‘Modern Family’ star Julie Bowen on parenting

Julie Bowen with her three-year-old twins John and Gustav.

A two-time Emmy winner for her portrayal of Type A mom Claire on “Modern Family,” Julie Bowen appears to have wrangling teens down, dealing with the hormonal outbursts of her three onscreen kids. But at home, it’s a different picture for Bowen, who has three much younger sons in real life — a 5-year-old and 3-year-old twins. Luckily, she’s acting out situations familiar to most parents of teenagers on the show, so she’ll be well-prepared for the parenting challenges facing her 10 years from now.


On how the show is training her for when her kids are older:

“It is training as far as saying, like, ‘No. Do it. No arguing. Clean this.’ The idea that you are supposed to be best friends with your kids and they are supposed to love you and you are supposed to hang out and be buddies — and I have those moments every day — but it invariably ends in, ‘Well, if we are best friends, can I eat chocolate in bed while watching TV?’ ‘No.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Because you can’t.’ And then it turns into just boundaries and mom, and Claire is very helpful there. Claire has a lot of boundaries.”


On the truth about her work-home balance:

“My kids keep me much busier than work. Work is wonderful, and it’s where I come to take a nap. I had one this morning. It was fantastic. I have to be to work at six, and then they do my hair and makeup, and then we had a rehearsal. And then they had an hour where they were setting up. I immediately go to sleep wherever I am. I just lie down and sleep. I can hardly wait. At home that doesn’t happen.”


On having realistic expectations for healthy eating:

“You know, I try to get my kids to eat one green thing a day, and if I do, I win. I eat very well, but my kids … I think that there are realistic expectations. I don’t feed them sugar and junk food all day long at all, but they want buttery noodles every meal. They basically want fat and carbs and cheese, and they are going to get it in whatever form. So I slap down some broccoli, and they have to eat it or else I’ll be mean to them. But if you are boiling water and putting in your own pasta and butter and parmesan cheese, it really is a healthy meal. It’s just not very well-balanced if you are not throwing some vegetables and some protein in there. So you’ve kind of got to look at the week as a big picture. I look at the week as one big meal for my kids as opposed to every single day and every single meal being perfectly structured. It doesn’t work like that. My kids are awful.”

On her Emmy win — and attention-grabbing acceptance speech:

“I got more comments on the fact that I thanked my nannies, which is a word that I hesitate to use because it makes me sound like I have Mary Poppins floating around my house. But I do have two different women who without whom I could not live or do my job.”


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