Actress and mompreneur Jessica Alba has a jam-packed schedule these days, with her new book, The Honest Life, out this month and a role in the animated family-friendly flick Escape From Planet Earth. We chatted with the mom of daughters Honor, age 4, and Haven, 19 months, about eco awareness and how motherhood changed her for the better.
Nancy O'Dell: You cofounded The Honest Company, a subscription service that delivers nontoxic baby and household goods to families. How did you become interested in eco-friendly items?
Jessica Alba: I created the company purely out of my wants and needs as a parent. My personal concern was the safety of my baby. I was worried about petroleum-based chemicals that are in everything from shampoo to the absorbent material in diapers and are linked to health issues like obesity, autism, ADHD, and childhood cancers.
We just released three new cleaning products. I did all of the scents because I'm a bit of an essential-oil freak: ours smell fresh, clean, and light. You'll be happy to spray them all over your house, and you won't have to worry about your baby or yourself getting sick as a result.
What message do you hope moms take away from your book?
An eco home can still be colorful, fun, and eclectic. Also, I want to encourage moms to ask questions and read labels. That was my biggest eye-opener when I became a mother for the first time. I had no idea that this was even an issue!
You've got so much on your plate, but you don't seem frazzled. How do you balance it all?
Um, I don't! Oh, God. I'm terrible at it! I always feel like I'm compromising something. But my priorities really lie in my children and their health and well-being. So as long as my kiddos are good and happy, then I just kind of figure everything else out.
What have you learned from being a mom?
Really mundane things are the best part of my day, like reading stories to the girls or singing songs with them. Honor comes into my room first thing in the morning if I don't steal her in the middle of the night to have a sleepover. My idea of perfection has definitely changed. Being perfect is being flawed, accepting it, and trying your best. Otherwise you'd go crazy.