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Kristen Bell gives us the motherhood advice we all need to hear

Host Liz Tenety kicks off Season 3 of the podcast with an interview with Kristen Bell—actress, singer, soon-to-be children's author, mother of two, and Hello Bello founder. Kristen discusses co-parenting, self-care, and how there's no such thing as other people's kids. Kristen also talks about one of her most famous characters: Anna, from Frozen and Frozen II. Additionally, this season, we've invited our Motherly community to share their own stories—and following Liz's discussion with Kristen, you'll hear from a listener about how she co-parents with her partner.

Transcript:

[00:00:00] Liz Tenety: Kristen bell. Welcome to the motherly podcast. Thank you. So I always like to start by asking people what did they think motherhood was going to be like before you actually were a mom?

Kristen Bell: I had no idea. I had. Literally no idea. And I grew up in a very traditional household, in a traditional area of Michigan, just outside Detroit where in my head in high school having like nothing to base it on.

I was like, I'll probably have like my first kid at 26 and I'll probably have six kids total. And like I had all just these things that I was playing Barbies with my life. And then when I met my husband and we were, I don't know, I was like turning 30 or something. We had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids.

And 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 like, we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want? I get so much fulfillment out of my dogs taking care of [00:01:00] my dogs, cause I, I have always loved to nurture. It's my love language.

But whether that's. I'm buying the stranger's coffee behind me or making my friends dinner, like I can get that. I can scratch that itch. 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.

And I was like, okay, well that's, that makes sense. So we had, uh, when I got pregnant, I was not. 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 that water bottle or my belly. 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 it comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut. So I didn't know what [00:02:00] it was going to be like. The only person who ever tried to explain it to me was Jason Bateman. When we were doing couples retreat, I had said to him like, what is it like to have kids?

And he said, well, you love your dogs right? And I was like, yeah. And he said, okay, imagine if one day your dog stood on its hind legs and looked at you and just went, Oh my God, I love you. Like said that. And I was like, Oh, I'd liquefy. I mean, that would be the best moment in my life. He goes, yeah, that's what it's like.

Liz Tenety: Yeah. Talking dogs,

Kristen Bell: talking dogs, having kids is just like having a talking dog.

Liz Tenety: I mean, it sounds like for you it, it was. Like a miraculous, happy surprise. But were there ever moments where you felt like grief for the life that you, maybe the way that your life changed or what you had to leave behind?

Kristen Bell: No.

Um, and I can say that because I lived a really full life before I had kids. If I had had kids, my husband and I talk about this often. If we had had kids when we were [00:03:00] 23, we would not be very good parents. Because I think timing really is everything. Um, if I had met my husband five years before I met him, we would not have gotten along.

Because I wasn't ready or as evolved to let that relationship in. We had kids when we were 23 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 were like, okay, maybe we could make this change and live for something else for a bit.

And because we were able to get that out. The way we look at what our children have done to our lives is that it's sort of cracked wide open in living for something else is actually awesome and it gives you a whole new profound sense of self esteem and add. As I had my baby in my arms, the first, you know, couple months, my husband and I would look at each other and think.

Oh the, this is why the human race [00:04:00] continues to procreate. These feelings right here that are, you cannot articulate, but this, this is why. Because if it were not great. People would stop doing

Liz Tenety: it. It's really hard to

Kristen Bell: yeah, it's of course it's really, really hard, but so is everything anything wroth doing. So is was like juicing celery every morning, like nobody wants to wash the damn machine.

Liz Tenety: That's why I don't choose. Celery

Kristen Bell: It does make you feel good. So does, you know, going to work out like everything has a give and take, but the results that, that euphoria that you feel when you know you're sort of helping another life, it's, it's pretty cool.

Liz Tenety: I mean, if you look back to when you and Dax first became parents, how do you think your marriage transformed at the beginning?

Kristen Bell: Very transactionally.

Liz Tenety: Interesting.

Kristen Bell: We read a book called brain rules for baby, which to be honest, we read a fourth of the book. We read the book about the pregnancy part, and then we kind of put it down, but I would recommend that chapter to anyone and everyone, he, because of his [00:05:00] sobriety, is very practical. What are the steps I need to take to get the result I want? And that's the reason he got sober. He said, Oh, I don't want to be the person that. Mrs Christmas cause I'm on a bender. So what steps do I need to take to be the person who doesn't?

