Hilaria Baldwin was currently in a car with four kids under the age of six listening to the Shrek 3 soundtrack, and somehow sounds completely cool, calm, and collected.
“What do you wish you could tell your pre-kid self,” I ask her.
She begins to answer, “The one [thing] that everybody says is, “I wish I had slept more,” but is interrupted by a series of missed calls from her husband. “Alec keeps calling me,” she says. “You know what, maybe that’s what it would be. It would be that everybody is going to want something from you and it’s really okay to step away and say you need a minute.”
Here, Baldwin talks “me-time,” how to talk to your kids about health, and the most unexpectedly awesome part of parenting four kids.
What do you wish you could tell your pre-kid self?
When you’re pregnant with your first, people are always like, “Enjoy sleep now, because this is the last time you’re going to sleep.” To be quite honest, you can’t sleep in advance. You actually have to sleep regularly.
What does one free hour to yourself look like?
One of my favorite things to do is go out for a run. I use that time to disconnect. When I’m running, literally nobody knows where I am. It’s just this moment where I can run through the streets and for a whole 30 minutes, I can have me-time. I have learned it’s about doing small things throughout the day. For instance, in the morning and night, I take a bath, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. Little by little I’m trying to take more frequent moments. It’s like the whole sleep thing. You can’t just bundle together a lot of me-time and then kill yourself the rest of the time. You’ve got to be [taking] care of yourself.
You are well known for being the picture of health. How do you talk to your kids about health without going overboard or making them anxious?
It’s about [focusing on the] feeling rather than the way you look. You don’t want to say, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t eat this because you don’t want to be fat’ or ‘you want to eat this because you don’t want to be too thin.’ You want say, ‘You want to eat this because you want to feel good.’ And if people can associate what they’re eating with how their body feels, then they are going to have a big leg up in life.
What does 7 a.m. in your house look?
Today at 7AM, I was taking a barre class, but every single day is different. I did an interview a couple days ago where they were asking me what my typical day is, and I literally don’t have one. Everybody’s a little jet lagged right now from [a trip to] L.A., so my kids have been sleeping really late which has been nice. I’ve used that time to get up and go work out.
What does 7 p.m. in your house look like?
Evenings are a lot more typical. Around six o’clock we start having dinner and then we take a bath, then pajamas and stories and then bedtime. Usually by 7PM the boys are going down to sleep and Carmen stays up until about 8 o’clock.
What’s an unexpectedly awesome part of parenting?
One of the things that I feel really lucky about is that I get to see how many different kinds of people you can make. Alec and I had a girl first and thought, okay, [Alec] + Me equals that kind of girl. And then we had a boy. So you think, [Alec] + Me equals that kind of boy. And then, if anyone goes for a third child, you start to see, wow! Him + Me equals a boy that’s completely different. And in our case, the fourth one, Him + Me equals a boy that’s completely different from those ones. Everything is so science-based now, which is amazing, but there is something very magical and bit mysterious about where the soul comes from. I’ve really been able to marvel at that from having so many kids with the same gender. People really are born with their own personality. It’s really beautiful.