Before she could write a book about managing priorities, TV actress Candace Cameron Bure had to learn a few lessons of her own. Her parents had always kept her, her two sisters and her brother, actor Kirk Cameron, grounded and balanced when they were kids. But as Candace grew up and made more of her own decisions, she found balance didn't come that easily.
In August 1994, after she finished high school and her popular sitcom "Full House" ended, Candace met NHL all-star Valeri Bure and married him in June 1996. Their daughter, Natasha, was born in 1998 — at the same time Val was traded to the Calgary Flames — and the young family moved to Canada. Candace didn't want to stop acting, so she and Natasha flew back to Los Angeles where her parents baby-sat while Candace was working.
On one particular 10-day trip, Candace came home every night after Natasha was already asleep. Five days into that schedule, she realized she had made a big mistake. Although she loved acting and couldn't imagine her life without her career, Candace decided to become a stay-at-home mom — for what turned into a 10-year period — while her children were young.
"I've learned that I need to prioritize the big, important things in my life first," Candace explains. "When it comes down to the day to day, that changes every day, so it's important to be flexible and reprioritize. When the balance feels off, I'm either not spending enough time with God or my family."
Balancing her career
Obviously, Candace is unlike many Hollywood actors. She posts pictures on Facebook of Natasha leading worship at church. She shared her faith on "Dancing With the Stars" during the 2014 spring season, and she puts her family before her career and status. Her down-to-earth nature and love for God have endeared her to Americans as they've watched her grow up as D.J. Tanner on the hit TV sitcom "Full House" and then become a New York Times best-selling author as an adult. In her latest book, Balancing It All, Candace shares her experiences in finding balance in her life. "I think it's a question that all of us women want to know: How do we balance it all?" Candace says. "We live in a world that gets busier and busier with every decade. We strive to juggle our lives and want to do it well." She believes that women want to know how other moms succeed in balancing their lives, but clarifies that her book is not a how-to guide. "Everyone's life is different. I use my own personal stories — whenever I've had big decisions to make and what's helped me along the way."
Now that her kids are older and her husband is retired from hockey, Candace has been able to re-engage in her career at the same time she fulfills her role as a wife and mother. On a typical day of filming, Candace appreciates the fact that her husband takes care of everything on the home front.
"When I'm filming a movie and gone for three weeks, I might be local or in Canada, but I'm all in," she says. "I get these short amounts of time for a work opportunity, and my husband and children get that. I can't mentally allow myself to stress over my family at home. My husband is more than capable and does an amazing job. I have to do a little bit of compartmentalizing and don't allow guilt to seep in. I kiss them good night on FaceTime." Candace expresses gratitude for Val's help and support. "My husband is such a great husband and father. He's such a trouper. He's so invested in our family and supportive of my career."
Loving God and her family
When Candace isn't filming, she's fully focused on her family. She starts her day with a good workout and then comes home and helps her kids — Natasha, 16, Lev, 14, and Maksim, 12 — get ready for school. She uses her kids' school time for appointments, errands, meetings and work-related responsibilities, such as interviews and photo shoots. That way, she can focus on her kids and take them to hockey and singing lessons when they get out of school.
"When I'm not working, I'm in full-time mom mode," she says. "I love putting myself out there and connecting with my fans when I'm working, but when we come home, we're just a family."
Part of finding a healthy balance in her schedule is having fun with her family. Since they live close to the beach in Southern California, the family goes there a lot. Candace and her kids like making silly videos for Instagram or Twitter. "It's a great way that I bond with my kids," she says. "They're so into social networking and texting. To get in on it with my kids makes it really fun."
Candace and Val also make time to focus on their marriage. They like to go out to lunch or dinner, see a movie or take a jog together. Three times a year, they get away for a night or two — just the two of them.
During the busy holiday season, Candace still prioritizes God and family first. On Christmas morning, the Bures, along with Candace's sister's family and some of their friends, wake up early and take breakfast to a local homeless shelter.
"We bring food and make breakfast, sit and eat, and get to know people," Candace says. "It's such a super family tradition. It brings around the meaning of Christmas and sharing God's love and sharing who Jesus is. It's an opportunity to be His loving hands."
While Candace enjoys her family holiday traditions, she looks forward to exciting new projects in the new year. She knows God has given her a special calling to reach millions through her career, and she doesn't take that lightly. "It's incredible to have that platform to share Jesus," Candace says.Andrea Osmun is a freelance writer and professional blogger.
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