Please help us welcome back celebrity blogger Garcelle Beauvais!
Best known for her roles on The Jamie Foxx Show and NYPD Blue, the actress, 45, formerly starred on TNT’s Franklin & Bash.
Aside from acting, Beauvais just published her children’s book, I Am Living in 2 Homes, the second installment in her I Am series.
Mom to three sons — Oliver, 22, and 6-year-old twins Jax and Jaid — Beauvais supports the Step Up Women’s Network and is also active with March of Dimes, Children Uniting Nations and Yéle Haiti Foundation.
She can be found on Twitter @GarcelleB.
In her latest blog, the actress shares her thoughts on raising her twins in two homes — and how she makes co-parenting a priority.
I recently asked several friends and acquaintances: “What do you think of when you hear the D-word?” Their responses were: “Painful, broken, betrayal, dysfunctional, alimony.”
And when I asked my 6-year-old twins Jax and Jaid the same question, their answer had nothing to do with money, deceit or inconvenience. They both said, “Sad.”
I understand how they feel. My parents split up when I was 3-years-old, and I didm’t see my dad again until I was 14. In my day, children of divorce didn’t grow up with both parents after a marriage broke up. I was with my mom and never really had a relationship with my dad. (Maybe a therapist would say that’s where my issues with men come from — but that’s for another blog!)
Because I had already been through a divorce from my grown son Oliver’s dad, this was the last thing I wanted. In fact, when I was dating Mike (the twins’ dad), I said there are two things that are most important:
1. If you cheat, it’s a deal breaker.
2. If we have children, I never want them split between two homes.
But I guess he didn’t hear me right because both of those things happened.
Based on my own experience as a child of divorce, I knew how important it was for my kids to have both of their parents play an active role in their lives. This is why it’s so important for my kids to spend time with their dad and me.
As parents, we try to protect our children from boo-boos and bullies. I think we should also try to protect them from adult drama and, more importantly, make sure they know it’s not their fault.
To that end, I don’t speak badly about their dad. I never have. But sometimes I make mistakes. For example, the boys’ dad recently called during our regular dinnertime. I was grumpy that day and instead of being grateful that their dad contacts them regularly, I made a comment along the lines of, “Why does he have to call while we’re eating?”
Two days later, when he called again at the same time, Jaid repeated my comment. He even used the same exasperated tone that I had when I said it. In that moment, I realized that the kids really pick up on every thing, every nuance, and they feel my energy.
So when Jaid did that, I told him that Dad calls when he can. It was an important lesson for me, and made me thankful I didn’t say anything harsher. Kids notice everything.
I’ve seen the effect on children when their parents don’t get along. They act out in school. It’s hard for them to concentrate. I just want to give my kids the best possible chance of having a normal childhood, despite the fact that they live in two homes.
Don’t get me wrong. Helping them adjust to living in two homes is not always easy. Just imagine if you were the one going back and forth and trying to remember your toys and trying to keep your life moving forward. I know a lot of kids do it, but a lot of adults don’t really put themselves in their children’s shoes.
While I’m so grateful that my ex and I are peacefully co-parenting and committed to creating a strong, consistent presence in our sons’ lives, we know that divorce is difficult. It’s hard on us, and it’s especially tough on our children, the innocent bystanders.
They are the people who were created when the love and the relationship was good. And it is most confusing and devastating to the kids when the marriage or relationship that produced them doesn’t work out. They find out quickly that their lives are going to change in ways they don’t anticipate or understand.
That is why I wrote, I Am Living in 2 Homes, the second in my I Am series of contemporary children’s books.
I Am Living in 2 Homes, which I wrote with my wonderful collaborator Sebastian A. Jones and illustrator James C. Webster, follows the adventures of siblings Jay and Nia as they live their daily lives, splitting their time between their mom and dad’s houses.
Readers of the I Am series first met the twins featured in our first book, I Am Mixed.
The story is filled with vivid illustrations that show the daily lives of this brother and sister. They learn to appreciate the differences between the times they spend with each of their parents while acknowledging the conflicting emotions of living in two different homes.
It celebrates two parents who love their children and show them that, although they are no longer married, they will always put them first. In both homes, Jay and Nia are “wonderfully loved.”
Frankly, I miss my boys so much when they’re not with me. While it’s nice to get the break (and a chance to have a clean house!) while they’re with their dad, it’s also unnervingly quiet. As weird as it sounds, I find myself having to figure out what do with my time at home when the boys aren’t with me.
I’m not gonna lie. It breaks my heart when I hear them say to their friends, “I’m at Mommy’s house this week.” Even when they’re not with me, they are constantly on my mind.
