At first glance, the similarities between actress Julie Bowen and her TV alter ego, Claire Dunphy on America's favorite sitcom Modern Family, seem uncanny. Both have three children, high-energy, and a dry, sarcastic wit. After spending time with the real life super mom, it quickly becomes clear that the similarities end there. While Claire's approach to motherhood airs on the side of overbearing, Julie's MO is much more mellow. In her elegant yet laid-back Los Angeles home, she finds true happiness in being a mom to her rambunctious blond-hair beauties. With her hectic work schedule, it's no surprise that Bowen's approach to beauty is all about ease and speed--spending time with her boys wins out over pampering any day. The result? Manicures and pedicures fall by the wayside in favor of digging in the dirt and jumping in the pool. For Bowen, being a mom is quite simply “what it’s all about”.
Julie with her twins, Gustav and John
On Julie: Blaque Label jumpsuit
"I don’t drink enough water. I hate it. I have to force myself to swallow plain water like it’s a punishment. I like Fresca. And I like black coffee. I make myself drink green tea every day, but it’s medicine to me. Food is just a fuel source, and many days I may as well eat a cardboard capsule full of 'food nutrients' like Judy Jetson."
"I am deeply involved with my kids, which gives me less time to be deeply involved in me. That’s OK. I was deeply involved in me for three decades, and the end result was . . . eh. I didn’t cure cancer or write the great American novel."
"I am happy to have these little people who demand so much, even though it means that in some areas my quality of life (sleep, food, hair color) is diminished."
Gus, John, and Oliver
"Being a mom is hard because I say no a hundred times a day."
A wall of family photos in the hallway.
“Everything you can imagine is real.” -Pablo Picasso
Kids' artwork and keepsakes on display.
"I’ve had the benefit of beautiful photography to make me look good in a picture while the reality is I am over forty, at times exhausted, and frequently fall asleep on the couch with a full face of makeup!"
"Every time I get ready for work or a work event, I have a team of professionals dressing, drying, glossing . . . That is work mode. It’s lovely. Home mode is chlorine-soaked hair and discovering that A&D diaper ointment is a passable moisturizer in a pinch."
Julie's shoe collection, mixed in with some of the kids' art (can you spot the Screen Actor's Guild Award?)
Manolos and Skittles
"Sometimes I think keeping my three boys alive means trading in my sense of humor for a drill sergeant’s vigilance."
Oliver and John in the front entryway
Brother bonding time
A quiet moment with John
"Every now and again I sit down to a proper meal, but it’s disconcertingly rare. I eat cold waffles and tepid broccoli off my children’s plates."
A collection of rocks and pine cones in the backyard
The boys' pet lizard
Step stools in the boys' bathroom (similar style here)
Matching skull and crossbones bathrobes (similar styles here)
A collection of framed artwork
"They are pure joy and pure challenge all the time."
"There is no balance. There is only the next crisis in front of me. When there is no crisis, I try to take a mental picture to file away and think, 'This is good. This is what it’s all about. It will never be better than this moment.' Then one of them stomps on my hand or bludgeons the other with a stick, and it’s back to crisis mode."
"I love them so much it actually hurts to be so relentlessly bossy, but honestly, my kids try to kill each other every day. (Let’s start the car! Let’s do a flip on the sidewalk! Let’s throw hard, pointy objects at each other’s heads!)."
"Still, at least once a day, they break my heart with their 'Mama, Mama, Mama!' and hands gripping my legs and tears over skinned knees or someone not sharing."
"I haven’t had a manicure on my own steam in over a year. I don’t care a bit. If I need one for work, I’ll get it, but otherwise, screw it. I have been known to paint only the one toenail peeking out of a peep-toe Louboutin before an event rather than spend an hour at a nail salon. It’s not perfect, it’s not classy, but I don’t care. I’m imperfect as hell."