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Family Profile: Alison Sweeney

photo: Michael Becker c/o SOAPnet, LLC

Alison Sweeney was just a teen when she made her soap opera debut on "Days of Our Lives," back in the early '90s. More than a decade later, Sweeney has gone beyond her onscreen character of Sami Brady to take on the responsibility of real-life mom. We caught up with the woman behind America's favorite villain to get her input on the biggest role of her life.

Q: What is the most unexpected thing about being a new parent?

A: It completely caught me off guard how much it changes your perspective on life. You have a new routine and a new list of priorities, but I didn't know how it was going to affect all sorts of other decisions that I make. I was contemplating laser eye surgery and before [I had a baby] I probably would have done it. Now I'm thinking, "What if I go blind?" Even if I just wanted to go snowboarding or something dangerous, it's not just your life that you're risking. You're the mother of someone who needs you. I just didn't imagine that that was going to happen.

Q: Have you given up anything because of that?

A: Yeah, little things. You realize that you've got to change your idea of fun. You have to control it, so that you're not putting your life at risk in any way. And you want to be safe and healthy for your child.

Q: Have you ever had a moment where you felt unprepared as a parent?

A: I always feel unprepared as a parent. Like when I take [my son] Ben to the market and I forget to bring his blanket or his favorite toy of the moment. You feel so irresponsible, like, "What kind of parent are you?" All he wants is his blanket and his sippy cup and you forgot half. "What's wrong with you?" There are books, but there's no Ben encyclopedia, so you just have to try every day.

Q: What is one important value you hope to pass on to Ben?

A: Consideration. Manners, good behavior, and consideration for others is something we work on really hard with Ben. Ben is learning his manners and sharing and being kind to others. He seems to have that in his nature already, so obviously we want to encourage that. That's something that's important to me.

Q: Would you be happy if Ben followed in your footsteps?

A: No. I'm totally serious. I do not want him to be an actor. If he wants to do it as an adult, that's okay, but I don't want him to be a child actor. I mean, I love my life now, but I missed out on a lot as a kid. It's a choice I myself made, but I hope my son has a normal childhood and gets to do all sorts of fun, normal things. If he wants to be an actor as an adult, then God help him. [Laughs.]

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