Jennifer Hudson Shares The Secret To Her Success

Jennifer Hudson is one busy multi-hyphenate. In just the past week or two, the singer-actress-author was spotted in Los Angeles, filming the music video for "Trouble," her single with Iggy Azalea. The two women stopped in to perform the song on The Tonight Show before Hudson made an appearance at the Grammys; then, just last night, Jennifer was on hand to pay tribute to Stevie Wonder during the CBS special. Plus, it was recently announced that she will be guest-starring on Empire. On top of all of this, Hudson signed on to promote the Johnson's Baby "So Much More" campaign, which aims to encourage parents to use bathtime as a chance to stimulate their child's senses and creativity. After all, Hudson is mom to 5-year-old David — so when she's not coast-hopping for her job, she's busy shuttling her son to basketball practice and karate lessons. How does she find balance and make time for what matters most? Jennifer sat down with us to share.

What steps have you taken to achieve a work-life balance, especially now that you're a mom?
"As soon as I walk through the door of my house, I forget about everything on the outside. I'm on mommy time. When David was younger, he could travel with me everywhere, but now I want him to have a normal upbringing and a childhood with stability. [Being] a mom...really changes you and makes you think in that way... My mother was a very present mom, and I want to be the same for my son. That's always at the forefront of my mind. I make a point to go straight home after I'm done working. But, I've explained to him that, just like his responsibility as a kid is to go to school, ours as adults is to go to work. 

"Luckily for me, Empire is in Chicago. That is my hometown, [so] I can be home in time for dinner. The older David gets, that's what I look for. That's how the whole Broadway thing came about [Hudson will be starring in the Broadway revival of The Color Purple this fall] — I can do what I love to do and make a living, and also be there for my child. I have a whole other life waiting for me at home."

Does your son understand the extent of what your job is? Does he know you're a singer and an actress?
"He knows. He gets it, because he's grown up around it. He'll be backstage at the Grammys with me, and he understands that world, but he has a great balance. I don't want him to be completely absorbed in that whole lifestyle, because I want his feet to touch the ground. I want him to have that normalcy. He's been in basketball, which was cool; he did karate for a little bit and wants to get back into it. I’d like to get him into piano. We grew up like that — my mother kept us in extra-curricular activities, and I want to do the same with him. I want him to be exposed to those things, but I also want him to see the other world, because he’s so creative. He watches Michael Jackson videos and dances along, and I showed him Usher and Justin Timberlake and all of those dancers and performers. I took him to an Usher concert, and he was fascinated. He's dancing, he's singing, and he's exploring. I want him to find what he wants. He's independent, and this helps him build his confidence."

How do you carve out time to stay healthy and active?
"I [have to] map out the day. We’re in the school year, so I know what time we have to get David up and [when his bedtime is]. Whatever I want to fit in for meals, exercise, whatever, has to fit within those hours of the day. I was going to buy a treadmill and put it in the garage, but then I thought, you know what, I'm just gonna run up my driveway! So, that's what I started doing. When he goes to school, now I have that time. And, for him, he has his trampoline. So, we go downstairs, and he does flips, and that's our evening routine. That’s our good stuff."

Why is bath time such an important end-of-the-day ritual for parents and their kids?
"Bath time is a time just for the two of you, and I think [that's] important for a child's upbringing. And, to have those stories — I was just having this conversation with David right before I came here. He was asking, 'Mommy, you used to put me in the sink [for bath time]?' and I was like, 'Yup, you were a little turkey, and I put you in the sink!' They love hearing those stories... Just like I was the one waking up in the middle of the night with him when he was a baby, I’m the one giving him a bath. All day, we're on our cell phones, and they're on their iPads or watching TV, but when they're in the tub, it's just you guys. No distractions. The bubbles, the squeaky toys — his imagination is so interesting. You know, he's in the tub and he's a shark! He's swimming and playing, and he is hilarious."

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