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Jennifer Garner: 'I Have It Easier Than Most' Working Moms

04/29/2009 at 05:00 PM ET
Francis Specker /Landov

Although many actresses lament the challenges of combining their unique career with family — including long hours, days, weeks and even months away from home — Jennifer Garner isn’t one of them. “Acting is a great working mom’s job and I have help,” she points out to the Sunday Herald. “I think it’s difficult for every working mother, [but] for me, I have it easier than most.” Case in point? She’s currently out promoting Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, a film she shot 11 months ago. In the interim, Jennifer has had “all this time off, to be home, to be adjusting to preschool, to be making dinner every night,” she reveals.

From the sound of things, the break might have been a bit too long! Jennifer admits that it’s been hard to tear her away from daughters Violet Anne, 3, and Seraphina Rose Elizabeth, 3 ½-months. “When I first hear about a job, my immediate reaction is, ‘I can’t do it. I don’t want to do it,’” she admits. Still, the 37-year-old says she feels “a pull” to act.

“I love my job. I love what I do and I think that it’s a huge decision to stay at home and not have that, particularly given the flexibility that I have. But I now have to love something almost too much in order to say yes to it because I just want to hang out with my girls. I didn’t anticipate that. I thought that I was much more of a careerist than that.”

Noting that “it’s a juggle, for sure,” Jennifer says that striking a balance between career and family is something she works on every day. “For example, my baby is in the next room just now, so at some point I’m going to say, ‘I’m sorry, I have to take a quick break,’” she explains. “You just really rely on people’s kindness and leniency and patience.” While she is undeniably drawn to her craft, once she is on set her approach to acting has definitely changed. “These days, with work, I come in and I go,” she admits. “You don’t want to sit and chat; You want to get in and get to work.”

“And, definitely, every bit of the day is planned and revolves around the children. Having two is kind of blowing my mind.”

Click below to read about why Jennifer is “fat and happy.”

Married to actor Ben Affleck since 2005, Jennifer feels that “having kids is a much bigger commitment” than marriage. Her Girlfriends Past co-star Matthew McConaughey muses in the film that “love makes you weak, dependent and fat,” and it’s a sentiment Jennifer seems to identify with! “Look at me,” she agrees. “I’m 20 lbs heavier than before, but I’m fat and happy.”

That said, when asked by the interviewer what love advice she plans to give Violet and Sera someday, Jennifer squirms. “I can’t even think about it,” she admits. “It just makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.”

“Respect would be a huge, huge part of that… they should demand respect. Demand it. Absolutely, you have to be a self-confident woman to demand respect from a man. And it doesn’t hurt to learn a good right hook.”

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is in theaters Friday.

Source: Sunday Herald

– Missy

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Gingi on

How refreshing! A celebrity who admits that they have it easier than most. Nothing ticks me off more than a celebrity mom who complains about how hard it is to be a working parent. . . most working parents (at least the ones I know) can’t bring their kids to work with them. They don’t have the ability to pick and chose how, when, and where they work. And they also don’t have a team of people there to help.

I am not trying to be catty. While I’ve never been a huge Jenifer Garner fan, I really respect her candor and honesty.

Nina on

LOVE LOVE LOVE her! I hate when most celebrity moms make it sound like their lives are so hard, at least she admits I have help and have it easier than most! I am sure it’s still hard to leave the babies but she is very lucky and knows it!
Seriously she is the perfect celeb mom! :)

CTBmom on

Love her! There are some good pics of baby Seraphina on JustJared.

Sammy-xx on

Love this interview.
But there is one thing, not just Jennifer a few havee said it and its nothing bad bit when she says she wants them to be respected by their boyfriends, what if they have girlfriends?
It’s no biggy, just something I think about.

Chelsea on

I LOVE Jennifer Garner! She seems so down to earth and easy to talk to.

CTBmom, I saw those pics of Sera on JustJared too! Looks like she has dark hair like Ben! Absolutely beautiful!

Marcia on

I just LOVE her!

Stephany on

Love her, love her, love her! So many celebrities talk about how hard and exhausting it is being a “working mother” – it is, but they have it a lot easier than most working mothers. She’s so refreshing and down-to-earth. I also loved her comment, “It doesn’t hurt to learn a good right hook.” Right on! :)

a mother on

Jennifer Garner is one of the very, very few that gives Hollywood a good name.

Love her.

M on

sammyxx -

why should she say “boyfriend or girlfriend”? odds are that the girls will be heterosexual–it’s pure statistics. i’m all for gay rights and equality and all that good stuff, but do we have to be SOOO politically correct that we’ll include a 10% minority when we talk hypothetically about our own kids’ future? she’s talking about more than 10 years from now! does she have to include every statistically insignificant possibility? should she specify that they should demand respect from white, black, asian, and hispanic men? i mean, just to be careful, right?

eternalcanadian on

I agree with Sammy-xx and disagree with M.

I would think all parents, except perhaps the ones that are GLBT, think of their children as heterosexual when really it is a 50-50 chance either way.

