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"Working Mother" interview with Ali Sweeney
Topic Started: Apr 13 2010, 01:25 PM (3,216 Views)
Ellie


[Note: I'm omitting the 'Biggest Loser' questions. The full interview can be found here.]

Actress Alison Sweeney discusses her role as mom to Ben, 4, and Megan, 1, her showís big season finale this month, her own struggles with weight and her winning outlook.

Can balancing a demanding career and children ever really be 50-50?
Itís hard to strike that 50-50 mark each day, but if I look at a whole week or month, I feel that overall I get to spend a lot of time with my children. And when Iím with them, I give them my full attention. When I go to work, I give work my full attention and commitment. Everyone has doubts occasionally, but itís important to know youíre doing the best you can. And if you regret a decision, make a different choice next time.

What do you do when you feel pulled in different directions?
Thatís a tough one, but thereís no question that my kids come first. Every time thereís a call from Benís preschool, I worry that itís an emergency. Even when I get normal calls from the preschool, thereís that instant that I wonder why theyíre calling and if everythingís okay. There was one time that my husband and I were on our way to a charity event when the school called and said that Ben got a nasty scrape on his forehead. We turned the car around and met our son and his babysitter in the emergency room. I had that sick feeling in my stomach until I was there with him, holding his hand, making him laugh. Ben, on the other hand, was completely calm, asking questions about all the equipment, how the bed moves.

Does Ben ever have a hard time when youíre leaving for work?
There was a period when he didnít want me to leave. At first, I made the mistake of sneaking out. But his pediatrician said I should say goodbye. He reassured me that children behave that way even if youíre a stay-at-home mom going to the grocery store. He told me to allow Ben to go through the separation and to see that I always come back. Now we have a routine where we blow kisses. He grabs one kiss and eats it and saves one in his pocket for later.

When did you start acting?
My mom let me do my first com≠mercial when I was 4. I loved the whole process, and it came naturally to me as a kid. So growing up, I did a ton of commercials. I started on Days of Our Lives when I was 16.

Whatís it been like to play Sami on Days for so long?
Itís been exciting from day one, 17 years ago. I love the part. Itís sad and hard to see how much things have changed for soaps. But I think if you can tell good stories cheaply, you can stay on the air.

Whatís your schedule like these days, taping two shows?
I tape Days of Our Lives three days a week and The Biggest Loser three to four days a week. Some days Iím doing both. This Monday, for example, I was at Days from 6 a.m. until noon. Then I was at The Biggest Loser from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Your husband, Dave Sanov, is a California Highway Patrol investigator. How did you meet?
Our parents worked together, so weíve known each other since we were little kids. I totally had a crush on him when we were young. Years later, we ran into each other at a party. I was 21 when he asked me out. We got married two years later. We have similar values and personal beliefs. But weíre also opposites. Iím a little more optimistic. Heís a realist. My general attitude is: Itíll be fine; itíll work out. It infuriates him.

How has your optimism helped you?
My first job on Days of Our Lives, when I was a junior in high school, was a busy time. The worst was exam week. I found out years later that my mom was so nervous for me, but I knew it would all work out. My parents told me to take it one day at a time. That week I was also doing the show, then coming home and studying for exams and learning lines. I didnít jump ahead of myself. I just said, This is what I need to do today.

What has been the best surprise of becoming a mom?
You canít comprehend until youíre a mom how much your kids take over your whole world. Every decision I make, Iím always thinking how it will affect my children. Iíve gotten to the point that if Iím in the car by myself and I see a fire engine, Iíll say, ďHey, Ben, look at that,Ē and start waving at the truck. Then I realize Iím driving alone. [She laughs.] And the firefighters are probably thinking something totally different from what I was intending.

What advice do you have for women who struggle with working-mom guilt?
I struggle with it, too. Thereís no easy answer, but if youíve made the choice to work, accept it and allow yourself to reevaluate from time to time. Itís the choice youíre making right nowóit doesnít have to be the choice youíre making for the rest of your life. Check in periodically with your heart and conscience. You also want to see how your kids are reacting to your choices. Be honest. Parents who dwell in guilt often end up being too lenient. And remember that being home all the time isnít all lollipops either. Kids can sense if youíre stifling some part of yourself. I teach my kids to deal with their feelings and find their voiceóbut the same thing applies for moms. I really believe that taking great care of yourself allows you to take better care of your kids.

What advice do you have for women who struggle because they canít measure up to the women on TV and in the movies?
Itís so hard. We all see celebrity moms get pregnant and then get their body back in six weeks after they give birth. You have to keep in mind that movie stars have a lot of experts and equipment at their disposal. If part of their job was getting back into shape, most other women could do it, too.

Did you take maternity leave?
With Ben I got four weeks off. It was awesome for a first-time mom. I took advantage of every minute. With Megan I was back to The Biggest Loser eight days after I gave birth and back to Days of Our Lives after two weeks. That was really hard. Both shows offered me more time. I was in a heavy story line at Days, though, and I didnít want to break the story. With Biggest Loser, it was only one month before the end of the season, and I didnít want to miss out on the finale. But I couldnít have done it without my husband and healthy kids. We all adjusted to things easily. It was a team effort.

