Momming While Busy

Busy Philipps, host of Busy Tonight on E! and mother of two, has heart­felt (and hi­lar­i­ous) par­ent­ing ad­vice she’d like to share. Lis­ten, learn, and laugh your head off.

Parents (USA) - - Contents - By ERIN BRIED / pho­to­graphs by MILLER MOB­LEY

Busy Philipps de­liv­ers the hi­lar­i­ous par­ent­ing ad­vice we all need right now.

IF YOU’RE AMONG the 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple who fol­low Busy Philipps on In­sta­gram, then you al­ready love her. Not fol­low­ing? You’re miss­ing out. The 39-year-old for­mer star of Daw­son’s Creek, also known for her star­ring role as Michelle Wil­liams’s best friend in real life, has spent the past few years on so­cial me­dia let­ting us in on her not-al­ways-per­fect life as a strug­gling ac­tress, mother of two daugh­ters, Birdie, 10, and Cricket, 5, and wife of I Feel Pretty di­rec­tor and screen­writer Marc Sil­ver­stein. Her re­veal­ing new me­moir, This Will Only Hurt a Lit­tle, hits book­shelves on Oc­to­ber 16, and her new latenight talk show, Busy Tonight, launches on E! on Oc­to­ber 28. Be­tween it all, she found some time to talk to Par­ents about momming. As Philipps her­self would say, “Okay, guys, get this!”

Wing. It.

“I call my­self the all-over-the-place, doesn’thave-a-plan mom. Is that a par­ent­ing phi­los­o­phy? On a daily ba­sis, I’m just try­ing to hold it to­gether. Our fam­ily has no ab­so­lute rules about screen time or sugar or any­thing. I mean, Marc and I were raised that way, and we turned out fine.”

Re­ject mommy juice. “This may be con­tro­ver­sial, but I’m just go­ing to say it: I’m so fuck­ing over the cul­ture of mommy wine and glasses that say ‘Mommy Juice.’ I hate it so much! You go to a preschool birth­day party at 10 a.m., and it’s like, ‘Does any­one want a wine cooler?’ Um, no, girl­friend. I want to make sure my daugh­ter doesn’t fall off this play struc­ture. It’s such a weird thing! And if you know me at all, you know I love a good mar­garita. I just don’t think the two things need to be tied to­gether. I’m the best mom when I’m sober.”

Time-outs are garbage.

“We’re flail­ing in the dark when it comes to dis­ci­pline. Noth­ing works! Birdie is a child for whom no con­se­quence is great enough. I’ll say, ‘If you do that, I’ll take away TV for a week.’ You know what she coun­ters? ‘Fine.’ Or I’ll say, ‘Then no play­dates,’ and she’s like, ‘Okay.’ And then who have I backed into a cor­ner? Me! So, we don’t re­ally do pun­ish­ments. The only thing that works some­times is re­wards.”

Tap out, if nec­es­sary.

“We have a non-sleep­trained 10-year-old, which is emo­tion­ally ex­haust­ing. Birdie’s lit­tle brain just won’t turn off. We’ve tried ev­ery­thing: med­i­ta­tion, med­i­ta­tion apps, ther­apy. Your job as a par­ent is to put your own shit aside so you can deal with your child’s, but her re­fusal to go to sleep ev­ery night was very trig­ger­ing for me. I wanted to yell, ‘Snap out of it!’ So, Marc took over bed­time with Birdie. He’d say, ‘Busy, I got this. I’ll do it ev­ery night.’ And he did. I was al­ways sort of em­bar­rassed about her sleep. But once I started talk­ing about it, other par­ents would tell me, ‘Oh, our son wakes up with us ev­ery morn­ing.’ Once I let that shame go, it be­came eas­ier to man­age.”

Find a mom friend at the same stage as you.

“Lots of my friends are hav­ing ba­bies now, and so I’m like Old Lady Glam­our in the cor­ner, smok­ing a fig­u­ra­tive cig­a­rette, sig­nal­ing, ‘Come over here, kid. I’ll tell you all about preschools.’ I re­ally value my mom friends who have kids the same ages as mine. When I feel like I’m truly fail­ing for what­ever rea­son, one of them of­fers per­spec­tive. She’ll ad­mit, ‘I told my kid that she was a hor­ri­ble per­son!’ And I’m think­ing, ‘Oh, I feel bet­ter. I only flipped mine off.’”

Mar­riage is hard. Fight for it.

“Marc and I had a re­ally rough time af­ter Birdie was born. He was not un­der­stand­ing how to be a dad and, in fact, didn’t try. I was par­ent­ing by my­self. When I told him I wanted to have a sec­ond child, he said, ‘Fine, but it’s all on you.’ That was so heart­break­ing. Mar­riage is al­ways hard, but es­pe­cially when you have kids. Blythe Dan­ner once said that the se­cret to her long mar­riage to Bruce Pal­trow was that they never fell out of love with each other at the same time. Isn’t that the most beau­ti­ful way to put it? You’re go­ing to go through pe­ri­ods when you’re not into it, but there al­ways has to be one per­son will­ing to fight. I went to Marc sev­eral times and said, ‘I can­not do this any­more. Some­thing has to change, and it’s you.’ We’ve had a lot of se­ri­ous dis­cus­sions and coun­sel­ing, and he’s in­cred­i­bly par­tic­i­pa­tory now in a way I don’t think he could’ve imag­ined be­fore. We’re a work in progress but try­ing our best, and that’s the most you can do.”

