Jessica Alba covers Parenting Magazine April 2012 in which she addresses how she raises her daughters, how her own childhood affected her parenting style, and how she addresses the paparazzi without panicking her kids.
How she started the interview: “I’m so sorry!” Jessica Alba is late… and looks frazzled. “My washing machine exploded and my three-year-old fell down the stairs wearing my high heels. We had to have a chat about why we don’t wear heels on the stairs.”
On her pregnancy weight: “I put on a lot of weight with [my firstborn] Honor. It took a long time to get back in shape,” she says, only half-jokingly. “My husband [producer Cash Warren] made bacon for me every morning, and at night we ordered a minimum of five desserts.” …By baby number two? “[By then] I had a toddler to take care of and I was starting this business, so I made healthier food choices, [and I] did prenatal yoga.”
On watering down the truth to protect her kids: “I serve Honor flavored sparkling water; she thinks that it’s soda, and that’s what I let her think. I told her that ‘brown soda’ is only for adults, and she believes me. Ha! And when the paparazzi follow us, and she asks me what they’re doing, I tell her ‘They’re just taking pictures. Isn’t that silly?’ I don’t want her to have anxiety, so I tell her they do that to everyone, not just our family.”
On doing the same with the media/ public: “You’d think that the best way to protect my family from the lies and criticisms the press can print about me would be to angrily deny them at every turn. But I’ve found out it’s better to do nothing, as long as it doesn’t deeply affect my family and their happiness. Whether it’s true or false, I won’t say anything. I think that’s just feeding into it, and it’s going to create more press than it needs to. My mom’s like, ‘It’s not true! That’s an outright lie!’ And I tell her, ‘Yeah, but if I come out and say that’s an outright lie, then it’s going to be circulated again.’”
On turning into her mother: “When I was a kid, I told myself, ‘When I become a mother, I’m never going to say ‘Do it because I said so!’ to my children. I’ll definitely give them my reasons.’ Yep, I’ve totally said it… and without giving reasons.”
On being the disciplinarian: “I’m the disciplinarian. I think it’s because I was kind of a naughty kid myself: I’d push my parents’ buttons and test them to see how much I could get away with. Cash, meanwhile, was always the perfect kid; the straight-A student who was everyone’s sweetheart. It was never in him to be naughty. I think I just know, from me being that other kind of child, how to cut off bad behavior and redirect it. So when Honor tries to do something she shouldn’t, I have to say to Cash, ‘Let her know right from the beginning that she can’t.’ I’ll put her in time-out and tell her, ‘Think about the choices you’ve made.’ Then I’ll come back and say, ‘Now it’s time to stop crying and think.’ Then I’ll come back again and ask her, ‘Now, what did you learn?’”
On her priorities changing with motherhood: “Before I had kids, I was always so focused on my career, and it was always such a big thing for me. But once I had kids, it changed. That’s probably the thing that’s surprised me the most about motherhood; just how secondary everything else is. Nothing else really matters to me aside from my children and their well-being.”
On how going from one child to two is easier: “Having your first baby is just a complete and total mental shift.”
On preparing Honor for big sisterhood: “We’d say things like, ‘You know, when the baby comes, babies can’t have lollipops or go on a swing. They can’t play dress-up.’ Honor realized she was going to be the cool sister. Now, she’s really into being my helper. When I change Haven’s diaper, I ask her, ‘Can you throw this away for Mommy?’ or ‘Can you get me the wipes?’ She’s really into it. I tell her, ‘Oh, you’re such a good big sister!’ and give her a high five.”
On her husband: “My husband, Cash, is a super dad. If I’m with Haven, he’ll make Honor’s lunch or take her to the park. They see movies or draw together; she’ll even watch sports with him.”
On her kids’ favourite foods: “On weekends, we wake up and go to our favorite deli, where Honor has pancakes, bacon…and matzo ball soup. She’s obsessed with that soup!” – via Parenting Magazine.