who interviewed me—and I mean every single one—asked me, 'How do you balance work and family?'" she said. "[Ben] said the only thing anyone asked him repeatedly was about the tits on the 'Blurred Lines' girl [Emily Ratajkowski]." No one asked Affleck about how he splits his time between acting, producing, and his three children, Seraphina, Violet, and Samuel. "And we do share the same family," Garner pointed out. "Isn't it kind of time to change that conversation?"
Remember Stephanie Tanner from Full House? She's not only all grown up and starring in Netflix's Fuller House (set to come out next year), but she's a mom of two IRL, to daughters Zoie (7) and Beatrix (5). Sweetin told PEOPLE that returning to the Tanner household set will be a 'juggling act' with her busy family. "It'll take some getting used to because I've been a full-time mom for a while, but I'm looking forward to it and I think [the kids are] going to have a lot of fun," she said. "I have a feeling once we start working it's going to be hectic—trying to make sure kids are picked up from school and if they're coming to the set or they're doing their homework or going back and forth [on] tape nights." It's not only going to be a Fuller House now that other cast members have children, it's going to be a full set!
When asked how he divides his time between work and his personal life, the actor told Us Weekly that he and wife Jada Pinkett Smith have struggled to find that balance, and it's caused a few bumps in their relationship. "It is really something that will happen in time," he said. "And you'll realize that you're either really committed to having a relationship, or you're really committed to coming up [in your career]. At some point one or the other is going to have to suffer."
Actress Felicity Huffman admits she has it pretty good as a working mom. As she told People magazine recently, "First, I have to recognize how lucky I am to have to navigate these sorts of issues. I have a job that I love and a fabulous family that I love."
The star also took the words out of many moms' mouths when she said, "But people always ask, 'How do you balance home life and work?' And I tell them, 'I don't. I just drop the ball all the time.'"
Huffman, who has two teenage daughters, added she sometimes worries, "'I'm failing as both a mother and an actress.' But I do what I can to stumble forward joyously."
Good advice, Felicity!
The Sister, Sister star, mom, and entrepreneur has admitted that balancing her family and her many projects can be difficult at times, but it's all about prioritizing. In a Q&A with VIBE, Mowry shared her secrets: "The number-one key is to...prioritize. I'm a mother and wife first because family is important to me, and a part of having a balanced life is not feeling guilty about taking care of yourself," she said. She also shared the wisdom of a woman she'd met, a writer, producer, and mother who told Mowry: "You have to take care of the goose, in order for the goose to lay the egg." Mowry said she's taken this advice to heart and tries to make time for self-care, so she's better able to give the most to both her family and career.
Sarah Jessica Parker
The I Don't Know How She Does It star has struggled with juggling her son, twin daughters, and her marriage with her busy career. While she and hubby Matthew Broderick do have babysitters, they don't employ a live-in nanny. "We've had two occasions recently where both Matthew and I were working, and it was so hard on the kids," Parker once told Parade magazine, "especially James Wilkie, because he can really articulate how he feels about our absence. On the other hand, there are big chunks of time when we're home a lot more than conventionally working parents. So you hope to make up for it."
The actress and producer is mom to Roman Walker Zelman, and when it comes to balancing her career and raising an 11-year-old, she says it's important to set boundaries. "Knowing your limitations [is] important," she told Pop Sugar. "It took me a long time, but now I have a pretty good idea of how many hours I can work on a TV show and still feel like I'm able to be present when I get home." Another tip that's helped her raise Roman as a single mom—since her split from her husband of 11 years, Daniel Zelman—is being able to trust friends, family, and help. "Make sure you have people around you that can give you support and help, whether it's best friends, family members, or a babysitter," she said. "It's incredibly hard even when you don't have a job. So, when you have a full-time job on top of that, you just have to be í¼ber organized, and that was a hard lesson for me to learn."
While addressing the crowd at the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families, President Barack Obama made a point to highlight the father's role in balancing work and family life. "Too often, these issues are thought of as women's issues, which I guess means you can kind of scoot them aside a little bit," he said. "[But] anything that makes life harder for women makes life harder for families, and makes life harder for children. This is about you too, men." He encouraged men to start talking about how to better navigate the balance.
In an interview with Harper's Bazaar a few years ago, the mom of three boys said, "Finding that balance between work and family is the hardest thing I've ever done, by far." She struck a similar note in a Glamour UK interview, saying, "I've always worked really hard, and the hardest thing I've ever done is have kids! All of it—everything from getting up in the morning to trying to be consistent to trying to have the right feelings. But, of course, the rewards are so great."
Rancic has always been very candid about her life—from battling breast cancer to her struggles with fertility—and, like many moms, she admits it's been difficult finding quality time for her hubby and son. Her solution? As hard as it is, she tries to truly separate work life from home life. "What I do now is that when I'm at work, I'm 100 percent focused on work. I return all my emails. I don't just sit there and surf the Internet like before," she told Fashion magazine. "And when I'm home, I would focus 100 percent on Duke and put the phone away...that way I would feel a little more of a balance."
When it comes to motherhood, the Real Housewives of New York City star and best-selling author juggles parenting her 5-year-old daughter Bryn and her professional life by keeping them separate. "I create my entire schedule and life so it's separated," Frankel told Business Insider. "And it works really well because I am as much a mom as I am a businesswoman. And vice versa. I love having this legacy to leave for her, and I love that she'll see that I work, but I don't miss her drop-offs and pick-ups, and I don't do work instead of being with her, ever." The Skinnygirl founder also encourages working moms to "not be so hard on [themselves]."
The singer, actress, and single mom to 3-year-old son Luca is no stranger to mom-guilt, as she explained in the February 2016 issue of Redbook. "It's hard to say that you really can have it all," she told the magazine. "I think you can to a certain degree, but fully loaded, pedal-all-the-way-down is tough. You're missing out on something, either on the career or on the family. When I'm really busy with work, I feel extremely guilty."