In the September issue of SELF, Jennifer Lopez addresses why she and husband, Marc Anthony, raise their 6-month-old twin babies (Max & Emme) without nannies, what inspired her to train for a triathlon and the accomplishments she’s most proud of.
On her greatest accomplishment: “Having my babies. I think that was the biggest. I mean even while I was still in the hospital, I was very much aware in that moment that this is the biggest thing you will ever do! This is it! For any woman and for me as well.”
On the most challenging of all of her endeavors: “Probably the same thing! I mean honestly, being entrusted with the lives of two people who are totally dependent on you? It was always about me or my husband or whatever, but mostly myself my whole life, you know? But once you have babies, it’s a whole different take and a whole different spin on life. You’re aware that you’re really responsible for raising these children in the right way, trying to instill them with values and tools and love. And you have to have patience and boundless energy. It’s a relentless thing, you know what I mean? It’s not like, OK, today I want to sleep in. Nope! You’re going to get up and you’re going to do it again! You can always take a day off from work. You can always take time from a relationship. Or family. You can take time from anything except raising kids. It’s a challenge for me, which is great, because I love a challenge.”
On how she juggles it all: “Nonnegotiable is obviously, for me, the babies come first. I want them to travel with me. I want them to be with me. I’ll only leave them with my sister or their father or my mom. And that’s only for a few hours at a time. And you know, that has to be in place. I feel like my family life—being a good wife, being a good mom, having my house in a beautiful way and creating a beautiful life for us is first. Marc and I have to be a unit to make a unit for our children. Our house has to be a good home for that. That’s very very important to me. Marc knows that. Then there’s my work. And I think that all comes second. It’s second because I need to be fulfilled as an individual to be good for everybody else in my life including my children, including my husband. But even that has changed since I had my kids. Before, being fulfilled as an individual would’ve been so much more about work. It’s not about that as much anymore. That paradigm has shifted for me.”
On her energetic nature: “Yeah, I think I’ve always had a lot of energy. It’s funny. On the way over here today I was thinking, Why do I still want so much more? Because I’m so happy and I am so fulfilled. But there is that part…it’s just a mechanism I was born with. I just do want to accomplish more, and I don’t really know exactly what it is. So I’m just going to keep trying and doing everything until I get to the point of, “OK. I think I did it! I think I did that thing I was after!”
On any particular place or time of day that she feels most inspired: “Gosh. I think I’m most inspired and I hate to sound like a broken record, but I have to say, by the love I have for my children. Honestly. That’s the most inspirational thing. Anybody who has a child will understand that. That I can’t stop. I thought honestly that I would be more ready to kind of just sit still with the babies when they were born and that is a want and a need that I have. But actually it made me more ambitious. More inspired to do things. If I’m doing music, I think about them hearing it later. If I’m doing a performance, they’re going to know that they were alive when I did this performance.That’s the main motivating force is my family. And I have to include Marc in that because he’s very inspiring as well. We push each other to try to do bigger and greater things in our lives and I honestly feel like it’s the beginning for both of us. The real beginning. We were able to finally create a real family unit and I think we both tried before but this is something where we actually found a partner who understands us and who really really wants you to be your best and is not afraid of you being your best. And I want the same for him. We push each other to the greatest heights, I hope. And that’s what I want to do for my whole family. That’s the inspiration of my life.”
On if her realtionship with March has changed: “A little bit! We’ve tried different things. He was night shift and I was day. He’d sleep until 5 in the afternoon and then he’d be up with us for a few hours and then he’d be just waking up and unwinding and by the time he got into his groove, I was putting the babies in bed. And so that happened for a while and then we decided, we’re not going to do that. We’re just going to help each other all day and all night. So sometimes, I’m just like [in a sleepy voice] “Next time they cry, you get up. And he’s like, “What’d you say?” I said, “You heard me. You get up!” [Laughs] He’s like, “OK, OK!” He’s great. He’s a great partner in that sense.”
On if she believes in focussing on the positive: “That’s totally true! As human beings, we have a tendency to focus on the negative. That one negative thing. Marc and I will always joke about how we’re dong a concert and there’s 25,000 people there and there’s one person in the front row who’s like [straight face] and for some reason, that person just jumps out. Everybody’s got their hands in the air and that one person can get to you. But that’s how life is. You can have all this wonderful stuff and this one little thing is going wrong and we tend to focus on that. It’s not about that. It’s about being grateful. It’s about seeing all the blessings you have. If you have your health and a great family and love in your life. If you have those basic, basic things, you know, you can do anything. We’ve just been adding onto that. It’s just pluses.”
Click here to follow Jennifer’s triathlon training blog at SELF.
Photo: Bauer-Griffin June 19, 2008