Parents should file it away in their minds that their child will be either heterosexual or homosexual.

I think Jennifer could have worded it better, like “…you have to be a self-confident woman to demand respect from [someone]…”

By the way, I am so happy to read the United States House passed the Matthew Shephard Law. Now hopefully the Senate will pass it and Prez Obama will sign it like he said he would. People really need to change their attitudes about sexuality, and not presume all children are born straight because they aren’t, simple as that.

Bieta on

she’s awesome.

LB on

I like this family a lot! When they are old enough, those girls will have boys lining up the blocks to go out with them! Little heartbreakers:)

CelebBabyLover on

CTBmom- Thanks for the link! Those pictures are adorable. Sera looks similar to Violet when she was a baby. And speaking of Violet…this picture is absolutly priceless: http://justjared.buzznet.com/gallery/photos.php?yr=2009&mon=04&evt=seraphina-affleck&pic=seraphina-affleck-boston-12.jpg

Obviously Violet has indeed taken to her big sister roll very well (just as Ben said in an interview a few weeks ago!)! :) And how cute is it that Sera is also looking right at Violet in that picture?! :)

gianna on

I love love her. Just saw her on letterman, she has the most young skin for 37, even dave told her you look 19 close up lol. Sweetest most down to earth personality. Serraphina is such a cutie from the pics I saw yesterday, she looks like ben to me.

J on

Lol some of you are really scraping the bottom of the barrel on things to critisize these women over.

85-90% of the population are straight, so it is not a 50-50 chance. I myself am gay, and what Sammy-xx and eternalcanadian said didn’t even pop into my head at all when I read that quote. Chances are that her daughters will be straight, and like any parent, she knows there is always a chance that their child will be gay. But she is just assuming her child is straight which is the most common preference in our society. So to critisize her over making that assumption is just ridiculous. If she said a quote like she is ”dreading her children being on the road when they’re older” like all parents, it would just be like critisizing her and saying ”she shouldn’t have said that because some people don’t drive”. I know that’s a silly example, but it is the same thing considering a small portion of the adult population don’t drive – just like how a small portion are gay.

Kami on

I agree M; PC gone crazy.

I think most studies suggest that gays/lesbians are a couple of percent of the population. I’ve never heard anyone suggest it was a 50/50 proposition.

Sam on

It’s so nice to here her say she has it easier than most! I get so tired of hearing how these celebrities cope with working and being a mom. Even if they don’t have a nanny (and most do), they can still afford a baby-sitter whenever they want.

Sam on

“Parents should file it away in their minds that their child will be either heterosexual or homosexual.”

Some people are neither. Why do we have to categorize?

Regardless, all Jennifer says is that she wants her daughters to be able to demand respect from men. She doesn’t specify that those men are significant others (they could be co-workers, for example) or assume anything about her daughters’ sexuality. So I don’t see why we’re even debating this.

Marie on

I think maybe some people are missing the point of what Jennifer means in saying that she wants her daughters to demand respect from men. I imagine she does want them to be respected by all people BUT there is a history, and in some quarters it still exists, of male patriarchy. Historically, men have not always respected women. We all know that. And you have to be self-confident as a woman sometimes to stand-up to that if it comes into play and to counter sexist ideas, in advertising or in relationships of any kind, whether romantic or from male colleagues you might work alongside. So, that’s why mentioning women is beside the point.

Karen on

Watched Jennifer on Lettermen last night. She is so cute!! And clearly, a wonderful mother. Can’t wait to see Ghosts of Girlfriends Past this weekend.

Other J on

Well said J and M!

sil on

“But she is just assuming her child is straight which is the most common preference in our society”

Thanks for your post, J.

I’m a mom of two girls and i imagine their future with a boyfriend/husband….I think there’s nothing wrong with that! and doesn’t mean that if one or both of my girls are gay I will love them less…is just that i will prefere them to be straight, that’s all.
Is like saying “the day i will become a grandmother….” and maybe my girls will choose not to have kids, but there’s nothing wrong in imagine a future the way we would like it to be…every human have preferences in life, and if we respect other’s choices then there’s nothing wrong in prefering one thing or another.

kh on

sil, i think j meant ‘preference’ as in ‘sexual preference,’ not that heterosexuality is preferable.

anyway, i think this debate is silly. i’m totally with m and j on this one. every interview she gives would be hours and hooooours long if she explained every possible scenario her daughters may experience. it doesn’t mean she’s closed-minded. at all.

Becky on

Wow, seriously? This thread is just comical.

Luciana on

About Jen, I loooove her and her family. They are, to me, the most perfect family in hollywood. Specially because they don’t try so hard to look happy and perfect. I don’t see a reason for her to talk now about boyfriends os girlfriends for her daughters. And I don’t believe it would be an issue if any of hers girls is gay.

