Celebrity Baby Blog / Julie Bowen

Julie Bowen: Why Wearing Sunscreen Is Second Nature to My Sons

04/23/2015 at 01:00 PM ET

Julie Bowen
DApega/Wenn

She’s a busy mom of three on TV and in real life. So how does Julie Bowen find time to stay so fit?

For once, the Los Angeles gridlock has proven useful.

“I tend to dress in workout clothes or keep them in my car, because in L.A. there’s so much traffic,” she tells PEOPLE.

“Sometimes I’ll be driving home — where we shoot Modern Family, sometimes over the canyons it’s so backed up — and I’ll just call my husband and say, ‘I’m running now.’ So my routine is no routine.”

Bowen, 45, does make protecting her skin part of her daily routine. The star is supporting the Neutrogena Choose Skin Health Campaign, which helps people find skin cancer screening centers in their area and download a free self-exam.

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Julie Bowen: I Don’t Want a Full-time Nanny

01/08/2014 at 08:00 PM ET

Julie Bowen Modern Family Michael Simon/Startraksphoto

Julie Bowen may be outnumbered by her brood of boys, but it’s a challenge she’s willing to accept — without any full-time hired help.

“We definitely go nanny-free far more than my husband would like and that started with us … on the weekends,” the Modern Family star, 43, tells PEOPLE.

“I’m not a saint and that’s not to say we have never had a scoch of help on the weekends, but we never had anyone regular.”

However, her steadfast commitment to raising her sons — 6½-year-old Oliver and 4½-year-old twins John and Gus — was not one initially shared by husband Scott Phillips.

“I felt that it was important — and I forced my husband into this line of belief — that we do have three kids and we need to know how to be with three kids,” she says.

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Julie Bowen: Parenting Isn’t About Keeping Kids Happy

08/07/2013 at 11:00 AM ET

Julie Bowen Working Mother Scott Kirkland/PictureGroup

As a mom-of-three, Julie Bowen‘s got a good grip on motherhood, but that hasn’t stopped her from picking up a few parenting pointers from her Modern Family character, Claire.

“[I’ve learned] that being your kids’ best friend is not always the best parenting choice. It’s not about everybody being happy all the time,” the two-time Emmy winning actress tells Working Mother of raising her sons, Oliver, 6, and fraternal twins John and Gus, 4.

“It’s about setting limits. In my house that makes my kids very unhappy, like tantrums-on-the-ground-twice-a-day unhappy. But the limits are set.”

But while juggling three boys isn’t always easy — she likens the task to “running a small army” — Bowen, 43, admits one of her greatest challenges came after welcoming her first son.

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