Sarah Michelle Gellar Is Facing A Terrifying Parenting Milestone: Sleep Away Camp
The actress talked to Romper about summers with school-aged kids and helping people find joy in their own passion projects.
As Buffy, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar went up against vampires, demons, and a slew of other creepy evil creatures. But now the mom of two is facing something far more terrifying: her oldest child, Charlotte, 12, going to sleep away camp. “She loves it,” Gellar tells Romper. She and husband, Freddie Prinze Jr., however, “hate it.”
Nevertheless, this rite of kid (and parent) passage has come at a good time. “I can't go anywhere right now anyway, so she may as well be full of joy and happy, and my son [Rocco, 9] is back at day camp,” she says. “I feel a lot less mom guilt that I'm stuck in my room.”
Our discussion is happening on day 13 (she thinks: “I’ve lost all track of days”) of quarantine in Gellar’s home in Los Angeles, where she’d been ill with Covid and a secondary chest infection. “It's tough,” she admits. “I have to say that as someone who spent two and a half years taking this very seriously and really avoiding it, there's an emotional component that comes also with getting it.”
She’s mostly spending her time reading and doing puzzles. Fortunately for Gellar, reading just happens to be her passion. She’s been collecting first-edition books for years — Dr. Seuss (an almost complete collection), early 20th century illustrator Arthur Rackham, the Harry Potter series, Maya Angelou — and got her hands on the latest Riley Sager thriller the day it came out. She’s recently partnered with Wells Fargo Active Cash Visa Card and The Finance Bar founder Marsha Barnes for their Passion Project Sweeps.
The sweepstakes, which is up on her Instagram page, gives 10 people a chance to win $400 to help start their own passion projects (entries must be submitted via Instagram by July 1 at 11:59 p.m.). Gellar’s struggle with Covid and the isolation of quarantine (which she says she was lucky to avoid in March 2020 since her family was with her), has given her a fresh perspective on the importance of getting back to being able to celebrate and explore your passions.
“I was joking with everyone from Wells Fargo that [having Covid] sort of takes new meaning to me now to understand about bringing joy and re-entering life and doing those things that bring you joy,” she laughs. “I'm going to have to literally re-experience that again, because I'll tell you right now: I do not want to get this again.”
Our conversation comes just a few days before Gellar came back into the world beyond her room. She’s excited to get back to her garden — a pandemic passion that’s brought her joy. “I'm from New York City, we don't grow anything but mold and dirt,” she jokes. “Covid gave us that opportunity to be home to focus, so we [began gardening] as a family.” She’s even excited to get back to carting her children from practices, games, and recitals as they pursue their passions of dance and sports. (Though, admittedly, summer is more chill: in spring “every weekend we basically live at either a dance competition or the park,” and what parent of school-aged kids can’t relate to that?)
She’s also excited to get her baby back home... whether Charlotte likes it or not. “We told her from the get go, we're like, ‘Look, we're never going to be that family: there's no eight week summer camp,” she says. “If you want to go for two weeks, that's fine, but I get a limited window with you and you're going to be here.’”