Scrubs alum Sarah Chalke is teaming up with the American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza campaign to spread the word about influenza. Every year, over 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized from the flu and the actress, 36, is hoping to spread the word about the quick and easy vaccination.
Sarah opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her 2-year-old son Charlie who cracks her up with his “pretty awesome rhythm.” She also chats about her upcoming sitcom How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life airing in January, and her hopes for a big family.
CBS: Tell us about teaming up with the American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza campaign to spread the word about influenza.
SC: “I am a huge believer in the flu shot; my family and I have had it every year for the past couple of decades. I come from a long line of well-vaccinated Canadians. I was excited to team up with the American Lung Association on their campaign, because I think people don’t realize how serious the flu is. They don’t know that there are actually very serious complications and repercussions from the flu.
Every year, over 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized from the flu. Depending on the year and how severe the flu strains are, between 3,000 and 49,000 people die from the flu each year. So it is very important to get vaccinated, as it is the safest and most effective way to protect yourself from the flu. And it is easy– it takes two seconds.
If you want to find out more about the Faces of Influenza campaign, go to facesofinfluenza.org. It is a great website where you can find out more about the flu, and there is the Flu Vaccine Finder that shows you where to get the vaccine in your area. The website also has feature stories on families whose lives have been really affected by the flu.”
CBS: What’s your best advice to families who are afraid of the flu shot?
SC: “It is something that I personally feel very comfortable with; I’ve had the shot for 20 years, and because of it I’ve never gotten the flu. I had the flu a couple times before that as a kid, and it really knocks you off your feet.
The vaccine is a very safe and effective way to protect yourself. People who wonder if it is possible to get the flu after getting the shot must know that that scenario is just a coincidence. You can get your flu shot during flu season and maybe be exposed to someone with the flu immediately right after.
It is really quick–just a tiny pinch and it is over. Then you are protected for the rest of flu season.”
CBS: Tell us about your upcoming family comedy, How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life.
SC: “It is the writer’s true story about showing up on her parents’ doorstep with her little 5-year-old and saying, ‘I hope it is not a bad time for you, because it is for me.’ She lives with her parents and raises this awesome kid. She decided to make it into a TV show, and I play her, Brad Garrett plays my stepfather, and Elizabeth Perkins plays my mom. Jon Dore, fellow Canadian, plays my ex-husband. The series debuts on ABC at the end of January.”
CBS: How’s your son Charlie doing? What is he into? What does he do to make you laugh?
SC: “Charlie’s latest thing is drumming, and we just got him a drum kit. He would find chopsticks or a stick in a park, anything, and he would drum on any surface he could find. He definitely doesn’t take after me; he has pretty awesome rhythm and I don’t [laughs]. He has the best time with his drum kit. He is also into cars; he plays with his little car toys and takes them everywhere with him. Those are definitely his faves.
In regard to how he makes me laugh, it’s the craziest thing. You can’t believe that a 2-year-old can have a sense of humor, but he genuinely makes me laugh so hard all the time. It’s his facial expressions and his infectious laugh. Whenever he is laughing, it makes me laugh too.”
CBS: How has motherhood changed you? Do you feel like a totally different person now that you’re a mom?
SC: “Motherhood throws your life into sharp focus and into perspective pretty quickly. You certainly don’t sweat the small stuff anymore, probably because there is no time. It makes you realize pretty quickly what the important things are in your life.
I would also say that motherhood relaxed me a little. You’re uptight because once you have a kid there probably isn’t a second that you are not worried. There is always going to be 50% of your brain present and the other 50% is back wherever you kid is, worrying about him or her.
However, motherhood also relaxed me; I used to be a hypochondriac and always used hand sanitizer. Once you have a kid, there is nothing you can do. You’re trying to be the perfect parent sanitizing everywhere, but then you’re walking through the airport and your kid is dragging his tongue across the railing [laughs]. You think, why did I just use hand sanitizer and wipes all over everything? So, I definitely think there is a part of letting go that comes with parenthood, which I think is probably a good thing.
I do feel like a totally different person now that I am a mom. Your heart expands and you feel a connection with everyone who has gone through those initial couple of years. There is sort of a rite of passage with experiencing zero sleep, which has just turned the corner for us. It is very exciting, and I am starting to feel like a normal human being again.”
CBS: Have you and your fiancé Jamie set a wedding date? If so, will Charlie play a part in the wedding?
SC: “No, we still have to do that [laughs]. However, when it happens, Charlie definitely will play a part in the wedding. That will be the fun part about doing it in this order. Can you imagine anything cuter than that guy in a little tuxedo? [laughs]”
CBS: Any plans for baby No. 2? Do you want a girl this time around?
SC: “I don’t know when, but I definitely want a bunch of kids. Three is a nice number…I grew up with three and would like three kids.
I actually assumed that Charlie would be a girl. I don’t know why, I guess because I came from three girls. When I found out it was a boy, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh!’ Now it is the other way around, right? My experience is raising a little guy. For example, we spent our evening last night playing wrecking ball, because Charlie has a little crane with a wrecking ball at the bottom of it that knocks bricks over.
I would really love to have either a boy or a girl. As long as it is a healthy little baby, that’s all you wish for, right?”
CBS: What’s up next for you?
SC: “I am going to keep working with the American Lung Association on their Faces of Influenza campaign. Also, How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life airs in January, so we’re shooting that right now.”