As Princess Anna in Frozen, Kristen Bell is every child’s heroine. As Kristen Bell, working mom of two, talented actress and, most recently, the vocal advocate for mental health awareness this world needs, she has become every woman’s heroine.
Bell, who is married to actor Dax Shepard, is mom to 3-year-old daughter Lincoln and a 1-year-old daughter Delta. She has no fewer than four films in the hopper, including the much-anticipated Bad Moms, which co-stars Mila Kunis and hits theaters July 29. And she is using whatever free time she has left to fight on behalf of children and moms around the world who do not have the same access to health care and a safe environment that she knows she is lucky to provide her children.
As a spokesperson for the Global Moms Relay, Bell has teamed up with Johnson & Johnson and the United Nations Foundation to spread the message that children who are exposed to infectious disease, war or displacement are “caught” or “stunted.” Every time you either like or share Bell’s video (as well as the many other important video messages on this site), Johnson & Johnson donates $1 (up to $350,000) to one of several organizations working to improve the lives of children and their parents.
“I’m fortunate to raise my two daughters in a home where they are surrounded by love, feel safe and nurtured, and have access to everything that they could ever want or need,” Bell tells SheKnows in an exclusive interview. “But I’ve always been keenly aware that millions of children around the world are missing the simplest, most essential elements of access to health and safety for so many different reasons related to geography, cultural and social issues.”
Bell’s interest in health care stems from her childhood. Her mom worked as a registered nurse, and the experience of growing up with a parent in the health industry taught her that there is nothing shameful about needing help, regardless of whether you suffer from a physical or mental illness. Bell is one of few celebrities who has been open and honest about the challenges she faces living with anxiety and depression as a mom.
“Definitely having a mom who was a nurse taught me to have a compassionate view of the struggles that people go through when it comes to physical and mental health and not see it as something taboo that can’t be openly shared,” Bell says. “As far as physical health, I encourage my children to be active, play and have fun. It’s something my mom ingrained in me, as your physical health is directly tied to your overall well-being.”
Bell’s respect for nurses extends beyond her family ties to the profession. She describes them as the first point of contact with patients and their families and professionals who offer a special combination of medical expertise, care and compassion.
“I’ve been able to witness the tremendous effect that nurses have on patients and communities firsthand as the daughter of a nurse and as a mother,” Bell says. “She worked in ICU nursing for seven years and was a cardiac nurse for 20 years and then shifted to quality improvement, auditing and insurance appeals.”
Bell learned a great deal from her mother and is happy to provide a bit of her own parenting advice, specifically one tip moms are going to love. Stop what you’re doing, and get thee to the spa — or to yoga, for a run or out for a glass of wine with friends. Bottom line: Make yourself a priority once in a while.
“As mothers, our time is not our own,” Bell says. “We are juggling work and family and often put ourselves last. But in reality, you can only be your best self and the best mom possible if you take care of yourself.
“I would encourage moms to make time for themselves. Make you the priority every once in a while. There is a reason why they tell you on planes to put your own mask on first!”
Speaking of putting herself first, in Bad Moms, Bell plays a stressed-out mom who teams up with Kunis’ character to call a moratorium on gluten-free bake sales, emergency PTA meetings and parenting perfection in favor of wild parties, messy houses and whip-its (yes, whip-its). In her own life, Bell says she avoids putting pressure on herself to be a supermom by remembering the Frozen mantra:
“Let it go!” Bell says. “That’s my advice, which is ironic, I know, but sometimes you just have to let things go and realize that everyone is just fine.”