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Mary-Louise Parker on Momhood and Marijuana

The "Weeds" actress talks about blended families, acting, and legalizing pot.

Creating blended families

Many families, like Mary-Louise Parker's, blend biological and adopted children. (Adoptive Families magazine estimates that about 25% of its readers also have biological children.) Are there unique challenges in bringing home a child who’s been adopted when you already have biological children at home?

Of course -- but it might be less complicated than you think, says Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. "Sometimes we think this is harder, or odder, than it really is. There are lots of complex kinds of families. What is it like when there are step-siblings, or half-siblings? What is it like when you live with a grandmother who takes care of the family? That doesn't mean you don't think it through, but I don't think we should be making it a bigger deal than it is, either."

The key, says Pertman, is "normalizing" your blended family. "It’s not unusual or weird or problematic. It's just another way to be a family. Talking about the issues involved in adoption is fine, but talking about them obsessively is not. You don't make a big deal out of normal things."

As you prepare to adopt, keep your older child or children involved in the process (in an age-appropriate way) -- show them pictures and talk about what will happen. If you're preparing a family profile, let your children tell you what they'd like their part of the profile to say.

To help you, your child, and the rest of your family prepare and adjust, Adoptive Families magazine recommends Brothers and Sisters in Adoption: Helping Children Navigate Relationships When New Kids Join the Family, by Arleta James, a clinical therapist at the renowned Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio.

Mary-Louise Parker on healthy living

Between getting ready for season five of Weeds, giving eight live performances a week as Hedda Gabler earlier this spring, and raising two active kids, how does Parker keep her own health and stress levels in check? She credits her older sister for a few wellness habits that have lasted a lifetime.

"She got me doing yoga and meditating when I was younger, and I still do that now," she says. "And when I was 11 or 12, she taught me how to take care of my skin. Use this in the morning, this at night, and sunscreen every day -- no exceptions! Those are the best things I do for myself."

Her worst health vice? Parker laughs. Unlike Nancy Botwin’s, hers is G-rated: candy. She runs through the list of her favorites with glee. "I like Tootsie Rolls, Smarties, really tacky candy like Bit-o-Honeys and Butterfingers. I have a bad sweet tooth. I’d rather have candy than a classic French pastry."

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