I need to get sober, I need to invest in my relationships. And when we read this chapter of this book, this book, it was, it's talked about how like 75% of marriages can go downhill after having a baby because of the stress. Cause it's super stressful, right? All of a sudden you're never going to sleep again, blah, blah, blah.

And it said, it gave you five different. Tips to look for like sleep deprivation, isolation, uneven workload that you could check in your partner. And so uneven workload was the first transaction where we read it that chapter. And we said, okay, so you do 50%. I do 50% and we shook hands on it and he changed 50% of the diapers.

He also was evolved enough to say to [00:06:00] himself, wow, if I let her do all the work, um. Then I don't really get to have a say in how this kid is raised. Like I do think that's true and it's a hard truth. But like if you're not putting the effort into raising the kids, you don't get to say what time the curfew is.

The person who's changed the diapers gets to say that, you know, um, I don't buy that. You get to come home at the end of a long day, never having seen your kids and make the rules. That's bologna and 1950 is over. So I think it needs to be an even workload, no matter what the jobs of the parents are. Um, and then the, you know, the other tips, we looked for times when like I was nursing the baby, keeping him up at night.

I'd say I'm sensing sleep deprivation in you. I'm going to feed the baby in the front room for the next couple of nights to let you catch up.

Liz Tenety: Yup.

Kristen Bell: And he'd say, you haven't left the house in five days. You're in your pajamas. Go have a lunch with your girlfriend. And I'll, you know, watch the baby solo. So you just, you keep an eye on it by making a list.

It's [00:07:00] pretty, um, mathematical. It was for us.

Liz Tenety: Did you, do you feel like parenthood actually made you better partners?

Kristen Bell: Yeah. Yeah, because. Well, the thing parenthood did for me was it rightsized all my problems. Like I was on this hustling hamster wheel of staying relevant and you know, going after my dreams, which is great, but there's a time in your life you don't meet many grandmas who are like hustling.

I mean, because there's 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 like. The, the stages are okay. They all come and you know, someone in their 20s can hustle. And right now I can be more stationary and be more stable for my kids.

Liz Tenety: Tell me about hustling. Like what stage of life you're, you're all over New York city today, but what stage of life do you see yourself in right now?

Kristen Bell: Mm, wow. It's sort of, um, it's. Fractured, but in a [00:08:00] good way, I guess. Like there's 90% of it. That's a really stable mom. And then I reserve about 10% for the hustle.

Liz Tenety: And that's good for all of us.

Kristen Bell: I mean, it kinda, it kinda doesn't mean the way I organize it is like what I meant when I said they right sized my problems is I realized my self esteem can come from within. And my esteemable acts in my life, mainly towards this child. That can be my self esteem. My self esteem doesn't have to be the reviews of my last film.

So I looked for internal self-esteem as opposed to external self-esteem. Um, I. Currently have not been shooting anything, which in my life means I'm not waking up at 5:00 AM and going through hair and makeup and working till 10:00 PM it means I'm waking up with my kids, sending them off to school, driving them to school at around 9:00 AM I start work on my computer, cause I produce a couple things and then I stop at two 30 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 luxury of being able to do that, [00:09:00] but it's great for the stage they're at because they're five and six, and they're really like needy right now. Um. Yeah. It's the, the hustle for me is I like, we have this diaper company hello Bello, which is why I'm here in New York talking about like our one year anniversary.

Cause I want people to know about it and what a good company it is and how much I'm trying to give back with it. So I will reserve a day and a half in New York and I will be sleep deprived and I will get through these interviews and I will fly home at 7:00 AM tomorrow morning to be with my kids.

Liz Tenety: If you, if you have an hour to yourself on scheduled, who is that hour for in your mind? Is it for your husband? Is it for your kids? Is it for yourself or something else?

Kristen Bell: Depends on who's depleted. Okay. Like my life is a, is a bunch of cups in front of me and I look who's filled and who's depleted.

Liz Tenety: Um, I love that. Yeah. And I, and I make sure I don't get too depleted because otherwise everyone suffers.

Kristen Bell: Um, but my husband and I are lucky enough to usually have [00:10:00] like an hour and a half after the kids go to bed to like catch up or make jokes to each other or. Anything. Watch a show together, like share something communal, a team goal. Even if that goal is like, let's watch the new front line, we're experiencing it together, you know?

