Candace Cameron Bure is best remembered from her role as the eldest daughter on the hit '90s hit comedy series "Full House." But that is the past. Today, Candace is all grown up and stars as a mom on the hit ABC Family series, "Make It or Break It," and, in fact, is a real-life mom to Nastasha, 11; Lev, 10; and Maxim, 8, with hubby Valerie Bure, a retired Russian ice hockey player.
Now, Just Mommies talks to the 34-year-old about raising kids in Hollywood, her faith, giving back and turning author.
You took time off from acting to raise your kids. How did you decide it was time for you to go back to work?
Candace Cameron Bure: A big part of that was my husband, who was a professional hockey player, retired. That was one of the biggest factors that played into my going back to work because he was then able to be home. About a year after he retired, we started thinking it would be a good time. That is when I contacted my agents and said, "We will start to see if things open up in the industry." Things did pretty quickly. I think the biggest reason [for waiting until then] was that one of us always wants to be with the kids. We don't have a nanny or anything, except on occasion when we have a babysitter.
I read somewhere that you said that possibly God didn't bring you acting jobs because you were supposed to be a stay-at-home mom? Is that true?
Candace Cameron Bure: Yes, but not in those words. I was trying to pursue a career and be there for my husband, go to all his hockey games and support his career, but wanting to act all at the same time. The more I tried to pursue my career, the more doors were being shut. I was just developing my relationship with the Lord at that time, reading my bible and learning all about God's ways and what he had to say. I really felt at that time, that it wasn't just a coincidence that doors were shutting in the entertainment industry and really felt that it was God's way of telling me, "You need to take a break and focus on the children that I have blessed you with."
So faith is a big part of your life. How do you introduce that to your children?
Candace Cameron Bure: Pretty easily. We go to church on Sundays, but it is not just a weekly thing. We read our bible daily and do a daily devotional every morning before school. It just happens. We talk about God in most of our conversations. So whether it is a learning situation, if it something they are dealing with at school or with friends … when I parent them, it is all from a biblical perspective. So many times I will say, "What does God say about this?" So we will look at selfishness, or greed, or friendship, or when someone hurts you, and we will see how we respond to that biblically. It is easily incorporated into our lives, because where I go for a parenting guide is biblical teachings.
Do your children go to a Christian school or a public school?
Candace Cameron Bure: They go to a Christian school. Their school reinforces the values and principles we teach at home.
What is your kids' routine like when you are working vs. when you stay at home?
Candace Cameron Bure: Their routine is very consistent, especially during the school year because it is school on a weekly basis and then they have different sports activities on certain days after school. The one thing that doesn't change is I am home by six o'clock or seven o'clock for dinner. I am the one who helps with homework. Homework is my job at home and not my husband's. That all stays very consistent throughout the year. Summer time our schedules are very different and each summer is different. The kids are flexible with us and what we have planned as a family.
At one point, I know you moved to Florida. Now that you are working again, are you living in California, or are you commuting?
Candace Cameron Bure: We moved last summer because we didn't want to commute. Once the school year ended last summer, we moved to Los Angeles, so we have been here a year now.
Do you think Los Angeles is a harder place to raise children with the influences of Hollywood?
Candace Cameron Bure: It is a good question. I think where we lived in Florida, Fort Lauderdale was still a big city. And, no, the entertainment industry isn't there, but I think we dealt with just as much in Fort Lauderdale as we do in Los Angeles. And, aside from the occasional movie premiere that I might take my kids to, they really aren't involved in the industry so much that I am concerned that they are seeing too much or hearing too much. I do take my kids to work when I am able to, and they love seeing that, but that is just like any job. It would be the same as if my husband took them to hockey games, or if I worked in a retail store. Really, their lives are about family and school and sports, so it is not really that different from Florida to L.A.
Having been to the set, have any of them expressed any interest in acting? And would you let them?
Candace Cameron Bure: My daughter has definitely expressed interest and she has already done a few commercials since we have been in L.A. I didn't hesitate to say, "Sure, you can absolutely try it," because I had a great experience. But I am as cautious of it as my parents were. We look very closely at what commercials or what movie she will audition for. Really, if she wants to do it, it is fun for her and she is passionate about it, I am happy to help her pursue that, just as I would with my boys and whatever they want to do if it is sports, or acting -- although, my boys aren't interested in acting.
I don't have a problem with it, but again, I am very invested in my children and a concerned parent, so I am always looking out for their best interest first, and not just about her getting a job or a part if it doesn't fall in line with our values.
I am assuming then that your sons are interested in sports like their dad?
