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Nia Long: Work Calls Stopped When I Got Pregnant

11/15/2013 at 10:00 AM ET

Nia Long Best Man Holiday John Lamparski/WireImage

When Nia Long gave birth to her baby boy, she quickly realized there would be no need to pencil in maternity leave — it’s already built into the business.

“It wasn’t like I called my agent and said, ‘I’m having a baby and I’m not coming back for two years.’ It was more like, ‘I’m having a baby,’ and they stopped calling me for awhile,” The Best Man Holiday actress, 43, tells Mom.me.

“Once the baby was born, and I was ready, the conversations gradually started to happen and eventually you get a job.”

But even if there had been a role immediately following the arrival of now 2-year-old son Kez Sunday, Long would have likely turned it down.

“I admire the women who can have babies and jump right back to work,” she says. “As a nursing mother, I couldn’t sit there and just pump all day. I needed to be close to my baby.”

Now that she’s back into the swing of things, Long — also mom to 13-year-old son Massai — is once again striving for balance, both personally and professionally.

“I was having this conversation with [director] Tyler Perry about single moms. He was talking to a mom, and he asked, ‘How do you do it? How do you do it every single day?’ and her answer to him was, ‘You just do it. You don’t think about it,’” Long shares. “And so for me, it’s all kind of stored in my mind, and I have a good way of remembering what needs to be remembered. You have to. It’s just part of the gig.”

The working mom-of-two isn’t the only one experiencing changes; Her son Massai is slowly becoming increasingly independent.

“The place where we’re moving to is in walking distance to school — he’s 13, he can now walk to school,” Long explains. “Those are the things, then you get to see, ‘Did I really do my job well? Does he have the judgment?’”

But, despite his growing up, Long jokes her teenager still holds onto some of his childhood habits — especially when it comes to trying new things. “The only thing he doesn’t like is when his food touches each other. I’m like, ‘Really? You’re still on that?’” she says.

“Both of my kids are pretty good with vegetables. I make sure that, before I even put the meal on the table, that there’s a salad involved.”

– Anya Leon

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Showing 28 comments

Ugh on

I am losing my job at the end of the year and I am 6 months pregnant. I am interviewing and trying my hardest to ide my pregnancy. It sucks. This is my first baby and I’m hiding him like I’m ashamed but the truth is many employers don’t want to bring someone in that will be gone on maternity soon. Doble sucks becasue in the grand scheme of things, maternity leave is a blurp of time off in your career. But it is what it is…

Amy on

Some people have no choice but to return to work. Get off your high horse and think about what your saying. I would give anything to stay home with my baby but I cant afford to.

Holly on

I’m glad she was able to take off for an extended maternity leave. However, most women don’t go back quickly because they can – they do because they have to. I would love to have stayed home and nursed past 8 weeks, but the bills needed paid!

No hard feelings though! I’m glad for women that have the choice!

bkable on

Two years of mat leave?? Must be nice…

rose on

Ok before people get crazy- she was talking about other actresses that jump back into work right after having a baby. The article is about her business, shows business. She is not referring to regular women who have to work.

carla on

Did people even read the story? She said she told her agent she was pregnant and the calls for work stopped coming, not that she planned to take two years maternity leave because she is so rich and famous. Good Grief. Bitter Bettys, why do you even read a blog about celebs if every single response is going to be, “Must be nice to have money…”

melsbookshelf on

Frankly, I think that’s a rather insensitive (and borderline self-righteous and judgmental) comment to make. Many mothers (regardless of whether or not they are nursing) would like to have the option to stay close to their babies but can’t afford NOT to go back to work. I’m one of those mothers. It’s not always about the “can” or “can’t” — sometimes it’s about the “have to”.

Zaria on

Glad I had one year PAID mat leave…can’t imagine only getting a few weeks unpaid.

gimme a break on

I love the fact that she’s a nursing mom and shares that with people that might look up to her… get a reality check though and think about how you’re talking to us common folk — Most of this country is forced to go back to work or lose our job after the piddly 12 weeks we’re afforded under federal regulations – if your company has to even follow those regulations.

I happily pumped ALL day long, forced to be away from my children all the while feeling very blessed that I a) could afford quality childcare and b) could afford a quality pump. I was also extremely blessed to have my own office to pump in instead of having to sneak into a coat closet like most American women… don’t praise “those women that go back to work right away” go help make a difference and fight for family rights and appropriate time to be taken to have a child, care for that child’s most vulnerable year and then not feel the backlash from the workforce after-the-fact.