Luckily, co-parenting with Mike has been a blessing because we let each other see the boys even when it’s not his or my week. That’s because we put them first. It’s better for them to see us both at their sporting events and school activities.
We also do things to help the boys feel at home in both of our houses. They have clothing at both places, but they bring special stuffed animals, toys or books with them when they travel between their homes. Sometimes, they’ll call me from their dad’s house, and we’ll pray together on the phone before they go to bed. Plus, technology helps. We have Facetime calls, so we do get to see each other when we’re not together.
Sometimes my sons tell me, “When I’m with you, I miss Dad, and when I’m with Dad, I miss you.” I tell them that these feelings are normal. I let them know that both of us love both of them very much.
In fact, talking to my kids and checking in with them on a regular basis helps them to know that they are loved by both of us. It also makes them feel more secure.
I Am Living in 2 Homes has a questionnaire in the back so young readers can fill it out. Their answers about how they feel and what they do when they feel lonely can help start a positive discussion with their parents and help them cope with their living arrangements.
The message of our book is whether you’re raised in one home or two, Love is Love, Family is Family.
– Garcelle Beauvais
Courtesy of Owain Yeoman
Baby makes three!
The Mentalist star Owain Yeoman and his wife Gigi Yallouz are expecting their first child together next year, his manager confirms to PEOPLE exclusively.
“We are overjoyed to announce our pregnancy! Obviously this is big news for our French bulldog Cash, who up until now has been an only child,” the couple tells PEOPLE.
“We are pretty certain the baby was made in Wales and that definitely made Owain, a proud Welshman, extremely happy!”
The baby news is extra sweet for Yeoman, 36, and Yallouz, a jewelry designer, who celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary in September.
“We feel so blessed to share this fantastic news and are excited to start this new chapter in our life,” says the couple.
– Melody Chiu
“She’s growing like a weed and the changes are coming fast,” Nichols, 37, tells PEOPLE of his second daughter with wife Heather, 38. “She’s starting to giggle which is so cute and she’s getting her first little tooth on the bottom!”
Plus with his 2½-year-old daughter Dylan River already at home, the singer is loving being the only man of the house.
“I enjoy all the pink everywhere, being Heather’s husband and the daddy for the girls,” says Nichols, who also has a daughter, Ashelyn, 16, from a previous relationship. “I’ll do anything to make them happy.”
So what exactly is “anything?”
“I find real joy doing things I would never have imagined doing, like playing with princess dolls and fairies,” he says. “I’m the guy who wants to watch Bubble Guppies with Dylan and hold the baby.”
Though while he’s on tour promoting his album Crickets, life is a bit different.
“When I’m on the road, it’s a lot of cussin’ and guy stuff,” he says. “It’s a big transition.”
But with the holidays approaching, “the road is slowing down a bit,” he says. “I’m just really looking forward to spending some uninterrupted time with my family.”
For more photos of Joe Nichols and his entire family pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday.
– Ana Calderone
Now 3 years old, Kase appears to have his own opinion on the matter — at least when it comes to the attire involved.
“This morning, Kase’s mom put a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt on him and he said to me, ‘Daddy, let’s get all cowboy’d up,’ ” Murray tells PEOPLE with a laugh.
“I don’t know where he comes up with this stuff! I’ve never pushed being a cowboy at all. I don’t even know where he came up with that word.”
Courtesy Ty Murray
But Dad obliged and cowboy’d up his kiddo in chaps, spurs, a cowboy hat and a bandana. It’s a cute look for Kase, especially considering his new “duties” on the family’s Texas ranch. (Murray, 45, and wife Jewel, 40, have announced their plans to divorce but remain quite close.)
“We’re going to work cows here on the ranch tomorrow. He’s really excited about that,” says Murray.
“Every day I say, ‘Hey, come on, you want to go outside?’ And boy, he looks like a little baby duck following me,” Murray told PEOPLE in 2012, when Kase was just 15 months old. “He goes in this [baby carrier] that I put on and he’s always right there looking over my shoulder. I might be out there for two hours and I won’t hear one peep out of him.”
And he’s been enamored of the ranch ever since. “He really loves it,” says Murray. “It’s nice because we’ve lived in other places and I like that the ranch feels special to him and he looks forward to coming back every time.”
Kase is also looking forward to a day at work with his dad — Murray, a co-founder of the Professional Bull Riders, currently does color commentary on several telecasts throughout the year.
