Hilary Duff recently had a debate with her son, Luca. “He was like, ‘Boys are stronger than girls,'” Duff tells Glamour. “And I was like, ‘You’re wrong.’ And he was like, ‘Well their muscles are bigger.’ And I was like, ‘Men can’t do what women can do. We’re stronger. Eternally stronger. And it’s true.'”
Duff knows a thing or two about strength. On October 25, she gave birth to her second child (a baby girl named Banks Violet Bair). By March she was back on set, filming the sixth season of her hit show, Younger. While she considers the cast to be like family, spending 16 hours a day playing powerhouse publishing exec Kelsey Peters—and running around in Peters’ signature power looks and sky-high heels—would be grueling for anyone, let alone someone five months postpartum. But with the season premiering on TV Land on Wednesday evening, Duff got it done.
“Coming back from work so soon after having a baby is so hard, and I think women are the strongest working people out there,” Duff says. There are also a lot of logistics that go into balancing a full work schedule with caring for a newborn—and it was no different on the set of Younger. “I’m still nursing Banks. I’m getting to the tail end of like, ‘I can’t do this anymore, something’s gotta give!’ Pumping at work, bringing her to a nursing session, and juggling our 16-hour days. It’s fucking crazy.”
This unabashed honesty about motherhood—from opening up about having a “hard as hell” pregnancy, or getting real about breastfeeding—has become a signature of Duff’s, particularly on social media. In recent months Duff’s Instagram has gone viral for a recreation of Rachel McAdams’ breast-pumping photo shoot (in Duff’s version she accessorized with a shower cap that was nothing short of iconic), and has been flooded with photos of baby Banks. But for every woman who feels seen by Duff’s essay-length captions on pumping, or less alone when scrolling past a photo of Duff cradling her sick infant, there are those who object to her candor. You know the type: Internet mom-shamers who prefer perfect, filtered baby pictures to those that actually depict the realities of life with a newborn—and feel entitled to sharing their opinions with the world.
“I just saw a comment on my Instagram that was like, ‘Were you feeding your child solids while she was laying down?'” Duff says. “I’m like you know what, I’m going to feed my daughter how I want to feed my daughter. And if that’s laying down, or hanging upside down because it works for her, we’re gonna do it.” And this isn’t the first time Duff has received this type of feedback. In the past she was criticized for posting a photo of herself kissing her son on the lips, who was only 3 years old at the time. And while the rampant mommy-shaming stars like Duff are subjected to on social media can be irritating, Duff takes the high road, and leaves the clapping back to her friends. One of whom will, “go in so hard, he’s so sarcastic, I love it,” she says.
Because as Duff taught her son, women are eternally strong, and she’s far from an exception. Whether it’s balancing her shoot schedule with nursing, silencing the haters, or showcasing the darker underbelly of parenting on the ‘gram, Duff’s got this whole motherhood thing down. No matter what they might say in her comments.