Over the years, we've come to love celebrity moms and the support they offer. Through our interview series, Four Questions About Motherhood, we've quickly learned the root of their wisdom — their mothers! Answering the question "what’s the best trick your mama taught you?" every response is filled with genuine advice that is endearing, sweet, and often comical. In honor of Mother's Day, we've rounded up these celebs' best-kept secrets from stars like Jessica Alba and Debra Messing. We're loving the honesty, and so will you!
Julianna Margulies knows a thing or two about guilt. As the star of the hit series The Good Wife, she plays the repressed, estranged wife of a disgraced politician who is now learning the way around working motherhood. At home, she plays the real-life role of a working mom who rushes home just in time to read her son, Kieran, 5, a book before bed. As she says, "You feel stretched, and you always feel like you can't waste a minute." That's why the reading is so important to her.
I sat down with the Golden Globe nominee and red-carpet stunner at the recent LEGO DUPLO Read! Build! Play! event in NYC, where Julianna led a story time and play session for local kids to stress the importance of early child literacy. We discussed how she's woven reading into her nightly routine with Kieran since before he was born, the stress of being a working mother, and that moment when she really felt like a mother.
PopSugar: Alicia Florrick is obviously the ultimate working mother, and you are a working mom yourself. Do you bring any of your own stories or issues or working-mom issues into the story line?
Julianna Margulies: The kids on the show are much older than mine. Alicia had them very young and her kids are on their way out of the house. I mean I'm just getting my kid into kindergarten. But what I would say is similar is that you feel stretched, and you always feel like you can't waste a minute. There's no room for error, and so when bumps in the road happen, you have to just take a breath and say OK, this is where it's at right now, and I can't do anything about it. If my kid is up all night because he's sick, I still have to show up at work the next day, and that's no one's fault. I just am a wreck when I get to work, and that's something I have to deal with all the time. That's OK. You wouldn't want either the child or the job to go away so you just keep marching forward. And every now and then, you fall asleep standing up or have a horrific moment, hopefully alone in your bathroom, and sob your eyes out and say "I can't do it all!"
PS: I had one of those last night, so I understand.
JM: Yeah, every working mother feels the pain of not putting enough into your work and not putting enough into your kid. That's how it is.
PS: Do you and Kieran have any bedtime reading rituals?
JM: Since he was in utero, I've been reading and my husband has been reading to that little boy. And, you know, if I'm lucky enough, this past week, even though we've been working long hours, for some reason, I've gotten home every night at 7:45, and he's usually asleep by 8. But our ritual no matter what, and no matter how tired he is, even last night, I was reading to him, and he fell asleep on my shoulder, and I just kept reading because I always feel like those words somehow will get in there. I feel like if you can spend an hour a day with your kid, if you can't have all day with your kid, but you could have one hour of quality time, it should be spent reading and interacting with them verbally because it gives them such confidence. And I've noticed at 5 — he just turned 5 and we're not pushing reading on him — but he's reading because that's all we've ever been doing.
Best known for hits like "You Were Meant For Me" and "Foolish Games," singer-songwriter Jewel has put her music career on the back burner while she focuses on her 15-month-old son, Kase. While pregnant, Jewel put her creative talents to work, penning a sweet children's book, That's What I'd Do, dedicated to her baby boy. We caught up with the talented mama and talked about what motherhood means to her, parenting must haves, and more.
LilSugar: Tell me about your little boy, Kase.
Jewel: He's almost 16 months and he's such a happy baby. I scored! I prayed for a happy baby and I got one. He's really mellow and tenacious.
LS: Sounds like you're doing something right! Do you have any advice for new moms and moms-to-be?
J: I read that moms who suffer the most are the perfectionists, and that's totally me — I'm so type A. But having a baby isn't something you control. It's all about redefining what success means to you. Motherhood isn't about checking things off of a list. It's about doing your best.
LS: What's your favorite time of day with Kase?
J: The morning for sure. He's just so sweet and snuggly. We read books; we sing; he brushes his teeth.
LS: What's he up to these days?
J: So much! He's walking, talking . . . He knows a lot of the alphabet. We've taught him sign language, and he really enjoys that. He likes to play soccer; he'll kick his ball around.
