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Cobie Smulders: Working Motherhood Is a 'Constant Juggling Act'

Photograph by Rex / Rex USA

While you might know her best as Robin Scherbatsky on the hit TV series "How I Met Your Mother," or as Agent Maria Hill in the "Avengers" franchise, Cobie Smulders is making a name for herself on the Sundance circuit as well.

Starring as a Chicago high school teacher who gets pregnant at the same time as one of her brightest students in her new film "Unexpected," which premiered in Park City and opens in theaters July 24, Smulders draws from her own experience as a mom of two young daughters.

"[Writer/director] Kris [Swanberg] had kids already, and I had them as well, so it was fun to go through the script and add things in and change things up that we thought we were just using to be funny," Smulders tells mom.me.

"In these movies about having a baby, it's always the labor scene and asking for drugs, and the cravings—which, by the way, we definitely used! But we wanted to depict them in a realistic way," she adds.

The 33-year-old Canadian-born mom also offers her take on having it all, pregnancy cravings and the sacrifices she's had to make as a mother and an actress.

You're a working mom yourself, and that means having to balance work and family. There's the conversation asking, "Can women really have it all?" What's your take on that?

I think it depends on what your version of "have it all" is. I think that being a mom has forced me to be what the realistic version of that is, and to know that sometimes you can have it all and sometimes you can't. I think it really just depends on what you want that version to be.

Have you had to make any sacrifices as an actress or mom to make it work?

Absolutely. It's a constant juggling act, balancing act. If a project comes up, I have to make sure that it's something that I'm really enamored with, that I really love and I really want to do before taking time away from my family.

MORE: Cobie Smulders Talks Parenting on the Red Carpet

You shot the movie while you were pregnant. Did you know that was going to happen?

No, it just sort of timed itself that way. I'd like to say that's how I perceive work as an actress—I make sure that it's as realistic as possible. I call that method acting.

No, it just sort of happened and worked its way into the story. I think it helped the movie at times. It didn't help production at times. My belly wouldn't behave on some days. It would be too big, and we'd have to hide it. And then it wouldn't be big enough on some of the days, so we'd have to pad it up.

You mentioned cravings. Did you have any while you were pregnant?

Not really. I like food, so I still just like food.

You were pregnant with your first child while filming "How I Met Your Mother." Was this any different the second time around, being pregnant while working?

It was helpful in the sense that for this particular film, I didn't have to hide it or feel like I had to hide it.

You and your husband, Taran Killam ("Saturday Night Live"), are both in the entertainment industry. How do you balance parenthood with your careers?

Well, personally for me, I can't really speak for my husband, it's really just about finding projects that work, and sometimes they don't and you just sort of have to make it work with your family's schedule. The important thing for me is that when I'm home with my kids, I'm there and I'm as present as I can be, and when I'm at work, I'm at work, and I'm as present as I can be there.

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