Liz Tenety: do you guys have a parenting or family mantra or mission statement that you try and live your life by?

Kristen Bell: Um, there's not one, I mean, my personal one is you just do the next right thing. And that comes out of my, I mean, that was a whole theme and like frozen too, but it also came out of this idea that I need to apply because of my anxiety of just all the decisions don't need to be made right now.

You just need to do the next right thing. His, I don't know what it is, but it would probably have to do with his sobriety of analyzing himself. He talks a lot about the only person you need to compare yourself to [00:11:00] is who you were yesterday and the incrementally better. And that's a perfect life, just incrementally better than you were yesterday.

So we try not to think of anything as like a huge problem. Um. And as a family, I will say, you know, the most annoying part about my husband is that he's usually right and his parenting tips are golden. Even though I'm the one that reads all the parenting books, truly, I've read 25 parenting books. He's not read a single one.

And he still says stuff like, right when they were, you know, probably like two and one or something. He said, um. You know, it occurred to me that kids often see tension in adult conversations and never see the resolution. And how on earth are we supposed to equip them with conflict resolution if they're never to to witness the resolution, right?

We'll come home, we'll be tense with each other. We'll snap at each other in the kitchen, not realizing they're witnessing it. We put them to bed, we go into the bedroom, and then. Just privately, we say, cut, I'm sorry I snapped at you. I had a really tough [00:12:00] day. Well, they don't ever see that, but the next morning they just assume the problem went away.

So he said, let's make a deal that if we ever make up when we're behind closed doors that we roleplay the next morning. So. Every time we're testy with each other, the next morning I say, good morning, daddy. Hey, I just wanted to say last night I had a really long day and I'm sorry that I snapped at you about not having you know the dinner that you wanted or, or not having this or, or, and he would say, yeah, you're right, mommy.

I had a hard day too, and I'm really sorry. And then we physically kiss and hug just even if they're within earshot. And I was like, well, that's brilliant.

Liz Tenety: They need to see you model it in order to be able to live that way. The result piece.

Kristen Bell: We're monkeys.

Liz Tenety: What do you mean by that?

Kristen Bell: Well, we, we look to our alphas by X to live by example, and we look to each other.

We, everybody needs to see someone else do it. Yup. You know, and you need to see your parents do it. You can't, who's at Brene Brown that says you can't give anything to your child that you don't have yourself. So if you [00:13:00] want your child to have a positive body image, you better start having it.

Liz Tenety: Totally.

Kristen Bell: You know? Totally. Yeah. We're just monkeys. Look to each other. It's, we live in a herd group. We live in a community.

Liz Tenety: I know you guys have also talked about just the value that you place on being honest, even when it can be uncomfortable. I'm like. Talking to them about where babies come from or Santa and how the presence get there. Why, why is, has that been so important to both of you?

Kristen Bell: Well, because I was told by a mom that I really respect, don't ever let, especially a daughter look at you when they're 11 years old and be able to think, what else have you lied about? Now people might take that in a different way. For me, I took that very like, um.

Seriously and realistically, and I was like, Oh, may, maybe I don't want to lie to her about anything. And granted, we're all Guinea pigging with our kids, right? They're all Guinea pigs, right? So maybe I'm ruining them. I don't know. [00:14:00] But when my three and a half year old did exactly what Dax did, by the way, he was three and a half when you said it to his mom.

She said, you know, something stinks about this whole Santa thing, because if a flight to Europe takes that long, how can he make it back? And my husband and I looked at each other and I immediately thought, am I going to look at this little girl and tell her to stop the instinct in her body that tells her when something's wrong and to ask questions, or am I going to reward this behavior of critical thinking?

Liz Tenety: And what did it feel like to you in that moment when you. Decided I'm going to tell her.

Kristen Bell: It was liberating... I thought I'm giving her, this wonderful feminist girl, this gift. And then she was like, Oh, that's a bummer. And I was like, Oh no. Well, but, but I didn't actually didn't say, Oh no. I said, well, you know what? It's a wonderful imagination game that we play. We can still play it. By the way, her sister, her little sister has been told numerous times,

Liz Tenety: and she still believes still.

