The actress — mom to daughters Honor Marie, 4½, and Haven Garner, 19 months — is surrounded by an eclectic mix of fellow mamas — all with their own opinions — but insists she refuses to dwell on her friends’ doings with their children.
“When you become a mom, the last thing you want to do is feel judged because everybody is trying to do the best they can,” Alba tells PEOPLE.
Noting that nursing is a constant hot topic among moms, the cofounder of The Honest Company says women should start feeling confident in their decisions — even if that includes extended breastfeeding.
“My girlfriend who is co-sleeping with her kids and may or may not be breastfeeding her 3-year-old shouldn’t hide that. She should be fine with that, and she shouldn’t feel judged,” she explains. “And then my friend who never even attempted really to breastfeed because it was too exhausting for her … she shouldn’t feel like she’s a bad mom.”
The stay-at-home versus working mom debate is one Alba understands all too well, but sees both sides of the never-ending argument. “I have friends who literally are better parents when they are going to work every day for long days and they have weekend time or night time with their kids,” she says.
“I have other friends who cannot even imagine leaving their child for one second and need to be attached literally at the hip, and that is fine as well.”
As her own girls grow up, the actress is already anticipating how she will handle both her work commitments and their school schedules. For Alba, if quality time with her daughters during a trip means bringing along their school books, it isn’t a big deal.
“I feel like I have friends who can’t take their kids out of school [because] they’re so into school attendance that that is their number one priority,” she says. “For me, I’m my kids’ happiness. Once my daughter gets old enough … if we still are continuing to travel this much, I’ll bring the tutor and she’ll learn. It’s more important for me to spend time with her than to not.”
“We don’t look at kale or broccoli or squash as healthy. That’s just what they eat,” she explains. “I try to give them whole foods and whole grains as much as humanly possible. I just feel like they will thrive on that. Will they go to dinner with the family to a chain restaurant? Sure we do!”
With her philosophy of everything in moderation, the eco-friendly mom admits there’s still plenty of sweet indulgences for the family.
“If they’re going to have a dessert, I like to make a dessert with Honor. We’ll make little cupcakes and that will be what they have two or three times a week and then the rest of it will be fruit or applesauce,” Alba shares.
“They’re such little spazzes when they have too much refined sugar and flour. You know? They’re mental.”
– Anya Leon with reporting by Suzanne Zuckerman