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Lauren Graham's Healthy Approach to Parenthood

The childless actress is once again playing a single mom in a hit TV show. How does she do it?

Graham's Rules for Healthy Living

Don't (entirely) hang up your dreams when parenthood calls. Graham may not be a mother, but she seems keenly aware that many women put their own aspirations on hold -- often forever -- when their children arrive. "My character is trying to keep her kids in school, keep them going, give them some chance at a better life. … But she's trying to have a personal life, too, and decides she can't -- that there's no time or room for it. In the second season we'll explore more about her finding confidence, a better sense of self." 

Be open to an evolving definition of "family." As an adult Graham has accepted extended family members -- and benefited emotionally from it. "Eventually both of my parents had more kids. My half-sister came to live with me after my mother passed away. Now she's in her own apartment, but we've become really close." 

A little competition is good for you.Whether it's vying for a coveted role or clearing a high fence while cantering across an equestrian course, Graham is "drawn to things where people warn: 'Be careful! You might not make it!' There's a sense of exhilaration and accomplishment when you do make it," she says. "I'm not a daredevil. But I am competitive." 

Don't worry about your age.Worry about your alignment. Graham has a healthy attitude about aging in Hollywood: She's less concerned with Botox than with better posture. "As you get older, your body shifts and changes. It's so important to not get into bad habits, which can create somebody who can't stand up straight! Pilates is helpful for me as I look forward." 

Enjoy life, and eat.(Don't let life eat at you.) "I'm a 'salty' person, so I have my temptations -- chips, french fries," Graham admits. "I also like meat, and I'll eat it now -- although I did try vegetarianism for awhile -- if I know it's not mass-produced. But you should enjoy life and have a good time. I think it's all about balance."

It's Kind of a Funny Story

Professionally, the actor is excited about her upcoming feature film, It's Kind of a Funny Story, where she plays -- you guessed it -- another mom, due out Sept. 24. But she's also anxious to further explore what makes Sarah Braverman tick on the second season of Parenthood

When asked what her character does right -- and wrong -- when it comes to motherhood, Graham thinks for a minute and offers this: "Sarah puts her kids first, which is right. In a weird way, though, that's also what she's doing wrong. She's never asked herself: 'What will make me happy?' … She tries to take care of her kids, and is now trying to pursue something that gives her a sense of accomplishment. That's where we're headed in the second season." 

With Graham's insight into both sides of that parental conundrum -- a mother's search for identity versus the sometimes painful fallout of being raised by a single parent -- it's certain to be dramatic fare. But it'll also be, as she puts it, "truthful."

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Reviewed on September 02, 2010

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