Candace Cameron Bure: Yes, they are both playing hockey like their dad.
Now, that is a dangerous sport!
Candace Cameron Bure: It is. We actually tried to discourage them from playing hockey for many, many years and last year one of my boys, we asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he said, "Mommy, papa, I just want to play hockey." So, he was seven years old and he had been begging us for four years already, so once he really asked for it for his birthday, we said, "OK, you can start playing." He had a great time.
Our son Lev, who is older, saw his brother playing and he wanted to give it a shot, too. So, now that my boys are playing hockey, my husband is coaching some of the teams that they are on. My husband is much more invested in hockey than he ever thought he would be when he retired.
One concern that parents have today is the Internet and social networking sites. How do you handle that?
Candace Cameron Bure: I handle that very cautiously. Natasha is still 11 years old, so I have to keep that in mind when making decisions. She is not a part of any social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. I don't allow it because I don't think at 11 years old she needs to be on that. She does have an e-mail account, so she can e-mail her friends who live in Florida. The Internet, again, is a wonderful tool, but it is very scary. We have already had some situations where they see very inappropriate things on the Internet, which eventually opened up for some really good discussions, but it is really scary as a parent. Pornography being the No. 1 problem because of pop-ups that come up, or when they go to play games and they click on links that seem to be something game-related, but they go to pornography sites. It is scary and we try to monitor as closely as we can what they are watching and give them specified times on the Internet, so we can see what they are doing.
As a mom, I go back and check the history to make sure there weren't any that were clicked that were inappropriate and, if there were, we talk about it.
"Make or Break It" is set in the world of competitive gymnasts, which means the storylines deal with teen relationships, possibly sex and mean girls. Are your children allowed to watch your show? Do you have concerns about their teen years?
Candace Cameron Bure: My daughter watches it with me. Obviously, I know what the show is about, but I preview it because I don't know the final edit. I will watch it beforehand and we will sit and watch it, so if there are things that I don't think are appropriate for her at this age to watch, we just fast forward through it. Most of the show has been great and she loves it. I guess only time will tell. She is turning 12 and we are getting more into teen-related topics to discuss, talk about and navigate through. I just hope that we are instilling good values at a young age that she and my boys will be able to make good decisions, but you never know. We will see.
I hear you are also turning author and writing a book?
Candace Cameron Bure: I do having a book being released in January. The title is Reshaping it All: A Motivational Tool for Physical and Spiritual Fitness.
What was the inspiration for it and what are you trying to get across?
Candace Cameron Bure: I used to write a monthly column for an ezine. And I have had so many women over the past five years want to talk to me about fitness, and how I have managed to lose the baby weight and be in even better shape now than when I was 20 years old. That is what this book is about: answering a lot of the questions women have for me about health and fitness. For my perspective, it was all part of a spiritual makeover.
You are also involved with the Skip1 charity. Can you talk about why of all charities this one appealed to you?
Candace Cameron Bure: Skip1 was founded by a very close friend of mine. Skip1 feeds children all across the world. What is unique about this charity is 100 percent of the dollars that you donate go to feeding the kids, which is really unheard of. Even the charity itself covers the credit card fee that you pay if you donate online. Skip1 is all about skipping something: skip a lunch, skip a mani/pedi, skip a carwash. Skip something and what you would have spent on yourself, you donate to skip1.org. It is not about having extra money at the end of the day, you don't have to find that. That sacrifice is what these kids, men and women have to sacrifice everyday that don't have food or clean water.
Through the end of October, I have a contest going on that is being presented on Twitter and Facebook, raising $6,500 for the Lumbrera de Caballona School in the Dominic Republic. My mom visited the school in May, and they do not have a kitchen and they have only one toilet in the school. The kids literally go days without being fed. I have taken it on myself to have a kitchen built and a few bathrooms. I have some cool prizes that I am giving away -- a phone call from me and some merchandise from my website. You can go to skip.org and go to Candace's page , but the actual donation goes through Facebook so we can track it.
So what is your best mommy tip for Just Mommies readers?
Candace Cameron Bure: I have three kids so I like having fun with them, but sometimes choices we make or decisions we have to make … everyone wants something different. So what we do in my family is, say we are going to a restaurant but everyone wants to go to a different place, we make a game out of it. Everyone writes down the restaurant they want to go to, we throw it in a hat and either my husband or I will choose, but we don't tell the children. We just all get in the car and it is secret what place we will end up at. It makes it fun for the kids and no one gets upset. We try to make a game out of an everyday situation.
Images: Mikel Healey