by Erwin van Steede

    Jennifer Lopez – Talks About Kids, Work, Staying in Shape and Making Mistakes

    Jennifer, you seem to be everywhere these days. On TV, on the radio, and now with a new movie “The Boy next door”. How do you manage all of this and be mother of two kids at the same time?

    I have a team of three that helps me a lot. It takes a lot of people to juggle all of our responsibilities. I am most afraid to hop in a car and drive to the wrong appointment, which by the way has happened before.

    But it seems as if you are still working 24/7…

    I do work a lot, that is true. But as I am getting older and more mature, I have become more careful to take good care of myself. I am starting to realize that there can be a lot of power in saying no instead of yes. And that has become very helpful in my life.

    You look great. How do you do it. Please don’t say it’s genetics…

    No, no. I try to keep myself in shape in general. I train very hard. It’s almost another job. But I enjoy it, to be in good shape. It makes me happier as a person, and I think it makes me a better mother as well.

    As a single mom, do you take your kids wherever you go?

    Yes, most of the time they are with me. Unless I need to travel a big distance for a very short time. I don’t want to put them through that. That’s when grandpa and grandma come in very handy.

    Do your kids understand what you are doing for a living?

    They understand that mommy works a lot, that’s for sure. They don’t quite yet understand what it is that I am doing. But they know that work pays the bills.

    I think it’s a good message for kids to know that their parents are working, would you agree?

    Yes, I do agree, especially when they are not growing up poor. My kids are not lacking anything, but I grew up dirt poor. I knew I had to work hard to make it. I am trying to keep my kids very aware of the world around them.

    How do you do that?

    I try to teach them that it’s a good thing to be charitable, I tell them that they have a certain responsibility to help. And I also tell them how fortunate and privileged their lives are. Always try to do your best whether it’s through your art or your daily actions. And be kind to others. Those are the lessons I try to teach my kids.

    Do you have any rituals with your kids?

    Yes, we do. It’s funny, every Friday we have “sleepover” night. The kids come to my room with their sleeping bags, we read and watch movies together. It’s just a very fun evening. I love hanging out with them. And it’s terrible when I have work lined up on a Friday. I always try to be home on time to do “sleepover” night though.

    In the film “Boy next door” which you produced as well you play a middle aged mother that lives separated from her husband and has a teenage son. What is it about this woman that spoke to you?

    I found it very believable and I could relate to her as well. She got out of a marriage because her husband cheated on her. She doesn’t feel that sexy anymore now that she is getting older. Every woman can relate to this. I certainly can.

    When are we exposed to making the biggest mistakes in life?

    When you are vulnerable you make mistakes you regret later. Look, it’s no secret we are all doing something at times to anesthetize ourselves. The big question has to be: How do you move forward, how do you get out of a bad situation.

    You say you have been in situations like that in your life. How do you feel about your life now, are you happier today than you were ten years ago?

    I am, I am also ten years older. I have packed on more life experience. I feel more confident with who I am today. And I don’t depend so much on the opinions of others anymore. That’s a good feeling. My priorities are pretty clear: my kids come first in my life.

    How do you feel different today than you did ten years ago?

    I am a lot more self-assured than I was ten years ago. I feel sexier than ever before. But at the same time I don’t have to prove it to anybody anymore. That’s just a great feeling; It’s very liberating. And I do believe a lot of younger men find that very attractive as well.

    Do you believe in the theory that something good can come out of something bad?

    Yes, absolutely. Sometimes it takes something very traumatic for something good to happen. I really like that message. You might think your life is in the toilet, but then you realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    Are you that kind of person, are you a fighter that can endure tough situations?

    Oh, yes! No question about it. I don’t quit, I never have. It’s one of my better qualities.

    Do you ever have the feeling that you need to change things about yourself?

    Yes, absolutely. You go through enough things and you start realizing that you have things to fix. I am no different in that regard. I think I realized after my divorce that I needed to change some things in my life. I also want to always better myself as a person, for being the best mom I can be for my kids alone.

    Is there a lesson to be learned when you suffer a loss in life?

    Life is hard and shit happens, but there will be a time when you can dance again. You have a choice in life, you can become bitter or you can become better after you lose something in life that you once loved. I decided to become better.

    Do you pick movie roles that reflect your personal life?

    I don’t mind playing the bad girl or playing the victim. Movies and roles in movies are funny for me. It’s almost as if I am attracting what I need to work out in my personal life. Does that make sense?

    It’s normal in Hollywood that older men date younger women. In this film an older woman falls for a very young man. Are you trying to shift the paradigm, since you have a history of dating younger men?

    No, I think women just realize now that we are just getting better as we are getting older. Before the thought was that you are your best in your 20’s. I think that perception is slowly changing now. I like to help to put out the message that we are still attractive in our 40’s and we are certainly more interesting than a lot of younger women.

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