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Cobie Smulders on Sacrificing Ambition to Be With Her Daughters

Cobie Smulders — actor, mom and now Dreamvention ambassador — is literally doing it all.

In an exclusive new interview with SheKnows, Smulders revealed she and husband, SNL alum Taran Killam, manage their busy schedules and raise their daughters at the same time, but their lives aren’t without challenges.

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“We have an amazing support system,” Smulders said of balancing her family with her career. “We have a wonderful nanny when both of us are out of town. We have family that helps us out when we need it and just supports our girls emotionally as well. It’s really about putting the girls first and having to be a bit choosy about work now and doing jobs that you only really want to do so you’re not leaving to feed some sort of ambition in yourself, but you take jobs because you really, really love it and you really have to do it. But always, in every decision I make, my daughters come first, whether that’s a work decision or a life decision, and that’s the same with my husband too. Their also our top priority.”

She credits her daughters for her recent decision to partner with Frito-Lay Variety Packs for the Dreamvention competition, which awards $250,000 to a family with the best idea to solve an everyday problem.

She explained, “I feel that there is something so wonderfully innocent about the way that kids’ brains work. They’re able to come up with ideas that are out of the box and are surprising and yet somewhat effective. And so I’m always amazed with what they come up with and the way they see the world.”

Smulders herself knows what it is to dream as a child. She told us, “As a kid, I always wanted to be successful, I think, but I don’t think I knew what that was. I think because I had a very professional father — my dad was a dentist and had his own practice — I knew my dad was successful, so I was very determined to be a success. I didn’t know what it was. I just had a drive. And it took a while for me to figure out I wanted to do acting, because to me it was just kind of a playtime and not a real job. And it still feels like that. It’s a lot of fun, so I’m very lucky to do it for a living. But when I really decided that it was a dream to be, probably, onstage, to be in theater. There was that. And then I also dreamed I wanted to be a mermaid. So I was able to make one of those things happen and one of those, not so much.”

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She added her unfulfilled wish to be a mermaid is one of the reasons she’s become such an avid scuba diver.

“I would lay in my bathtub and pray that my legs would turn into a tail,” Smulders said. “I always kind of lived in a little bit of a fantasy world. I was in my mind a lot, and I just know that when I became an actor, it was very helpful to me because I was already inventing and creating things in my brain.”

More: Cobie Smulders Secretly Struggled With a Serious Illness During HIMYM

As for what dreams she has for her daughters, Smulders keeps it beautifully simple, “The No. 1 is happiness. That is key. What I know for sure is that life is short and you shouldn’t spend too much time on something that makes you unhappy. So I hope my daughters, as they get older, do what inspires them, something they’re passionate about.”

You can find out more about Frito-Lay Variety Packs’ Dreamvention contest over on their website.

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