How does she do it?: Meredith Howard

Mom of five (including adopted twins with a JLo movie cameo), Meredith Howard, tells us all about how she does it.

Photo: Brittany Robson Photography

When she and her husband adopted two Ethiopian babies, they had no idea the twins would end up starring as Jennifer Lopez’s kids in What to Expect When You’re Expecting (in theatres May 18). Meredith talks to us about what it’s like to parent five children from her home in Powder Springs, Georgia.

Name: Meredith Howard
Age: 38
Kids: (clockwise) Asher (with mom),  2,  
William, 6, Emerson, 9, Carson, 4, Samuel, 2
Marital status: Married for 15 years to Kindred Howard

What’s the most unexpected thing you discovered after you became a parent?
How hard it was. Nobody can prepare you.

How do you put your kids to bed?
We’re kind of in survival mode. We feel victorious if everybody has clothes on and they’re clean.

What are some of your favourite bedtime stories?
On the Night You Were Born. The whole premise is how special each child is. When we found out the twins’ mother had died giving birth, I got the book immediately. That’s going to be difficult for them to learn, so I wanted them to know how special it still was when they were born.

What is your secret to a happy relationship?
Taking care of myself. When I’m running around in circles trying to do stuff for my kids or my husband and I run myself into the ground, I’m not a very inspiring wife and mother.

What’s your job status?
I work 10 hours a week as a bookkeeper for a church.

What do you for do for child care?
Kindred can work from home, so when I’m at work, he watches them. We don’t have daycare or a regular babysitter.

What vehicle do you drive?
A minivan, but I got one with a sunroof so that I could feel at least a little bit cool.

How did your other kids’ adapt to the twins?
They thought it was really cool. We kept it simple: They need a home. Their mommy or daddy couldn’t take care of them. There’s been no jealousy.

Have you faced any challenges raising an interracial family?
We’re friends with a lot of people who have adopted from other nationalities, so it really has been a non-issue. They are just such awesome little guys that, if anything, it has made other people start considering adoption. We try to make sure we’re as tied in as we can be to the Ethiopian community so that the twins will always have that connection.

How did you get involved in the movie?
I heard that a movie needed Ethiopian children as extras so we sent in some pictures. Then the casting director asked to meet us and said, “Listen, I thought I had found my main Ethiopian baby, but now that I found the twins, I think they’re it. I need you to come back so the kids can spend some time with Jennifer Lopez.” Kindred and I were like: “I’m sorry, what movie is this?”

What was your favourite part of being on set?
How everybody loved my boys.

Have you seen the film yet?
Not yet, but I’m excited. It looks like it’s going to be really funny, which all of us need as moms — to laugh a little bit.

When was the last time you looked around and thought, “This is a good moment?” Yesterday when I saw the twins running around and laughing with their siblings. It always makes me smile.

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