Navigating this new normal at home with husband Matthew McConaughey and their three kids, Camila Alves McConaughey found herself, as she put it, a "bit overwhelmed" with the situation.
Though it had nothing to do with entertaining sons Levi, 11, and Livingston, 7, and daughter Vida, 10. Rather the founder of lifestyle site Woman of Today and co-owner of organic kids food brand Yummy Spoonfuls felt flustered trying to figure out what exactly she could do to help those suffering from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
So she decided to try a little bit of everything. With need for assistance at an all-time high, the 38-year-old explains to E! News, "We just kind of decided to go into the basics." That's meant teaming with Bethenny Frankel's BStrong Organization to provide upwards of 200,000 masks to those in their Austin community and, through their Just Keep Livin foundation, "doing meals and giving computers and WiFi to kids that can't have access to food and to their school right now."
Her Women of Today community, meanwhile, is offering meals and masks through their Feed and Protect campaign and 15-minute workout sessions ("Everything from cardio to breathing to meditation," she notes) five days a week. "It's amazing that something even as simple as that," she marvels, "I'm getting so many letters of these women of how much those 15 minutes a day have really, really helped them through this time."
Of course, she's getting the littlest members of her brood into the hard work as well.
With Mom and Dad busy giving back, the trio have really had to step up their help on the home front. "My oldest is in charge of breakfast every day, it's what he does," she explains allowing the practice affords her a bit of extra sleep and Levi a sense of responsibility.
"He takes pride in it. He makes breakfast for his brother and his sister and it creates a bond between them as well," she says. "And my youngest, he isn't allowed to cook on the stove yet but he is allowed to make smoothies so he makes the smoothie snack and he takes a lot of pride in doing that." Giving them that level of accountability to contribute, "It just makes them feel good and feel more in charge and it trickles down to all the other things that they have to do."
Getting through their chores—"Basic things that any child should know how to do," she says of laundry, dishes and keeping the pantry organized, isn't always a Mary Poppins-style scene. "Some days they go through it singing and dancing and having fun and they create games with it, like who can dry the dishes faster," she says. "And some days it's like, do we really have to do this? So it goes through waves but we try to keep it fun for them."
Basic incentives work, she says, like, "Hey, if you want to watch something together tonight we have to finish everything by a certain time." A little ingenuity goes far, too. "We created a cleaning company and everybody's in charge of one thing."
That sense of structure now extends to schoolwork with she and the actor, plus her mother-in-law, Kay McConaughey, taking on the roles of teacher. Chore lists are printed and attached to the fridge; the school work is in the calendar on the wall. "As much as you can visually print out their schedules so the child then has a point of reference," she says, gets them in the habit of doing it on their own.
While a certain level of supervision is certainly required to keep them on track, "at least they're not coming to you every 30 minutes, 'Oh, I finished that one what do I do now?'"
Between that and Kay jumping in to play card games with the trio, Camila is able to squeeze a bit of time into her day for self-care ("Once in a while I have to go 'Okay, I need two hours on my own,' and I literally go to my room and lock the door,") or the quarantine version of date night.
"We'll go on hikes and we'll take our time," the Brazilian-born model and designer says of she and Matthew's go-to way to connect. "After the kids go to bed and it's quiet time we get to catch up and have a drink together."
And, perhaps, plan for their next altruistic venture.