July 31, 2015 08:00 PM

Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Like most moms, Christina Applegate discovered that getting through the terrible twos is no easy feat.

“I barely survived,” Applegate tells PEOPLE, admitting that even though her daughter Sadie Grace is now 4½ years old, things haven’t gotten much easier.

“The fours are pretty gnarls too. She is pushing so many boundaries right now. I say, ‘Please put that down. Please put that down. Please put that down.’ It’s crazy man.”

But she is also enjoying some of the perks that come with having a little girl — like being able to take her to lunch and spend quality girl time together.

“My favorite time is just when it’s the two of us and we are having lunch and talking,” shares Applegate.

She also savors their Sunday morning ritual, which involves her and husband Martyn LeNoble taking Sadie to ballet class followed by a family brunch.

Applegate, 43, is currently starring in the comedy Vacation, but says she has definitely scaled back her workload since becoming a mom. “I won’t take on a project unless the family can make the decision that it is worth the sacrifice of me not seeing Sadie all day long and uprooting everyone if it’s on location,” she explains.

She also makes sure to take time off once a project is completed.

“After I did Anchorman 2, I asked for a year and a half off, which meant they weren’t allowed to call me about anything. And they didn’t,” she says. “I just mom’d it up.”

For more from Christina Applegate and her life as a mom, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

— Mia McNiece

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