06/16/2009 at 11:00 AM EDT
Michelle Pfeiffer has no regrets about putting her film career on hold to be a full-time mom – except when it comes to getting her kids to school each morning.
"I hate to carpool," Pfeiffer told reporters at a press day event for her new film Chéri in New York City Monday. "It's the part about getting up early."
Despite the early wakeup call, Pfeiffer, 51, relishes her time at home being a mom to Claudia, 16, and John, 14. "My family comes first," said the three-time Oscar nominee, who is married to TV producer David E. Kelley and tries only to schedule filming movies during the kids' summer break in order to spend as much time together as possible.
"I have to do some face time with the family. The work that I do is all encompassing and it's not like an 8-to-5 job. Much of the time you leave before the kids are up and when you get home they're in bed and so I feel like I can't be away all the time. But now there's Skype. It's great and I love that!"
What kind of mom is the Hairspray and Batman Returns star? Depends on who you ask: "My kids would probably say that I'm too strict," she says. "I try not to be, but I'm probably more on the conservative end of that."
But the actress confesses that she does share the same interests as her kids – disliking school and loving vacations. "I hate school as much as they do and I love summer vacation," says Pfeiffer, who plans to keep them close during the summer break. "I'm not that eager to send them off to camp for the summer. I'm the type of mom that likes having them around."