How did you fit in your guest appearance on NBCís Mercy?
I was excited to spread my wings as an actor. But there was no time left during the week, so it had to be taped over a weekend. That meant seeing Ben off on Friday and not being back until Sunday. There were two nights I couldnít read him his bedtime story. I think itís way harder for me than for him.

What you do get a little downtime, what TV shows do you enjoy watching?
Survivor, Amazing Race and House.
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Paxton
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Dreaming of a Melanie-free Days

Ellie
Apr 13 2010, 01:25 PM
Did you take maternity leave?
With Ben I got four weeks off. It was awesome for a first-time mom. I took advantage of every minute. With Megan I was back to The Biggest Loser eight days after I gave birth and back to Days of Our Lives after two weeks. That was really hard. Both shows offered me more time. I was in a heavy story line at Days, though, and I didnít want to break the story. With Biggest Loser, it was only one month before the end of the season, and I didnít want to miss out on the finale. But I couldnít have done it without my husband and healthy kids. We all adjusted to things easily. It was a team effort.
How compassionate of her, to not want us deprived of Sami, Sami, Sami.

Thanks for posting, Ellie!
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Ellie


I agree, Paxton. We post whatever interviews we find (especially on topics that have already been discussed on this board), but I had a hard time with this one and honestly thought it quite hypocritical. Ali presents herself as a "working mother" who can balance career and family, but what are her specific examples? She taped "Mercy" over a weekend, so she couldn't see her kids; she herself chose to have only two weeks maternity leave with her daughter; and recently, she taped Days in the morning and Biggest Loser at night. Doesn't sound like much family time to me! I think it's sad that she is the "working mother" that a magazine like this would choose to feature.

On another topic, regarding Days specifically, I found it telling that even Ali Sweeney talks about the "cheap" way soaps are produced. It used to be the case, even recently, that the Days stars were exceedingly careful when speaking about the show. Doesn't sound like morale is very high there now.
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TINA222
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She sounds frightenly like Sami. mememememememememememememe.
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Liz<3Days
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There are just SOO MANY things wrong with this interview....but the worse is..

Quote:
 
I gave birth and back to Days of Our Lives after two weeks. That was really hard. Both shows offered me more time. I was in a heavy story line at Days, though, and I didnít want to break the story.

Gee, thanks for taking that time off and be with your KIDS, you know, the people you claim to can't wait to see?
Quote:
 
Monday, for example, I was at Days from 6 a.m. until noon. Then I was at The Biggest Loser from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.

I guess no bonding time on Monday?


Thanks for the laugh!

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Miss Rhi
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"If Sami can't find happiness with a Martian, then she can't find happiness with anyone."

Paxton
Apr 13 2010, 01:33 PM
Ellie
Apr 13 2010, 01:25 PM
Did you take maternity leave?
With Ben I got four weeks off. It was awesome for a first-time mom. I took advantage of every minute. With Megan I was back to The Biggest Loser eight days after I gave birth and back to Days of Our Lives after two weeks. That was really hard. Both shows offered me more time. I was in a heavy story line at Days, though, and I didnít want to break the story. With Biggest Loser, it was only one month before the end of the season, and I didnít want to miss out on the finale. But I couldnít have done it without my husband and healthy kids. We all adjusted to things easily. It was a team effort.
How compassionate of her, to not want us deprived of Sami, Sami, Sami.

Thanks for posting, Ellie!
I was more shocked that she went back to hosting Biggest Loser eight days after giving birth.... :blink:

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TINA222
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They cant find someone to say Please get on the scale? :lol: Such a hard job. I think she is paronoid someone will take her job.
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mer4santo
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What the hell does she need to be at BL for 3 or 4 days for? Her presence on that show is small in comparison to what she does on Days; I'd rather she spend her efforts on the show that has gotten her all of this notoriety 'cause right now it's obvious that she's phoning it in.

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michelle
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I was at an all day closing 8 days after my 2nd daughter was born. I'm in real estate and property management so I work a lot - nights, weekends, etc., but I still find plenty of quality time to spend with my kids. It's making the effort that counts AND when I'm with them I play with them constantly unlike many parents I know who may be there physically, but not really there there.




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lysie
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Quote:
 
And when Iím with them, I give them my full attention. When I go to work, I give work my full attention and commitment.


Well, if she's half as good with them as she is at acting, I'm sure that's just great. :eyeroll:

Quote:
 
I loved the whole process, and it came naturally to me as a kid.


It's good to know that it came naturally to her at one point.

Quote:
 
Both shows offered me more time. I was in a heavy story line at Days, though, and I didnít want to break the story. With Biggest Loser, it was only one month before the end of the season, and I didnít want to miss out on the finale


I wasn't going to comment on this part because I already have ad nauseum. But I couldn't get over all of the I's. Pathetic.


I love how she has worked so hard to make her self relatable and down to earth, and for me has completely blown in the last few years.
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shytstarter
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Ellie, I don't know if this is a problem with my computer or not but the link led me to a blank page. I love the fact that you put the working mother bit in quotes.

