There's a reason they say it takes a village.
Hard as you may try to find it, there's no guidebook filled with the answers to all your parenting questions: What should they be eating? Are they getting too much screen time? Am I even doing this right? (Spoiler: You are.) So, we're here to help. We've asked your favorite celebrity moms for their tips, tricks and hacks that are guaranteed to get you through every meltdown and milestone.
Welcome to E!'s Moms in the Moment.
Oftentimes, finding zen is no simple feat. And today, in these uncertain times, it's especially easy to get wrapped up in the chaos. While it's a feeling Hilaria Baldwin certainly understands well, the yoga guru has also learned to look for silver linings.
Along with husband Alec Baldwin, the 36-year-old escaped Manhattan in early March and headed to their secluded home in Amagansett, New York. There, their brood—Carmen, 6, Rafael, 4, Leonardo, 3, and Romeo, 22 months—have quickly adapted to country living, a mood booster for all. "I would say I definitely have my spirals," the Mom Brain podcast host exclusively tells E! News. "I'd be lying to say I don't. But, I look a the sun shining, the kids laughing and stuff like that. You can find the joy again."
Now, the pregnant star is sharing her tips for sparking joy, staying safe and sane.
Create a routine
Every morning, she gets her brood dressed and ready for the day, even if that means going from one set of loungewear to another. "I have a child that wears pajamas every single day of his life," Hilaria admits. "But at least they're fresh pajamas!"
More recently, while her kids were on spring break, she found her footing with homeschooling, walking through spelling, the ABCs and penmanship. "I've been trying to figure out some systems," she explains. "Think about what works, find that fine line between what to expect and when to let go, which battles to pick and what they're each capable of."
They start the day with pen and paper work before moving on to an art project. If the weather is nice, they'll head outdoors for some necessary fresh air. And, after lunch—served around the same time daily—the kids will switch between doing schoolwork and playing educational games on their iPads. (With some nudging from her actor husband, she's changed her anti-screen stance: "You've got to give yourself a little break.") By 7 p.m., everyone is fed, bathed and ready for bed.
The schedule keeps not only the kids, but also Hilaria in balance. "It helps you wrap your mind around the day," she says. "Before I used to do this it would just seem like an unending day. It feels like there are fewer pockets of time where I'm like, ‘What am I going to do with them?"
But know when to ditch that routine
After all, she knows to manage her expectations. For instance, if Romeo stirs and Rafa doesn't sleep, she'll be a little more lenient on him the next day. "Making a three- and four-year-old do something they don't want to do," she admits, "good luck with that."
And when it comes to teaching her kids, she's learned to pivot from the original game plan, too. "They're in very different places, whereas my six-year-old can sit down and do 100 math problems, my three- and four-year-old are still working on what the ABCs are in very different ways," she says. "If I sit the three of them down, it's hard to get them to focus and then it's hard for me to be able to multitask and work between them."
Instead, she goes with the flow, an expertise she picked up while, quite literally, going through flows at her studio. "I'm the kind of yoga teacher that I'll go into the room and I don't have a set plan," Hilaria explains. "I go in and feel the room like, 'Wow, I really need to put on some really slow music, dim the lights, close the curtains and people just need to stretch and breathe and move in a certain way.' You start to get the temperature of your students. So I'm trying to bring that into the syllabus with the children as well."
Have a conversation about Coronavirus
She and Alec have kept it as light as possible, without going in-depth with their young children. "They definitely hear about it and they overhear certain things," Hilaria tells E!. "But we're just super careful about the really heavy stuff that could give them anxiety and make them nervous. We don't speak about that in front of them." Instead, the longtime couple have tried to remain positive. "Our message to our kids is we're out here and we're living differently because Mommy and Daddy are keeping you safe," she adds. "That's what kids need to know."
Still, social distancing has been difficult, especially for their social butterfly Carmen. But, Hilaria has kept her oldest in communication with her friends through FaceTime, Zoom and some creative activities. "We'll go for a walk and she'll find sticks and rocks. She's like, ‘This one's for this person and this one's for this person,'" she explains. "She'll draw them pictures."
Let kids be kids
In New York City, "we're constantly busy," she admits. "Here, we literally will walk on these nature trails by our house that no one is on. The kids found this branch that if they all sit on it, they go up and down, like a see-saw." Indeed, slowing down has allowed for imaginations to run wild, especially for Rafa and Leo. "They're super close in age, which, you can imagine, makes them close and makes them archenemies sometimes too," she says. "I've never seen them play better than now. They're running around and pretending to be superheroes. They're saying, 'Pretend this' and ‘Pretend that.' I literally think it's because they don't have another option, so their imagination survival instincts come in and they're really enjoying themselves."
As it turns out, her city kids are naturals at country living. "They're capable of entertaining themselves," she raves. "I'm starting to think that, in some ways, we give our kids a little bit of a crutch when we make them constantly scheduled."
It's OK: Get dirty
In the kitchen, her kids are helping whip together lunch, dinner and snacks like banana bread and apple sauce. But it's the madness and mayhem they create that's the true treat. "I think I'm a very patient person, but there's the annoyance of, ‘Oh my God, you're making a mess and now I have to clean up the mess,'" the Living Clearly Method author confesses. "We interviewed Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Mom Brain podcast and he was like, 'I wish that parents would just let their kids explore a little bit more and make a little bit more of a mess.' I'm like, 'This is the perfect time to do that!' So when I'm losing my patience with my kids, I just keep on remembering that I have nothing but time [to clean up] right now, so it's fine."
Find five minutes for yourself
For Hilaria, the comes after the kids are asleep. Those sacred moments include online workouts, a bath and games with her husband. "I'm a big puzzler. I've done all of the puzzles in my house," she admits. "But the problem is once I open a puzzle, I have such that personality where I can't stop. I'm also trying to learn to paint my own nails, which I'm not very good at, but I will be by the end of this!"
Remember to breathe
When she starts to get anxious, Hilaria takes a moment to "come back to reality," she says. "Stress starts to constrict your breath, it starts to constrict your muscles and then you start to feel really bad. I focus on my breath, focus on my muscles that are tightening up and try to release them."