Not even Drew Barrymore is immune from the working-parent guilt.
The Santa Clarita Diet star used Instagram late Thursday evening to get candid with her followers about the pressures in balancing a career and being a mom to daughters Frankie, 4 next month, and Olive, 5.
“Olive has a working mom,” Barrymore, 43, captioned a photo of her older child diligently marking a calendar, explaining that the exercise has helped the little girl understand and cope with the times when her mom is away and when she’ll be back.
“I always explain to her that I love my job. I don’t say, ‘I have to go work’ with a grimace on my face, because I fear it will make her feel negative about something a lot of moms must do to provide,” she adds. “My friend once said, ‘Never make your child feel like work is the bad thing taking you away from them’ and I realized a lot of us tend to do that to try to make our kids feel better and that work is the yucky thing taking us away.”
“It’s a good intention, but I am convinced I need to take a different approach. I want to empower my daughters to think work is good and necessary. And can even lead them to road of their dreams.”
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Although the mother of two has found a balance, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t struggle with some insecurities about whether she’s doing it right.
“I feel guilty as hell for being away (and what mother doesn’t?!) but I try a way to empower me and my kids into something more positive,” she reveals. “I don’t blame work, I own the responsibility. I will be patient when she is upset if I am away.”
“But I wanted to give her a tool, so she could understand and [gauge] life when I am working. Like a handmade calendar,” says Barrymore. “And watching my daughter follow through with [it] as an exercise is so rewarding. And calming to my concerns about teaching her to grasp life.”
The Never Been Kissed star goes on to share how she sends Olive a postcard every day while she’s away at summer camp, and that the mother-daughter duo is still figuring out which ways of correspondence work best for them.
“I tried a few methods at first … and if you ever want to correspond with Olive, don’t FaceTime with her. I learned that the hard way,” says Barrymore.
A second post featuring a photo of a giggling Olive and her dad, Barrymore’s ex Will Kopelman, expands on why the video-chat feature doesn’t quite work for the little girl.
“My FaceTime would come out of nowhere into her world, and it would be so disruptive,” the actress explains. “Neither of us felt good after. But she’s young and that will change when she gets older. And I am old school. So I figured globes and postcards and calendars are what works for us for now.”
Barrymore gives a sweet shout-out to the girls’ “amazing dad” Kopelman, whom she has been open about co-parenting amicably with since their 2016 split and subsequent divorce.
“I’m trying my very best. And it’s not easy. But worth every moment,” she admits. “And when you find something that does work for you and your family, big or small … celebrate. Because the next obstacle is on its way! And then we reinvent again! That’s what moms do!”
“For now, I look at this pic of Olive and her dad watching an old Road Runner cartoon,” Barrymore concludes. “And this also makes me so happy and knocks out my guilt with a punch. I’ll be home soon and be laughing right alongside you guys!”