Few celebs dish parenting advice that I trust more than Veronica Mars — ahem — I mean Kristen Bell. She is painfully honest about her parenting truths and the world is the better for it. The popular web series Momsplaining is the perfect platform for such tidbits, and Kristen Bell's birth plan advice just so happens to be featured on the show's latest episode. And as an added bonus, my other favorite supermom, Jennifer Garner, pops into the episode to share some of her advice as well. Jackpot!
The series, hosted on Ellen DeGenerous' video streaming site EllenTube, is already on its fourth season and covers a wide variety of topics related to motherhood. A mother-of-two herself, Bell leads viewers through some of the hilarious pitfalls of bringing up babies and offers helpful advice along the way. This week's episode finds our host teaming up with Garner — the two of them have "baked five babies" between them, so their credentials are pretty clear — to chat with three women in different stages of motherhood.
The first woman is mom-to-be Emily Haskell, who is five months along. She tells Bell and Garner that she's feeling nervous about labor. Garner puts it very nicely, saying, "I think it is the most romantic day you'll ever experience." But Bell is quick to contradict her celebrity co-host. "You're a better person than I am because I was going to say, 'It's going to look like a homicide,'" she said. "There's way more blood than you think there should be." Ugly, but so, so true.
Bell goes on to tell Haskell that her best piece of advice is to think long and hard about her birth plan. Then, holding up a sample birth plan on a single piece of paper, she tears it to pieces and scatters the remains. "It's never going to happen like that, and so get rid of it," Bell said. Amen to that... So much for my unmedicated water birth of peace and tranquility. Ha!
While Bell's advice may seem a bit callous to the moms who put in time and effort to make a birth plan that suits them, she's not wrong. Dr. Amy Tuteur, a former OB-GYN who has since left the medical field and blogs as the Skeptical OB, previously told Romper that birth plans are “worse than useless," comparing them to trying to control the weather on your wedding day. "There’s no way to know what's going to happen and your personal preferences have no impact on how things proceed,” she said.
After a fun game of "Did My Water Break Or Did I Pee My Pants" — there's no explaining this one, folks, you'll have to watch for yourselves; but I can say that a bucket full of condoms is involved — Bell and Garner move on to the next mom stage. Deanna Clower, mom of a 3-month-old, asks the hosts when and how she can "get back to feeling like Deanna," instead of just like someone's mother. Ahh, the age-old question. Garner and Bell tell her "the answer is never, you're not gonna." Bell goes on to explain that "you're a different self and it's important to talk to other [moms]. Momming is hard, but it's worth it." Solid advice, ladies.
The final topic of conversation is toddler meltdowns. Mom of two toddlers, Megan Safar, asked the hosts for advice on this particularly fun part of parenting. "So, it's totally embarrassing when I'm out and my two kids throw tantrums," she said. "What can I do to help it?" Then Bell jokingly asks, "Have you tried calling them by their full name? Because that's how I knew I was in trouble." If only it were that easy...
No single parenting technique is going to work for every family. But, along with being seriously hilarious, Momsplaining serves to reinforce the need for moms — and parents in general — to talk things through with one another. Because, like my own idea of a birth plan, things don't always go the way you expect.