Busy Philipps’ Cougar Town character might have a bit of a wild-side, but in reality, the 31-year-old actress has one thing on her mind: baby girl Birdie, who turns 2 next month!
The former Dawson’s Creek star recently chatted with Mom magazine about her natural birth experience, preschool applications and how motherhood has shaped the person she is today.
On her pregnancy: I loved being pregnant—I really took to it. I was never sick and I gained 80 pounds, which I know is a lot. But I hiked and was active and did prenatal yoga and meditated every day – something that I haven’t done before or since.
On how motherhood has changed her: “I had this idea that I was going to become a mother and then all of the career stuff was going to fall away and I wasn’t going to care about my job. But the truth is, I still care a lot and the two things are wholly separate. Being a mom doesn’t inform my work as much as I thought it would. It feels weird for me to even say that out loud. I always say to Birdie that I’m so lucky because I have two jobs that I love. The first job is being her mother and that’s the most important job. And my second job is also cool, because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I hope she gets to have at least one job that she loves.”
On her birth experience: “I wanted to have a natural childbirth since I was in high school—I remember watching a 20/20 about hypno-birthing and saying to my mom, “That’s what I’m going to do with my daughter. I’m not going to have drugs.” I did ask for drugs, several times, but my husband and I had a deal: Anytime I asked for drugs, he said, “OK, let’s just wait five minutes, and if you still want them in five minutes then we’ll get them for you.” So of course five minutes later I was on another whole journey, and I ended up not having any. And she was a huge kid! It took me three hours to push her out. They brought a mirror in for me so I could see. Toward the end—no joke—I had full-on hallucinations in between pushing. It was crazy! And as she came out, the doctor got her head and her shoulders out—there’s nothing like that pain in the whole world: It’s white hot. Then my doctor asked, “Do you want to pull your daughter out?” So he took my hands and I pulled Birdie out and pulled her up to my chest.”
On breastfeeding and her daughter’s current eating habits: “I breastfed for almost 15 months. I felt strongly about making all of her baby food. And I try to limit her processed-food intake. We don’t eat at McDonald’s—that’s never going to happen for us. But do we go to Sharky’s? [organic Mexican fast food] For sure we do! In fact, one of Birdie’s first words was ‘Sharky’s.”
On how her relationship with writer/producer Mark Silverstein has changed since becoming parents: “Oh yeah, it’s changed. Are you kidding? I think that so many people aren’t honest about what actually happens when you have a child. Once you start opening up to girlfriends, then you realize everyone’s sort of going through the same thing. Marc and I really had to work on co-parenting and how we work together. Because we’re a really good team, just the two of us, and throwing the baby into the mix is tricky. We had to do some hard-core negotiations.”
On her biggest current mommy-worry: “Right now, finding a preschool. I’ve been told by multiple schools, “Forget it, you’re too late. We’ve had people on the waiting list since their children were 3 months old.” I’m not kidding.”
On her one piece of parenting wisdom: “As soon as she was born, I explained to her everything that we were doing. It’s not that we don’t have baby talk—we do have our nicknames, like Monkey Cheese. But I don’t alter my language for her. We also have a really strict policy that if there’s tickling and roughhousing and she says “stop,” we stop right away. She controls that, because it’s her body, not ours. Our little sweet muffin friend!”