Angela Kinsey of The Office dishes about co-parenting, the holidays and Citrus Lane
You know her as Angela Martin, the uptight accountant on the hit TV series The Office. In real life, Angela Kinsey is nothing like her belittling character who seems to only care about her cats.
We had the opportunity to talk to the actress about co-parenting her 4-year-old daughter, Isabel, as well as her work as ambassador for Citrus Lane.
Making joint custody work
Angela Kinsey and her husband Warren Lieberstein separated in 2009 and she filed for divorce the following year. Lieberstein happens to be a writer and producer for The Office and the brother of Paul Lieberstein, who plays Toby Flenderson on the show and has been the showrunner for the series since 2005. Since her divorce, like millions of other moms around the world, Kinsey faces the often difficult task of co-parenting.
When a marriage breaks up, no matter what the relationship is between two parents, the adults need to keep their children as the focus.
"I realize every person's situation is different and can be so complicated, so I am wary to give anyone advice," says Kinsey.
"I find what works for us is the very simple reminder that no matter what, we are Isabel's family. We are her whole world and as long as we keep our relationship about her we can't go wrong. I tell Isabel all the time that families come in all shapes and sizes but what a family is, is love. She is watching her parents treat each other with respect and kindness and as a result she is flourishing. We both see our daughter every day even though we have joint custody. Whether it is for breakfast, for an after-school activity, or for dinner, our daughter has time with each of us every day. I feel very fortunate that my ex and I are able to co-parent the way that we do. Isabel is our everything. We will always have that in common and that common ground is a strong foundation to co-parenting."
Co-parenting and the holidays
After a divorce, the holidays can be a difficult time for many families. However, it's important to keep family holiday traditions alive.
"My ex and I are friends. So co-parenting for us during the holidays is really no different than any other time of the year," explains Kinsey. "We try to pick holiday traditions to do together. We often eat a meal together on Thanksgiving and we always open one gift together on Christmas Eve and have breakfast or lunch on Christmas Day. Those little traditions make all the difference for our daughter."
The importance of support
Parenting isn't easy and none of us can do it alone. When you need a little help — whether that means someone to babysit for you or you just need to vent — it's essential to have a support system of family and friends.
"I think having a good support system is important whether you are a single mom, working mom, stay-at-home mom or dad," says Kinsey. "I know sometimes I need advice or just a friendly ear to let me ramble on about my highs and lows as a parent and I am so very thankful for my friends and family. I have three great sisters, awesome parents and my 95-year-old grandmother who I talk to about everything, and they all bring an interesting and down-to-earth perspective on parenting and life. And here locally in LA I couldn't function without my gal pals. They are my home away from home.“
What's Citrus Lane?
Kinsey is the ambassador for Citrus Lane, the care package service for parents where moms and dads can register their child (ages 0-4 years) and get a curated box of best-of products each month shipped to their front door.
"Citrus Lane is a community of parents helping parents find the best products out there for their kids," explains Kinsey. "When you become a parent for the first time the list of products out there — whether they are strollers, baby lotion or sippy cups — can be flat-out overwhelming. Who makes the best high chair, bouncy seat, developmental toys and on and on? Citrus Lane researches products, finds out what parents out there think and what people are using that works and sends those products monthly to your front door. It is an amazing company with an awesome staff of folks. I am so thrilled to be working with them. As a busy Mamma (like most moms and dads out there) it is nice to find out about products that I might have otherwise missed out on."
Kinsey's long-time charity of choice is Oceana — the world's largest campaign to protect oceans and marine life. Recently, she had an opportunity to create a special edition holiday box from Citrus Lane to benefit the organization.
"I have been talking with Citrus Lane about a preschool age box because that is the stage I am at with my daughter. We spoke about the toys and make-believe games she likes to play and designed a box around that. Tea parties are a big deal at my house so we included a tea set by Green Toys. Green Toys make great durable toys from recycled materials. And although I designed my box with little girls in mind, little boys love playing kitchen too! We also love dolls, so you'll also get an Ivy and Bean paper doll set. It includes two dolls and lots of reusable stickers to change their outfits and it is a great size for holiday travel. And my little gal is very girlie so we are constantly playing dress-up and she loves to get into my lotions, etc. Sparklehearts makes fun lotions that glitter and shine. They are all-natural so you can feel comfortable letting your kids use them.
"Citrus Lane often includes a snack item in their boxes and it is how I have found out about a lot of great toddler treats. I now have to pack a lunch box for my daughter so Plum Organics Shredz are a yummy easy option for a school-time snack. And lastly, Oceana has generously added a little penguin cookie cutter (perfect for holiday North Pole cookies). I grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia and swimming in the ocean was a big part of my childhood and now living in California, we spend a lot of time at the beach and enjoying the beautiful Pacific Ocean. A few years ago I went to a charity event for Oceana and was so impressed with the marine biologists and scientists that are part of this organization. They are working daily to help protect our beautiful oceans so they'll be a safe place to play for our children."
You can buy Kinsey's "Mommy and Me" box at CitrusLane.com ($45).
Up next: Dirty Blondes
The Office is currently airing its ninth and final season. And though we are all sad to see the show end, we are looking forward to the new projects for all the stars. So, what's up next for Kinsey? A new sitcom! "Dirty Blondes is a sitcom based on my friendship with Rachael Harris," explains Kinsey. "We have been friends for 16 years and recently found ourselves starting over in life. Our TV show is about that journey. It is full of honest, raw and hilarious moments when love may be blind but friendship isn't." Look for Kinsey in Dirty Blondes on FOX in 2013.