“He’s watched a little bit on TV and the other day he asked me if he could come to an event,” says Murray. “I want it to always be his choice … [but] it’s cool now that he’s old enough and asks me things. I said, ‘Sure, I’ll take you to one.’ “
Murray will appear on CBS Sports Network Friday and Saturday nights at 9 p.m. ET and Sunday at 4 p.m. ET for the PBR World Finals.
– Rennie Dyball
It isn’t always easy finding the perfect fit when dressing for two.
“This week was the week that you know you’re pregnant because you can hardly fit into regular clothes — the belly busters are just not quite working,” Sims joked with reporters at the 2014 Elle Women in Hollywood Awards in Beverly Hills Monday night.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking. Every time you think, ‘Oh God,’ ” says Sims about dressing her burgeoning bump. “I tried on this skirt this afternoon [and] I couldn’t get it on. I’m like, there’s no way I just had a fitting again.”
Luckily for Sims, it was a quick fashion fix. “For some reason, I had it on wrong … Thank God,” she says of her black Lela Rose skirt.
But the biggest pregnancy surprise for Sims — who is already mom to 2-year-old son Brooks Alan — is how sick she’s been.
“Morning sickness is an all-day sickness — from morning until night,” explains Sims, who adds this is a very different experience from her first pregnancy. “Normally it was around 4 o’clock in the afternoon ’til like 7.”
One thing that has stayed consistent throughout both pregnancies: her craving for a specific healthy snack.
“I’ve started the apple craze again,” says Sims. “I ate six apples at the end of my [son's] pregnancy every day and I had two yesterday. It’s coming back.”
She adds, “Now [that] the food aversion is slowly going away … Mama wants sugar. I had a double hot chocolate last night [and] marshmallows, and I reheated it two times.”
But, to balance out her sweet tooth, Sims credits her amazing body to Pilates and pre-natal yoga. Plus, the 41-year-old — who opened up to PEOPLE earlier this year about her thyroid condition — says her medication “has really helped” as well.
Although, Sims and her husband, producer Scott Stuber, have yet to find out the sex of their baby, she can’t wait for the big reveal. “I feel like I bond. I can be like, ‘Oh, baby boy’ or ‘Oh, baby girl,’ ” she explains.
As for whether this mommy-to-be is hoping for a boy or girl?
“I’m a boy mama, so I don’t know,” says Sims. “I’d love to have girls. I dream of pigtails and tank tops, but we’ll see.”
– Mariah Haas
Marcela Valladolid has a bun in the oven!
The celebrity chef, who is best known for putting easy spins on Mexican cuisine as a host on Food Network’s The Kitchen, is pregnant with her second child, her rep confirms to PEOPLE exclusively.
Valladolid is due in the spring, and her child will be a sibling for the food guru’s 10-year-old son, Fausto.
“Fau asks daily about the gender of the baby and has already picked out names for both a brother or a sister,” the mom-to-be, 36, tells PEOPLE.
“I [come from] a huge family with lots of kids, many younger than him, and he’s known as the cousin that takes care of the little ones. He’s almost maternal when it comes to toddlers. He’s been asking for a really long time for a baby brother or baby sister and is thrilled it’s finally happening.”
Valladolid is currently in New York City filming season 3 of The Kitchen, but that doesn’t mean she’s able to chow down all day long.
“It’s funny because I’m eating healthier than I have in a long time,” she says. “Not necessarily because I want to, but because the morning sickness will only allow for small, light meals throughout the day.”
To combat the nausea, Valladolid incorporates veggies from her home garden and steers clear of greasy fare. “My body at the moment is just not tolerating anything too heavy, rich, spicy or fatty,” she explains.
The pregnancy may not come as a total surprise to the San Diego-based chef and cookbook author’s fans since she’s been dropping hints on social media for the past few weeks. She recently shared a sonogram of her baby-to-be on Instagram, captioning the pic “Good morning world. What’s happening out there?”
– Catherine Kast
Dave M. Benett/Getty
She has something blue!
Son Gus Williams Dodson was born at home, weighing 8 lbs., 8 oz., and measuring 20½ inches long.
“He’s gorgeous and healthy. So far he’s soothable and calm. Knock on wood!” the proud new mama tells PEOPLE, adding her son was born to an Alexi Murdoch song.
As for her baby boy’s moniker Williams, 35, explains, “His name is Gus. For no other reason than: Who doesn’t love a guy named Gus?”
The How I Met Your Mother actress, who also moonlights as a certified doula, was surrounded by a team of midwives, a doula and a chiropractor during the birth. “We felt so safe and so lucky to have had such incredible support,” she says.
Shortly after Gus’s arrival, Williams’s costar, Jim Gaffigan, congratulated the couple on Twitter — and started the countdown to more kids.
