Mind & Body

Strong Bones

The star of TV’s <em>Bones</em> Emily Deschanel tells us how she balances new motherhood, a demanding career and a crazy amount of animal rights and humanitarian activism.

Strong Bones
Pin it Brian Bowen Smith

Actress Emily Deschanel, star of TV’s Bones, brings Henry, her 17-month-old son with actor, producer and writer husband David Hornsby to the set of her hit show every day – yet still somehow finds time to make the world a better place. A vegan (i.e., one who eschews meat, eggs, dairy products and won’t wear clothing made with animal-derived materials) since she was 16, Deschanel is an outspoken champion of animal rights who also helps publicize the enormous environmental impact of eating meat. Here, she talks about maintaining a healthy, balanced life as a working mom and activist.

How do you manage motherhood while working full-time on Bones?
Henry has been on set with me every day except for two since he was born. I’m lucky that I have a nanny and that my job accommodates me, but it’s still hard and complicated. I’ll put him to bed at work and then will have to wake him up to drive him home. David and I are trying to make things go more smoothly, so Henry can go home first, for instance, and go to bed at the same time every night.

We’re following a lot of attachment parenting principles, so I think it’s the best thing for him to be as close to me as possible. But I often feel like I don’t spend enough time with Henry, and at the same time, I worry that I’m neglecting my job. Sometimes when I’m called on set, I’d rather nurse Henry or do a puzzle with him. You have days where you feel like it’s a lose-lose situation; you’re not giving your all to your child or to work. But as time goes on, I feel better able to be in the present moment wherever I am. Do I always succeed? No, but ultimately, I think it’s a win-win.

Does your parenting style differ from that of your character Brennan?
Brennan is kind of competitive. Like, she gets worried if her child doesn’t play peek-a-boo when she’s supposed to, and she wants her child to be overachiever because she’s a genius, but I don’t expect my child to be like that. There’s an episode coming up where Brennan’s baby has bitten another kid in daycare, and she wont believe it and looks for forensic evidence to clear her daughter’s name. Whereas I would be like, “Oh yeah, Henry probably did it; he’s tried to bite me before, and I bit people as a kid.”