Milla Jovovich

Actress and Model, Mother of Ever and Dashiel

Los Angeles, USA

What's your favorite part of being a mom?

My favorite part of being a mom? The whole experience fills me with more joy than I ever thought was possible. Getting all the kisses and cuddles. Hearing our daughter’s laughter and watching what a joyful little soul she is. Seeing her growing into such a sweet, intelligent, understanding and talented young girl makes me so proud and also confident. It’s amazing knowing that no matter what, whatever my husband and I have done as parents is working so far. Our daughter is such a kind person. So ready to listen and learn. She impresses us everyday with her actions, her ability to empathize with others and her desire be a caring person.

It’s funny, but now that she’s 7 years old and has calmed down, she really is my little friend and buddy who “gets it.” I have time to sit back and just watch her blossom. To sit and draw together (without the endless “No, paint goes on paper, not on your face/hair/carpet/all of the above”) is so fun because I can see how talented she is and can only imagine what her drawings will look like in a few years! Listening to her talk about her day, what she did in school, what her hope and dreams and fears are is just one of my favorite things in the world. Watching her improve her skills and find the things that she loves to do…It’s all so precious. And fleeting. Just to give you an example of the kinds of questions that are posed to me on the way to Tae Kwon Do after school, “Mama, So what will happen if our sun dies BEFORE we build a rocket that can travel at the speed of light?” I’m like, “Uuuuuummmmmm….Oooooookkkkkkk!



You're becoming a mom for the second time, did you find anything different this time around?

It’s funny, because I couldn’t have had two more different pregnancies! I was convinced that this time we were having boy. I mean, with our first I had no nausea, no headaches, I was totally normal apart from the fact that I just happened to be pregnant and everything I ate suddenly made me gain loads of weight! I was taking down six eggs, with bacon AND toast in one sitting. And that was just breakfast! It was like I was eating like the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk! Then my skin just flipped out. I got dry around my usually oily t-zone and oily on my cheeks! I got Melasma spots on my face, and my skin was so flaky and red. Of course I was working and flying non-stop, so–to make matters worse–had to deal with having make up applied over all this mess. It was hard.–
 
With this one, I was SO sick for the first four months. I was literally bed-ridden because at least once every hour I would get so dizzy and feel like I was going to faint and throw up. I would get headaches like crazy. All I did was watch marathons of my favorite tv shows and read. I also felt awful because my daughter went through a phase of “being sick” too! Monkey see, monkey do, right? She thought it was really cool that I could just stay home all day and watch tv, so she started complaining in school about “being nauseous” all the time. She would get headaches and tummy aches and every kind of ache you can imagine! I was actually getting worried because I didn’t want her to think being sick was “fun.” But as you can imagine, I was so sapped for energy that it was hard for me to concentrate on anything that was useful. I couldn’t draw or play guitar because it was too much to concentrate on and I would get sick! Thank goodness I felt better into my second trimester!

Who are some moms you are inspired by?

I’ve always been inspired by mothers in Third World countries. I feel that the connection with children and mothers is so strong in places where there are not so many “things” to get in the way. No electronic distraction devices, no high tech baby equipment, just a mother carrying her little one everywhere, sharing a family bed and having the help of all the other women around to raise the baby.
 
I always thought that the Western way of raising kids was so disconnected. Everyone has their cubicle at home, babies go into nurseries, little kids have their own rooms. You are so separated from one another! We have been co-sleeping for years with our daughter and I feel that it’s helped us so much to stay connected as a family.

Especially as my husband and I can have such tough work schedules making films, where we’re on set for at least 12 and sometimes 14 hours a day! Because we share sleep at night, our daughter naturally feels very connected to us and that in turn makes her want to please us! She trusts us and listens to what we say. There is an innate sense of respect between us all that I feel can be lacking with some of the other parents and children I see in our society. I feel that some problems that parents say are “typical” i.e. arguing, defiance, tantrums, interrupting, disrespect, disobedience, screaming etc. we just haven’t had to deal with in any serious way!