Rosie Pope is quickly positioning herself as the maternity guru for an entire generation of moms-to-be. With a successful Bravo show — Rosie is waiting to hear if the show will be back for a third season — an eponymous maternity clothing store packed with beautifully designed pieces, and a preparation for pregnancy class held in the store, Rosie's popping up in many pregnant women's worlds. Her latest effort is Mommy IQ: The Complete Guide to Pregnancy, a fun but informative resource book about pregnancy packed with personal anecdotes, doctors' notes, and input about what men are thinking in each part of the story.
Following the book's launch at Destination Maternity, I spoke with Rosie about hot-button pregnancy issues, the myth of doing it all, and some advice for couples dealing with infertility.
LilSugar: Why did you decide to write the book now?
Rosie Pope: I've had access to such amazing experts over the years and I've learned so much myself that I wanted to put it all in one place so people could buy just one book that had all of the science and all of the candid mom advice. I have these amazing clients and people, but I think the information should be available for everybody. The book is really my first opportunity to reach all of the people I always wanted to reach that we don't necessarily reach with our clothes.
LS: What's the first question you get from the new moms who come to the shop?
RP: How do you juggle everything? [My answer] varies from day to day! [I try to] remember this is what I asked for. I wanted a successful business and I wanted a big family. I'm really living what I dreamed.
Also know that you can't do it all in one day. There's no way I can dedicate myself to my work, and my kids, and my husband in one day. I know if I look over a long period of time — like a week — that I've spent quality time with my kids, and with him and my work, and I can fit it all in. A lot less pressure if you don't try to do it all in one day.
LS: You've experienced both infertility treatments and a natural pregnancy. What's the best piece of advice you can give parents having trouble conceiving?
RP: Have faith that you will get your family here somehow. Even if it's not the way that you had imagined.
LS: Let's go through some hot-button pregnancy issues. Give me your take on the following.
LS: Drinking while pregnant?
RP: No, No.
LS: Deli meat?
RP: Yes, if the doctor says it's OK.
LS: Who's in the delivery room?
RP: As few people as possible!
She's played a doctor on TV, but that's not the reason former Scrubs regular Sarah Chalke wants you to get a flu shot. The star of the upcoming How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) is also a mother to 2-year-old son Charlie and is adamant about keeping him and other children healthy this Winter. It may sound early to be talking about the flu, but flu season typically starts in October, and it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be effective. I spoke with Sarah about her involvement in the Faces of Influenza campaign and how she handles her son's vaccinations, and asked her to answer our Four Lil Questions.
LilSugar: Why did you choose to get involved in the Faces of Influenza campaign?
Sarah Chalke: I am a huge believer in the flu vaccine. I have had it every year and have never had the flu. My whole family gets it. I come from a long line of vaccinated Canadians, and so Charlie got a flu shot for the first time when he was 6 months old. It was always important to me and is even more important to me now, because the most important thing to me is keeping that lil nugget healthy and keeping myself healthy. I work with like 120 people and expose myself to so much, so it always has been important to me, and now even more so.
LilSugar: What is one of the biggest misconceptions about the flu?
SC: People don't always recognize how serious it can be, that there can be some serious complications from the flu and even death. People believe they'll be down for a few days and then be fine, and that's just not the case.
LilSugar: If you could tell families just one thing they needed to know about the flu shot, what would it be?
SC: If you're vaccinating your kid for the first time and they're between the ages of 6 months old and 8 years old, you need to give them two doses.
LilSugar: No one enjoys getting shots — parents or kids. How do you handle it when your son gets shots?
SC: Charlie actually came with me to get mine. It's not initially what I intended, but it ended up timing out that way and it ended up being great, because he saw that I got one too. [I said,] "You know what, buddy, I'm making my body stronger and it's just going to take two seconds, and then I'm going to be all done and my body's going to be so strong." When we went to go get his, I told him the same thing, and he said, "To make my body stronger!" He's a little guy and cried for two seconds and that's it. It's so quick and it's so easy and we bring in a little game or his favorite movie (Cars). Distraction and a quick treat and you're done!
