We loved her as Aunt Becky – Uncle Jesse’s better half – in Full House. Lori Loughlin is back on the small screen in a familiar zip code, and making the most of her time with her two young daughters.
The 45-year-old 90210 star and her famous fashion designer hubby, Mossimo Giannulli, are parents to two young girls: Isabella Rose, 11, and Olivia Jade, 10. Lori sat down with Working Mother to discuss how she balances her show biz life with baking at home with the girls.
On balancing her role on 90210 and her role of mommy at home: “My schedule changes with episode-to-episode. It takes seven days to shoot one episode, so some days I’ll work one day an episode, some days I‘ll work two or three days an episode, but usually there’s enough down time for me to be with my girls. Having young children, that is a plus for me because I can be involved in their school activities and I can volunteer my time up at school. I can be there to take them to soccer practice, and I’m home at night to make dinner and help them with their homework. That’s all very important to me and this job allows me to be able to do that.”
On the challenges she’s faced as a working mother: “Like all working moms, I have the days where, it’s my child’s birthday but I’m called into work that day and I can’t get snack up to school. Or there’s a conflict between something that my child is doing and work schedule. My daughter was on the school basketball team last year and there were a couple of games that I just couldn’t make it to because I had to work. But I’m very lucky in the sense that if I can’t be there, my husband always can. So if both of us can’t be there, one of us will be there.”
On her experience being on Full House: “It was wonderful being on a hit show and having a job for so many years. But the greatest thing about Full House was that it was a really fun job. I worked with great people. The cast was very funny and fun to be around. We formed our own bond and became a family—on camera and off. I was out of the spotlight for a while after Full House. I had my girls.”
On deciding on taking the 90210 role: “90210 the first time around was really successful, and I thought, between the younger audience and the original, older 90210 audience, it was a recipe for success. The other thing is that it shoots in California, and for me, it was the most important thing, because I really won’t work outside of the state of California. I certainly wouldn’t do it for a TV series, because I would not be away from my children. I couldn’t do that.”
On waiting to have children until her career was established: “I really laid the groundwork for my career when I was childless, and I think that worked out well for me. By the time I got to the point where I was ready to have children, I was more established and I had more flexibility as a result, which has served me and my children well.”
On learning any mommy tips from playing a mom on Full House and on 90210: “I’m getting a little more savvy as to what might be involved in the world of a teenager from the kids on 90210—which I think can only serve me as my girls get older and become teenagers. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge being around kids when they were little on Full House and seeing how their parents handled them or how the teachers on the set handled them. You learn little things and you pick up tricks of the trade. But I’m sure a large part of my parenting comes from how my mom and dad parented. My mother was always very open and honest and a good communicator, and I try to be that way with my girls.”
On sharing parenting duties with her hubby: “We’re pretty good about making our kids the priority, and he has a little bit more flexibility in his schedule. So if I’m not available, I know I can always count on him to pick up the slack. We split on a week-to-week basis depending on what’s going on in our own work schedules. Both my girls play soccer now. Sometimes their soccer games overlap, so we divide and conquer. I go to one game, he goes to another game. We work it out.”
On their disciplining style: “My husband and I are both pretty strict disciplinarians. We are not fans of disrespectful children, so it’s something neither one of us will tolerate. Therefore, we’re on our girls to be polite, kind and thoughtful young women. Since they’re just a year apart, there are days when they play and play by the hour and they get along really well, and then there are days when they fight over every little thing that they can bicker over. But I think that’s just normal. If you spend that much time with another person, I’m sure you’re going to have your good days and you’re going to have your bad days.”
On how she makes the most out of the time with her girls: “We hang out at the beach, or sometimes I take them to lunch and we sit down and talk. Sometimes we play games. Now that they’re getting older, they like to help me in the kitchen, so we cook together. They like to hang out and bake. It’s also a great way to spend time with them and teach them about measurements, which also helps them in school.”
On making the time for self-care: “As my kids have gotten older and they are in school full time, it’s definitely gotten easier. I’m able to go to a yoga class and look out for myself. It always helps just to take an hour out of the day, do an exercise class, go for a hike, and get back on your sensor. I find working out helps balance out things for me. I like that kind of personal time for myself. It just puts me in a better frame of mind. And I think when you’re in a better frame of mind, a better mood, you’re better at everything you do.”
On her best advice to working moms: “I would say you have to take one day at a time, and do the best job that you can. Love your children, and at the end of the day, don’t beat yourself up. As my mother said, in spite of it all, “they will grow up, they will go on, and they will survive.” I still call her for parenting advice.”
On her new campaign called Voices of Meningitis: “It’s about meningococcal meningitis, which I was not aware of at first. I didn’t realize did how severe this strain of meningitis was and that it could kill with flu-like symptoms. Most often, victims are misdiagnosed and when they figure out what it is, it’s too late. I have children that are all in the age bracket—preteen and teen years—where the rates of meningococcal meningitis are greater. When I read all the literature, I thought to myself, this is a vaccination that is important and worthwhile to get for my child. It’s an ounce of prevention. And that’s why I decided to endorse this particular vaccination.”
Lori and her girls are pictured above at the High School Musical 2 premiere in August 2007.