Kerry Washington wasn’t rushing to the gym right after giving birth.
“My doctor made me take my six weeks off, and I did,” says Washington, 40. “It was really important to me to have that downtime and then start working out slowly, which I’m still doing, I am still slowly getting back into it.”
“It was rumored somewhere that I was working out a week or two after he was born and it really upset me, actually,” she continues. “I never talk about rumors in the media, but I was really sad that somebody printed that because I felt like, ‘Oh, that makes women feel like they have to start working out’ — like, ‘Oh celebrities work out right away.’ And I was like, ‘No way!’ “
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Of hitting the red carpet glowing just nine weeks after Caleb’s birth, Washington admits it’s just part of her job.
“I think you just show up,” the Emmy-nominated actress says. “It’s not like, ‘I’ve somehow achieved some level of perfection, and I’m ready to go back out in the world.’ “
“Sometimes it’s about not letting my own concerns about what I may or may not look like get in the way of a bigger responsibility to the work that I do,” she explains.
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The Neutrogena brand ambassador and creative consultant shares that now that she’s a mom of two, she really looks to beauty products that will streamline her routine. Among her mommy must-haves: their Hydro Boost Water Gel with Sunscreen.
“Any product that does does double duty is a blessing,” Washington says, adding that she skips a full face of makeup altogether during her days off.
“My favorite [downtime activity] would be hanging out with my husband, my kids and my dog [Josie]!” she says.
For more about Kerry Washington’s life as a new mom of two, beauty routine and more, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.