Julie Bowen
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Staff
With a toddler at home and twins on the way, the Modern Family star thought she could power her way through parenthood, until a stranger's advice changed everything.
About two years ago, when my husband and I had just one son, our toddler, Oliver, we were really on top of the caregiving. I wasn't working much, so I was there for every special moment, and I cooked every meal. When I found out I was having twins, I figured, well, we'll just try harder.

At 20 weeks, I went in for an ultrasound. To my surprise, as I lay there on the table, the technician voiced his strong opinion: I should give my children 75 percent of my time, tops. He said, "If you don't make time for you, they will hate you, and you will resent them." I thought, He doesn't know how strong I am and how much energy I have!

But then John and Gus were born, and I was struck by the reality of two more people needing a slice of the pie. None of my kids would get all of me—and my marriage, my friends, and I were probably going to get zero. If I wanted time for myself, I'd have to make adjustments. I started getting up at 5:30 in the morning to exercise before the children woke. I made peace with serving the occasional completely beige meal of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and fries when that was all I could swing—no fresh pureed baby food today! And I stopped comparing the number of Mommy and Me classes I'd signed up for to the number I'd been to (one).

I was sure I had reined in my expectations—until a few months ago when I took my first on-location project since the twins were born. I'd be gone for three weeks, and when I thought about the boys, I panicked: I'm a terrible mother. John and Gus will forget me. But then I went back to that technician's words, and I realized a few weeks was just a drop in the bucket. I'd come home to my boys feeling good about myself. Why should I beat myself up about that? That was the first time I thought, Maybe I don't have to hit the ball out of the park every day.

There's an expression: Great is the enemy of the good. Sometimes in trying to be great, you make a mess of things. Sure, part of me feels bad when I sashay in at 6 o'clock after work and give the boys a quick kiss before they're off to bed. But another part of me says, You know what? You're here. Sometimes good enough is good enough.

More Aha! Moments

NEXT STORY

Comment

LONG FORM
ONE WORD