Jessica Alba on Parenthood and Making Philanthropy Fun for Kids
Jessica Alba has played a superhero in the Fantastic Four films, a sci-fi super-soldier in the Dark Angel series, and an action heroine in Sin City. But the Golden Globe–nominated actress also fights for good offscreen: as the founder of The Honest Company, she sells baby-safe, sustainably sourced items from diapers to laundry detergent.
She also sits on the board of Baby2Baby, a nonprofit that provides low-income children with diapers, clothing, and other necessities. Both of these projects have special significance to Alba, who is a mother of two. We recently chatted with her about how parenting and charity work go together—and how you can get kids excited about donating, too.
GROUPON: How did you get involved with Baby2Baby?
JESSICA ALBA: When I was pregnant with my first child, Honor, I had a million questions and anxieties. I was lucky enough to have Kelly, co-president of Baby2Baby, to give me some answers, make me (a little) less crazy, and just be a great friend through pregnancy and beyond. Knowing how much it takes to have a child and how much every mom wants to keep them healthy and safe, I was proud to join Baby2Baby as a board member when Kelly asked me.
When I founded The Honest Company, I was committed to having social goodness built into everything we do, so we partnered with Baby2Baby to donate products to families in need with every product purchased. To date, we've volunteered over 1,200 hours and helped over 50,000 families with donations of 500,000 diapers and over 680,000 products.
G: How do you make philanthropy fun and relevant for your kids?
JA: It helps to make it as grounded as possible. If my daughter gets a new toy, for example, I ask her to choose two toys that she doesn’t play with to give away to kids that don’t have any. I also try to get kids to think of it as a game or a competition—you gave away this much last month, can you give away more this month? It can be hard to instill that perspective in kids, but exposing them early and creating empathy along the way makes it easier.
G: What’s a parenting piece of advice you wish you’d known when you first became a mom?
JA: There’s no such thing as balance! When you’re in one place, you’re always going to feel like you should be in another. There’s always going to be mom guilt, so you have to be reminded from time to time that you’re just doing your best.
Mae Rice is a staff writer who writes about eyelash extensions, French food, what "business casual" even means, and other style and food topics.