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Working Moms in Hollywood Talk About Balancing Both Roles

10/07/2008 at 03:30 PM ET
VIRGINIE LEFOUR/ AFP/Getty

Most of us will never know what it feels like to balance a wiggly baby on our laps while having our hair and makeup done, but like regular moms, Jennifer Lopez admits she’s "still figuring it out" when it comes to balancing work and motherhood. "It’s hard to even be away from them," the 39-year-old songstress and mom to 7 ½-month-old twins Max David and Emme Maribel said last night at Elle magazine’s 15th Annual Women in Hollywood Tribute. "I keep putting them on my lap and the makeup artist is like ‘Um, can you move her?’ And I’m like ‘No! And you know what? I have to have two babies on my lap!’" Holding her ground on holding her babies is just "part of being a mom," Jennifer says — and part of being a mom is accepting that her "whole world has changed." "It’s going to affect every single decision of my life," she explains.

Nicole Kidman, who was an honoree at the event, has been navigating the tricky terrain of working motherhood for over a decade as mom to 15-year-old Isabella ‘Bella’ Jane and 13-year-old Connor Antony, with ex-husband Tom Cruise. Since welcoming daughter Sunday Rose, 3 months, with husband Keith Urban the 41-year-old actress says she doesn’t "ever leave" her baby girl behind, regardless of where her job takes her. On Monday, Keith split babysitting duties with Bella so that Nicole could attend the gala, and the family was scheduled to fly home to Tennessee today. Although the travel is hectic, Nicole said she takes comfort in all the working moms who have come before her.      

"I have to have her with me. Being a mom is the norm. So many women … have their toe at least in the workforce and they still want to have families. That’s me too."

Count Halle Berry in as well. Noting that she’s "only seven months in to learning how to balance those things" as mom to Nahla Ariela, the 42-year-old actress says there is one thing she knows for certain: "Many women have done it before me, so it’s doable." Instead of feeling panicked about the pressure to have it all, Halle says she’s learning as she goes — and going easy on herself when and if she comes up short. "I’m a newbie, and I’m making a lot of mistakes right now," she admits.

Max and Emme are Jennifer’s first children with husband Marc Anthony. Sunday is the third child for Nicole and first for Keith. Nahla is the first child for Halle and partner Gabriel Aubry.

Source: USA Today

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Sheron on

Not that it affects me personally, but I was happy to hear that Isabella babysat her little sister. Sometimes you get the impression through the media that Nicole never sees her children and that they have no connection with her or the baby.

Di on

I find it is interesting that Nicole says that she never leaves her baby girl when it appears she has no problem leaving her two children with Tom Cruise behind while she pursues her career. In addition, I often wondered why Nicole has chosen to make a home for herself in Nashville when her children live primarily in CA with their dad.

Lastly, I’m trying to figure out how Bella could have baby sat Sunday when I just saw photos of Tom, Katie, Suri and Bella and Connor in NY this past weekend. If anyone wants to see the photos they are on just jared.

Brandi on

The event isabella babysat for was monday night. She could have easily flown home after the weekend in New york. i would think she had to be back in California for school on monday anyway. Nicole has also said the kids prefer to live in LA. I wish people would stop making up stories where there are none.

Its nice that Halle admits that she makes mistakes.

Pearl on

I feel like Jennifer Lopez has an obsessive view about children. Honey put those babies down, get your makeup done. Babies need independent time too! I think Halle has a very realistic outlook. She seems to go with the flow and know that she’s learning as she goes.

carie on

I’m just not into Nicole and Jennifer L. at all. The photos and facts just don’t match up with a lot of what comes out of their mouth….sometimes I get the impression they’re pretty aware of that, and go out of their way to give a different image. I just don’t get those two, and don’t find them relatable at all. But I do adore Halle, and have enjoyed hearing about this new phase in her life.

brooke on

Carie I totally agree with your outlook on nicole and jlo. And like you, I also like halle

sleekraven on

Di, it is good to know you have a clear picture and hopefully that pedestal you are sitting on is a stable one. Nashville is less than 4 hours away from LA, she is not living in Timbuktu. She met someone who lived in an area or town that she liked, that gave her peace compared to LA and decided to make a home with him and has now added to the family with Sunday Rose. Is she supposed to live unhappily in LA because of her older kids? Is she supposed to move her husband and Sunday to LA just for them? Motherhood calls for sacrifice but not stupidity or matyrdom.

I didn’t hear anyone throwing stones at Cruise for being career minded when Kidman had to carry the heavy load after the divorce. Before the kids moved to LA, the last year she worked out of the US was 2002 and until late 2006, she made all her movies in NY apart from Bewitched and Invasion so how career-minded exactly was she for taking mostly NY jobs while she lived there with her children? In each of those years, she worked for no more than 6 months. You are going to condemn her for that? Since they moved to LA, the longest time she has worked was last year and it was to go to their other home country where they have grandparents, aunt and cousins. So, exactly what career are you referring to? Do you expect her to stay at home and sew?