Kristen Bell: But like I also, with the Santa Claus thing, I was like, [00:15:00] again. Am I going to lie, if they ask -- by the way, I'm not saying you need to tell kids… Yeah. But if she's saying to me, okay, so once a year, breaking and entering is okay, I'm going to go, nah. And you know what? Good on you for saying something about it. Yeah. It's absolutely never. Okay. And we don't let a man be a break in once a year.

Liz Tenety: Right, take our cookies…

Kristen Bell Yeah. We don't let him do that. And he doesn't keep exotics on the roof. And you know, it's a whole, you're right. It's a game we play. So. It's different for everyone, but this the, the sex talk thing is when I do feel strongly about that. I would give advice to like the Santa Claus thing is up to every individual person, but the sex thing, I'm like, there is nothing wrong with knowing how the penis works and how the vagina works.

I just don't understand the American shame in that. In fact, I think it equips them to understand pregnancy way better. The agency they have over their bodies to say, Oh yeah, this is how it works. You've seen, daddy [00:16:00] has a penis, mommy has a vagina. Here's how it works. And here's the part of daddy's DNA and the part of mommy's DNA that grows you like a seed.

And by the way, they're so bored by the second sentence.

Liz Tenety: I know. Cause that's the same approach that I took with my kids. That wasn't how I was taught. Um, but that's the approach I took with my kids. And he was like, Ooh, okay, cool. Like he was over it. As soon as we were talking, I didn't make it a thing.

Kristen Bell: They don't make it a thing.

Liz Tenety: He wasn't, he wasn't traumatized. I was shocked.

Kristen Bell: By the way, I don't even think anybody had the sex talk with me. I don't remember ever learning about it, and I was utterly confused when that stuff started, you know, happening. But I just, yeah, there's nothing wrong with knowing how your body works.

It's so mechanical. So we've told them everything. We also. It does make me a little sad because I have friends who, like my daughter knows that I'm the tooth fairy and that I shove a dollar under her pillow, but I have friends whose kids believe and want to believe, and they do really [00:17:00] cute stuff. Like they'll take a little doll and they'll dip her feet in glitter paint and they'll put it on like the, the bookcase near her bed, like the tooth fairy walked over and I'm like, Oh, that's so sweet.

But then it occurs to me. I'm a storyteller. I tell pretend stories all the time. I can still do that and she can know that safe mommy shoved. Uh, there wasn't a magical creature in your bedroom, your last name, right? I shoved a dollar under your pillow. But look at this fun imagination game. We can still play.

I think there is both worlds can be had at the same time. It's the same thing. You go into a movie and you get transported, but then you come back to under earth.

Liz Tenety: I want to talk more about getting transported. So as I was thinking about our, our chat today, I was imagining my Disney princess is and the world that I entered as a kid.So did you have a favorite Disney princess?

Kristen Bell: Yeah, I loved Aladdin. Okay. He was my favorite Disney princess

Liz Tenety: He's a [00:18:00] cool guy. He's got really cool pants.

Kristen Bell: He had the bed and he had a pet monkey. I was like, yeah, I mean, I loved. All of them. Yes. Growing up, I loved a little mermaid.

I loved snow white. I loved, um, sleeping beauty, but I, I had never seen. Anyone is quirky as I was, and I was like a pretty weird kid. I talk to myself a lot. I did like voices to myself and I wanted to, you know, eat my dinner next to the dog with my face. Like I like went through all those stages of like being the weirdest kid possible.

I was never, it wasn't that I didn't have manners, it was just I wanted to experiment with ways to behave. Um, and so when I. Had the opportunity to be one myself. I was like, Oh, I really want this one to be a love letter to mile like 10 year old self of show, someone who talks too fast and too much and wears her heart on her sleeve and trips over everything and bumps into everything and thinks that love is her superpower.

[00:19:00] Liz Tenety: So how much of you is an Ana? How do you see that?

Kristen Bell: It's 100% who I was as an 11-year-old girl.

Liz Tenety: 100% but now sitting here as a grown woman and a mother, like, how are you seeing yourself as a child in a new way through Ana.

Kristen Bell: Yeah. It makes me very proud that I represented the weirdos a little bit, because I never thought of that as a bad word or a negative word.

