Hilary Duff gets real about partygoers, lack of social distancing: 'I'm so embarrassed by our country right now'

Health has undoubtedly remained top of mind for everyone since the coronavirus pandemic swept the world into a frenzy months ago.

It seems like now, more than ever, it’s pertinent to focus on making choices — both physically and mentally — that prioritize our health as much as we can, as our choices in the realm of wellness are one of the few things that we can control.

And while that may seem difficult to do, the key to staying sane and staying well while raising a family comes down to one word for actress and singer Hilary Duff: balance.

“It’s important to instill the information in your kids so that they make the right choices right off the bat,” Duff tells AOL. “And that comes from what we do in our households to what we put in our bodies. And I’m not saying that everything we do here is healthy, but we definitely have a balance.”

Leading by example is something the star excels at, whether it’s through her role as a powerhouse Editor in TV Land’s beloved ‘Younger’ or through her activism in raising funds for COVID-19 relief through a nostalgic table read reunion with the cast of the hit show ‘Lizzie McGuire’ via Instagram.

Most recently, Duff has helped launch a new plant-powered kids beverage called Creative Roots.

“It’s clinically shown to better hydrate your kids,” Duff says of the new beverage. “It tastes good, it's a better-for-you option than a lot of things on the market ... it just ticked all the boxes for me."

The mother to Luca, 8, and Banks, 1, admits that making sure her kids are staying healthy during the day is a “constant worry”, but in the wake of coronavirus, those worries seem to magnify.

“I think the thing that’s scary is that there’s constant news coming out weekly about different side effects of this virus and who it’s affecting and why and what percentage of people deal with this long term effect or that,” she explains. “That’s what’s scary for me, is the unpredictability.”

The ever-changing landscape of information pertaining to the pandemic can make deciding what to share and what not to share with your children confusing, something that Duff has been successfully navigating with her son, Luca.

“My daughter’s too young to know what’s going on or to understand what we’re talking about,” Duff explains. “But it’s been a really great opportunity to share with Luca and to explain exactly what’s going on. And we don’t overdo it because I don’t want it at the forefront of his brain always or to cause him anxiety. But we put the news on and we have lots of conversations about what’s going on and he just instantly grabs a mask if we have to leave the house, he just goes to the basket and grabs a mask and that’s it. He understands why.”

And though Duff’s 8-year-old son follows her lead when it comes to mask-wearing guidelines, her frustration lies with those who don’t seem to be able to do the same.

Over the fourth of July weekend, Duff went viral for commentary on an Instagram post where she called out a “raging” house party she drove by, earning both praise and criticism for her blunt call outs of partygoers not wearing masks and ignoring social distancing protocols.

“It’s about having respect for other people that are at risk,” Duff tells AOL. “It’s crazy to me — I’m so embarrassed for our country right now. When you look at other countries who have really come together, caring about their whole community and just showing love and respect for each other, we can’t do that and we can’t stay focused long enough to get lower numbers. Everyone wants to go back to normal and it’s so crazy that one weekend you need to party your face off and be at a house party with 300 people with no one wearing masks. I know I’m in a different stage in my life but trust me I like to have a few drinks just as much as the next person and celebrate the 4th of July. It’s just a bummer that we’re not all more caring.”

The star has been spending her quarantine picking up new habits, like learning to play the guitar and catching up with her girlfriends in socially distanced dinner parties that she’s hosted.

Duff has also used this period to spend quality time with her two children but is honest about the burnout that comes with being a full-time stay-at-home parent seemingly suddenly.

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6 months married today ♥️

A post shared by Hilary Duff (@hilaryduff) on Jun 21, 2020 at 4:27pm PDT

As an actress who’s been in the industry since she was 12 years old, switching from long periods of shooting and working to being inside your home in a near-instant can be just as debilitating at times as it is gratifying.

“I have this guilt of overcompensating for the time I do have with them, that everything has to be filled and I have to be in playtime with them entertaining them super involved,” Duff tells AOL. “When I’m working, I can find that balance because being around [my kids] rejuvenates me and energizes me and I crave that time. But this is all day, every day, no break and it’s unsustainable … it’s been really nice to tell my kids no a little bit more and then to really enjoy the time that I do get with them.”

Duff stresses that “there’s no judgment on what people are doing right now”, as we’re all trying to navigate our way through the pandemic the best — and safest — way that we can.

That is, of course, unless you break one major guideline.

“No judgment unless you go outside without a mask on,” Duff says. “Then that’s all the judgment.”