Having been plagued by seasonal allergies all her life, she knows firsthand how challenging it can be to juggle a multi-tiered career with ‘mom duties’ – but when pollen counts soar it can be devastating.
“I do my best to avoid my allergy triggers, but sometimes it’s just impossible,” says Sweeney. “I don’t want to give up things that are important to me like playing with the kids outside or going to the park, so I just keep my allergy/decongestant medicine with me so I’m prepared.”
To help others with their allergies, Sweeney has teamed up with the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) to get the word out, an effort that includes access to a new online resource, www.BTCcenter.com, featuring Sweeney’s personal tips, treatment information and an interactive tool to help determine if allergies are responsible for their nasal congestion.
Here’s how life as a mom goes for her.
At Work: Days of Our Lives actor-director; host of The Biggest Loser; author of All the Days of My Life (So Far), a memoir tracking her experiences as child actor and her struggle with weight issues.
At Home: Los Angeles; mother of two: son, Ben, 4 and daughter, Megan, five months; husband, David, a California Highway Patrol officer.
Q. What is your favorite activity with your children?
AS: I love playing with Ben... seeing him use his colorful imagination. We go for great family hikes at a nearby park, play tee-ball or just Legos in his bedroom. Megan is at the age now where she recognizes our face and voices. She's constantly smiling and trying to talk. I love to sit with her and read stories, and laugh.
Q. What is the most important lesson you try to impart to your children?
AS: I guess the most important thing to me is to give Ben a solid sense of self, good manners, and to laugh. He has such a kind heart and is always smiling (well almost always!). I love to see him interact with Megan. He wants to help take care of her, and share his things with her.
He even did this before she was born! We would play a game, and Ben would say, "This color [game piece] is my baby sister's." We would have to take a turn for her too.
Q. Who was your greatest child-raising influence and why?
AS: My mother definitely has influenced how I raise my children. She had a career and family, which can be a difficult thing to balance. It is inspiring to know that she was able to manage a household, career, husband and three children in a time when this was not the norm for women. I also rely on my sister-in-law and friends. There are some things in life that are just easier to talk about and ask advice on from a girlfriend over a glass of wine!
Q. What is your approach to disciplining your children?
AS: My husband and I feel strong about presenting a united front to our children. Communicating the rules – and the consequences for breaking them – is very important, therefore we set both together and there is never a misunderstanding, "Mommy said...or Daddy said..." Also, Dave and I were raised with a firm belief in the importance of manners AND being well behaved. This can be tough with a four-year-old because they are always pushing the boundaries, and learning to exert their independence. For us, it is really important to set those limits right from the beginning while respecting the need to develop a sense of independence.
Q. What was a memorable family outing?
AS: Last summer my family vacationed in Martha's Vineyard. We stayed at a wonderful inn. Cars aren't really allowed on the island so we rented bikes. It was a small town with little shops and restaurants and the beach. For that week we were able to slow down! We walked and biked everywhere, spent lazy days on the beach, and caught up on some great books. It was fabulous to be away from the fast pace and just simply enjoy some good old-fashioned family time.