It's just a different word. It means you're quirkier than everyone else. And I'm, that was my goal. Um, because the first, the very first script of frozen that was written, um. It w she was much more what you'd expect, for lack of a better way to say it. And I went to the creators and I said, I just feel so strongly that she should have more personality and that can we just improv a couple of these scenes and can we make her priorities a little bit different?

And they were like, yeah, absolutely. And they were allowed me to bring everything to the table. [00:20:00] And I think it's the best thing I could have done for myself as an 11 year old girl to say like, see, there you are.

Liz Tenety: Have you talked to your own daughters about that?

Kristen Bell: Not really, no. I don't think they know. I think that I haven't.Maybe they would understand it.

Liz Tenety: You might get this a lot, but like I hear your voice in my head singing songs at three o'clock in the morning a lot. There's just so catchy.

Kristen Bell: I know. That's not my fault. That's Bobby and Kristen.

Liz Tenety: and I mean, it's amazing. Do you feel pressure from playing this iconic role in people's childhoods?

Kristen Bell: No. Why would I feel pressure? I feel nothing, but I mean, maybe it's just cause I'm an optimist, but that's not pressure to me. That's just. Exciting to have had a hand plus, like it's not just me. I don't have ownership over that role. Like every time I see someone play Ana, if it's like in a show [00:21:00] or, um, you know, live at Disneyland or something like that, I just feel like, I don't.

Own that role there. I had a hand in shaping something, but it's now allowed to be everyone else's the same way as like nobody owns the role of Maggie and you know, cat on a hot tin roof. You can bring different things to it, but I am very proud of the way I shaped it and the dimensions that I gave her and I feel nothing but pride when I think about it.

Liz Tenety: I mean, one of the unique aspects of frozen as well as is the power of female relationships. What does it meant to you to be able to represent that.

Kristen Bell: That was pretty important because it was, you know, everybody tries to make a different statement with every sort of film that they make. And, um, there had been a lot of representation in cartoons about a girl wanting to dominate like the boys and then she could play with the boys and great, but what about one that sorta didn't even involve the boys?

Like maybe, and [00:22:00] not to leave the boys out, but what if there was one here's what we discuss, like behind the scenes is. Romantic love is one type of love. But there are, I think in total there's like seven different types of love. And you know, one being self-love, which dare I say is the most important, that you can't really have any other types to a really thorough degree unless you have self-love.

And familial love is another really important one. And if you don't have those as a basis, how are you supposed to find romantic love? So. Really, this movie was just about the two that come before romantic love. It wasn't saying, forget all the boys. Romantic love sucks. It wasn't saying that at all. It was just saying we're showing a different side of loves because there are so many different sides.

And one thing I was intensely proud of is the way that our creators, um, and the whole team represented romantic love in the second movie. Because if you've seen it, there are two of my favorite lines are. [00:23:00] When Christophe rescues Ana, when the giants are chasing her. And the first thing he says to her is, I'm here.

What do you need? He doesn't say, stand back. I've got this. Like he says, I'm here. What do you need? He asks her cause he knows she's capable. Um, cause he's like a feminist and he believes in equal rights. Um, and also towards the end when she apologizes to him and he says, it's okay, my love is not fragile.

And I was like, I couldn't ask for a better representation for boys,

Liz Tenety: for them to be able to see that 2% right. Not just girls, you know, saving the day, but, but for men to men and boys to see that.

Kristen Bell: Yeah. And his whole song, Jonathan's whole song is, you know, they, they, they have this huge power ballot about him feeling big feelings, which was, that was on purpose.

That was to show a man feeling huge lovesick feelings. Cause you just, you don't see that everywhere.

Liz Tenety: You mentioned how do the next right thing is, is really a core [00:24:00] value of yours and stems from your experience of anxiety. That is such a easy mantra to repeat to yourself, but like so, so hard to live. What does it meant to you to have that kind of be at the core of what this movie is all about?

Kristen Bell: Well, I'll do you one step deeper that, um, is a more intense story. But, so it started with the kernel of that idea of me saying, I really want, I sat down with Jen Lee, the writer, and she said, what do you want on a to sort of face? And I said, I really like to see her deal with her codependency, you know, um, and what she does when no one else.

Is around and the do the next right thing had sort of been a mantra for me, but it also resonated intensely with the entire team because right after frozen one, we had two people that were very, very high up and close on our creative team that we worked with that lost children and we [00:25:00] watched them come to work.

