‘I Was Missing Recitals And Football Practice All The Time’: Arnold Schwarzenegger Gets Real About His Family Struggles As Governor And How His Kids’ Honesty Eventually Made Things ‘Better’

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career has gone through multiple career phases since breaking through as Mr. Olympia in the 1970s. Throughout the years, Schwarzenegger has produced great films and eventually worked his way to the role of California’s governor (or “Governator”). While everything in the Governor’s Mansion seemed fine from the outside, the Golden State’s first family went through a tough time apparently. The Predator star recently got real about his family struggles, which included him “missing recitals and football practice.” He also explained how his kids’ honesty eventually made things better.

The iconic star of some of cinema’s best action movies was California’s governor from 2003 to 2011. Former news anchor Maria Shriver was his First Lady and, together, they had four children. Apparently, transitioning from the Hollywood lifestyle to the governorship wasn’t just a shock for the actor, but that was the case for his children as well. They essentially went from barely being in the spotlight to having California citizens watching their family’s every move. Despite his children being adults now, the Terminator star has some regrets about that period. These sentiments came to his mind after a fan asked him about balancing home, work, fitness and other responsibilities. The 76-year-old actor was candid as he replied in his newsletter:

I’ll be honest. Sometimes there isn’t balance. When I was governor, my kids hated it. I was missing recitals and football practice all the time. I didn’t have an option. If there was a fire, I had to be there. If there were budget negotiations, I had to be there. But after they sat me down and went around the table and shared their feelings, I found a way to make it a little better.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger from documentary "Arnold"

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Highs and Lows Of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Post-Politics Acting Career

Compared to some parents, Arnold Schwarzenegger was rather progressive for his time. He allowed his children to voice their displeasure without shooting them down, and it seems he wanted to keep the same lifestyle they had before his governorship. Of course, all the while, he still had to govern California and continue daily operations for the state. With that, the actor tried carving out a good sense of work-life balance.  

Of course, as you would expect from him, the actor and politician wasn’t all talk, as he made immediate changes to prioritize his family along with his term as governor. The star of FUBAR — which can be streamed with a Netflix subscription — broke down how he appeased his loved ones through his work schedule. He said:  

I committed that instead of flying up to Sacramento on Monday and coming home on Thursday, I would fly up every morning and back every night unless there was a major crisis. It cost me a fortune (I wasn’t going to charge taxpayers for my plane), but it was worth it. Things were much better when I made the switch.

Going to those recitals and practices was worth it to the True Lies actor despite the money it cost him. He managed to be a present father for his young children while keeping his commitment to the State of California. I’d say he was essentially pioneering the four-day work week before it was a movement. While reaching a place of comfortability in his domestic life sounds like it was challenging, it’s great that the change worked, and his relationship with his children is still strong today.

Since concluding his tenure as California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has experienced multiple life changes. He returned to his acting career, ended his marriage to Maria Shriver, and fostered a relationship with his son Joseph Baena, who was born out of an extramarital affair the star had. All the while, the 76-year-old also remains a committed philanthropist, who even donated over $1 million during the actors strike. You have to appreciate his commitment to his family and his fellow man as well as the fact that he’s found such perspective at this point in his life. 


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