We’re pretty sure it’s been proven statistically impossible not to love Busy Philipps — mom, actor and badass, from our ‘90s teen dreams to today. I mean, in the past few years she launched (and said goodbye in scorched-earth style to) a talk show, published her memoir, got her first-ever tattoo, helped moms in need thanks to her partnerships with Tiny Prints and Baby2Baby, launched the “You Know Me” movement promoting abortion rights, and testified before Congress, NBD. What else could she possibly have on the docket? A lot, actually.
We caught up with Philipps to chat about tween parenting, mom guilt, the Hollywood moms support group (JK, that doesn’t exist) and whether she would ever do a ’90s TV reboot for one of those infamous shows.
SK: We were such fans of your talk show, RIP. Who was your favorite guest (or are you not supposed to pick favorites)?
BP: Too many! Julia Roberts was incredible — Kristen Bell, Mindy Kaling — just getting the opportunity to talk with people I’ve known as an actor for 20 years but being on the other side of that and asking things I want to know about. Oliver Hudson was on the show…we did our first movie together when we were 19. And getting to meet people like David Alan Grier, it’s been amazing.
SK: Those fellow-actor moms you mentioned — Julia Roberts, Kristen Bell, Mindy Kaling — do you ever turn to them for parenting advice? I always imagine you all in some sort of Hollywood moms support group, hanging out and sharing tactics for raising kids in the limelight.
BP: Well, that doesn’t exist [laughs]. But no matter where you’re from or what your job is, it’s so important to have other parents around you that provide support. And for me, that’s part of the main reason I got involved in Baby2Baby nine years ago after the birth of my daughter, Birdie. I mean, no person is an island; we need help. And here I am, living in my nice house, able to afford diapers, able to provide for my kids, and I still felt totally overwhelmed. So to imagine women and children in this country — and even in this city, three minutes from my house — living in poverty and what that must be like? I wanted to figure out a way to give back… A lot of the celeb moms you just mentioned are also involved in Baby2Baby.
SK: I probably know the answer to this, but do you ever find yourself dealing with the dreaded mom guilt? If so, how do you grapple with it?
BP: I don’t know if anyone comes to terms with mom guilt or if you just get used to it. I have to fly to New York for a work obligation literally the day of both my children’s holiday concerts at school. We asked if we could move the work thing, and we can’t, so I’m going to miss them. And of course there will be video and pictures, but my heart is a little broken. But at the same time, I know that they’re able to see me living my dream and doing the thing that I’ve always wanted to do since I was their age. And I hope somewhere, that worms into their brain, and that’s an incredible thing.
SK: It really is. Speaking of your acting dreams as a kid, would you ever be into one of these reboots that seem all the rage these days? I’m trying to think what would be your version of Fuller House — Freaks and Geeker? Dawson’s Creeker? Sorry, these are awful.
BP: You know, people love a reboot, but I’m not into it. It’s fun to get back together with people from past shows — we did that with Freaks and Geeks for Vanity Fair and Dawson’s Creek for Entertainment Weekly — but a reboot, no. I mean, maybe Cougar Town? That was a fun show to work on.
SK: We’d watch that for sure. So, your eldest is in double digits; how are you dealing with being a tween mom?
BP: Every moment to moment, things change. Yep, Birdie is a tween — and with that comes a lot. The next stage, the next few years of our lives will be… puberty and feelings and anxieties. And the world is a bit of a scary place for small people right now.
SK: You can say that again.
BP: Right. So I’m trying to find the ways to help them make sense of it while at the same time not sugarcoating the realities of the world that we live in — we’ve really been trying to navigate that in our house, especially with Birdie. Meanwhile, Cricket is…really loving school and loving life right now — learning to read and write and very proud of herself. Um, Birdie sent a list email to Santa?! [Laughs.] So, yeah, I gotta figure out how that works and how I get ahold of it!
SK: Ha! Try hacking into Santa@gmail.com I guess?
BP: Yeah! And of course, Cricket wants everything. She would take any toy ever. I swear, she’s the type of child that advertising for children was invented for. She sees a toy on a commercial, and it doesn’t matter if it’s for an actual baby or a 15-year-old — she wants that. I’m like, “Sweetie, I don’t think you really need a ball that lights up and makes music.” But yeah, her list is really funny. I have to pare it down.
SK: Have the kids done anything hilarious lately? Any funny secret code family lingo they insist on using?
BP: There were definitely things Birdie used to say — “tuderol” and “puderol” instead of turtle and purple! But then, one day, they come home and know how to say the words right.
SK: Aww, it’s so sad when that happens.
BP: But Birdie recently started calling Marc [Silverstein, Philipps’ husband] “bro” — which is making me laugh so hard. She’s like “All right, bro, fine! I’ll do it.”
SK: That is amazing. Like Reese Witherspoon’s daughter in Big Little Lies calling her “Hey, woman!”
BP: Hey, bro! [Laughs] Classic.