Every single day and just do the next right thing and for almost everyone involved in that. There's a couple people that don't have kids, but they're not heartless, so they can understand what that would be like or at least try and grasp it. Nobody could understand how they could handle that. One of them was our director, Chris buck, lost his son the day of our first press tour for Rosen one, and to think how.

They came to work every day and just put one foot in front of the other. This song took on an entirely new meaning, and when Bobby and Kristin, um, Lopez wrote it, they wrote it with the intent of what do you do when there is literally nothing to do when you have no idea what to do. Um, so it's been a huge.

That song is really meaningful to everyone on the [00:26:00] team because there is no right answer. You just have to do it, and it means something different to everyone. Um, for me, what I can relate to is the anxiety, depression portion of it, which is you just get out of bed in the morning and then you just brush your teeth and then you just put your jeans on and then you just take your kids to school.

And I would imagine it's. Similar in the face of any grief, but I can imagine the depths if it were about losing a child.

Liz Tenety: Thank you for sharing that story. Yeah. Um, I want to talk about this whole other adventure that you've taken in professionally with hello Bello. Um. Why did you and Dax decide this was the next career adventure for you guys?

Kristen Bell: Well, when we had kids, we decided to do this. I'm keenly aware of how luxurious it is to be able to go to a fancy LA boutique and buy premium baby care products and not look at the price. We grew up in Michigan where we were both on a really strict budget with our families and there [00:27:00] was not a ton of money and that's never lost on us. Like we are, we are so frugal. It's crazy. And, um, when we spend money and we don't have to worry about it, it's astounding. And it's, I also, you know, I work with baby to baby and good plus who work with a lot of kids that live on or below the poverty line and provide them with basic necessities.

And I know a lot of these stories firsthand of people who just are like, Oh, I literally can't afford the number of diapers I need and I have to ring this one out and dry it out and then reuse it. Otherwise we don't eat. And I just find that so unacceptable. And there's a lot of people doing really great work in the baby care space to make safe, effective products for kids that are also helpful to the environment.

And, um, we just saw a little bit of a gap in the accessibility and the price point. So we said, okay, how do we take the great work that we've figured out. In the baby care space or the that the baby care space has figured out, which is like what ingredients to pull out. You know, what's safe. [00:28:00] And then how do we make it accessible and at a price point that our friends in Michigan can buy.

Cause some people can't buy a $12 bottle of shampoo. It's like not possible to budget that. And I get it. I get that.

Liz Tenety: But you shouldn't have to use products that are not good for your child.

Kristen Bell: 100% no, you should have access to everything and you should be able to say to decide. So we partnered with Walmart who gave us incredible economy of scale, and we like to say that it's your mom's ingredients at your dad's prices, because that is literally how.

That's how it is. Like I chose what was in it, it needs to be a lower price. Um, and we basically just wanted to also create a community that talked about the silliness and gross stuff and joys of parenting in a more candid, honest way. So we were like, we want the words to be on the diaper package… we want the word booger to be on the white package.

We want to say the things that are real and we want messages on the bottle because we're storytellers. Right? That's what we [00:29:00] do. I mean, I don't like work with tinctures at my house. We went to science people who knew how to do that, but we were like, I don't want a bottle that looks like the cleanest thing in my nursery.

Because my nursery's covered in avocado and toothpaste. So I want the bottle to be fun and funky and colored and like shapes that aren't symmetrical. And so I don't feel less than when I look at this bottle, I don't want it to be pure white or baby pale pink, like that's not us. And I want there to be pledges on the back.

What are we committed to? Like we've a parenting pledge on the back of like. We are here to celebrate life's joys and messes with you. We are here to be part of your village and we try to do everything with hello bello with that in mind. And the other great thing is that we entered into this saying very clearly to all of our partners, we don't need another paycheck.

So if we're going to do this and we're going to talk about this company, we are going to be the decision makers and we are going to do it [00:30:00] correctly. And this is not a company that's going to try to make the maximum amount of profit because that's not why we're starting it. So we want it to be a for good company.

Um, and every time I want to give away diapers, they always say yes, which is great. We've given away over a million diapers in our first year. To over 70 different organizations that I believe in. Um, and to celebrate the, well, we also, this fall installed a first responders discount cause I was like, you hear so, I mean I live in LA, the firefighters are everywhere and they risk their lives and I'm like, those people should be getting the discounts everywhere.

