Julie Bowen on Kids: Raising Three Is “Like Running a Small Army”

Julie Bowen and sons Oliver, Gustav and John on November 11, 2012
Julie Bowen tells Working Mother magazine that raising her three sons -- Oliver and twins John and Gustav -- is "like running a small army." Stefanie Keenan/Getty

In Julie Bowen's house, there's no doubt in her three kids' minds that the Modern Family actress means business when it comes to parenting. Taking a cue from her no-nonsense character Claire, also a married mom of three, Bowen tells Working Mother magazine that she strives to reach a middle ground as she raises Oliver, 6, and twins John and Gustav, 4. "[I've learned that] being your kids' best friend is not always the best parenting choice," admits Bowen, married to software developer Scott Phillips since 2004.

"It's not about everybody being happy all the time. It's about setting limits," continues the Los Angeles-based mom, 43.

"In my house that makes my kids very unhappy, like tantrums-on-the-ground-twice-a-day unhappy. But the limits are set."

As effortlessly as she balances her career and family life, Bowen tells Working Mother it isn't always easy raising a trio of growing boys, but every day gets easier — in some respects. "My schedule at Modern Family is fantastic, so I didn't have to give up much. But I'm discovering that my kids now notice more when I'm gone, that they want more time and attention," says the actress, who advocates for the Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis campaign. "So I shorten trips to a bare minimum or just don't go at all."

When she's away from her boys Bowen relies at her work-from-home husband Phillips to hold down the fort. "He writes software, so he has an office in our house. Essentially he's always there for the kids, even when he's off-duty and the door is closed and he's working," explains Bowen, who likens raising her trio to "running a small army." Beams Bowen of her husband: "He's definitely the element of consistency our children need. He is amazing!"

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