Williams announced her pregnancy in July, joking to PEOPLE, “After years of waiting for the perfect moment to have a child, we decided to go with this moment instead. And we couldn’t be more thrilled.”
— Jim Gaffigan (@JimGaffigan) October 7, 2014
– Anya Leon
Tim P. Whitby/Getty
Talk about a grand slam: Novak Djokovic is a dad!
The pro tennis player and his newlywed wife Jelena have welcomed their first child together, a son, Djokovic announced Wednesday on Twitter.
“Stefan, our angel baby was born! I am so proud of my beautiful wife Jelena,” the proud new dad Tweeted.
“Thank you so much for your love and support. We love you all!!!”
The Wimbledon winner, 27, wed his high school sweetheart in July in Montenegro, dedicating his No.1 ranking to his growing family.
“A lot of great moments are coming: the wedding, becoming a father in a few months,” Djokovic told reporters after his big win, explaining that he would “close this chapter of tennis for a little while.”
Stefan, our baby angel was born! I am so proud of my beautiful wife Jelena! Thank you so much for your love and support. We love you all!!!
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) October 22, 2014
– Anya Leon
Beverley Mitchell is feeling blue!
“So excited that Kenzie is going to have a little BROTHER! Yep, it’s a boy!” Mitchell, 33, captioned a family photo.
“We are thrilled and looking forward to a lifetime of adventures!”
In September, the former 7th Heaven star announced that the couple were expecting a sibling for their 18-month-old daughter Kenzie Lynne.
“Can’t believe in 2015 we will be a family of 4!!!” she wrote alongside a photo of the proud parents standing in the snow with their baby girl.
– Anya Leon
Courtesy Elisa Donovan
Best known for her roles as Amber in Clueless and Morgan on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Donovan stars in the ABC Family franchise The Dog Who Saved….
She is the narrator of the audiobook for Sheryl Sandberg’s best-seller, Lean In.
Donovan, 43, is also a writer and yogi. A recovered anorexic, she assists in counseling and supporting young women struggling with eating disorders.
She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Charlie Bigelow, and their 2-year-old daughter Scarlett Avery.
It’s been quite awhile since this was a topic of concern for me, but let’s be honest — is it ever too late to talk about your boobs?
Well, okay yes. There probably is a pretty clear point at which one should definitely stop talking about their breasts. But if you’re a mom, that point is very elusive so … here we go!
To reiterate for the record — I’ve been an organic and non-processed-food-eating, eastern-medicine-practicing, zen-yogi for over 13 years now. I’m a firm believer in acupuncture, and that GMO corn and cow dairy will kill you faster than running in traffic on the freeway at night. So it went without saying that I would breastfeed my kid.
It also goes without saying then, that I was utterly and completely unprepared for the reality that I couldn’t do it. Not only was it not working, and excruciatingly painful for me beyond anything imaginable (yes, even beyond the pain of labor), I also realized that (wait for it, this is gonna be a doozy) … I HATED IT.
There. I said it. I didn’t like it.
I thought it was weird and I couldn’t wait to stop. But the tremendous guilt and shame that I felt compelled me to continue. I realize that I have now already alienated a large percentage of the reader population, but — please, hear me out.
Everyone is well aware of the benefits of breastfeeding, and there is a plethora of information out there in support of it. There are literally step by step how-to guides and hotlines and nurses and professionals at the ready to assist you.
Yet there is zero info on what to do if you are one of those women who can’t — or who chooses not to. In the boundless reading I did while I was pregnant, there were pages and pages on the advantages to breastfeeding: from the nutritional, to the hormonal, to the bonding, to the physical assistance in losing the baby weight (this one is a bit of a misleading fallacy. While this is true for some women, many women report that it made them hold onto an extra 10 pounds because they were so hungry all of the time and had to eat more to continue to produce the milk).
But when it came to information on formula feeding, there would be one or two sentences that read something like this: For the small percentage of women who are unable to breastfeed, formula is fine.
And that was it.
Courtesy Elisa Donovan
Without straight-out shaming, the presupposition was clear: Every woman can and will breastfeed. Suggesting that in no time I would be an elated fairy-goddess, with my baby happily hanging from my boob, as beautiful jewels of milk spilled from my bosom while I smiled in maternal ecstasy.
In the hospital after Scarlett was born, the lactation specialist (who was no fairy godmother and offered no smiles of encouragement) assured me that I was fine. That breastfeeding just took practice. She said that Scarlett was latching on perfectly, and we were looking great.
When I told her through my blubbering tears that the pain was pretty severe, she said I should get used to it, that this was “just how it was going to be” for me. She told me I was a mother now and that this was just something I had to tolerate. She went on to admonish with me with stories of how she had breastfed her three kids with no help at all, and that maybe there was something wrong with my generation and our desire to just be handed everything.