Why do I get sent free stuff? That's ridiculous. And it's a firefighter. It's like there's just so many backwards things and we work to, you know. Even it out a little bit.

Liz Tenety: So you have, um, like a special announcement for your first birthday. Can you tell our listeners about that?

Kristen Bell: Sure. Well, we're turning one and we, um, as a baby care company that [00:31:00] turns one, we were like, Hmm, let's maybe look into some holes in the market in the kids space. We have a kid's line coming out that's got some new sense that the older kids might like. We also have like slated this year, we have training bands coming out. We have overnights coming out and like things that we really feel like are hitting the mark for older kids and moving a little bit more into other kids' space.

But for our year anniversary, we decided what can we best do to give back to parents in a, in a practical, tactile way. And I was like, Oh, well, we just give them stuff… that's like, duh. How do we do that? So for our year anniversary, we are giving away a bundle of diapers to new and expecting parents in North America, and you just, you sign up on hello bello.com.

You can pay a dollar in shipping and then we send you a 35 pack of diapers. So, it's not a sample. I want to be really clear about that because I was really clear with our company. It's not a sample. It's an entire week's worth of diapers

Liz Tenety: for your [00:32:00] using

Kristen Bell: on us to just say like. We're all in this village. We hope to lighten your load a little bit.

Liz Tenety: I love that. Um, so we have, um, we have movies, we have, hello Bello. You have a book coming out as well. Um, what, what is on the horizon for you?

Kristen Bell: Well, the book, I'm very excited about the, that'll be my next thing that comes out in June, so that'll probably be. The next time that I'm seen publicly doing, you know, promotion about it. But, um, it came out of an idea that my friend Ben and I had where we were realizing that our kids were absorbing even subconsciously all these conversations that were divisive and about people's differences, even at our dinner tables. Well, I believe this. Well, he believes this. Well, she's different because of this.

And we thought, oh my gosh, don't we need, a book that reminds, do we need something that reminds kids of the ways that we're similar? Because there's like. So many ways. We're all similar as human beings and like very few ways we're different,

Liz Tenety: but we always talk about the differences.

[00:33:00] Kristen Bell: 100% yeah. So it's called the world needs more purple people.

And I'll let you deduce what that title can mean, but it is exactly what it says. It's about the… we chose like the five things that we felt like everyone could agree on. Like that hard work is important, that laughter is important and we kind of, um, it's a reminder to kids and adults that there are a lot more things that make us similar.

Liz Tenety: At Motherly, we believe that motherhood gives us incredible super powers. And I know for me, I didn't even know some of these powers were in there until I became a mother. So I'm wondering for you, what do you think your super powers are?

Kristen Bell: Oh my… I would say my emotional gut reaction. Is one of my superpowers.

My emotional gut reactions are very strong about people, about the way that I should handle people tenderly, even in situations where I'm going against the [00:34:00] grain of like, hold on, we should speak more gently to this person because I'm getting a vibe that's, that's off here. Um, plus because I just think we'll have a better outcome.

Um, I realized I've had maternal instincts my entire life, and I never labeled them as that, but I will. I mean, at one point I'm going to get a little back tattoo that says there's no such thing as other people's children because there's just not, I mean, I believe it to my core because everyone you pass on the street was celebrated when they were born.

Even if it was just for a minute, even if it was just for the first time, they made eye contact with their mom or the first time that a cigar was lit for them and they said, it's a boy or it's a girl. We're all here and we're all in the same boat, and somehow as we grow up, we forget about one another and we forget about that.

And I think that my emotional gut reaction to be incredibly maternal towards everyone is something that I've really grown to celebrate.

Liz Tenety: I love that, and it's a really beautiful [00:35:00] way to end this conversation. Thank you so much, Kristen bell for joining us on the Motherly podcasts.

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Hosted by Liz Tenety

Liz is an award-winning journalist and editor, and the co-founder of Motherly. A former Washington Post editor, she thrives on all things digital community + social media strategy. She's passionate about helping to provide women with more support, (and way less judgment), on the journey through motherhood. This podcast is an extension of her commitment to hosting honest conversations about modern motherhood. Liz resides outside NYC with her husband, two sons, one daughter and one amazing au pair.

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