Going back to work after having a baby can be an incredibly difficult experience, especially in the United States. Yes, many moms and dads go back to work because they love what they do. But others are forced to reenter the working world because money is tight and our country offers no paid parental leave. Regardless of your reasons, leaving your child to work can take adjusting. Even for celebrity moms, who have flexibility not granted to peons like the rest of us, returning to work after giving birth isn’t easy.
While it may seem like they have the luxury of taking all the time in the world before going back to work, many of celebrities return to work really quickly after having their babies. Because, believe it or not, being a celebrity often comes with a lot of responsibility — as does being a non-famous mom. Juggling a family and a career can be impossible at times, and it’s OK to talk about the struggle. In fact, it’s encouraged, because when everyday women see stars struggling to balance motherhood and a career, it makes them feel a little less alone. To provide you with a little comfort, here are nine celebrities who got real about the challenges of going back to work after having a baby.
1. January Jones
The Mad Men star opened up to People about returning to work after the birth of her son Xander. “[Returning to the set] was tough with the long days. But work made it really comfortable for me."
2. Claire Danes
“I was very anxious about returning to work,” the Homeland star and mother of Cyrus told YourTango. “I had all sorts of exaggerated fears—the biggest one being will I ever want to work again? But, in fact, I do and it's been great.”
3. Tia Mowry-Hadrict
Though it was a challenge, the former Sister-Sister star though going back to work was best for her son Cree. “I want to be an example for my son,” she told People. “I want him to see that mommy works hard for what she has. Once I started to focus on that perspective, going to work got a lot easier. The guilt hasn’t completely gone away, but it feels a lot better.”
4. Amy Poehler
The funny face of Parks and Recreations identified a new type of mom guilt in her memoir Yes, Please, noting that, "[It’s] difficult to be away from your baby and to be working hard, and also want to be working."
5. Tina Fey
In an essay she wrote for The New Yorker, Fey pointed out that she and other celebrity moms are no different than the average mother.
How do you juggle it all?’ people constantly ask me, with an accusatory look in their eyes. ‘You’re screwing it all up, aren’t you?’ their eyes say. My standard answer is that I have the same struggles as any working parent but with the good fortune to be working at my dream job. Or sometimes I just hand them a juicy red apple I’ve poisoned in my working-mother witch cauldron and fly away.
So please, stop asking how she does it, OK?
6. Zoe Saldana
After giving birth to twins, the actress would have loved more time off, but knew that wasn’t realistic. “We have to pay bills and at the end of the day, I think that's the best example we can set to our children,” she told Us Weekly, “We're very determined and we can't just leave everything behind and just focus on them. But it's painful."
7. Gwen Stefani
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the rocker and mother of three admitted that her career changed drastically after after children.
I remember when I did the Love. Angel. Music. Baby. album. I'd just gotten married and just started L.A.M.B.; I was doing my first thing outside of my band and I made that record, and it was a magical time. And then I got pregnant, right before my tour, with [first son] Kingston, and then eight weeks after I gave birth I went back in the studio, because I was like, 'I gotta put another record out!' Because I didn't feel done. I still had a lot of songs that I hadn't put out from the first record. But it's just different once you have a baby. There's no way to go back to having the freedom that you had creatively, because your energy is always going to be focused on the kids. Family and marriage and all those things have to come first, and it's really different.
8. Reese Witherspoon
The actress told Working Mother magazine that, regardless of your work schedule, being a mother is tough. “It can get chaotic sometimes,” she said, “But whether you're working a lot or not life with your children will always be a bit unpredictable.”
“I really wanted to give myself the opportunity to learn that ‘balancing act,’” the singer told Celebrity Baby Scoop. “I had friends that went back to work quite early and they really regretted it, so I tried to learn from them. I pretty much gave myself a year-and-a-half off… I think all mommies feel those pangs of guilt over doing anything except for staring at their babies. That was my first step into learning that balancing act.”