She now has a new role on ABC sitcom Desperate Housewives, but for actress Vanessa Williams, her greatest role perhaps is being a mom to her  kids Melanie, 22, Jillian, 20, Devin, 17, and Sasha Gabriella, 10. In a new interview with WorkingMother, the mom of four talks about her children and how she balances it all.


On balancing her career with kids:

I became a mom when I was young, so I’ve always had my career along with my children. I learned to integrate my family and professional lives. I’ve been doing this since 1987. But there really is no balance. It’s not going to be balanced when you’re working. You’re not going to be able to be at home with your kids as much. But I try to get the kids to the set as much as possible. And I have a great network of support.

Check out a behind-the scenes look with Vanessa

On the difficulty of balancing work with her children:

There were definitely times I was torn and wished I could have stayed with my kids. There were times that it was very difficult. Just eight weeks after I’d had my second child, I had to go to England to promote my album for ten days. So I dragged my breast pump through airport security. I was so weepy to be leaving my newborn. Those were tough times. I was 26 years old. Maybe ten years later, I’d have said no to the trip. As you get older, you get stronger and more confident, and you get more accustomed to saying no and to knowing your boundaries. Things change as you mature. But you still try to do everything you can to be with your kids. I remember flying from Tokyo to New York for a confirmation party for my daughter, and then back to Tokyo to perform. But you can only do so much, and you have to forgive yourself. You can’t do everything and you can’t please everyone. You have to be selective.

On her child-care arrangements with her ex-husbands [Vanessa is divorced from Ramon Hervey, the father of her three older children, and from her second husband, Rick Fox, Sasha’s father.]:

Ramon Hervey
Ramon lives next door to me here in Chappaqua. He actually rents from my mother. And we split the week. It’s been that way since we split up in 1997 [after ten years]. He’s always rented a house close by so he can be part of raising the kids. I am lucky to have an ex who really made the kids a priority, who wanted to be there to watch them grow. That’s certainly not always the case.

Rick Fox:
He lives in California, and we live in New York, so it’s a different setup. Our child, Sasha, lives with me, but she visits her father during spring break or for a birthday.

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