I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

Kristen Bell and her husband Dax Shepard

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.



I lived a really full life before I had kids. If we had had kids—my husband and I talk about this often—when we were 23, we would not be very good parents. Because I think timing really is everything.

We would be impatient and we would be thinking about the things we were missing, but we got very lucky to live incredibly full lives and live that out to a degree where we could decide, Okay, maybe we could make this change and live for something else for a bit.

The way we look at what our children have done to our lives is that they have sort of cracked wide open living for something else. As I held my baby in my arms the first couple months, my husband and I would look at each other and think, Oh this is why the human race continues to procreate. These feelings right here that you cannot articulate, but this is why.

What parenthood did for me was that it right-sized all my problems. I was on this hustling hamster wheel of staying relevant and going after my dreams, which is great, but there's a time in your life when you don't meet many grandmas who are hustling. Because there are different stages in your wisdom and your life and it's okay to let those stages happen.

That's what I've grown to learn is that the stages are okay. They all come and, you know, someone in their 20s can hustle. Right now I can be more stationary and be more stable for my kids.

I currently have not been shooting anything, which in my life means I'm not waking up at 5 am and going through hair and makeup and working 'til 10:00 PM. I'm waking up with my kids, driving them to school around 9 am, then I start work on my computer because I produce a couple of things and then I stop at 2:30 pm and I go pick them up.

So for me, that's a great lifestyle for the amount I want to be there for them. And I also admit that I have the privilege of being able to do that, but it's great for the stage they're at because they're 5 and 6, and they need a lot right now. Ninety percent of me is that really stable mom. And then I reserve about 10% for the hustle.

And it works.


Listen to Kristen Bell's full interview in the Motherly podcast.

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