Of course I’m very hands on with following through on consequences when my daughter is misbehaving, but I think that because she feels totally accepted and included in our world, she does’t want to let us down and I know that even though we disagree on things sometimes, like rules, it has made discipline so much easier for us. ESPECIALLY when I feel like I’ve made a mistake as a parent, making up for it is so much simpler when you share all that extra cuddle time in the evening and mornings together!

Do you have any tips for travelling with a toddler? Or while pregnant?

Traveling while pregnant is a bummer. There’s no two ways about it. At best, traveling is hard on people’s bodies and the added discomfort of pregnancy is a recipe for exhaustion and aggravation. I remember sitting for 6 to 8 hours at a stretch on a plane with my first pregnancy, and even though I got up and walked around, my feet tripled in size by the time we landed! Recommendation? Take a nice, cool foot bath when you arrive and have a spouse or friend give you a foot and leg massage! I know that I took the entire year off and cut my airplane travel to a minimum during this pregnancy. Especially because I was flying and working non stop during my first.
 
When traveling with our first, I always brought more stuff for her than for myself. You never know when you will get into a situation where your flight is delayed or you sit on the runway for hours with nothing to do, so it was essential to pack as many good snacks, drinks, and fun activities as possible. The worst was when we got stuck sitting on the tarmac in this little plane flying from Paris to Newcastle. It was one of those Jet Blue type flights that’s first come, first serve, so it was super crowded and all these families were jammed together. Kids are screaming, parents are totally over it and exhausted, the plane was hot, and they didn’t serve individual water bottles–only little plastic cups–so the flight attendants were frazzled, grumpy and over taxed running back and forth refilling everyones teeny tiny cups! As Murphy’s Law would have it, that was the one time I was unprepared (we had been late for the flight and didn’t have time to buy supplies after going through security) and we had to deal with our 10 month old being hot, sick (we had all gotten the fashion flu that year during show week in Paris), and thirsty! After an hour and a half, it was really getting hellish because of course as parents you don’t eat or drink anything yourself, you give it to your child, so my husband and I were totally parched and starved!
 
Anyway, after that horrendous experience, I made sure to always leave EARLY for EVERYTHING with a baby! And of course, packing an extra carry-on with lots of stuff just in case of disaster. It feels like disaster is almost inevitable when you travel with a toddler!  Even today with a seven year old, I have a veritable doctor’s kit and entertainment center in my bag! Band Aids, anti-bacterial gel, wet napkins, tissues, some ointment and a bottle of water. I just don’t leave the house with out them! And then a pad of paper and a few crayons or pencils is just mandatory… You never know! Old habits die hard.



What is your pregnancy beauty routine like? Did it change much from your normal routine?

Well, I am a huge believer in taking good care of your skin. I have been cleansing and moisturizing every morning and night since I was 11 years old. I started modeling at 11 and listened to what the makeup artists would tell me about not sleeping in my makeup. To be honest, as a teen and young adult I had a pretty wild time–staying up all night, playing in bands, and smoking cigarettes. I definitely put my skin through the ringer time and time again. I tell people that if it wasn’t for my strict beauty routine, I would look a thousand years old today! But at 39 years old, my skin still looks amazing and I truly believe it’s the attention I’ve paid to it for most of my life.

I cleanse my face with either a gentle scrub or beauty oil, removing dead skin and makeup every night. Then I put at least three different serums on and rotate them on a weekly basis, so my face doesn’t have the opportunity to get used to anything in particular. The only thing I do differently during my pregnancy is add one more step of putting pure coconut oil on my skin after my night cream. I started getting dry skin again halfway through my second trimester and I found that cleansing with beauty oil rather than scrubbing too much and then the coconut oil cleared that right up.

How did you stay in such amazing shape?

