Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life’s parenting series on the joys and challenges of parenting.
The actress, host and Vanessa Lachey balances motherhood and work from the Hawaiian island of Oahu (“not too shabby!” She jokes to Yahoo Life) so you can not feel also bad to get her up early to talk. While she was filming NCIS: Hawaii, her family – husband Nick Lachey, sons Camden and Phoenix and daughter Brooklyn – moved from California to the idyllic location.
After giving her tips for a local brunch spot in Oahu, the subject turned to parenting and money. Lachey recently partnered with Wells Fargo to help educate younger people about financial responsibility through their Clear Access Banking, a free account for teens between the ages of 13 and 24 that allows customers to use only what they have. Ahead, the former Miss Teen USA tells how she teaches her own children financial understanding – and gets some alone time with Nick.
How do you describe your approach to parenting?
We [my husband and I] always communicates to be on the same page. Because there are different phases of parenting – the baby phase, the toddler phase, the pre-teen, the teenager – we try to remind each other that we need to be on the same page. No matter what [kind of decision it is], Nick and I must be on the same page and always talk together. We are constantly evolving [as parents]; there are so many ways to be a parent, but we always try to remember that [the kids] of love. It sounds simple and cliché, but they know we are the safety net.
You work with Wells Fargo to help educate children about financial responsibility. How do you talk about this with your own children?
I’m the safety net in terms of emotional support, but it’s something that teaches them money management. The safety net with Wells Fargo Clear Access Banking is that there is no monthly fee and does not allow overdrafts.
I talked to my 9-year-old [about overdrafts] and he said the charges for “money laundering” made him sad. It is true! He’s figuring it out, he’s learning the value of a dollar – and he’s had some buyers’ regrets. In fact, most children do. There was a study that said three out of four teens had buyer remorse. The interesting thing about this study [revealed] than what they spent money on. What tells me is that they do not care – and the whole idea of responsibility? They’re like, no matter what!
We try to find out chores and a weekly supplement. I did not know what to do with my son’s weekly supplement, but we started an ATM for him. I tell him what he wants to buy comes out of that money and they learn the value of a dollar. It makes him think twice about the things he wants to buy.
Is there anything that has surprised you over the years of parenting?
I remember when the kids were born and they were shocked that they eat every two to three hours around the clock [laughs] – for three months in a row! That’s why they call it the “fourth trimester” – it really hit me.
And now, are there big differences between sons and daughters?
My daughter is able to cope emotionally with a lot (and she is only ^). The boys are usually only focused on what is in front of them. She’s intuitive, and it’s the boys [oblivious]; it’s cool to have both!
How has the past year been for you?
The quarantine period gave me and Nick so much perspective, so much understanding of what it really is like to have the kids 24/7 in both the good and the bad way. Now we appreciate the nights at home together as a family – and we appreciate handing them in at school during the day.
Now we maximize our time together. The hours are so precious – with and without our children – for our relationship and our marriage. I really enjoy my time with him and I will never take it for granted.
How do you get time for yourself?
That is the ongoing question [laughs]. I did not have children until I was 30 and Nick was 37; we had traveled the world together. Having children later was a blessing we did not realize we were getting. It’s hard to find time for you and when you find time, your brain is constantly thinking about them. I try to find time in the morning before they get up.
I talk about this in my book, about the “me-time” I take in the morning. I was getting started and started writing things down, I was grateful for, and it gave me a new attitude. Finding time is a task, but for me it is self-care. It’s hard to find time as a couple: we need a reservation, a babysitter, we have to tell the kids we’re leaving … [laughs]. “Me-time” – you just have to figure it out.
Do you have any advice when it comes to dealing with mom-shamers?
Now that I have three children who are older, I completely ignore it. First, I took it personally. They wag their fingers. But when I look at my relationship with my husband and children, I think: We feel good. It’s so easy to say, but you can not help it [negative comments] come to you. In the end, if you love your children and you are there for your children, you are doing the right thing.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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