Ali wants to work two jobs, three jobs, not take maternity leaves fine I respect her work ethic but I chafe at her trying to brand herself (which she most assuredly is doing) as some everyday workaday mother just like the rest of us slobs out here doing it all, trying to have it all and struggling to find the balance between work and family. There is just something so disingenuous about it and I just don't believe what she says especially when she lays out her schedule as she just did.

I often also wonder if this attempt to brand herself somehow coincides with the Marlenazination of Sami. Did Sami's whitewash happen around the same time Ali got the biggest loser gig?
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DesignatedShelley
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I'm not really seeing much here to criticize her for about her mothering skills, it's not like one interview could give a very good picture and IMO moms are picked on for every little choice way too much. But I do agree with the sentiment that Days seems like it should be a bigger priority than TBL. If her time there is eating out of the resources she can invest in her role on Days, well it's her choice, but wow does it seem like biting the hand that feeds.
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LuvingLumi
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♥ LUMI ♥

Sometimes I think she is really just lining up gigs in the event Days gets cancelled or they get rid of the character of Sami. To whomever mentioned the moral thing over at Days, it does seem like tha moral isn't very high over there is it?
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LuvingLumi
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♥ LUMI ♥

billyjill
Apr 13 2010, 02:08 PM
I'm not really seeing much here to criticize her for about her mothering skills, it's not like one interview could give a very good picture and IMO moms are picked on for every little choice way too much. But I do agree with the sentiment that Days seems like it should be a bigger priority than TBL. If her time there is eating out of the resources she can invest in her role on Days, well it's her choice, but wow does it seem like biting the hand that feeds.
I agree that Days SHOULD be her top priority, however maybe she realizes Days wont' be around after next year and she might have even suspected it wouldn't be picked up after this year so it does play into why she might think of TBL as her future and NOT Days.
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Miss Rhi
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"If Sami can't find happiness with a Martian, then she can't find happiness with anyone."

shytstarter
Apr 13 2010, 02:06 PM
Ellie, I don't know if this is a problem with my computer or not but the link led me to a blank page. I love the fact that you put the working mother bit in quotes.
Working Mother is the name of the website that did the interview.
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Ellie


shytstarter
Apr 13 2010, 02:06 PM
Ellie, I don't know if this is a problem with my computer or not but the link led me to a blank page. I love the fact that you put the working mother bit in quotes.
Sorry about that - it's fixed. (And that's funny, I actually didn't mean anything by the quotes other than that it was the magazine title!)
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Alligato
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OMG! Y'all have all said everything I wanted to say. LOL!!
She does sound an awful lot like Sami...my children are my priority, but I worked a typical 20 hour day and couldn't wait to get the brass to give me a role so I could leave my kids all weekend while I work 6 days a week. WTF!!

oh, and an 8 day maternity leave so she could read off the teleprompter and be on camera? 2 weeks so she could oversaturate Days again? Get over yourself, Sweeney. You ain't all that and really don't come across as knowing jack shit about being a typical working mom. Maybe in her Hollywood life, it makes more sense.


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DesignatedShelley
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LuvingLumi
Apr 13 2010, 02:10 PM
I agree that Days SHOULD be her top priority, however maybe she realizes Days wont' be around after next year and she might have even suspected it wouldn't be picked up after this year so it does play into why she might think of TBL as her future and NOT Days.
And I suppose that is technically her right, it's her career after all. It's just not very team-player-y of her, because they are still centering the show around her, so her contributions are a pretty big part of the show's success, if any one actor's is. I'm not laying all the ratings or whatnot at her feet, by any means. It's just one of those things that I have to admit irks me a little given how hard Days is struggling to keep afloat. If they're going to rest so much on Ali/Sami, it'd be nice to know that Sami was priority #1 for Ali. I doubt she would've gotten TBL without Days.
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Liz<3Days
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shytstarter
Apr 13 2010, 02:06 PM
Ellie, I don't know if this is a problem with my computer or not but the link led me to a blank page. I love the fact that you put the working mother bit in quotes.

Ali wants to work two jobs, three jobs, not take maternity leaves fine I respect her work ethic but I chafe at her trying to brand herself (which she most assuredly is doing) as some everyday workaday mother just like the rest of us slobs out here doing it all, trying to have it all and struggling to find the balance between work and family. There is just something so disingenuous about it and I just don't believe what she says especially when she lays out her schedule as she just did.

I often also wonder if this attempt to brand herself somehow coincides with the Marlenazination of Sami. Did Sami's whitewash happen around the same time Ali got the biggest loser gig?
Yes, her glitter got an extra dose around the time she got TBL gig.

Don't forget that ALL of us can lose the weight too...just have to go to 8987786 spin classes after your TWO jobs.

I wonder how's she going to squeeze in family time when she inevitably does a book tour when her book comes out. She could always QUIT DAYS!!!! (I know- wishful thinking!)
Edited by Liz<3Days, Apr 13 2010, 02:22 PM.
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Kenny
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LuvingLumi
Apr 13 2010, 02:08 PM
Sometimes I think she is really just lining up gigs in the event Days gets cancelled or they get rid of the character of Sami.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

That'll never happen.
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