Christina Milian’s Secret to Finding ‘Me Time’ as a Mom of Three

From hitting the gym to planning mommy-daughter dates, the iconic actor and singer-songwriter talks self-care, body positivity, parenting advice and more.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Updated March 20, 2023

Christina Milian knows the importance of filling up your cup before you can pour into someone else’s. The pop star, AM to PM artist and Bring it On: Fight to The Finish actor has added quite a few things to her plate since her music debut in 2000. Now a mom of three kids—Kenna, 1, Isaiah, 2, and Violet, 13—she’s tackling everything from a new Netflix movie debut to a growing Beignet Box franchise, photoshoots and navigating parenting all at once. Below, the Falling Inn Love star shares how she manages a busy schedule, takes time to recharge and brushes off mom guilt to be the best mother, wife and professional she can be.

The Bump: Between your upcoming projects, burgeoning beignet business and life as a mom of three, how do you manage your time to squeeze it all into 24 hours?

Christina Milian: Things can be a bit hectic, but I’ve found new ways to be productive and discovered the value of scheduling in “me time.” My morning starts by getting my daughter up on time for school each day. After I take her to school, if the boys are still sleeping, I fix up their breakfast, and then usually if it’s Monday through Thursday, we have a nanny come. Having her those four days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. has really helped me to be productive. But a lot of the time, it’s hard because you have that mom guilt popping up. You know, 10 o’clock rolls around, the nanny comes and I’m like, well, I still want to play with my boys and learn with them. I love reading a book to them, watching Sesame Street or just talking to them, but I know I need to take some time for myself to give them my best.

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One of my favorite ways to do this is by going to the gym. In a perfect world, I would get to the gym at 10 a.m… After that, I head over to Beignet Box to talk with my partner, and then I am off to handle everything for my acting career, from photoshoots to production meetings and more. I usually get home around 5 p.m. when it’s time to make dinner, go to sleep and do it all over again.

TB: How do you prioritize yourself and your identity outside these roles?

CM: Girl, I have no idea! Sometimes I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to go crazy.” But I have to say peace of mind, for me, is going to the gym. And that’s the one thing that I know when I do it, I feel good. I can breathe and find clarity. When I go to the gym, I work on my fitness, but it’s also my time away from everybody. This is my time to work solely on myself. It’s definitely self-care from the inside out. Of course, it does help my career to stay in shape, and it helps me increase my stamina so I can keep up with all of the madness.

TB: What’s your advice for parents who find it hard to carve out time for the gym or feel guilty when they take time for themselves?

CM: Set a goal. Just give yourself 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be an hour. I like to get away by going to a gym, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. There have been times where I was like, “Okay, I can’t get to the gym, it’s cold and also, the kids are on me,” so I’ve just flipped on YouTube and done old workout videos, like Tae Bo. I also love getting outside and walking with my daughter. We walked three miles the other day, just a mile and a half each way. You’ll be surprised how fast you can get it done. If you can’t make it to the gym or outside, just meditating and eating healthy is great too. That kind of health is wealth also. If you can give that to yourself and push past the mom guilt—I know what that guilt is because I feel it constantly—you’ll feel so much better for yourself when you’re done.

TB: I follow you on Instagram and saw that you were listening to affirmations from Denzel Washington after your workout the other day. Do you have any favorite personal affirmations you say to yourself as a parent?

CM: That was one of those days! I needed that affirmation. It was a crazy afternoon of screaming, crying and the wrong ice cream flavors. After I took everyone home and got everyone set, I left and went to work out. The whole way there, I was like, “You are headed to the gym. You are going to be okay. Mission accomplished, you did a good job.” After taking my time to do what I needed to do and destress, I looked up some affirmations on YouTube, and it was so nice just to hear the words.

I feel like “affirmations” just got a catchy new title, but basically, it’s just like little bites of life coaching. To me, the word “affirmations” is kind of funny. I’ve always kind of had my own positive life affirmations within me. I always find a positive out of a negative. Even when I feel down, I understand that there will be a better outcome. But some days, I need to hear it from someone else.

When it comes to my personal affirmations, I tell myself, “You’re blessed. You’re lucky. You’re healthy. You have everything you need, and God will continue to provide.” Even when you’re stressed, it’s okay—be happy with what you have and make the best of it. You’re going to get to the next day.

TB: Coming to terms with how your body changes during and after pregnancy can be difficult. How did you foster self-love for your body in all stages?