It would be awesome if hollywood moms used their fame for something so worthy!

gagirl on

Can I just point something out here? Why are people having babies when they can’t afford to???????????

Amy, maybe you should think about what YOU’RE saying.

dawn norris on

It’s nice to see she is saying her child came first instead of her career. How many of these actresses go back to work with in months and go O it’s so hard to balance career and family. If you have the Means put your family first because in the long run they will always be there for you, a movie or tv show will not.

Brielle on

All of you women sound bitter. Just because she is saying she got to stay home with her baby doesn’t mean you get to bash her. You chose to have your baby, nothing has changed in the last 2 decades with maternity leave….your get 6-8 weeks and you are needed back to work if you want to get paid.

Amy, you need to realize that planning for a family takes sacrifices. If you wanted to be a stay at home mom then you needed to marry a husband who paid the bills and support your WHOLE family. You need to get off YOUR high horse.

Anonymous on

You can afford to take off for two years if you were in the business that she’s in so I don’t blame her for it. I didn’t hear the word Nanny, so that tells me she’s handling the their day to day needs.

SM on

I cannot imagine going back to work after 6 – 8 weeks. Another plus for Canada and one year paid maternity leave…

Lolo on

Boom! I don’t understand why women read articles on Celebrities and then complain about their socioeconomic differences. Stop making children you cannot afford or learn to deal with the fact that others have different financial arrangements which equals different perspectives.

Lauren on

I’m pregnant with my first child and would love nothing more than to stay home with him when I give birth. Unfortunately, my husband and I are not wealthy and can not afford for me to stay home with our newborn. Stars need to get a grip on reality….

Kat on

That’s why a woman in her position should only get knocked by a wealthy man, to make sure she’s financially set whether she finds work or not!

Betty on

wow, people did not read the story.. She said the calls stopped coming when she was pregnant not that she wanted to take a 2 year maternity leave!

Oenac on

Ok, LAST time…you CHOSE to have a baby, so deal with it. Don’t get pregnant and complain about the consequences of your choice.

Amy on

This article is for people magazine, which ordinary people read.

gagirl: I can afford to have children. My children have a great life. But I cant afford to stay home. Under your brilliant logic, only mothers who can stay home can have children?

Kica on

I think more people need to learn how to read AND comprehend. Geez…

KellyGreen on

“As a nursing mother, I couldn’t sit there and just pump all day. I needed to be close to my baby.”

Offensive. Many working mothers need the $$$ to support their precious baby. I pumped for 6 months at work, would have loved to stay home and nurse, and with my 2nd, I was able to. But she COULD have “sat there all day and pumped” – you have to do what you have to do.

Ange on

I wonder if anyone took into consideration that when she was discussing staying home and things of that sort she was speaking of her peer group which would be other celebrities not people outside of what is considered her peer group because there are plenty of celebrity moms who seem to rate their level of fitness over taking bonding time off with their children.

Missy on

Some of you are so insecure about your life choices that you get offended about every little comment made by a celebrity. There are some people in this life that will have more money and an easier life than you. Congratulate those people and move on. Life isn’t fair. Be thankful for your own life so that other people’s lives won’t bother you.

981designstudio on

‘JUST’ pump all day. Pfff. I ‘JUST’ pumped all day for a year to feed my twins while I worked my a** off to help financially support my family. If only I had nursed, I’d be close to my babies. Shucks. JUST another pumping, hardworking mother. Mia Long=1 Me=0

cc on

It is your choice to have a baby, if you cannot afford to take the time off or cant afford to have a baby dont get pregnant. It is not Nia fault that she could stay home or that she had a man that supported her decision to stay home. You people need to realize they are living their lives and you need to live yours that best you can. DONT GET UPSET BECAUSE OF YOUR LIFE…

abc on

I sure wouldn’t be telling the public that my 13 year old son WALKS to school. Goodness.

Anonymous on

KellyGreen, agree with you. While I am lucky to stay home with all of my children, I found that comment to be offensive. She is a single mother. If she was not in that industry and was a teacher….she would have no choice, but to “just pump all day long,” like millions of other moms.

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