If Melanie Griffith had a fairy godmother, she couldn't seem more enchanted. She radiates contentment and when she talks about her family her face shines.

It wasn't always like that.Griffith is married to actor Don Johnson for the second time. The have a year-old daughter. She was married in between to actor Steven Bauer with whom she has a 5-year-old son. And Johnson has a son, 7, from an earlier marriage.

Most of her talk these days is about the family - hers, his and theirs - her family. She thinks acting helps her to be a better mother and mothering makes her a better actress.

"It's not just about me anymore. Life is about my kids, my family, my husband. And then it's about me. And I thing it makes it better," she says in her soft, little-girl voice. "If your're just self-occupied, then I don't think you have as much to give."

Griffiths current film, "Pacific Heights," took some giving. She plays half of a home-owing couple who find themselves at the mercy of a psycho-pathic tenant. As the resourceful Patty, Griffith must deal with the menance on both a physical and emotional level. As the danger intensifies, Patty takes matters into her own hands.

"I like a movie where the woman does something about the situation, where she doesn't just show up," Griffith says.

"Pacific Heights" is reminiscent of the old Hitchcock thrillers. Griffith's mother, Tippi Hedren, starred in two Hitchcock films, "Marnie" and "The Birds."

But Griffith didn't seek her counsel. "I didn't see a similarity (between the films)," Griffith says. "I really don't compare myself to my mom.

Hedren does have a cameo in "Pacific Heights." She plays a wealthy Beverly Hills matron stalked by the villain as his next mark.

The 33-year-old Griffith seems as puzzled as anyone by the upward spiral of her career. "I'm just fortunate that I keep getting jobs," she says, brushing her slender hand through blonde, curly hair. "I went for years without a job. Now I have two movies coming out back-to-back."

She just finished "Bonfire or the Vanities" and has started on "Shining Through," which is filming in London Berlin.

Though she has starred in a steady stream of features, including "Body Double," "Something Wild" and "The Milagro Beanfield War," she credits her role in "Working Girl" and beating a drug and drinking problem for jump-starting her career.

"If I ever chose to drink again or do drugs, I wouldn't have my career or my family."

Maintaining that balance between career and parenthood is always difficult. It's especially so when work takes both partners to the far reaches of the world.

Johnson will be starting "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man" in Tuscon and Los Angeles while Griffith is doing "Shining Through" in Europe.

"We don't want to do it a lot, but it's kinda the combination of the two movies that we're gonna do separately are so good that we couldn't not do it right now. So we're going to make a concentrated effort to stay very close throught the phone and then flying to meet each other somewhere in the world on weekends."

When they're not working, they spend time at their ranch in Aspen, Colo.

"Don gave me a bay quarter-horse named Sierra," Griffith says. "And we have mutts and ponies for the kids."

In a family caught up with ponies and diapers and Little League, it's easy to forget that the two of them are often the center of attention.

Griffith says they talk to the two older children about the adulation. "We tell them not everybody has this in their life. Not everybody gets their picture taken. Not everybody gets to be as fortunate as we are.

"And we try to stress with them that they're very fortunate children. They have a whole lot and a lot of opportunities are handed to them. They're still very young, but we're very conscious of keeping them level."