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Julie Bowen: Modern Mother, Modern Family

The actor’s tricks and tips for balancing TV's No. 1 comedy and family -- including three kids under age 3.
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Julie Bowen: The Perfect Mother? continued...

Swamped is right. In the world of network TV, actors often log brutal hours. While Bowen is luckier than most, her schedule can be erratic.

"The model for Modern Family is to do it quickly and inexpensively," she explains. "We try to shoot 10-hour days where most shows shoot 12 or 14, so that happens to dovetail nicely if you have a family ... [but] there are weeks when it's in balance, and there are weeks when it isn't. Put it this way: There's a lot of kid time, and there's a lot of work time. It works."

"It works" means fewer Mommy & Me classes these days and an ability to stop sweating the minutiae of her children's lives -- a healthy relaxation, according to Rosenberg.

"With her first child," the therapist explains, "a mother is often vigilant about every detail: counting every step on the stairs, pointing out every flower. By the time her third one arrives, it's ''Hurry up!' Believe it or not, the latter may actually be better for children. Then they don't feel like the world revolves around them -- and that's a good thing."

Julie Bowen: Flu Shot Spokeswoman

One subject Bowen does sweat is the ongoing debate over vaccinations. Like many other mothers of young children, she felt daunted by anxiety-inducing mixed messages delivered by the media and traded among moms about the risks of annual and seasonal vaccine shots. In the end, she consulted her favorite doctor for advice.

"I cried making the decision, I'm not gonna lie," she says. "But I spoke with my sister, who is an infectious disease doctor -- and then also with my own doctor and my pediatrician, who said to me: “’By not vaccinating your children, you're putting them at serious risk.’ That was it for me. Once I made that decision, there were a few tears -- mostly mine -- but now all three boys are on regular vaccination schedules."

While there are no guarantees in this preventive approach, accepting it led Bowen to join the American Lung Association (ALA) as the national spokesperson in its ongoing public awareness campaign, "Faces of Influenza," about the importance of getting an annual flu shot.

"The flu is a significant disease," says Norman H. Edelman, MD, chief medical officer of the ALA. "Each year between 10% and 15% of all Americans get it. An estimated 15,000 to 40,000 die from complications."

"It's a privilege to get to educate people," Bowen adds. "Everybody should make the choice that's right for them. But, please," she adds, "make an educated choice."

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