Put on your own oxy­gen mask first.

“I live to make sure ev­ery­one is happy, but I also make sure I’m tak­ing care of my own men­tal health. I see a ther­a­pist. I work out al­most ev­ery day be­cause car­dio knocks out my anx­i­ety. It makes me happy when I spend time with friends and see bands, so I do that. Oc­ca­sion­ally, I watch TV, but even that can feel over­whelm­ing. I can’t keep up with all the new shows. That’s why I stick with

Friends and Se­in­feld re­runs. They soothe me.”

You’re al­lowed to say no.

“I’m an overex­ten­der. I agree to ev­ery­thing. But now, with my own TV show, I have to learn to say no. I was sign­ing up to be Cricket’s room mom at her el­e­men­tary school be­cause I knew it would make her happy, and then it oc­curred to me that that would be a truly in­sane thing to do. You can’t vol­un­teer for ev­ery­thing, and that’s okay.”

De­mand what you’re worth.

“I’ve been so ex­hausted by kow­tow­ing to men’s view of what women should be, how they should act, and where their place is. I’m just over it. Smash the pa­tri­archy. Se­ri­ously. I’m done. I won’t be a part of that sys­tem any­more. See, I sold

this late-night talk show to E!, and they wanted my show to be on one night a week. I told them, ‘All the dudes get four or five nights a week. Give me the same thing.’ They said, ‘We want you to build.’ And I said, ‘No! It’s trial by fire. Give it to me. Let me do it.’ And they did. Would one night have been eas­ier and more man­age­able for me? Yes, ab­so­lutely! But that’s not fuck­ing fair. I want more.”

Make your kids proud.

“At the end of the day, my girls are go­ing to be in ther­apy. I get it. They’re go­ing to have com­plaints. They’ll have notes. But my ul­ti­mate hope is that at some point, they’ll see me as a fierce, fear­less badass who just wanted to en­ter­tain peo­ple and change the world. That’s not go­ing to hap­pen any­time soon. This year, they’ll just be an­noyed that I’m work­ing so much, but maybe one day...”

Lis­ten to other moms (es­pe­cially Courteney Cox).

“I’ve al­ways strug­gled with anx­i­ety, but I had in­tense post­par­tum anx­i­ety af­ter first be­com­ing a mom. We were broke. We couldn’t af­ford a sit­ter. We didn’t have fam­ily avail­able to help. And I couldn’t get a job, be­cause I was told I was over­weight. Plus, Marc was use­less. I felt iso­lated. It was just me and Birdie, and I be­came par­a­lyzed by fear that some­thing would hap­pen to her. Even­tu­ally I got hired on Cougar Town, and Courteney Cox took me out for lunch. She could see I was hold­ing on to this thing I didn’t need to carry, and she en­cour­aged me to get help. And be­cause she was also my boss, it re­ally hit home. I started seek­ing help and went on Lexapro for a year and a half, which did a lot to calm me down.”

Voice your fears.

“I still had hor­ri­ble anx­i­ety when I was preg­nant with Cricket. I’d con­vinced my­self she was go­ing to be still­born and that I was car­ry­ing a dead baby. I wasn’t telling any­one about it, ei­ther—not my ther­a­pist, not Marc, not my friends. Fi­nally, I had a full-blown panic at­tack, at which point Marc got it out of me. And as soon as I said the words, I knew it wasn’t true. It was my Oprah ‘aha’ mo­ment. You can get trapped in th­ese cy­cles of anx­i­ety, and as soon as you give voice to your fears, you al­le­vi­ate their pain and pres­sure. Now, when I’m go­ing through things, I re­mem­ber to talk about them. I don’t want to be a pretty girl wear­ing an anx­i­ety neck­lace. I’d be re­miss if I didn’t talk about my anx­i­ety in a real way. You have to be open and hon­est.”

Ex­er­cise—and also eat na­chos.

“I’m able to in­tel­lec­tu­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that my body has done a truly in­cred­i­ble thing, but I don’t love the ex­tra skin. Peo­ple say, ‘Wear it like a badge!’ Um, yeah, that doesn’t speak to me. I’d rather have a flat stom­ach. But for my girls, I want to lead by ex­am­ple. Weigh­ing my­self wasn’t help­ful for my men­tal state, so I stopped do­ing that a cou­ple of years ago. Now, I just try to make healthy, bal­anced choices and don’t call any food ‘bad.’ My girls see me ex­er­cise, but they also see me eat na­chos. I think both are im­por­tant.”

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