Fans of Rebecca Taylor's gorgeous line of feminine, fashion-forward pieces for women will adore the designer's new capsule collection for little girls. Ranging in price from $95 to $125, the styles exemplify Rebecca's signature look and are absolutely adorable in their scaled-down sizes. Check out what Rebecca shared with us about her inspiration to design for children, and then click through and tell us: which piece is your favorite?
LilSugar: What made you decide to do a kids' collection?
Rebecca Taylor: It was pretty organic. . . . I have three children, so I shop for them. I also thought that our prints would translate easily into pieces for little girls.
LS: What's the vision or inspiration for the look of the collection?
RT: Easy, soft silhouettes with the laid-back vibe of Summer days.
LS: Any styling tips for moms of little girls?
RT: Just keep it simple. . . . A cute pattern on a dress or a top is enough. Little girls are adorable already and don't need too many pieces or accessories!
LS: As a mom, what do you look for in kids' clothes from other designers, and what were some of your goals in designing your own collection?
RT: I like my children to be dressed like children. . . . I don't pick out anything that's too edgy or fashion-forward. So that was definitely a goal of mine in designing. I think our dresses have great silhouettes that don't look too adult.
LS: You know you're a mother when ______.
RT: Making weekday plans past 9 p.m. seems way too late!
LS: Why didn't anybody tell me ______ about motherhood?
RT: How much planning and scheduling is involved in a typical day when you're a working mom.
LS: What's the best trick your mama taught you?
RT: Don't take any nonsense!
LS: Helicopter mom or free-range kids?
RT: Somewhere in the middle.
Just call her supermama. As if having a baby and launching The Honest Company weren't enough to do in one year, Jessica Alba recently announced plans to write her first book, too. The actress and mother of two — Honor, 3, and Haven, 7 months — hopes to share some of the tips and tricks she's learned about motherhood, as well as her methods for creating an eco-friendly and toxin-free environment in her home, with other modern moms who are busy trying to juggle it all.
I spoke with Jessica about her version of healthy living, why we always spot her wearing scarves, and the best trick her own mama taught her about motherhood.
On her forthcoming book about honest living:
"It's what I've learned along the way through trial and error — things that are actually attainable and applicable to me and to my life. I'm not growing organic vegetables at my house and picking them and feeding [them to] my family. I'm a working mom, so for me, it was easier to use disposable diapers. I do the best I can. I make my kids organic food, but I'm not the extreme. I think a lot of people probably fall more in the category where I fall — we want the best for our families, but sometimes we feel like it's too hard and it's too unattainable to go all the way and grow a garden and do that. So where's the happy medium? The book's going to be a very simple handbook on little things you can do that add up and make a big difference."
On sharing new mom tips:
"From room decor to making meals for the week to simple beauty recipes that my grandmother passed down to me made from things that are in your pantry . . . through trial and error, I've figured a few things out, and I'm sure other people have to. So [I'm] putting them together in a very simple, easy-to-read, colorful book. I also want it to be if you only have 10 minutes, you can walk away with something. It's like, what do you pack in your diaper bag that's easy — do you even have a diaper bag? Maybe you just carry a large purse. Maybe you use your purse instead of buying 50 different diaper bags knowing that your purse will probably go better with your outfits. So how do you pick a diaper bag that's neutral and will go with everything? And what do you really need in that diaper bag? In the beginning, I was stuffing my child's entire nursery into the diaper bag and breaking my neck and was like, 'Oh, wait, I forgot my wallet. What's going on?'"
On wearing scarves:
"I wear scarves, mostly because it's an accessory that can dress up an outfit, so you're not just wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers. But it's also because if my baby has an accident — and I'm holding the baby — I can cover that accident up! So I'm not walking around with a big puke stain or poo stain on my shirt! Knowing that I don't have time to go home and change, and really, I don't have the space, time, or capacity to pick out five different changes of outfits for my car — it's enough to remember my baby's change of clothes. I have funny little stories about how I learned that lesson [in the book]."
Window shopping has never been so charitable! If you happen to be doing some holiday shopping in New York City or San Francisco, take a look at the store windows you pass — some may be filled with a high-tech way for mama to do some charitable giving without ever opening her wallet. Ebay just unveiled Give-a-Toy Store interactive storefronts that allow shoppers to use their smartphones to scan QR-coded price tags to make an immediate donation to Toys For Tots.
