For Drew Barrymore, daughters Frankie, 6, and Olive, 7½, are her "entire universe."
When she isn't preparing for her new daytime talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show, the actress and entrepreneur thrives on being a mom to her two kids with ex-husband Will Kopelman.
"I really appreciate how hard we work at life together," she tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. "Sometimes when Olive is working through a problem, I'll make a list of the things she needs to work on, and on the same side of the paper, I'll make a list of things I need to work on too."
Barrymore, 45, says a big part of her parenting is communication. "I talk about everything with them; I'm very honest," she adds.
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But she's also the first to be silly. "I have so much goofiness in me as a parent; oh my God, the most delicious thing I've ever tasted is embarrassing my child," she says.
"And then I'm like a weird, cool dad: 'You want to eat at the gas station and have a bag of Doritos, fine.' 'You want to be on TikTok for an hour, fine.' I get to wear a lot of different hats with my kids. So I feel really fulfilled."
The actress has also embraced her life as a single mom. "If I actually get a second to be alone, I'm pretty psyched about it — I'm not going to lie," she says. "And what's amazing is they're not gone. They're with their dad and his family, who I'm very close with. I still stay with them on weekends. We're a really strong unit."
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One of the most important things Barrymore says she has learned "is how much you must validate a positive reality for children about your circumstances," she adds.
"These are the realities, they were not the dreams and goals, this was very difficult. And the goodness that's there: how much I love their dad and his family, and how great it is that we all function and have honesty and all of these hopes and wishes and dreams. Although they don't fit exactly where we would have planned, those wishes and dreams are still there. Ripe for the taking, and life is good and you are safe."
The Drew Barrymore Show, distributed by CBS, premieres on Sept. 14.
For more from Drew Barrymore, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.
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