Mum-of-two and Younger actress, Hilary Duff has opened up about the realities of parenting during a pandemic and says it’s tough, especially for grown-ups.

Hilary, 32 has been social distancing with her family since March, at their home in Los Angeles. Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Hilary and her husband, Matthew Koma, have found themselves getting used to a new normal with their two kids, 20-month-old Banks and 8-year-old Luca, who Hilary shares with her ex Mike Comrie.

“I think it’s harder for the adults,” she told PopSugar. “I know my son misses his friends, and he’s definitely had a few social distance play dates. We’re trying to find balance over here, but my son at least understands what’s going on, the reason why we stay home, and it’s become normal.

“The days seem really never-endingly long, and I’m like, ‘How many times can we go for a walk, or swim, or set up an obstacle course in the backyard?’ It’s lucky to have all of those things, I know, but we obviously want to go back to normal just like everybody else.”

Hilary says this time at home has been a blessing in some areas as she has been able to banish the working mum guilt she had experienced and become better at saying ‘no’ to her kids.

“Whenever I’m with them I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll play that game! Oh yeah, I’ll go play an exhausting round of tag in the backyard after I’d worked for like 15 hours,'” says the former Lizzie McGuire star.

“‘Yes, I’ll do that thing you want to do. Yes, we can build that Lego.'”

Hilary says this time in isolation has given her the freedom to at times put her self-care first.

“It’s been liberating to tell them both ‘no,’ you know?” she tells PopSugar.

“I have no problem being like, ‘Actually I need to take 20 minutes, and I’m going to read something, or I’m going to return emails, and you both do this. And then we’ll make a plan to do this.'”

While she is social distancing and not yet back on the set of Younger, Hilary has been keeping busy. She was recently announced as the Chief Brand Officer for menstrual care brand, Veeda and is speaking out about period-care and education, saying it’s important her kids know what a period is and that it’s not gross.

“It’s so rare to find products that are natural and sustainable without sacrificing functionality,” said Hilary Duff.

“I learned about [Veeda] and, this is kind of like weird, but I realised that I was using the same products for like 20 years? Because I got busy becoming a mum and putting my kids first, I’m like ‘Oh right. I have a tampon sitting in my body for basically like seven days every month and what is on this and what is this made of?’” she says.

“And I was like, this is a conversation that needs to be opened up and educate people on, you know? We get taught how to deal with our periods but not how to pick the products that we should be putting in our bodies.”

In an effort to normalise period talk, Hilary has even shared her first period story and says what was otherwise “quite traumatising” was made easier by being able to chat openly about it with her mum and sister.

“My parents had taken a day trip to go antiquing and I was home alone and I was — I can’t even remember how old I was – like, maybe 12 or 13? And my friends had just been over swimming, some kids in the neighbourhood, and they have left. I went to the bathroom and saw blood and I knew what to do, ’cause I have an older sister,” she says.

“But I figured out how to use a tampon. I didn’t even have a pad. I went into my sister’s supplies and knew what to do because I had seen her do it and talked a little bit about it with my mum and my sister. But I wasn’t totally prepared and I was very shocked and very embarrassed.”

Later, Hilary told her mum that she felt “like everyone knew” that she’d started her period.

“It was so horrible and I just don’t want my kids to have that experience,” she says.

“Luca has already been talked to about it – like he knows what a period is and he knows what tampons look like and he knows it’s not gross. I think it’s a parent’s responsibility to talk to their girls about it and get them prepared. But, honestly also to talk to their boys about it. Like it’s a natural thing and it’s the reason why we all have life on this planet. It should be looked at like a gift and be respected, you know?”