September 29, 2009  •  Gertie & Mary  •  Articles - Jennifer

Jennifer Garner may have her hands full with two kids and a new film, but that didn’t stop her from taking time out to increase awareness as an ambassador for Save the Children.

The Invention of Lying star spoke to reporters about her passion for children and why she has no problem asking for help as a working mom.

Stepping out for Save the Children.
“I have always been drawn to child-related causes. I find that people listen to me more when I advocate for children now that I have my own. We all have a responsibility to volunteer somewhere and I’m lucky that I get the education and get taken to places to see what’s out there and see what’s happening and to then be a part of it in hopefully an impactful way.”

Tips for working moms.
“Good luck! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You should try to get help wherever you can. Don’t guilt yourself, it doesn’t help. Do anything you can to try to save time with the dumb stuff around the house so you can be with your kids as much as you can. And put your BlackBerry down and just be with them.”

How physical stunts prepared her for motherhood.
“Alias set me up in a good way for motherhood because I did run on no sleep for so long and I did push myself so hard. Everybody talked about how hard the sleep thing was with babies and I thought ‘Oh, this isn’t that bad! You’re sleeping some!’ But it’s never-ending. There’s never a weekend or there’s never a night, that’s what’s harsh. On Alias at least I had to stay in shape for my job so it was just part of my day no matter what. Now finding that hour for myself is much harder to find. I have to do it before they’re awake.”

Taking advice from mom.
“My mom is full of good advice. She always says, ‘Happiness is your own responsibility.’ And she always says, ‘Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.’ That’s what she would tell us after every breakup or anytime you did poorly on something. Most of our little bites of advice as kids came from either Little House on the Prairie or Anne of Green Gables.”

Finding inspiration at home.
“My mom was really vigorous about making sure that we saw things and that we questioned things. Education was so important to both of my parents. My mom grew up in poverty in Oklahoma — like Dust Bowl, nine people in one room kind of place — and the way she got out of poverty was through education. My dad grew up without a dad, with very little and he also made his way out through education. So it’s always been emphasized in my house. There’s so much missed opportunity with all of these kids all across the country who aren’t getting what they need to do well in school and once you don’t do well in school you don’t want to go to school. So it’s a cycle in our country that’s very sobering.”

Mom by day, red carpet stunner by night.
“If you look at the pictures taken every day of my life you’ll see that I do not make it work by far most of the time! I am in jeans that are on the floor from last night and one of the five t-shirts that I rotate. I do know moms who pull it together every day, I am not one of them. But when I do, I try to really pull it together so it makes some kind of impact. Sometimes for yourself you just need to take a shower, put on something clean, put on a little blush and go out the door.”

Whipping up some home cooking.
“I make really homey food. Just the other night I did a roast chicken with butternut squash and brown sugar. And I did brown rice and some roasted broccoli. I make a wheat pizza once a week. When my daughter is the hungriest, that’s when I try to have vegetables out for her to snack on while I’m finishing dinner. So I don’t start with putting her favorite thing in front of her, I start with putting some snap peas or broccoli with dip or carrots to get her going. I rarely do take-out. I like to be in charge of what we eat. I’m a control freak that way!”

Raising kids in the spotlight.
“I feel like they have a very normal upbringing. It’s too bad that there aren’t laws that protect they’re privacy, but that’s a whole other thing. They do have things that are really exciting for them and strange for them, I’m sure. Like living in a different place for a while then going back home. But kids have that with parents with all different jobs so I try not to look at it as something that is a problem. But kids are kids, they think whatever goes on in their lives is normal and I think that my kids’ lives are pretty normal.”

What she hopes to pass on to her daughters.
“It’s so important to me that they grow up with a healthy self-esteem, confidence and knowing just where to kick if they need to! You want to set the best example you can for them in every way. You want them to grow up and be proud of you.”

Her perfect day.
“A little hair and makeup! No, my perfect day is a day where I have a little bit of time with each kid and then we all play together. Where I make dinner where there’s enough left over for another day. And if the day ends with a glass of wine and a conversation with my husband, that’s a good day.”


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