Crystal Chappell talks about being a bi-coastal mom

04/16/2008 at 07:43 PM ET

Chappell_family When her husband and two sons moved to California two years ago, it appeared as though Crystal Chappell had a decision to make:  To go with her family, or to leave behind a job she loved, playing the part of Olivia Spencer on Guiding Light — which just so happens to film 3,000 miles away in New York City.  The 42-year-old actress ultimately chose neither over the other, and now makes a weekly bi-coastal commute.  The arrangement works for all involved, Crystal says.

It’s the best of both worlds.  In New York, I get to act and do what I love to do, and when I go home I get to be just Mom.  Now that it has been two years, I can’t imagine not living in two places. 

Her sons — Jacob Walter, turning 8 next month, and Dylan Michael, 4 — are "used to" her schedule, according to Crystal.

Sometimes I get only 24 hours at home one week.  But then off two weeks the following week.  It all works out.

Click ‘continue reading’ for more of the interview.

Crystal gives credit to her husband, former Days of Our Lives actor Michael Sabatini, for keeping the boys busy — and keeping the family on track.

They are used to me doing this.  They got their life in California.  They are very busy.  They play soccer and they have their Dad full time.  Michael is such a great Dad and husband.   

Source:  Soaptown USA

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Stephanie on

Just curious why her family decided to move to the West Coast (sounds like they all lived together in NYC before that)? Glad they found a solution that works for them though! I think I would miss my kids and husband so much, but everyone is different.

mrsL on

I think she’s missing more than she knows. Kids are only kids once.

susan on

To each his own. But she is fooling herself if she thinks that living 3000 miles away from her kids doesn’t have an effect. She is not involved in her kids day to day lives. I can’t imagine choosing to not live with my kids. Job or no job.

joch on

We know many families with a similar work/family schedules. They all work some sort of corporate job and usually one parent is gone during the week and returns on the weekend. They somehow make it work. I personally think that’s a lot of time away from the family and wouldn’t do it!

Courtney on

Altho our schedule is similar its not as extreame, but neither is our job..:) Starting in May I will leave my house on Fridays and not return till the following Wed night around midnight. Then be home and leave again. Normally I am home by sunday nights, but we will have a 4 month span where 2 times a month I will have extended time away. I will ahve my 2 oldest with me, they are 7 and 5.5. But my 2 youngest will stay home they are 4.5 and almost 1. Its a choice we HAVE to make. We HAVE to pay bills we HAVE to put gas in the car, food on the table clothes on our childrens backs. We ALL do what we have to do as parents and I would not even begin to judge her on how she is living her life.

On a side note, I have choices to make that are hard, this weekend my girl in kindy will sing in church and I will miss it. My oldest has a concert in 2 weeks that I wont be home for. THese are the first 2 things I have ever missed. I go on every field trip and every party at school. We have family days once a week where we all just spend all day together on family outings.

There are lots of tough choices that we all make.

Congrats to her for making it all work for her family!!

SY on

I don’t know if I could do this myself, but really, the boys have one parent at home full time. Would we be questioning this if it were the other way around and Michael was commuting? I think we would be applauding his efforts to try to see his family as much as possible given his work conditions. This is how they choose to live their lives and it’s not exactly harming their children’s well being…

Starlet on

I know so many women who think they are “having it all” it’s only when they stop and spend several months at home they realize what they’ve been missing out on. I have no problem with mom’s working and/or dad’s working, I have no problem with women or men choosing to be a stay at home parent, but I couldn’t imagine what one would actually miss out on if you were away several days and nights each week from your kids. It isn’t even something I would consider. I would choose either to live in NYC with the family or be looking for work on the West Coast.
I do know 2 families who are bicoastal, but they as a family work on one side of the country and kids go to school there and they fly home Friday afternoons returning Sunday evenings. They also have really good vacation allowance, so spend 6 weeks every summer, 2 weeks @ Christmas, 1 week @ Thanksgiving and 1 week @ Spring Break home.
I guess it’s whatever floats your boat, but I am sure there are sacrifices in respect to time with her husband and children.

Clair on

My mum had lots of away from home, but when she was home we’d do lots of cool, fun stuff and she’d listen to us and talk to us.My dad worked a normal 8-4 job and was home soon after we returned home from school, yet he never spent any time with us. i sometimes think it’s not a case of how much time but quality time.

Meaghan on

I see no difference with her being gone most of the week for several weeks out of the year and another celebrity who travels for a few months a year to film a movie. I see nothing wrong when they have a full-time parent at home. You have to do what you have to do to support your family. I’m sure she struggled over the decision. It is important to some women, myself included, to be something else besides a wife and mother. My career is part of what makes me me. It has made me a better mother and a sacrifice my family has made. I might not be able to see every play or every ballet show but I am able to provide the kind of life for my children that I never had. We all have to make choices and live with those choices. It’s not right to point fingers and judge other mother on private family matters. You don’t know their circumstances. It seems strange to me that they did move in the first place since I assumed everything was fine and dandy with her family and career in New York but I do not know their life. I only know my own.

Dawn on

Stephanie:Crystal and Michael lived there when they were both on Days. Michael parents live in California also. I know when Michael was on Passions for a short stint a while back he mentioned how the kids were with his parents 90 miles away from LA when he was working. I think also because they wanted to get into the real estate business, they thought that Central California was the perfect place to do it.