"I try to have a sense of humor about how... (much) you need to learn and tackle," she said, "and how to remain fun-loving and not, like, uptight because there's so much to care about and to learn about."
Though becoming a parent is "the greatest thing I've ever done in my life," Barrymore says it's brought a new level of anxiety.
"I've never been so worried in my life about making sure that something I care about more than I've ever cared in my life is safe and intact," she said.
That's why the 39-year-old - who is expecting her second daughter with husband Will Kopelman any day now - is joining other famous families at Safe Kids Day, an educational playdate that raises funds and awareness of preventable childhood injuries. Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Mark Wahlberg, Piers Morgan, Kelsey Grammer and Ciara are among the celebrities expected at the Los Angeles event Saturday. A second Safe Kids Day is set for April 12 in New York.
Preventable injury is the No. 1 killer of children in the United States, said Kate Carr, president and chief executive of Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit that aims to educate parents and caregivers about safe practices for infants and toddlers. The organization's website offers tips to avoid common crib, car seat and household dangers.
Barrymore has become a student of such information, which she also collects from other moms and her pediatrician.
"I think the best thing to do in life, or certainly what I've done in my life, not really having a traditional family (background), is you find the enlightened people," she said. "If you do your homework and really apply yourself... that's a way to absolve the fears and get proactive."
Arming herself with information allows her to be "free and fun-loving as a parent." The actress, photographer and founder of Flower Films and Flower Beauty has also shifted her work priorities around her family.
"It used to be work first and now it's life first," she said. "So even though I'm doing a lot, there's a lot of things that have slowed down. I don't make that many movies anymore. I'm not really producing right now. And I'm trying to do jobs where I can work from home or be at home by dinnertime if I do have to go out to meetings. You just sort of change your life."
Her latest products are also more family-friendly, like her upcoming film with Adam Sandler, "Blended," and her recent photo book, "Find It in Everything," which she dedicated to daughter Olive.
Barrymore is excited about Safe Kids Day, though an early arrival by her new baby could interrupt the festivities.
"I still have two weeks, but we'll see," she said. "It keeps it interesting!"