Since her breakout role over a decade ago as the lead in the television series “Dark Angel,” Jessica Alba has been a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. In fact, she’s even played a superheroine, as Sue Storm in the popular Fantastic Four franchise.
In her latest movie, “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World,” Alba’s character is a retired spy with twin step-children and a new baby. Throughout the film, she has to deal with the stress of saving the world while also taking care of her kids. It’s a role she can identify with – even though she’s not a secret agent, the struggle to balance work and family is a real-life challenge for the actress, who has a three-year-old daughter, and another child on the way. So how does she manage it all?
“I don’t work as much as I used to, and that’s definitely helped for me, to prioritize our time,” she says. “On the weekends, my husband (film producer Cash Warren) and I have made an agreement that when we’re with our daughter, it’s pure family time – no blackberry, no email, no texting – just really trying to give her as much attention as humanly possible.”
Alba’s parenting style is inspired by her own upbringing. “My mother and my grandmother were my examples. Growing up, they always made us feel like we were a priority, no matter if they were working or busy.” Even though her mother sometimes worked three jobs at a time to support her family, Alba says she “always managed to make my brother and I feel like we were number one in her life and that she was doing everything for us.”
Although in “Spy Kids,” her character is raising two hyper-intelligent pre-teens, the actress laughingly admits that she’s overwhelmed with the thought of parenting teenagers. “Three is enough for me,” she says, referring to the age of her daughter, Honor Marie Warren. “I think you’re only prepared for what’s happening right then in their life, because if I think about having a teenage a girl, I have a panic attack. I don’t even know where to begin. So I think I’m just prepared to deal with what’s happening right now in this moment and that’s it.”
But as far as the future goes, she does have one thing figured out – Alba wants her children to make education a priority. As a former child actor – her first role was in the Nickelodeon series “The Secret World of Alex Mack” – she knows firsthand how hard the industry can be on kids. As far as whether she would encourage her own children to go into show business, she says she would support whatever path they want to follow… after they finish college. “They have the luxury of spending time to have an education and grow up differently than I did. And if they want to get into the arts, it’s only going to make them more dynamic as artists, the more life experience they have to bring to their work.”
For now, Alba is focused on the present. She takes her daughter on trips to the park, they go swimming and they play dress-up. “I just try to live in the moment as much as humanly possible. And I find that when I’m not trying to live for tomorrow or what’s to come, and when I’m just enjoying what’s happening right now, I feel like those are always my best days.”
Be sure to check out Jessica Alba’s new movie – Spy Kids: All the Time in the World – which opens in theaters everywhere on August 19th
Megan Sayers is the managing editor for ModernMom. Follow her on Twitter @MeganSayers