‘I want to empower my daughters to think work is good and necessary.’

By Lauren Phillips
March 16, 2018
Sean Zanni/Getty Images

The legions of people on Instagram have advice, solicited or not, for everything from yoga routines to travel spots to diets—and now Drew Barrymore has joined their ranks yet again, this time offering on point parenting advice for working moms.

The E.T. and Santa Clarita Diet star (and lingerie designer!) is a mom of two, and she recently took to Instagram to share her tips for balancing it all, especially when she’s on the road for work.

Olive has a working mom. So, I came up with a couple of systems. One of which is “THE CALENDAR”. It has been very successful recently. I circle with sharpie every day I will be traveling. And I ask her to mark the day with an X once it’s done. That way she can see that I am gone at first, still away in the middle, and then coming back towards the end. She now has a good sense of my geographic place from the globe. She knows when I am leaving and coming home. I always explain to her that I love my Job. I don’t say “I have to go work” with a grimace on my face, because I fear it will make her feel negative about something a lot of moms must do to provide. My friend once said “never make your child feel like work is the bad thing taking you away from them” and I realized a lot of us tend to do that to try to make our kids feel better and that work is the yucky thing taking us away. It’s a good intention, but I am convinced I need to take a different approach. I want to empower my daughters to think work is good and necessary. And can even lead them to road of their dreams. I feel guilty as hell for being away (and what mother doesn’t?!) But i try a way to empower me and my kids into something more positive. I don't blame work, i own the responsibility. I will be patient when she is upset if i am away. But i wanted to give her a tool, so she could understand and gage life when i am working. Like a hand made calendar. And watching my daughter follow through with as an exercise, is so rewarding. And calming to my concerns about teaching her to grasp life. I also send her a postcard everyday at Summer camp where she walks to a mailbox and pulls out my hand written card. She knows what stamps are. And snail mail. And then she carries them in her back pack. And has even started to write me back. And we save them all in a box. Like I said, I’m trying to balance life to make it as great as it can be, and we have to find ways that are authentic and true to who we are. I tried a few methods at first... and if you ever want to corespond with Olive, don’t face time with her. I learned that the hard way.

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To make balancing her home life and work life easier, Barrymore writes that she has systems to keep everything running smoothly. One is “THE CALENDAR,” which allows Barrymore’s oldest daughter, Olive, to keep track of how long her mom will be gone and when she’s coming back.

Barrymore also wrote about her commitment to not making work seem like a chore, or like a bad think taking her away from her daughter: “I fear it will make her feel negative about something a lot of moms must do to provide,” she writes. “I want to empower my daughters to think work is good and necessary. And can even lead them to [the] road of their dreams,” she adds.

In a follow-up Instagram of Olive with her father, Barrymore touched on how she communicates with her children while she’s traveling, and how she figured out that Facetiming wasn’t always the best solution.

Continued from last post...My face time would come out of nowhere into her world, and it would be so disruptive. Neither of us felt good after. But she’s young and that will change when she gets older. And I am old school. So i figured globes and postcards and calendars are what works for us for now. What works for you ? And to all working Mom's, I salute your valiant efforts to love and raise good kids! I’m trying my very best. And it’s not easy. But worth every moment. And when you find something that does work for you and your family, big or small...Celebrate. Because the next obstacle is on its way! And then we reinvent again! That’s what mom’s do! I also would like to say that I am so lucky for her father. Because as I go through these struggles as a woman and a mother, I also have the fortune of knowing she is safe and happy and loved. Playing and continues her normal stable amazing life with her amazing dad. And not all working mom’s have that luxury. So I say to Will Kopelman thank you for always being the best dad and supporting and enabling me to do what I need and want to do. I know that’s not everyone’s situation. And I never take it for granted. I never had family growing up. And that’s also a support system I cherish every day of my life. I love my family and everyone in it. Because they form these little girls too. And man, did I pick well! I am always so calm and content when my girls are with their family. I see as time with them, and not about that I am not there. Which is also good planning for when a mom is trying to make it out there in the world. For now, I look at this pic of olive and her dad watching an old road runner cartoon. And this also makes me so happy and knocks out my guilt with a punch. I’ll be home soon and be laughing right along side you guys!

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Barrymore goes on to talk about how finding what works for your individual family is key: “When you find something that does work for you and your family, big or small…Celebrate.” She acknowledges that mothering is difficult and challenging, but also incredibly rewarding.

In the post, she also thanks her ex-husband for his support and writes about how fortunate she is that her daughters have a strong support system they can rely on when she’s away for work.

Hundreds of moms commented on Barrymore’s post, thanking her for her honest words and sharing their own challenges and successes—head to Drew Barrymore’s Instagram to see all the frank advice.