Being a living, breathing human on social media lends itself to all kinds of unnecessary scrutiny, but that's amplified if you've got any sort of following. No one knows this better than celebs, who are incessantly picked apart by internet trolls. Lots of internet trolls.
Unfortunately, as a notable actress and star of Younger, Hilary Duff understands this firsthand. InStyle caught up with Duff earlier this week, and she broke down how she works to stay positive despite criticism.
"I've seen stuff on the internet a couple years back when we were at Disneyland and I posted a picture of Luca [her 6-year-old son with ex Mike Comrie] and I kissing on the lips," she recalls. "People were like, 'That's disgusting.'"
She continues. "First of all, he was three. Kiss your kids, and anyone who doesn't like it can hit unfollow. Not interested in what you have to say."
For more on Duff's experiences with mom shaming and guilt, how she and Luca are preparing for a new baby girl, and the nicest thing Luca ever said to her, read through our interview with her below.
How is Luca feeling about becoming a big brother soon?
I think he's excited. It's been him and I for six years, so it was a big conversation to have. I was also shooting in New York at the time, so I waited a little bit to tell him until I could be home with him. But I think he's going to be a great big brother. He's such a sweet kid and has such a gentle soul, so I know he's going to be great with her.
Sometimes he's still paranoid, thinking she's going to drool on his toys. But here's the thing, by the time she is able to crawl around [his] playroom, [he's] not going to be interested in the stuff. I was trying to put it into perspective for him. But he's sweet, he'll rub my belly now and say hi and bye, or good morning to her. Other times he's humorous about it. Like he told his friend at school that he's having a half sister, half red butt monkey. Cool, OK. He thinks it's really funny, so I let him have it.
What is the biggest compliment that Luca has ever given you?
He's really a sweet, sensitive boy. I'll tell you something, this happened last year. When I'm filming Younger I'm [in NYC] for four months, and I try to make it home almost every weekend to see him because when he's in school, he can't miss. So I happened to be home on a Friday or Monday or something like that, and I was just scrambling. It was just one of those mornings where everything that could have gone wrong, was wrong, and we were running late. I was burning the toast over and over again, and I think I had literally been through three pieces of toast. He was finishing his homework, and it was just crazy, and I was like, 'Oh my God, I just suck right now.' And I said it out loud.
And he was like, 'What?' I was like, 'I'm just I'm burning everything, I'm burning the toast, and I can't do anything right right now.' And he said, 'You don't suck, you're the best mommy. You're doing the best you can do. And I really like burnt toast.'
I was like, 'You are the sweetest child. I can't even deal with you, thank you so much. I don't know what I did to deserve you.' He can just be really sweet in that way. He knows that I would never let him say something like that about himself. It was actually out of character for me to say it about myself where he could hear me, but I was pulling my hair out. But he said, 'You don't suck, you're doing the best you can do.' So sweet.
That's so important to hear, especially now when we hear a lot about mom shaming and mom guilt. How do you combat negativity when you hear it yourself?
Honestly, trying to put into perspective other people's realities. The only thing that matters is you and your family and whatever choices you're making, and how that choice feels for your family. I've seen stuff on the internet a couple years back when we were at Disneyland and I posted a picture of Luca and I kissing on the lips. People were like, 'That's disgusting.' First of all, he was three. Kiss your kids, and anyone who doesn't like it can hit unfollow. Not interested in what you have to say.
People can be like, 'Oh you're holding that child? He's six.' Yeah I swing him over my head, when his legs are tired I hold him — it's a little hard right now — but yeah, I give piggy back rides. People just have all these crazy judgments, and I think it's best to not listen and laugh it off.
Who in your life gives you strength and encouragement to brush the little stuff off while imagining bigger and better things for yourself?
I think this is something that you should never forget as we get older. Our dreams seem so big as little kids, but everything seems reachable when you're little. And I think as you get older, everything seems harder to attain or make happen, or like there's more up against you. I think my boyfriend is really — he's an artist himself, so he's a dreamer. Any idea that I have, he is very very supportive of it.
Luca thinks I'm superwoman, which is the most impactful of all the people that could feel that way about me. And I have a great team of people, even outside of my family, people that I've worked with that have been decision makers and people that helped facilitate crazy ideas that I have in my head. No one's ever really said, 'No, you can't do that.' I'm really lucky.
You're partnering with Jif and the Boys and Girls Club of America on a contest that'll give a child $15,000 to fund an idea that helps others. What made you want to join in on this?
I was so excited when they approached me. I hadn't heard of the contest, and hearing the amazing story from last year's contest winner Charlotte Gould [who founded Stitches by Charlotte, a line of personalized dolls for children with medical procedure scars]. I was really touched by her own personal experience and then her coming up with this concept to help other children. I thought it was really beautiful. And then the fact that Jif is putting so much behind nurturing these creative ideas and helping make these kids dreams come true. You know, $15,000 is a lot of money for just a kid with an idea. It's amazing, being a mom myself, knowing that kids have so much potential to affect other children or to change the world and make the world a better place. Of course I wanted to get involved.
Are you and Luca big peanut butter fans at home?
Yes, we are a huge peanut butter household. And that was the other funny thing when they approached me, we've been a Jif family for my whole entire life. I think the first three months of pregnancy, I lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it was all I cared about. I've even grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. [laughs]
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.