Drew Barrymore is a working mom and, in her field, that means being away from her daughters for lengthy periods at a time.
As an actress, she’s often on location to film. And even when the shoots are complete, time away from home continues. Next comes press tours around the world (she’s currently promoting Santa Clarita Diet in Asia) to help promote the movie or TV show she worked so hard on.
Naturally, all this time apart is difficult for Barrymore and her daughters, 5-year-old Olive and 3-year-old Frankie. But with a well-thought-out system and her ex, Will Kopelman, the star makes it all work. Her planning method is impressing many of her fellow moms.
“Olive has a working mom. So, I came up with a couple of systems. One of which is ‘THE CALENDAR.’ It has been very successful recently. I circle with Sharpie every day I will be traveling. And I ask her to mark the day with an X once it’s done. That way she can see that I am gone at first, still away in the middle, and then coming back towards the end," Barrymore explained on Instagram.
"She now has a good sense of my geographic place from the globe. She knows when I am leaving and coming home,” the actress wrote alongside a picture of Olive marking off mom’s fourth day away from home.
One of the ways that the actress makes her absence easier on her kids is refusing to complain about work in front of them. Instead, she explains how much she loves her job.
“I don’t say ‘I have to go work’ with a grimace on my face, because I fear it will make her feel negative about something a lot of moms must do to provide," she said. "My friend once said, ‘Never make your child feel like work is the bad thing taking you away from them,’ and I realized a lot of us tend to do that to try to make our kids feel better and that work is the yucky thing taking us away.”
“It’s a good intention, but I am convinced I need to take a different approach. I want to empower my daughters to think work is good and necessary. And can even lead them to road of their dreams. I feel guilty as hell for being away (and what mother doesn’t?!) but I try a way to empower me and my kids into something more positive,” she continued.
While she’s away, Barrymore also takes a unique approach to the way she communicates with her kids. Instead of using modern technology, she prefers snail mail. “I also send her a postcard every day at summer camp where she walks to a mailbox and pulls out my hand-written card. She knows what stamps are. And snail mail. And then she carries them in her backpack. And has even started to write me back,” she explained.
The method came after Barrymore learned “the hard way” not to video chat with her daughter while she’s away. “My FaceTime would come out of nowhere into her world, and it would be so disruptive. Neither of us felt good after. But she’s young and that will change when she gets older. And I am old school,” she said.
Barrymore went on to praise her fellow working moms, as well as her ex Will Kopelman, who has proved to be an excellent co-parent. “To all working moms, I salute your valiant efforts to love and raise good kids! I’m trying my very best. And it’s not easy. But worth every moment. And when you find something that does work for you and your family, big or small ... Celebrate. Because the next obstacle is on its way! And then we reinvent again! That’s what moms do!” she wrote.
“I also would like to say that I am so lucky for her father. Because as I go through these struggles as a woman and a mother, I also have the fortune of knowing she is safe and happy and loved. Playing and continues her normal stable amazing life with her amazing dad. And not all working mom’s have that luxury. So I say to Will Kopelman thank you for always being the best dad and supporting and enabling me to do what I need and want to do. I know that’s not everyone’s situation. And I never take it for granted,” she wrote.
“I never had family growing up. And that’s also a support system I cherish every day of my life. I love my family and everyone in it. Because they form these little girls too. And man, did I pick well!”
Barrymore and Kopelman split back in 2016, but they’ve gracefully co-parented their two daughters, even spending holidays together so the girls have both of their parents in one place. The actress shared a sweet photo from Christmas morning of the two hanging out (with massive goblets of drinks and corndogs) while the kids were napping.
Later in the day, the family all went ice-skating together, and Barrymore shared a photo of her ex with their daughter Frankie. They may not be married, but they’re certainly friendly exes.