LilSugar: With the holiday season upon us, how did you come to work with eBay on this project?
Debra Messing: The holiday season is a time when people are more inclined to give, and I just thought that eBay's initiative was so brilliant. They have this window with virtual gift tags with toys, and there are different donation amounts — there's $5, $10, $20 — you just scan your [smartphone] over the window, you're on the sidewalk, and instantly you're donating to Toys For Tots and 100 percent of the money goes to Toys For Tots. Being able to make things really quick and easy and meaningful is important.
LS: What family holiday traditions are you most looking forward to this year?
DM: We just moved back to New York, but have always had family here. We love to go skating at Wolman rink, and go see plays — musicals specifically. Waiting for the snow to come. Looking forward to putting on the snowsuit and stomping through Central Park.
LS: So much of the holiday focus is on kids. What's on your wish list this year?
DM: For me, there is no better present than a massage. Flowers are beautiful, but they die. Champagne is fun, but it's gone — very quickly. As a mom we're on 24/7, and if we're working moms, which most of us are, we're exhausted, and sleep deprived, and we don't take care of ourselves. We feel guilty if we take too much time for ourselves. It feels like an extravagance, but it really is a necessity for moms to take an hour to shut down, rejuvenate, and have someone to rub out the kinks from carrying the baby on your hip too much or whatever you're doing. My son's now at a place where he likes to jump on my body to wake me up at 6 in the morning, so I've literally got bruises all over my body.
Every new mama has that moment when she realizes that she is, in fact, a mom. When you're a fashionista like Rachel Zoe, that moment is sure to involve a fashion awakening, like catching yourself wearing a pair of flats. We caught up with the new mom at the launch of Room to Bloom, a new nursery decor collaboration between Fisher Price and Sherwin Williams. She talked to us about baby Skyler's first Fashion Week experience, a very fashionable upcoming playdate, and how motherhood has improved her work habits. Check it out!
Fashion's Night Out is about more than shopping and good deals — it's a night filled with celebs and designers everywhere you turn. We caught up with mom of two and champion athlete Laila Ali at Destination Maternity, where she was hosting the store's Fashion's Night Out celebration. She shared her personal style and health tips, played pregnancy trivia games, and helped give away swag — all while dazzling us with her beauty and her incredible sense of humor.
Laila also posed for pictures on the red carpet and next to her one-of-a-kind celebrity embellished maternity jeans for "Celebrities 4 Maternity Denim" — an online auction to benefit the March of Dimes.
LilSugar: You look fantastic and your daughter Sydney just turned 5 months old. What have you been doing to get back in shape?
Laila Ali: I'm sucking it in and putting on my Spanx! (laughs) I've just been trying to eat right and work out. I also did a Facebook challenge on my Facebook page — the Get Fit Challenge — and I said, "Who wants to lose weight with me?" So I was like the poster girl for my challenge and so it made me do it. I have 10 more pounds to go!
LS: Tell us about your new television show, Everyday Health.
LA: It's an inspirational show, airing every Saturday on ABC affiliate stations. It's great! We're profiling everyday Americans that are doing extraordinary things, are overcoming or facing an illness, and they're paying it forward by inspiring and educating others to do the same. It's a feel-good show from the same executive producer that brought The Biggest Loser. I'm really proud and I know it's going to do well.
LS: You're a retired triple Super Middleweight Champion, but your dad wasn't too thrilled with your decision to become a boxer. What would you say to your daughter Sydney if she ever decided to follow in your footsteps?
LA: Hopefully that won't happen to me. (laughs) I don't want that!
LS: You know you're a mother when _____.
LA: I knew I was "mom material" because I was always mothering my friends. They were like "We're glad you're having a baby so now you can stop mothering us." They call me "mama bear." I was always taking care of everybody.
LS: I wish someone had told me ____ about motherhood.
LA: That I was never going to get to sleep again!
LS: The best trick my mama taught me is _______.
LA: She didn't teach me enough. (laughs) I don't know any tricks!
LS: Helicopter mom or free-range kids?
LA: Hoovering? Yes. I hate to say it but yes, probably too much. I'm going to be the mom that the girlfriends hate. (laughs)