In the parenting game, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard prefer to play man-to-man defense against daughters Lincoln, 4, and Delta, 2. “We switch kids a lot,” the star of A Bad Moms Christmas, 37, tells Us of their strategy. “I’ll just be like, ‘I don’t want to talk to this kid anymore.’” This “tag team” approach also keeps mom and dad fresh, “because [kids] will manipulate you around every corner.”
Bell revealed more to Us at the Alliance of Moms Raising Baby event November 18 in L.A.
Us: Why does swapping kids work?
KB: You don’t want to be reactive to your kids. You want to be thoughtful, and you want to be setting a good example. It’s not about perfection, but it is about being thoughtful. In order to not be reactive, we switch kids a lot.
Us: Is it also important for you guys to also take a timeout and have days alone?
KB: Yes. There’s no trick to doing it, other than having really good communication with your partner and being able to say, ‘I’m reaching capacity. So I need to go take a hike today,’ or ‘I need to go have lunch with a girlfriend.’
Us: What’s the hardest part about motherhood?
KB: The lack of sleep. I think that fuels everything. It fuels my lack of patience with my kids sometimes. If I had had a full night’s rest, I would be able to be more patient with them sometimes. It’s a tossup between that, and truly feeling confident that what you’re doing for your child is the best thing, because it is extremely counterintuitive. Giving them everything and keeping them happy is not the best thing for the development of their character. It’s hard to be the reason your child’s crying and sit there and watch it cry.
Us: A child is like an interrogator— sleep deprivation and breaking down your sense of self.
KB: One hundred percent. It’s a gigantic mind game. But, it reaps the most special rewards. There’s a reason everybody keeps doing it. I’m incredibly humbled by the fact that I was not the first person to get pregnant.
Us: Do you feel a connection to other moms?
KB: When I got pregnant, I was like, ‘I’m so nervous. Oh my God.’ Then I was like, ‘Oh yeah, everybody’s mom did it, so I’m going to be fine.’ Moms almost need no discussion. You just need to know that someone else is a mom, and with eye contact you go, ‘Oh yeah, I get it.’
Us: Is there somebody that you really look up to as a mom?
KB: Yeah. Ryan Hansen’s wife is like the closest thing to an angel that we have walking on this planet currently. She’s probably my go-to when I’m parenting and I think, ‘What would Amy do right now?’
Us: Between you and your husband Dax, who is the pushover parent?
KB: Me, for sure. I talk a big game. I have trouble staying one step ahead of my kids. He does not.