This Mother’s Day, Kristen Bell won’t be spending the day with her husband, Dax Shepard, and daughters, Lincoln, 6, and Delta, 4. In fact, her family thinks outside the box when it comes to how she should experience a day honoring her as a mom. For the second year in a row, Bell is headed out with her girlfriends for a day of fun and flea-market shopping.
The idea didn’t come from her, it came from her husband. He does the exact same thing for himself on Father’s Day — a day for himself hanging with the guys on the golf course. It’s a new tradition in their household.
“Last year, Dax explained to me that on Mother’s Day, you’re expected to wake up to breakfast in bed, sit with your kids all day, get snuggles all day, have extended family over, have everybody talk to you and fawn over you,” she told SheKnows at the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card event this week. “He said, ‘If you want to, I want you to have a dad-style Mother’s Day. Do whatever the hell you want. Don’t worry about a thing here.’”
That’s exactly what she’s planning on doing again on Sunday, but she might add a spa element to the day. Bell enjoyed every minute of her dad-style Mother’s Day last year.
“I woke up in the morning. I didn’t wipe a single butt in the morning because I slept in and Dax got up with the kids. I got a really good egg sandwich in bed and my littlest daughter put a bunch of barrettes in my hair. I went to the Rose Bowl Flea Market,” Bell explained. “I walked around with my girlfriends, we ate food truck food, we grabbed coffees and we tchotchke shopped. It was so wonderful. I didn’t think about feeding anyone or schedules and I loved it.”
Bell understands that a dad-style Mother’s Day isn’t for everyone, but she likes to share certain parts of her life to show that everything isn’t perfect all of the time. It’s an idea she adopted from her husband after a particularly long press tour when she felt drained from saying the same thing over and over in interviews.
“I was so fatigued of the stories I was telling and I told Dax that I had to do Sam Jones’ podcast in the morning, which is a long-form interview format. I was thinking, what on Earth am I going to talk about? I’m all tapped out. I literally had nothing we hadn’t heard before,” she revealed. “Dax said, ‘Why don’t you talk about your anxiety and depression?’ It got me into a tailspin of how irresponsible it was for me to present a very bubbly exterior and not talk about the things that I go through. After I did it, the response was so profound.”
That moment changed Bell’s life because she realized “it’s one of my responsibilities to be super honest about who I am and the things I struggle with — and one of those things is anxiety and depression.”
Bell has also been honest about the nuances in her marriage to Shepard. They don’t hide the fact that they’ve gone through couples’ counseling over the years to keep their marriage as strong as possible. She wants people to remove the stigma of therapy and seeking help with an analogy that makes a lot of sense.
“We are born with a tiny toolbox. When you open your tiny toolbox, you are able to fix the tiny problems as you grow up. If you do not get bigger tools and a bigger toolbox, you will be a very bad hang. You will be a very, very bad hang,” she shared. “No one is going to want to deal with you when you’re in a relationship. If you like the sparks in the relationship, go to counseling to get the tools. Don’t go because you actually have a problem to work out, go on the first sign of anything so that you have all the tools to fix the problem and head it off at the pass.”
The most important part of being honest and open is the legacy she is passing on to her two daughters. Bell and Shepard want them to be armed with the biggest toolbox imaginable.
“We tell our kids everything. Dax goes to an AA meeting on Tuesday nights and the little one said to him recently, ‘Where are you going, Daddy?’ And he said, ‘I’m going to my AA meeting.’ She responded, ‘I will go with you.’ And he looked at her and said, ‘Don’t worry, honey, one day you will.’ We laughed out, but we’re very candid about why he goes,” Bell said. “Daddy had a problem and sometimes it’s in your blood and sometimes it’s just something you need to deal with in therapy. We’re very candid with them about it and the sooner they know, the better prepared they will be.”