Jennifer Garner: “I Think That My Kids’ Lives Are Pretty Normal”

Hands-on mom Jennifer Garner gives a glimpse into her hectic but happy life in a new interview published by Parade magazine. The star of The Invention of Lying opens up about the challenge of being a working mom, her home life with husband Ben Affleck and their adorable girls Violet, 3, and Seraphina, 8 months, and the fact that she’s a “control freak” in the kitchen.

On her best advice 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.”

On her movie star mom style: “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.”

On 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.”

On 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 their 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.”

On being a kitchen ‘control freak’: “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!”

On her own mom’s words of wisdom: “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.”

On the importance on education: “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.”

On how Alias 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.”

On her new role as an ambassador 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.”

On 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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  1. It’s lovely to see that she is a very normal & down to earth women/mother. I love the fact that she cooks healthy dinners, and doesn’t prefer take out. Kuds to her! I know many women who just run by the drive thru because their either lazy to cook or just don’t want to hear their kids whine.

  2. Yes, there’s nothing more inspiring than a “working mother” with housekeepers, private chefs and nannys, making millions and giving advice to other working moms. Spare me.

  3. Jennifer and Ben don’t have a private chef. They have a few daytime nannies, but not live in nannies. They have family and friends help them with overnight things with the kids. As most families do.

    Rarely go around with a bodyguard. A few times while Jen carrying Sera was a bodyguard with them, at Violet’s school. Jen has a bodyguard during press and red carpet. Otherwise they drive themselves places, shop at the market without an entourage, and pick up their own kids from school.

    Do they have millions? Sure, she is not trying to throw it in anyones face though.

  4. I agree! Even if she doesnt have that much help….his and her millions sure make life easier….bet she never has to worry about paying for all the veggies and wheat pizzas at the grocery store! I like Jennifer Garner and she seems down to earth but she is NOT a typical mom.

  5. Of course she’s not a typical mom, but she tries to give her children a normal life. With is more then some of the other celebrity moms try to do. She does not dress her kids like there human dolls like some others do. Sure she has it easier but so does a lot of other people. Everone would have it easier if you didn’t have to thing about what you can but, just about what you want to buy, but i like it that she tries to teach her kids that life isn’t always easy.
    But realy what is typical? What is normal? Is it to count your cent in hope it lasts to the end of the month? Or is it normal to have just enough money to live life?
    I think that jennifer garner is one of the very few celebrity moms that tries not to let her kids know what they are doing. I’m not saying shes perfect, but i think she is one of the better moms there are.

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