Jenna Dewan on sharing daughter Everly on social media after being 'very protective'
Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of child rearing.
Jenna Dewan's an actress, a dancer and a TV host, but the most important role for the multi-hyphenate star is mom. Mom to 8-year-old daughter Everly — from her past marriage to Channing Tatum — and the 20-month-old son, Callum, she shares with fiancé Steve Kazee, Dewan tells Yahoo Life that she's "all heart" when it comes to her kids.
For the Rookie actress, showering her kids with TLC includes making sure their health is a top priority, especially as flu season hits. Ahead, Dewan opens up about her partnership with Rite Aid to help keep families healthy, learning to hold boundaries as a mom and sharing more on social media.
You've been candid about having a bit of a hard time the first time around as a mom. Now having a second child, have you found it somewhat easier, or that you've learned from that first experience?
There's something to say about having already had a kid ... you know what to expect, for the most part; things aren't such a surprise. [That said, Callum's a] totally different kid. There are still moments where I'm like, "Oh my gosh, what do I do?" [laughs] That energy as a mother and as a parent really is always present. ... I have no control, necessarily, and that's one of the biggest lessons kids bring you.
But it is a little bit easier the second time around; there's a flow. My daughter's in the house, and she helps with a lot of the structure of what's going on. [Callum's] a fun little kid. Obviously, we've hit the toddler tantrum stage a little bit. The first time you have a kid and they have a tantrum, you're like, "Ohhhh, what is happening?!" The whole world feels like it's coming to an end. The second time around, you're like, "Oh yeah, I remember these."
What would you say is your biggest parenting challenge overall right now?
The thing I continually work on is maintaining boundaries because I am an extremely loving, soft by nature person and mother. And so it's hard for me to hold boundaries, and I have to learn it and I've gotten a lot better about it. They know how to work me and they're so adorable [laughs] and so cute and I want to give them what they want and I want to give more cuddles and more books and more all constantly — but then I'd be in there 'til midnight. My kids have taught me that boundaries make them feel safer and create more ease and harmony in our house, but it's something that I continually work on with them, for sure. And [at this age], it's even more necessary to have that sort of kindness, compassion and loving boundaries.
For a long time, you didn't show Everly's face on social media, but you've come to share more about your kids. What went into that decision? Was it just a matter of her being older and feeling comfortable with being online?
Yeah, she felt comfortable with it. And I think there comes a certain age where you start realizing she's old enough to [wonder], Why is my face covered? But she's aware and she knows that we were being protective and wanted it to be coming from her. And I think the world has changed; the times have changed. I think when Evie was born, social media was still the Wild West. I don't think anyone knew what was going on with it, and so we were being very protective. But I think, yes, she's gotten older, she's voiced her opinion and the times have changed, and everyone just across the board was more comfortable with it.
You've described yourself as a very loving mom. Is that how you would also describe your parenting style?
I'm definitely very warm, loving, cuddly, sensitive, empathetic, soft-hearted. They all come to me at all times for all things. I work hard at my boundaries. I would never say I'm a strict parent, and I didn't grow up with that either. My mom is extremely loving and soft, so by nature, I'm all heart. But I realized with my kids, I have to balance it [so I'm] balancing it with loving firmness at the same time as having all this gushy love as well. That's something that's been a big journey for me as a parent. I can love something so hard [laughs]: my dogs, my kids ... it's like a nonstop channel of love 24/7.
Steve is amazing with boundaries, so he helps me a lot with this. We have a nice balancing act going on, but yeah, I am definitely the more soft [parent]. I don't know if I would've known that before [having kids]. I mean, I've definitely been loving with my friends and relationships, but [once I had] my dogs and my kids, it was like, I just can't not love them so hard. But, you know, part of loving something hard is also saying no.
Tell us about working with Rite Aid to boost healthy practices during the flu season.
I'm all about balance, so I definitely stock up on my vitamins and my supplements, and I do all of my teas. I big believer and in a hot tea during flu season and also immune-boosting, vitamin C — everything you can do ... elderberry, all that stuff. And I also want to follow science and get a flu shot. For me, it's about building your immunity as strong as you can, because nobody likes to take sick days when you live a busy life, like I do as a working mom. I want to keep my family strong and healthy and as prepared as possible for flu and cold season. Rite Aid is amazing; [it's] a literal one-stop-shop for all things wellness. And it's really easy. I walked in, I got a flu shot and I left with every vitamin and mineral supplement that I needed.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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