One thing that I learned is that you know nothing about who is gay or straight. I met several people that I would NEVER say they are gay. NEVER. Some are even married to hide the fact that they are. Nobody should live a lie. And as a bisexual I know what I’m talking about. 20% is definitely not the right percentage of gay people in the world. Hey, maybe your sister is a lesbian and you have no idea. Maybe your best friend. Or your neighbour. Or your brother is gay.

(Sorry for my terrible english, I’m brazilian and don’t study english in a looong time..)

Shannon on

Sigh. Poor Ben and Jen. They can’t make a single typical comment without it being torn apart!! They are one of the most refreshingly honest, normal families in Hollywood. They do regular things with the kids-preschool, farmers market, playground. They do their best to keep the kids out of the limelight without being jerks about it. They admit to the fact that they have it easier than most. For crying out loud, we should be appreciating the things this couple does and says, instead of ripping them up for no reason!

I love this family. Without a doubt, my favorite celeb couple!

Jess on

“fat and happy?” She’s like a size 6. That’s just insulting!

Sarah K. on

I’m not even going to comment on the whole “Jen is categorizing her daughters’ sexuality” because that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

But Jess, she was taking a line from her movie and applying it to her life. And considering how in shape she used to be on Alias and the fact that she just gave birth, of course she feels like she’s a little overweight. But, she is not letting that get her down because she has so many other wonderful things in her life. How is that insulting to you? Did she call you fat?

Sam on

“’fat and happy?’ She’s like a size 6. That’s just insulting!”

Pants/dress size has nothing to do with whether someone is fat or not. Some people are a size six and fat while others are a size six and very thin; it depends on frame size. So her clothing size is irrelevant.

Jeanne on

I loved her on Letterman last night, he had a cold and could barely speak so she came out carrying a cup of tea with honey for him. And he put Neosporin on her scraped knee! It was adorable.

I really don’t get why people are ripping apart an innocuous comment like that. I really don’t.

And by normal person standards, she is thin. By Hollywood’s ridiculous standards, she is overweight. It’s not right but that’s how it is. I’m just so glad to see she doesn’t care so much anymore.

sil on

kh.-
i understood what J meant and agree with everything she said, but my english is very bad so maybe i didn’t explain myself correct, I’m sorry if i was misundertood…

alabama on

I think what eternalcanadian meant by a 50-50 chance is that a person is either straight or gay. Despite the general population being “85-90%”, you have an equal chance of being straight or gay – it’s one or the other, therefore 50-50.

Grace on

“I think what eternalcanadian meant by a 50-50 chance is that a person is either straight or gay. Despite the general population being “85-90%”, you have an equal chance of being straight or gay – it’s one or the other, therefore 50-50.”

That’s… just flat wrong. One out of TEN kids will be gay, statistically. You don’t have an equal chance of being straight or gay. You have a one out of ten chance of being gay. Hyper-PCing language is going to make conversation incredibly turgid.

That said, I wouldn’t worry about the Garner-Affleck kids and their sexual identities. Garner appears to have a father/daughter vibe going on with Victor Garber, and he’s often around the family in a sort of grandfather role, and he’s gay. It’s not like the kids won’t know their options.

Mrs. R. on

I don’t think it’s insulting at all for Jennifer to say she’s ‘fat and happy’. She’s self admittedly 20 lbs heavier. If ANY of us gained 20 lbs, we’d feel fatter… she’s just saying she’s OK with it and implicitly saying she’s not worried about the way she looks right now. Which is so refreshing to hear from a celeb.
Of course, she carries herself so beautifully that it doesn’t seem possible that she’s even 10 lbs heavier. She’s just very lucky to have a body that carries weight well.

She’s certainly not aiming to put a label on heavier people. Don’t take it so personally folks!

Sam on

“I think what eternalcanadian meant by a 50-50 chance is that a person is either straight or gay. Despite the general population being “85-90%”, you have an equal chance of being straight or gay – it’s one or the other, therefore 50-50.”

Except it’s not. There are other categories you can fall into, such as asexual or bisexual, etc. Some people don’t really fall into any of those categories. I don’t think we should have to label ourselves.

sinclair on

“sammyxx –

why should she say “boyfriend or girlfriend”? odds are that the girls will be heterosexual–it’s pure statistics. i’m all for gay rights and equality and all that good stuff, but do we have to be SOOO politically correct that we’ll include a 10% minority when we talk hypothetically about our own kids’ future? she’s talking about more than 10 years from now! does she have to include every statistically insignificant possibility? should she specify that they should demand respect from white, black, asian, and hispanic men? i mean, just to be careful, right?”

Gays comprise more significantly more than 10% of the population. If there weren’t such a taboo attached to being part of the GLBT community, there would be more accurate statistics. As Luciana said, some people will NEVER admit to being gay or bi, a problem since this skews statistics–that, and the puritanism,hypocrisy and homophobia in this country. M, no need to go off on a tangent; people were just saying that JEn and Ben’s daughters COULD be with women one day–apparently this bothers some people, since they cannot civilly let a discussion occur without complaining about others getting ‘PC.’ Stop using PC in the wrong context.

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