Ellie Kemper Opens Up About Feeling Mom Guilt & Parents Everywhere Can Totally Relate
Sometimes, it's easy to forget that actors are actual people — especially while binge-watching your favorite series on Netflix. (Because by that point, the characters are the ones who are real, not the actors, right?) Still, celebrities, well, they just seem so glamorous and perfect in magazines and on-screen. Not only are they talented, but they're rich, famous, and beautiful. Which is probably why it's so refreshing when they open up about their insecurities. It's like a lightbulb goes off because you realize they're just so darn human. In a recent interview, for example, actress Ellie Kemper opened up about mom guilt. And honestly? I'm sure parents everywhere are rejoicing in a collective, "Amen!" at her thoughts.
As a refresher, Kemper has an adorable 19-month-old son named James with her husband Michael Koman — on top of her very busy acting career, mind you. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star put things in perspective for fans who might think she "has it all" in an interview with Us Weekly.
"I’m new to this, but I would imagine all parents feel guilty most of the time," Kemper told the publication. "I don’t know that that’s good, but it’s hard, as everyone knows. So accepting that you’re not gonna be everywhere at once is like an ongoing challenge for me. Guilt is hard to shake. I think anyone can relate to that."
She continued, "Occasionally I will wonder, ‘How is that mom doing everything and apparently doing it really well?’ I think some things are maybe misrepresented on social media." "Everyone struggles, I would imagine," she added in the same interview.
As the majority of parents can probably relate, the hectic time that is dinnertime is another constant struggle. “I’m a terrible cook and I’m terrible with timing. So, like the pasta will be ready, but then the sauce isn’t or whatever. Nothing comes together on time,” Kemper told Us Weekly, adding:
There’s just a lot always going on, whether you have one kid, two kids, 10 kids. So sometimes, I don’t always heat up [the meal] if I’m giving him leftovers. If he’s starving, I won’t always heat up the food. He’ll like touch it and then he makes a shiver sound like, "Brr." Probably not like he wants to remember from mom’s home cooking like, "It was really cold."
LOL. Even before Kemper became a mom, she was relatable AF. In July 2016, the actress appeared on The Late Show during the final stretch of her pregnancy. Although Kemper had good intentions going into her pregnancy, reality didn't quite measure up, she explained to Stephen Colbert on The Late Show:
I'm a little disappointed in myself because before getting pregnant I resolved to do all these things during my pregnancy, to nurse a healthy pregnancy — and I'm finding in these final weeks that, uh, I didn't do any of them. Like, playing classical music to my kid, reading War and Peace to my kid.
Ugh, yes! At the beginning of pregnancy, I would attempt to eat only healthy foods. But that would go downhill, and quickly. Kegels are something I always neglected to do during pregnancy, too — and for that, my bladder control has greatly suffered.
As a new mom, Kemper had previously revealed that she found herself thinking and doing things her pre-kid self swore she wouldn't. (Because everyone is a parenting expert before they have children, after all.) In an interview during The Tonight Show, Kemper explained to Jimmy Fallon:
It's crazy. You think "I'm not going to be one of those parents who thinks that their baby is like the most adorable perfect thing and I'm not going to be obnoxious," but I'm fully obnoxious about it. He's perfect, he's flawless, it's incredible.
Yeah, I'm going to have to agree with her on this one. Just look at that face!
Aside from the always-nagging mom guilt and thinking her kid is the cutest thing in the world, Kemper has also spoken about how motherhood has changed her for the better. "Things take on different significance, in a good way," The Office alum told People. "I think you’re forced to not think about yourself, which is great for me because I don’t like to think about myself. And now everything is put into perspective, which is healthy."
Even though Kemper is still relatively new to this whole mom business, I think she speaks a universal truth in her most recent interview: The parental guilt eats at us all, no matter what we do. Even if another mom looks like she has it all together, chances are she's still feeling guilty about something and it's helpful on those bad days that, yes, everyone struggles, even the rich, famous, and beautiful.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.