Parents

Jessica Alba on the one dream she has for her kids and finding balance as a mom

On a sweltering Los Angeles day when temperatures soared over 90 degrees, Jessica Alba was a picture of pulled-together perfection in a cheery yellow frock at a Hollywood garden party. The fete was to celebrate the one-year partnership between her non-toxic product line, the Honest Company, and Target.

Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images
Jessica Alba attends The Honest Company at Target one-year anniversary event on April 29, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

Amid the celebration, the entrepreneur, entertainer and mom of two sat down with TODAY.com to chat about finding balance between work and parenthood, what she wants most for her kids — and how she chose their unusual names!

As for finding balance, she said — like many of us — she’s just trying her best and winging it.

“I don’t have any tricks,” she said. “I just feel guilty all the time and I feel like I’m never doing the right thing.”

But Alba said she does have a method for checking in with herself to make sure there’s balance.

“I just pray that my kids are happy. If they’re giggling more than they’re crying, and if they’re curious and talkative, then I know they’re good,” she said. “And if that ever stops, and if I see that there’s a problem, then I stop everything and focus on that. That’s my litmus test on whether I’m extending myself too much or spreading myself too thin.”

Beyond that, Alba said she's comfortable because she’s doing ethical work with her line of eco-friendly, accessible products. And the brand’s whopping success (according to the Wall Street Journal, the company is expected to bring in more than $150 million in revenue for 2014) proves to be great role modeling for her daughters.

“They saw their mom come up with this idea and then there was this office that could only fit like three people in it," she said. "And then we went to another office that fit like 20 people. And now we have an office that has 225 people exploding out of it!

“And so every day that they come to the office, it’s cool for them to see, and they’re like ‘Wow, look at this!’”

Oh, and there’s something in it for them too, of course: “We expanded into another office, built a showroom with a playground, and so they’re playing there. And [they’re our guinea pigs, as we’re] asking them what scent they love, tasting vitamins [for the brand].”

Speaking of Alba’s two daughters, Honor and Haven, we wanted to know how she chose their unusual names. Turns out, they were influenced by her husband Cash Warren's upbringing in a family full of unique names like sisters Koa and Makayla, and brothers Cha’an and Grayson.

“They all have really unusual names and I have the most boring name on the planet,” she said. “So I just figured, why not just keep on with the tradition of unusual names?”

She said her husband couldn’t have imagined growing up with an ordinary name like she did. “I was so annoyed that whenever they said Jessica in a class I was in, five or six girls raised their hands!”

Like any parent, Alba has hopes and dreams for her daughters — but they’re actually pretty simple. “I just want them to be kind. I actually only care about that more than anything," she said. "And have empathy. And compassion. Have a bigger perspective. That, more than anything, is the most important thing for our kids.”

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of lifestyle, travel, and home blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

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