Sandra Bullock has a lot going for her: a new movie, "Bird Box," and two happy, healthy children.
But still, 2018 has been a real challenge, as she told Ellen DeGeneres on Thursday: her father and her two rescue dogs died within weeks of one another.
"Life, I realized, happens whether you schedule it or not," Bullock, 54, said. "That just blew my mind, this year.... While my dad was failing we get a call ... from the nanny ... that our dog Ruby, the two-legger, had a stroke."
There was nothing they could do for Ruby, but for a short time it seemed that John W. Bullock was rallying. So Bullock came home and heard, days later, that her dad was not doing well after all.
"Then the nanny comes into the room, and she's got a look on her face," she said. "She goes, 'Your other dog has a heart tumor and she's going to die in three days.'"
Bullock's dad passed away in September, at age 93.
The Oscar-winning actress recalled how she'd initially felt she could handle all of this. "I was like, I'm going to be fine.' ... And then a week later I'm in the bathtub crying and the kids are like, 'Is Mommy OK?' And everyone is like, 'Just leave Mommy in the bathtub; she's going to be fine.'"
Don't pay your kids to clean their rooms. "If you give them a buck to make their beds, then when you ask them to help you carry in the groceries, they'll say, 'How much? Why would I do that for free when you pay me to make my bed?'" says author and parenting expert Alyson Schafer. You can give your child an allowance as an introduction to money management and possibly for overall good behavior. But don't tie it dollar-for-dollar to everyday chores.
Sandra Bullock talks 'Bird Box' and family time with her kids
Perhaps that's one reason the family is going low-key for the Christmas holidays. As she told TODAY on Tuesday, she and her children Louis, 8, and Laila, 6, are changing things up this year.
"I said how about this year we give to children who don't have anything from the (California) fires, so they came up with that they only get three small things," she explained to DeGeneres. "They're really good that way... I think a lot of people are doing it this year. It feels different this year."
Which makes sense. Bullock is, of course, doing fine — though as she noted, 2018 has given her a fresh perspective.
"It's life," she said. "But when you lose your rides or die, it makes things different."