Thank you! I really appreciate it! To be honest, because I was so sick this time around, I felt like I really felt myself go during the first two trimesters. I definitely tried to watch what I ate during the week, but not much. Of course I gained a lot of weight and I found myself at the 30 pound maximum around New Years and I still had three more months to go before the baby would be born. That was when I decided to really take matters into hand and start working to change my lifestyle. I was 10 weeks to delivery and I challenged myself to do 12k steps a day and really maintain a healthy diet on an everyday basis to make sure that the baby and I were both getting the most nutrition possible. I thought it would be fun and also helpful to post a “food diary” on my Facebook page because going “public” with something makes it that much harder to get lazy! Now it wasn’t just about me making random promises to myself, but about me putting my reputation on the line with my fans! It turned out to be really fun and inspiring in the end. I put a lot of time and energy into cooking healthy meals at home and sharing them with everyone on a weekly basis!



What about favorite ways to relax?

One of my favorite things to do is lay in bed with my daughter and draw pictures. Its so nice to see her wanting to “be like mom” and drawing too. You have to be careful how you relax once your kids get to an age where they understand and pay attention, because they will copy whatever it is you like to do. I used to play video games sometimes to relax and then saw that it made my daughter want to play them non-stop. Now I try and relax doing things that are fun, but also inspiring. Drawing, walking, reading, playing music, stretching. Anything that feels good, but is also good for “feeding the soul.”

What are some of your favorite kids clothing brands or shops?

Well, this is a strong point for me! My daughter has some of the most incredible clothes! These are some of my “go-to” designers: Paper Wings, Jak and Peppar, Mustard Pie, Dollcake, Sado, Tutu du Monde, Blu Pony Vintage, A. Bird, Bonpoint, Bonton.

And what about for you? Did you have any go-to silhouette or brands? Did you give in to maternity clothing?

Absolutely not! I love Free People so I just bought a bunch of loose, flowing things from their website and called it a day. Maternity clothes definitely give me the creeps, though I had to buy some pregnancy jeans once my tummy got too big.

What are you most excited for with the new baby's arrival?

You know, I’ve been seeing other mom’s with newborns and getting such baby envy! Just imagining having that sweet, yummy softness in my arms again is so exciting! And now that we’ve gone through the experience before, I’m hoping we will be more relaxed and ready to appreciate every single moment! I can’t wait to have a baby in the house again and it will be so wonderful to see our daughter take on the new role of big sister because I know she will be a very loving one.
 
But maybe telling you the things I feel I HAVEN’T appreciated enough will answer your question better. Actually, it’s one of the reasons that I am excited to be having another girl, because I feel that it is inevitable that you never appreciate your first child as much as you should!
 
When our daughter was a baby, I was so used to living on another schedule that I was a zombie for the first few months! She was never a “good” sleeper, so every 2 or 3 hours I was waking up to feed her and calm her. I never wanted to let her signals go unanswered and letting her “cry it out” was not the way I wanted to raise my child. We’ve always been believers in sharing a family bed or having her in the same room as ours at night. Not that I judge other methods of mothering, I just knew that it wouldn’t make me happy to allow her to be separated from us at night and cry for hours on end. And I always say, whatever you need to do to be a happy mother is the best for baby.
 
Later when she got to be a toddler, I could never relax because she was running around like a crazy little thing and of course, I was running after her! I was always exhausted! I remember CHERISHING the calm moments so much, when she would be relaxed and falling asleep in my arms and I could just look at her beautiful, little face and sing to her and tell her how much I loved her and give her little kisses! Normally she would squirm away from me and run to do something else! She was such a vibrant, high energy kid, always ready to jump around or dance or play with something.
Now that we are used to going to bed and waking up early, it’s going to be a lot easier dealing with the sleepless nights a newborn brings with their arrival and I know our older child will help chase the baby when she becomes a toddler! lol!
 
Anyway, you get the picture, right? I’m so excited to have another baby because I can actually stop and smell the roses this time around! So much of being a parent is spent running or worrying, cleaning up messes, going to doctors, making sure they eat the right food and act polite, that actually being able to step back and see how amazing your child is can be something we forget to do. I hope with our second baby, I don’t!

Follow Milla on Instagram

Photos by Peter Lindbergh

Special Thanks to 2bmanagement and Chris Brenner

Interviews

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