Kristen Bell covers the May issue of Good Housekeeping, on newsstands April 21.
In the May issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, Kristen Bell, the spunky star of TV’s House of Lies and the voice of Frozen’s Anna, opens up about why having kids is ‘unmissable’, her hard line on the vaccination debate, how she and hubby Dax are “The Paula Abdul video ‘Opposites Attract’ personified,” and their secret to a happy marriage: couples’ counseling. “I don’t mind advertising a healthy marriage,” Kristen says. “I’m trying, just like everyone else.”
She also dishes about how becoming a mother ‘right-sized’ her life, if there are plans for Baby #3 and why she’s not worried about those last 17 pregnancy pounds.
The Frozen Star Opens Up About Why Having Kids is ‘Unmissable’, Being Pro-Vaccination, and the Relationship Trick She & Hubby Dax Swear By: Counseling.
“I wasn’t positive I wanted kids. But I can now confirm having them is absolutely unmissable. Motherhood right-sized everything for me. I’m happier, and I was pretty happy before.”
Kristen also dishes about how becoming a mother ‘right-sized’ her life, if there are plans for Baby #3 and why she’s not worried about those last 17 pregnancy pounds.
“I thought I would be antivaccination before I had kids…I’m very crunchy, and happily so. But there is a lot of scientific, proven information out there that shows why vaccinations are necessary. Kids with autoimmune diseases, kids who are receiving cancer treatments — they can’t be vaccinated because their immune systems [can’t handle it]. If your kid has leukemia, he can’t get vaccinations; if he then goes to school with my kid and I chose not to give my kid vaccinations, I’m putting your kid at risk. To me, that’s unacceptable. There are the weak among us whom we have to protect. As moms, our responsibility is not just to our kids — it’s to all the other kids, too. People often misplace fear. Your child is 100 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to have a severe reaction to a vaccine. That’s a fact.”
Why having kids is ‘unmissable’:
“I wasn’t positive I wanted kids. But I can now confirm having them is absolutely unmissable. Before we had the girls, I asked a few people in my life who are annoyingly blunt and honest on every level if we should, knowing that if it wasn’t worth it, they’d have the balls to say, “Listen, don’t. Live your life.” But across the board, everyone said it was unmissable. When Lincoln came out, at first I was like, “Eh, what do I do with it? I can take it home?” But when I started breastfeeding, the oxytocin or my hormones or hundreds of thousands of years of evolution kicked in. I didn’t want to let her go. Having kids feels like that first seventh-grade crush that overwhelms every molecule in your body, but it’s permanent. You don’t get free time as parents; Dax hasn’t gone to the bathroom solo in three months, because Lincoln is obsessed with him! But other than the sleep deprivation in the beginning and trying to figure out how not to screw your kid up, the rewards are mountains larger than the battles. Lincoln just started singing her ABC’s yesterday. I left the house and she was singing a sloppy version of it, and I just had a huge grin on my face.”
How Mother-hood ‘right-sized’ everything:
“I never understood my mom until I had kids. When she would look at me like I was the first drop of water she’d seen at the end of a desert trip and go, “You will never understand how much I love you,” I would go, “God, get away! Enough!’’ Even in my 20s, I just thought, “You’re so dramatic and overly sentimental.” Now I look at my kids that way and think, Wow, this is a cycle. Lincoln won’t understand it until she decides to have kids…that’s just the way it’s supposed to be. Motherhood right-sized everything for me. I’m happier, and I was pretty happy before.”
How they settled on the name Delta:
“Dax’s friend texted, ‘Are you going to pick another badass name, like ‘Delta Force’? Dax went, ‘Ooh! Delta!’ ”
Kristen on how her kids have changed their lives:
“Our dinner parties have changed. Now they involve guests who are in diapers and are a lot pickier. The other day, Dax said, ‘Where did we get all these kids?’ ” She laughs. “It’s weird to me that all of a sudden I have a family of four. I own two people! “Our life has taken a turn, but not in a bad way.”
On having more kids:
“I loved being pregnant — but I don’t want to be outnumbered!”
Kristen on her love story with Dax:
“We’re the Paula Abdul video ‘Opposites Attract’ personified.”
Dax on first meeting Kristen at a Detroit Red Wings hockey game:
“I thought to myself, “Who is this sparkly creature?” recalls Dax. Since then, “we’ve been pretty inseparable.”
She Said, He Said: Dax & Kristen on couple’s therapy:
KRISTEN: “I thought I had this life thing down pat when I met Dax. I didn’t realize that I needed a much bigger toolbox to have confrontations and disagreements with people.”
DAX: “We have such different backgrounds, it’s comical. Until I was 32, I thought the world was just wolves, that there was no way anyone was acting with any kind of benevolence. When I met her and her friends, I was suspicious of their unbridled happiness. I thought, “Something stinks here; they’re in a cult.” But slowly I began to see her positive way of looking at the world. She gives people the benefit of the doubt. There were hurdles, things she didn’t trust about me, things I didn’t trust about her. I just kept going back to “This person has the thing I want, and I have to figure out how we can exist peacefully.” So we started [seeing a therapist together] right away.”
KRISTEN: “You do better in the gym with a trainer; you don’t figure out how to cook without reading a recipe. Therapy is not something to be embarrassed about.”
DAX: “I noticed an actor and her husband on [a recent cover of a celebrity tabloid] that said In Couples’ Therapy! The clear message is, “Oh, their marriage is ending.” There’s such a negative connotation. In my previous relationship, we went to couples’ therapy at the end, and that’s often too late. You can’t go after nine years and start figuring out what patterns you’re in.”
Why Kristen isn’t ‘frantic’ about her career anymore:
“I’ve gotten off that treadmill of “Let me read the next script; I hope they give me a chance for this part.” I still want to do really good, creative work, but I’m not nervous about it, because I get my self-esteem from [providing for] my children now. The girls need us, and feeling needed is a good feeling. In our house, we get our self-esteem from performing [kind], esteemable acts. When you’re feeling egotistical, our rule is that you have to drop it and help someone else.”
On the ‘sisterhood’ of Frozen:
“It’s a story about sisterhood, which, whether by blood or not, is this invisible line that pulls you to someone. I have it with my girlfriends; I have it with my stepsisters. It’ll be a special day years from now when I sit my daughters down and show them this movie.”
I still have 17 pounds to go to get back to my pre-Delta weight: “I’ll work out and eat healthy, but I’m not desperate to shed the weight. Body image is what you make of it. I refuse to compare myself to anyone anymore. I’ve done it; it didn’t make me feel good. I don’t like comparison hangovers. I’ve actually lost weight more quickly this time around. I think it’s because Lincoln keeps me really active. She’s fast, man. She runs, she walks, she sasses me all the time. She’s a wonderful handful.”
How baby sign language classes have been beneficial for her family’s sanity:
“From maybe 10 months to 18 months, babies know what they want, but don’t know how to say it. That’s the reason temper tantrums start. But they can learn to sign. Lincoln started classes when she was 10 months old. She signed in full sentences before she talked. One time she was watching some off-roading video over Dax’s shoulder, and she looked at him and signed, “Daddy, more motorcycles, please.” It was awesome.”