Nia Long Talks Motherhood and 'The Best Man Holiday'

The 43-year-old mom of two reveals how she juggles work, kids and me-time

Nia Long was having a busy weekend. The actress and mom of two wasn't just moving to another Los Angeles home earlier this month. She was also up early with her 2-year-old son, Kez; her 13-year-old son Massai needed help studying for a test; and she had a movie to promote—The Best Man Holiday, a sequel to 1999's The Best Man—that hits theaters November 15.

"At the moment, I feel completely disorganized," Long admitted.

The multitasking and self-described organized mom talked to us about how she juggles work and kids, how she bonded with her Best Man co-stars and what Trinidadian dish she might be serving on Thanksgiving.

How she juggles everything...

"Just breathe and breathe deeply. You pay attention to the things that need immediate attention. Then the other things kind of go to the wayside until you jump back over and pay attention to that thing that might be falling apart at the time. The key for me is really to be organized and to have a really clear understanding of what needs to take priority over the other thing."

How she stays organized...

"I was having this conversation with [director] Tyler Perry about single moms. He was talking to a mom, and he asked, 'How do you do it? How do you do it every single day?' and her answer to him was, 'You just do it. You don’t think about it.' And so for me, it’s all kind of stored in my mind, and I have a good way of remembering what needs to be remembered. You have to. It’s just part of the gig."

The challenges of taking time off for baby—and going back to work...

"This business will give you breaks even when you don’t want breaks, because after your next gig, it’s not like, 'Oh, I’ve arrived.' It’s like, 'Oh my God, what’s my next job?' And I think every actor feels that panic, so it wasn’t like I called my agent and said, 'I’m having a baby, and I’m not coming back for two years.' It was more like, 'I’m having a baby,' and they stopped calling me for a while, and then once the baby was born, and I was ready, the conversations gradually started to happen, and eventually you get a job.

"I admire the women who can have babies and jump right back to work. I don’t know how they do it. As a nursing mother, I couldn’t sit there and just pump all day. I needed to be close to my baby."

On bonding with Best Man co-star and fellow mom Monica Calhoun...

"Our babies were born in the same year—our older ones, who are 13. We were just talking about how both of our boys are almost as tall as we are, and how we’re like, 'When did this happen?'"

What might show up on her Thanksgiving table...

"My mother just got back from Trinidad, and she brought back all the authentic spices—the curry and saffron to make the yellow rice. So once I get settled in my new place, I think I’ll break out that new curry. Maybe we’ll have curry chicken for Thanksgiving."

On getting her kids to try new foods...

"You know, the only thing he doesn’t like is when his food touches each other. I’m like, 'Really? You’re still on that?' He’ll try something once. Both of my kids are pretty good with vegetables. I make sure that, before I even put the meal on the table, that there’s a salad involved."

Yes, teen sons can still be cuddly...

"My 13-year-old, every now and then, he’ll be cuddly with me. Sometimes you just have to tell them, 'I miss snuggling with you.' There are different ways that they show you that they need you, like him calling me today and crying and saying, 'I really want you to help me study.'"

How she gives her son independence...

"The place where we’re moving to is in walking distance to school. He’s 13, he can now walk to school. And those are the things, then you get to see, 'Did I really do my job well? Does he have the judgment?'"

On carving out me-time...

I treat myself any chance I can. I’m debating right now if I’m going to go home or if I’m going to do an hour at the Korean spa.

MORE: Soleil Moon Frye: It's Time to Get the Party Started!

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