EXCLUSIVE: Hilary and Haylie Duff on Mommy Wars, Social Media, and a Special Trip to the Food Court
What's better than one Duff sister? Two of them, of course!
The actress-singers (and devoted moms!) recently teamed up with Similac to #EndMommyWars. As moms in the spotlight, these sisters are all too familiar with experiencing judgment when it comes to raising their kids—Hilary's 3-year-old son Luca and Haylie's almost-5-month-old daughter Ryan.
Parents.com had the opportunity to sit down with Hilary, 28, and Haylie, 30, to chat about mommy shaming, social media's role in parent judgment, and how their sisterly bond has helped them tackle the adventures of motherhood.
P: In what situation have you experienced or felt the most judgement from another parent?Hilary: I would say, mostly just in casual conversation about everyday choices that come up when you're talking about your kids. Once I put Luca on antibiotics because he kept getting ear infections and I got a lot of judgment from that—even though it was a personal decision, it wasn't like some public thing, it's funny how many people looked down upon that. And I was like: Well that's what my doctor tells me to do and we kind of believe in doctors in our family.
P: Have you ever caught yourselves judging a fellow parent?Haylie: Yeah, I think everybody is guilty of judging. And here's the other thing, trying to end judgment doesn't mean that you're not going to have those feelings and those thoughts. You're always going to feel differently about something than somebody else does—it's just about being responsible for what you put out into the world.Hilary: And how it makes somebody feel!Haylie: Not writing little, nasty comments on social media pages and putting a mom down at the park when maybe you don't know what she's going through. Just being more responsible for your own actions.
P: What you do you think is the cause of mom judgment? Why do moms judge one another? Haylie: I love something [Hilary] said about this: Initially you think that the mom is jealous or the mom is insecure or the mom is this-or-that, but it's because every mom is so committed to doing the best that they can, and they have conviction about the choices that they make. So it's not always coming from a place of nastiness or jealousy, it's coming from a place of loving too much and caring too much.Hilary: But then being so heavy-handed with your opinions or advice that it comes off judge-y. I know people love to talk about their kids and be proud of their accomplishment—like an awesome nighttime routine that's working for their family—but it might not work for someone else. Just be responsible with how you react, and avoid comparing.
P: What role does social media play in all of this?Haylie: I think it's opened the door for a lot of [judgment]...but at the same time it can be really positive and wonderful, too. This campaign is opening up a conversation, and [social media] is a place where people can go to get support. Without social media, we wouldn't have that—so I think it can be really good if we focus on the positive side of it.Hilary: Moms get super obsessed with Facebook, because it's a place you can go to share about your child and everyone can check it out, but it can also become addictive and moms can spend too much time on it. I know some moms who post so often, and I wonder how they're even present with their children, and then they can even get into full-blown fights with people they don't even know on message boards—and that is a true waste of time.
P: How do you help each other through the adventures of motherhood?Hilary: The same way we have through the adventures of sisterhood. Throughout our whole lives, we've always been there for each other and been supportive of one another—we've just [had] a tight bond, always. Obviously, I had Luca first and Haylie was the comic relief when I needed her to be, and when I needed her to hold the baby, she would hold the baby. I think that's been the best way to go about it because Haylie's birth was totally different than mine and Haylie's baby is totally different than mine.
One time she called me and said she needed me to come over because she wanted a good swaddle and some company. I had been on a hike, but I ran over, totally sweaty, and just hung. And she wouldn't let me leave until I swaddled [Ryan] before bedtime.Haylie: Her swaddle is on point!Hilary: It's been more of an adventure than advice-giving.Haylie: It's just been [us] by each other's side—being there to support each other, whatever it is.
P: Are there any specific moments that have stuck out to you and made you think, "Wow, I am such a mom?"Hilary: Oh my gosh... This was a month or two ago, and Haylie hadn't left the house for dinner since she'd had the baby. There is this Vietnamese place that I LOVE and it's inside of a mall, and I just needed this Vietnamese place so bad, and it happens to be in the food court of Century City Mall. So we're driving there, she has Ryan and I've got Luca, and she asks where we're going. And she goes, 'My first meal, my first time out of the house, and you're taking me to the food court?!' She was so bummed.Haylie: Yeah, two and a half weeks in the house and we're going to the food court...Hilary: But the best thing was that on the way there, we're pushing our strollers and I look over at her and was like, 'Who are we?!'Haylie: And I was like... We are moms...Hilary: We are moms... pushing our strollers... through the mall... TO THE FOOD COURT. Who are we?!
P: What has changed the most since you first became moms?Haylie: Sleep.Hilary: Everything.Haylie: Yeah, everything. Everything from your body to your routine. But it changes for the better.Hilary: Your mind never stops. And also, joy—everything is much more joyful. Little things are so much more exciting to you again, and everything is a lot more meaningful.Haylie: I notice that I stop and focus on little things when I'm with Ryan or Luca. One thing that I think is so sweet that Luca does, is when we walk to breakfast or the farmers' market, he will stop and literally—I know it sounds funny—smell a flower. And it's the sweetest, loveliest thing. As adults, we don't do that type of thing so he kind of turns you into a kid again.Hilary: I think patience is something you get so much better at too. I always thought I was a patient person before, but when you have a child you grow a lot of patience.
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Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn.