December 10, 2009 06:00 PM

Bryan Bedder/Getty

The secret is out: there is no secret to juggling life as a working mother! In a new interview with Time Out Kids, Marcia Gay Harden reveals that her seemingly put-together appearance when it comes to raising her children — Eulala Grace, 11, and twins Hudson Harden and Julitta Dee, 5 ½ —  is far from what it seems.

In addition to her “great and responsible husband” Thaddaeus Scheel, Marcia isn’t afraid to ask for a hand when needed!

“I’m fortunate to have a team of people who help me,” she confesses. “I’ve got an assistant, an office manager, a nanny — she’s not full-time, but she’s there when I need her.”

Despite the added assistance — “I certainly don’t keep [all the] balls in the air all by myself” — Marcia has been known to have the occasional mommy moment!

“The balls are dropping all the time.”

Born in California, Marcia has found herself captivated by city life. Truly enjoying everything New York City has to offer, Marcia and her family have laid down their roots in Harlem — a fact the actress is quite proud of!

“Harlem is a very family-oriented neighborhood and it always has been,” she states. Once “ignored by the city,” later resulting in a deep suffering “from crack and other drugs,” Harlem is back in full force, the mother-of-three proclaims, and it’s time to take note!

“Everybody says ‘Good Morning’ in Harlem because it’s true! And that’s lovely. It’s fantastic for us to live there, to be in such a diverse neighborhood. We feel welcome up there.”

And while other fellow celebrity moms may disagree, Marcia feels there is no noticeable roadblock when it comes to raising children in the city. “The only thing difficult about the city is when you have a little baby in a stroller and you’re trying to take the subway and you have to bump down the stairs,” she concedes.

The problem, however, is one that comes with a quick solution! “But then you fall in love with the city because some New Yorker inevitably helps you.”

Click below to read Marcia’s thoughts on education and teaching responsibility.

When it comes to education, Marcia has opted for private schools for her kids. Her decision, she notes, has little to do with the great public versus private debate — “There are some really wonderful public schools in NYC and some programs that are absolutely on par with private ones,” she states — and more to do with her stance on education. “I wanted them to be in a school where the arts are really phenomenal,” Marcia explains.

The classroom approach, she believes, should involved less testing and more exploring! “It’s important that kids learn, but I really don’t like all the testing, testing, testing,” she says. “I like programs that are hands-on, where kids learn about the Brooklyn Bridge by going to the Brooklyn Bridge.”

For Eulala, her mother’s nontraditional views on education have even extended into her own life. With Marcia a non-believer in homework, calling the task “BS,” assignments are often placed second on the family’s list of priorities. “It’s very hypocritical to constantly say we want to keep our kids close, then send them home with so much homework that family time becomes nonexistent,” Marcia claims.

“I had to tell Eulala that while she might not finish her homework, she has to find an hour to spend with her brother and sister every night and have dinner with the family.”

That said, her daughter’s school is even teaching a lesson or two to Marcia when it comes to parenting. Comparing herself to Park Slope parents in that she “probably does get too involved” in her kids’ life at times, the actress admits she recently refrained from coming to the rescue in the hopes of instilling a sense of responsibility in Eulala.

“My daughter forgot her clarinet, so I was wondering, ‘Should I rush it over to her school or not?’ I didn’t,” she reveals. “Normally I do. But actually her school is encouraging us not to do things like that. How will she learn responsibility unless I let her be responsible?”

Although Marcia is loving her current stint on Broadway in God of Carnage, her late-night schedule is less than ideal in regards to her family life. “In truth, it’s been difficult because I’ve been in the play at night and my kids are in school during the day,” she admits. “So I’m free when they’re not.”

That said, what time she does enjoy with her family is time well spent by all! The family’s favorite pastime? Curling up with a good book. “Eulala and I are reading the Harry Potter series; we have one more book to go,” the actress shares. As for Hudson and Julitta, their reading skills are soaring in their own ways. “Hudson is now reading on his own; Julitta has a different kind of imagination and reads pictures,” Marcia adds.

In addition to bonding over books, the family is determined to share as much quality time together as possible. As a result, mornings are often spent together over breakfast. “It’s hard to have mommy time while I’m in God of Carnage, so we do things in the morning,” says Marcia.

“We also have breakfast together and we try to have dinner together.”

Source: Time Out Kids

— Anya

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