(It’s not my intention here to berate the insanely insensitive lactation specialist that I had the misfortune of being assigned. But I will say, as a soft suggestion to anyone reading this that may work in the pre/post-natal arena, especially as a LACTATION SPECIALIST: Remember that first-time moms are very vulnerable, impressionable and hormonal. So please, treat us with with compassion.)
When we left the hospital, I was terrified. I thought I just had to “try harder” and learn to withstand the pain for the sake of the well-being of my child.
I spent every minute in between feedings dreading the time I would have to feed Scarlett again, which was always only in a couple of short hours. It was a vicious cycle, and it was awful.
Yet somewhere inside me there was a tiny voice that knew instinctively — something is very wrong here, it isn’t supposed to be this hard. I had been so excited and ready to be a mom, and I knew it wouldn’t all be easy, but … was I supposed to be this miserable and in such perpetual agony?
The next morning we went to see our pediatrician. She informed us that Scarlett was in fact starving, and immediately put us on a militant program that we would have to follow until my breasts cooperated and produced enough milk.
This perplexed me. My boobs were gigantic — they looked like swim floaties. How much more milk could I possibly produce without bursting? (I have a photo of my breasts from this period of time, which Charlie took for posterity because they were so unbelievable. It looks like I’m wearing some sort of twisted Halloween costume. Although the photo is funny to look at now, that’s only because it’s over. But it still makes me quiver a little.)
So the new program consisted of me feeding Scarlett for 10 minutes on each breast, then passing her to Charlie, who would give her several ounces of formula from a bottle, while I continued to pump for another 10-15 minutes on each breast.
This process took almost an hour in its entirety, was painful beyond words, and only yielded the tiniest amount of milk. Scarlett was feeding every 2-3 hours, so this was a 24 hour-a-day endeavor. After five more days of this with no improvement, I finally had to consider that maybe breastfeeding was not for me.
Courtesy Elisa Donovan
We went back to the pediatrician on the following Monday. My guilt was so enormous and so complete, that I literally felt like I would spontaneously combust and be catapulted into the special place in hell reserved for bad mommies who don’t breastfeed.
I couldn’t even bring myself to verbalize to the doctor that I had decided to stop. I was so saddened and ashamed that Charlie had to say it for me, as I stared at the marble floor of the examining room with tears running down my cheeks. (So listen up all of you Breastfeeding Nazis: We formula-feeding moms are adept at providing ourselves with an unearthly amount of grief and guilt all on our own, so we don’t need you and your militant opinions to rub it in … thanks, and bless your hearts!)
Then the doctor mercifully and angelically put her hand on my shoulder. “Many, many children grow up to be healthy, successful and smart adults, and they were never breastfed,” she said. Then added with a wink, “Even many pediatricians’ kids…”
She reassured me that yes, Scarlett would be absolutely fine. She reminded me that one of the most important things I could do to be a good mom was to be healthy and happy myself; and that it was clear that breastfeeding was making me less and less of both of those things.
She also pointed out to me that regardless of how long I breastfed — whether it was for two minutes, two days, or two years — I would have these same feelings of guilt. She told me that all women feel this conflict when they stop, that everything I was feeling was absolutely normal, and that it would eventually ease.
And from that moment forward, everything got better. For me, for Scarlett, and for Charlie.
If you had told me in the past that I would one day feed my child out of a can for the first year of her life, I would have told you in no uncertain terms that not only were you very, very wrong, but that clearly you didn’t know me at all.
Now, I might say something like … Well, I guess you never know.
What I’m trying to say here is this: All of our planning and preparation and attempts at control will take us only so far. Aside from a fierce and unconditional and complete dose of love, there is no recipe for perfection in parenting.
I believe the best thing we can do is to honor the truth of what is happening, without judgment, and move on from there. To trust. And no societal pressure or community pressure or familial pressure should ever overtake one’s own instincts and knowingness. We are the moms. We know ourselves and our own bodies, and we are all different. So do what works for you.
Scarlett turned 2 in May, and her days of drinking formula are far behind us. She’s a vibrant, healthy, happy, reflective, expressive kid. She is kind and smart. Although I’d LOVE to take all of the credit for this … I’m pretty sure that would be nothing short of grandiose and delusional.
But whatever positive influence I have had on her thus far, it is definitely as a result of making choices that are right for me and our family; choices that allow me to be as happy, healthy, and fully present for her as I possibly can.
Courtesy Elisa Donovan
– Elisa Donovan