A talk with Candace Cameron

For those who fondly remember the ’80s and ’90s, no doubt Candace Cameron Bure is a familiar face. For eight years, she played oldest daughter D.J. Tanner on “Full House,” also featuring well-known names like Bob Saget, John Stamos and the Olsen twins. But 35-year-old Candace and former NHL hockey player husband Valeri Bure now have a full house of their own with three kids, Natasha, 13, Lev, 11 and Maksim, 9. And after a bit of a hiatus, she’s also back on TV, both as Summer Van Horn on ABC Family’s “Make it or Break it” and in “The Heart of Christmas,” a holiday movie airing on GMC Network on Dec. 4. She took a few minutes to talk to Chicago Parent about being a mom, finding balance, and going back to work.

What was it like to “grow up” on TV? And what’s it like being back on TV so many years later?

I had such a blast when I was a kid, being on TV. It was something really fun for me, and there was no pressure from my parents. But I loved … being lucky enough to be on this iconic sitcom. … I went back to work because I love it so much. There’s that creative side of me that enjoys it. It’s not about working because I need a job and have to make money, it’s a wonderful thing I feel I get to do.

You’re a mom with 3 kids. How do you balance work and home life?

Balancing it is not easy, and no one’s going to do it perfectly well every single day. And all of us moms need to just get over that. It’s not possible! Balancing is really about prioritizing and re-evaluating those priorities every single day. It’s about adjusting. … The bottom line is in our family, we had to set the priorities, so when you get in the days that it’s crunch time and have to make a choice, for us that choice is always family first. The work takes a backseat because my kids and my husband are my first priority. And that’s what it is for us in our family.

What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?

Right now, at this exact moment in my life, I’ve got a 13-year-old daughter, and that specifically is one of the most difficult things I am experiencing in my life. … With each generation, things change. It is a very different time from when I was young and a teenager, and how to raise them with social networking and computers and school… It’s finding those creative ways to discipline and love and set boundaries, especially as your child gets older. That’s a hard thing. No teenager likes when you set those boundaries and limits for them, but we do it because we love them. It’s not a sign of love not to have those boundaries and rules set in place. It’s hard to stay consistent with rules you’ve set in place and at the same time show them that you love them.

You’ve been very open about your struggles with food and weight. What message do you want to pass on to your daughter about body image?

I want her to feel confident with herself and her body and be comfortable with it. I am as open and honest as I possibly can be with my daughter. There are no topics that are off-limits. But at the same time, I am not overly heavy about it. This is just life; it is what it is. We also stress a lot in our family the importance of exercise and eating in moderation.

With my children, they all have different body types. They all have to eat a little different from each other. … We’re honest in saying not everyone is treated the same, and we have to pay attention to our own bodies. Your beauty and your value does not come from your body and your weight; it comes from your heart.

You’re going to be in a movie this holiday season. Can you tell me about it?

It is just the sweetest story; it’s based on a true story. It’s very sad, but is very uplifting in that an entire community rallied around a family and a little boy who had a rare form of leukemia to give him one last Christmas before he passed away. … This movie really sheds light on St. Jude [Children’s Research Hospital] and how a community rallied around this family. It just brings back the importance of cherishing every moment in life. The true moments in life are that of your family. It’s a tearjerker, so bring the tissue box.

Why did you want to be part of this project?

Pretty much anything that will make me cry, I will say yes to. … When they sent me the script, I was crying within the first 10 pages of it and completely pulled into it. And I just went: Yes. This is a no brainer. Absolutely I’ll be a part of it. … It’s about raising awareness and doing something incredible for the Locke family. It wasn’t about making a big paycheck.

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