CM: I think I have to respect what I’ve done. I literally made three humans. Like, okay, your skin is going to stretch. You won’t be 20 forever with amazing skin and all this other stuff. You’re going to grow. Every day I have to look in the mirror and tell myself, “Hey, aging is okay.” At the end of the day, it’s just a part of growing. When I look at people I admire, like my mom, I’m like, “my mom is so beautiful.” And she is 19 years older than me. And I love her beauty. Just looking at my mom reminds me that I have so much to look forward to.

TB: When it comes to your daughter Violet, how do you model that body positivity for her?

CM: Well, Violet loves her body, period. She doesn’t care what anybody says, and I love that about her. She’s just such a confident person, naturally. But I know for years I’ve always talked to her about what it’s like in school and what people can say to you, and I am so happy that I did because she doesn’t fall into that. She sees how I handle things—I don’t pay attention or care about things that may bother others.

I always explain to her what health is. It’s more about being healthy than looking a certain way. We talk about working out and eating well. These are all future things that she’ll care about that she might not care about as much now. So I’m helping her to implement those things to have a healthy lifestyle.

TB: What does your mother-daughter time look like these days?

CM: Sometimes Violet will say, “Let’s go on a date.” She’ll propose a date night, or we’ll have sushi together. Or after school, I’ll pick her up—and she’s into thrifting—so we will go thrift shopping. We have our special things together, like shopping at Target and getting some makeup or cleansers or whatever she’s seen on TikTok. I like to occasionally treat her to bigger adventures too. She just turned 13 last month, and to celebrate, I took her and my mom to Tokyo for five days for a girl’s trip. It’s a big teenage year, and I’m so excited for her.

TB: Speaking of mother-daughter dates, what does date night with your husband Matt look like during this phase of your life? How do you keep your romance alive?

CM: Every “date night” starts with giving the kids a bath and putting them to bed. Hopefully, by 9 or 9:30 p.m., we hurry down to our theater and watch maybe half a movie before we fall asleep. But we hold hands the whole time, watch the movie and try to catch up on whatever happened in the day. It’s a simple and small thing, but we keep the romance alive with plenty of questions. We still go on little lunch dates or dinner dates with friends. We sometimes do vacations too.

TB: Body Language, your first film credit for producing and starring, comes out later this year. It centers on your character Mariana’s exceptional ability to read people simply by scanning their body language. In many ways, being a mom is about reading and responding to your kid’s body language. How did your experience as a mother inform your role as Mariana?

CM: A mom’s intuition, a woman’s intuition in general, is just amazing. Sometimes that feeling, you know, that thing that makes you feel like something’s different, something’s wrong, whatever the case is, it’s usually right. …I’m always pretty spot-on when it comes to my kids. I can always tell when something’s wrong or going on in the other room. I go looking, and they’re there and have painted the wall or something. So, yeah, I think having that mom’s intuition does help in this space to follow that feeling.

TB: Motherhood isn’t always pretty, but sometimes that’s all we see on Instagram. Can you share some of your behind-the-scenes “Instagram vs. reality” moments?

CM: Definitely any family photo. Nobody’s ever looking at the same time. I can barely hold them, and everyone is all over the place when it’s all of us. There are also days when I’m doing pictures for Fenty or something, and I’ll get out of my pajamas, put on some lingerie, cover my dark circles and make myself cute for a photoshoot. And then, right in the middle of the shoot, my kid runs into the room, babbling and in a diaper. I’m like, okay, let me just give myself this moment. Next thing you know, it’s like crazy kids everywhere. My husband is nowhere to be found, and I’m like, I’m just trying to get this done!

TB: What would you say is your parenting superpower?

CM: I think I’m really the most fun parent. I still love toys. I buy toys all the time because I love to play with them myself. I think my superpower is conversation and imagination. It’s essential for kids. I remember what it was like for me; I was a very imaginative kid. I was an only child for my first five years, so my imagination was wild. That kind of creativity and ensuring that their minds are always wandering—just, like, expressing themselves—is where my superpower comes from. I love making sure their mind is in a fun, explorative place. I don’t think I’ve ever grown up. I think having that kind of mindset keeps things fresh. When you have that sense of wonder and that imagination, that’s what blooms creativity.

TB: What parenting advice do you have for others?

CM: Time flies by, and they’re only little for so long. Cherish those sweet little moments, even if they are crazy little balls of bananas. They grow up so fast. You just watch it fly by. So take lots of pictures. Talk a lot. Record lots of videos so you can go back and look at those sweet moments.

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