Jennifer Garner Opens Up About Starting a New School Year with Three Kids: ‘It’s Crazy Town!’

09/27/2016 at 03:45 PM ET

Jennifer Garner Huggies
Stefanie Keenan/Getty

Most parents can attest to the fact that the first few weeks of a new school year can be a little chaotic, and Jennifer Garner is no exception.

“Everything shifts,” Garner tells PEOPLE. “It’s crazy town. I always feel like September is bananas, doing initial meetings, meetings for room mom, field trips. It’s crazy, but good.”

The busy mom of Violet, 10, Seraphina, 7 and Samuel, 4, her children with Ben Affleck, is also focused on raising awareness for a cause very close to her heart. Garner, also a longtime ambassador for Save the Children, has teamed up with Huggies during National Diaper Need Awareness Week. Huggies No Baby Unhugged  program will donate 7.5 million diapers and wipes to Baby2Baby, where they will be distributed to families in need.

“Families desperately need diapers,” says Garner, 44. “And if they’re choosing between diapers and food for their kids, that is a problem. With enough of those stressors in a mother’s life, it leads to toxic stress. How is a child supposed to be a happy baby and sweet and interact if they are uncomfortable and they have a rash? This [donation helps to] lift that worry off mothers’ shoulders.”

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When it comes to her kids, the mom of three says she’s honest with her children about her own tough moments.

“I said to my kids yesterday, ‘This has been a long week,’ ” says Garner. “Kids fight, they push and pull. The beginning of school is stressful for them and they take it out on Mom. I have to say, ‘You guys, this is a lot for me. I need a break!’ We all have to chill out.”

And the star of the upcoming Tribes of Palos Verdes is looking forward to more meaningful professional work.

“It’s one thing at a time,” she says. “It’s really about, this is what’s happening at home and this is what’s needed. Sometimes I actually need to go and work. I need to do something for me. And luckily, I’m able to step away and do that.”

But with the holidays approaching, Garner says right now, family is the biggest thing on her mind.

“Family all being together [makes me happiest],” she says. “My sisters and nieces and nephews and parents will all be together for a week at Christmas. And for now, we’re starting to think about Halloween costumes. It’s all fun!”

— Aili Nahas

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dawn9476 on

Diapers are seen as a “luxury item” and government assistance programs don’t cover in the US. If you can, donate diapers to programs that help the poor.

Hea on

Cloth diapers and regular water and some oil for the washcloths. Less chemicals for your baby’s skin, great for the environment and way way cheaper.