As for Bella being pictured in NY over the weekend, all she needs to do is board a plane on Monday morning to go LA and spend time with the Urban side of her family.

The most important relationship in her life is with Keith, not her children. Why? because their most important relationship will come soon enough when they meet their significant others. She finds her happiness in Nashville, not Los Angeles.

Bella will be 16 in December, she is a month younger than Miley Cyrus and her brother is 13. They are old enough not to be talked about or treated as if they still need mummy to change their diapers.

sleekraven on

The only reason Halle Berry is relatable is that she turned herself into a victim years ago and plauys the part well. Unless a situation warrants her to suspend all control to someone else then she didn’t know what to do. I don’t think I can ever forgive her for the hit and run that happened. Shameful.

dsmom on

I agree with Carie on this one. I hate to be negative but Jennifer Lopez seems to be trying to overcompensate, which I think is sad that she feels like she has to do that. I love Halle though she seems to be so down to earth about motherhood and I am a fan of her work too.

ECL on

Another story from this site that completely plays into the uncritical ideology that women should figure out a way to do it all – why can you never post a story about how unfair it is that women are expected to find ways to do it all, how men never seem to speak to this issue, nor are they called to task when they place career before work, and finally how the real problem is with the way work is structured in our society – to benefit men at the expense of women? If you really care about moms, you would start up an honest discussion on some of these issues instead of everyday running another story about ways to do it all, making mothers who struggle feel inferior! And these celebrities are kidding themselves if they think that they deal with similar work/family conflict as the rest of us.

Stephany on

Carie, I totally have the same opinion. There’s just something about J.Lo that has always rubbed me the wrong way. I have no idea what it is but that’s just the way I feel. (And how many interviews does she have to do where she reinforces how dedicated she is to her kids???)

Anyway, that’s just my opinion! I love HB. :)

K on

I can’t say I feel for celebrity working moms. Sure, they probably have long days when they are filming, but since the large majority have nurseries/daycare/nanny on-site within walking distance of their work. Movies and TV are not 9-5 jobs, 365 days a year. It’s more like work a few weeks or months, then time off. Most working mothers don’t have that flexibility and their children don’t go to work with them. I don’t really think it’s a true working-mom situation in which you are separated from your children for 8-10 hours at a time.

Di on

I would like to say that I respect Nicole’s decision to live in Nashville and build a home there but that decision does not square with the above mentioned quote from her.
In response to another post, I would rather live “unhappily” in LA with my children than somewhere else because that is what parents do; they put their own needs and happiness below that of their children.

Yes, Nicole children are teenagers but that does not mean that they do not need her. In fact, since Bella and Connor will be going off to college in a few years, I would think that Nicole would want to treasure these few remaining years of adolescents.

I’m all in favor of women pursuing their careers but your children are only young once and sometimes parenthood requires sacrifices.

Nicole Marie on

Everything Nicole says people always find a way to attack her. And I find it interesting how Nicole flies to L.A. and somehow Cruise makes a first flight to bring their kids to New York.People act like they know what goes on in her personal life. Someone sees a couple of photos with the kids with Tom and automatically people insist that Nicole could care less about her older children. It’s sick.

sadie on

It’s crazy to assume Nicole doesn’t spend time with her older kids just because we don’t see photographic evidence of it. Nicole is notoriously more private than Tom when it comes to being photographed with or talking about her kids. Nobody knows how often she sees Bella or Connor or what their agreement is, so how can we judge?
On another matter, I always find myself rolling my eyes when I read about these celeb working mothers talking about the difficulties of “juggling” their kids and work. Of course everyone, rich or poor, has their problems, but please! Celebs have the luxury of choice in the matter of going back to work, they can afford nannies, chefs, housekeepers etc etc AND usually have more than accommodating employers. If I was a celeb, I wouldn’t even dream of comparing myself to “everyday” women out there who juggle work and motherhood.

ECL on

wow, this website is clearly in cahoots with the patriarchal establishment – you never post my comments critiquing the super mom image – one that is very problematic for women – why is this? Why can’t this site accept criticism? Apparently you only care about moms as long as they aren’t complaining about the many roles they are expected to fill perfectly all at once.

KDawn on

It bothers me when people say “the Fathers babysat”

Fathers do not babysit their children, they parent them.

Although in this article it says that Keith Urban split babysitting duties with Bella…the wording still really irks me.

LanLan on

ITA with Sadie :)

I hardly think working for 3 months with the aid of nannies/daycare/housekeepers then having the rest of the year off is quite the same thing as what real working everyday moms do..

Halle sounds so sweet :) Out of all the moms fetured she seems the most down to earth.
Nicole has always rubbed the wrong way; I’ve always gotten the impression that her new baby is a higher priority than Isabella and Connor. I hope I’m wrong, though I do feel bad for her as it seems she’s lost her children somewhat to Tom and his Scientology.

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