Landcruisers: First, tell us a little bit about your involvement with the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis campaign.
Julie Bowen: I've been involved with it to educate and keep the conversation going about preparedness when it comes to anaphylaxis and life-threatening reactions to allergies, which my oldest son has. We just gave out $15,000 in educational grants to several different communities, and it's been really satisfying to keep the message going because there are so many parents who are dealing with this, and now they finally have a place to go. There's information, games the kids can play, and even . All of it is really helpful in keeping the conversation going, and it gives parents a place to go if they think their child has anaphylaxis.
WD: Thanks for sharing that. That's definitely a wonderful resource for parents to have. You mentioned your son, whose the oldest of your three children, which your character on Modern Family, Claire Dunphy, also has. Besides being mothers, what are the biggest similarities, and what are also the biggest differences between you and your character?
JB: The biggest difference is quite easy. Claire gets hair and makeup. She looks a lot better. Take her to the grocery store, and she'll have a blowout all the time. Me, not so much. That's the big difference. Otherwise, we're very similar in our approach to parenting and kids, and I've learned a lot from her. I've mostly learned that trying to be your child's friend is not always the best parenting style as tempting as it is and as fantastically rewarding as it is.
WD: Your children are fairly young—all are under the age of seven. What's your number one tip for working moms of young children balancing their career and family lives?
JB: Actually, the four year old twins are easier than the six year old. The six year old is now smarter and more verbal and able to manipulate me much more easily because of that.
I'm learning as I go on not to make promises you can't keep. It's tempting to make a promise and hope that your kids will forget about it, but they won't. Also, we're very conflicted with schedules, so we put them on the same schedule whether it's my husband's schedule, my schedule or both of ours. And that's helpful.
Another thing I've learned is that kids don't understand time the same way adults do. They view it as 'coming and going.' Even if you say 'I'm only going for a half-an-hour.' They don't care; you're leaving. I'm tempted to see them between work and an interview just to spend 20 minutes with them, but that's just another come-and-go to them, and it's really upsetting for them. So it's actually better if I'm gone for four days, then come back for two whole ones instead of just coming back for a half a day. It can be painful, but it's important to understand their point of view.
WD: When you're stressed or overwhelmed, do you have a mantra or quick way to relax?
JB: It helps to know that every single thing will pass. Remember that it's a phase, and it will pass.
WD: What are some must-have beauty items you always need in your purse?
JB: After I pack my epinephrine auto-injector—because I can't leave home without it—and my car keys and cell phone, I have to pack my tinted sunscreen. That is key!
WD: Lastly, before you became an actor, did you have any fun or interesting jobs that would surprise people?
JB: I checked coats in New York, in one of those places where you had to go up and down a ladder. I do believe the tips were directionally proportional to shortness of the skirt. I didn't love it, but I did discover a lot about tipping. To this day, I'm a huge tipper because of that. Because I remember those people who would only tip 50 cents or a $1 and then an incredibly amazing person could change my entire weekend with $20. I also waited a lot of tables, and worked at a clothing store for buyers where I modeled clothing for buyers, but it was for men's clothing. It was very odd.
WD: Wow, that's definitely something our users never knew about you! Thank you again for chatting with us, Julie.
JB: Of course, my pleasure!