A very pregnant Tamera Mowry talks to Yahoo Parenting about parenthood. (Photo: Jennifer Graylock/Getty Images for BAND-AID and NEOSPORIN)
Tamera Mowry – fondly associated to me as one of the bubbly sisters in the sitcom Sister, Sister, a show I grew up watching in the '90s – sits down with Yahoo Parenting for an interview covering everything from nursing to pregnancy cravings to finally accepting her husband’s help and making “me time.” Dressed in a flattering, fitted, color-block sheath dress, Mowry admits, “I tried to be supermom and wear Louboutins, but I’m in flats.” And for good reason: The Real talk show host, who has a 2-year-son, Aden, with husband Adam Housley, is expecting a baby girl in July.
YP: Any advice for busy, working moms, like yourself?
TM: I don’t think you’re ever going to find the perfect balance. Knowing that, you get along with your day a little bit better. Some days you’re going to be amazing, but others you’ll fail miserably — and that’s OK. Things that help me breathe: Prioritize things that are important to you and your family. Another thing — and this is huge (I was never this person before I became a mom ): organization is key. Organize your mind and your house and then when everything around you is chaos, you have something that you have control over.
Mowry, her son Aden, and husband, Adam, are all smiles at her April 4 baby shower. (Photo: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage)
YP: What’s your childcare situation like?
TM: It takes a village. It was very hard for me to admit this in the beginning. I wanted all the control. I didn’t even want help from my husband. Adam was like, Can I help? The moment you accept help, you find yourself happier. A child will benefit from a happy mom, not an exhausted one. Aden also just started preschool.
YP: How was Aden’s transition to preschool? My son was super clingy at first.
TM: I always say, do it gradually. He goes two days a week from 8:30 am to noon. By the time he gets home, he’s ready for naptime. It was fun and exciting for him and he’s really enjoying it. But it was a huge adjustment for him. You go from getting everything you want at home to being with other kids and suddenly having to share toys and sit down for storytime.
YP: How would you describe your parenting style?
TM: I’m mixed, but very traditional. I’m not a helicopter mom. I allow my son to have his space and be independent. I’m an old school mom — he can play in the dirt and the sand. Playtime is huge for my family. It’s important for him to get dirty, be curious, creative, and play with other kids. I sit back and watch him. But kids will be kids on the playground, a little aggressive. So the moment I see something, or he gets hurt, that’s when I come in.
Tamera Mowry (left) and Tia Mowry pose with sons Aden Housley (left) and Cree Hardrict at Tamera Mowry-Housley’s baby shower at Casa Del Mar on April 4 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage)
YP: Tell me about your twin sister, Tia, and the relationship Aden has with her son, Cree.
TM: We are both very busy, but we always try to make time for our sons to get together. We live about 20 minutes away [from each other]. The cousins are so close. It’s so beautiful to see. The love they have for each other is unexplainable and it’s something that happened naturally. It resonates and spreads to everyone in the room. They will be partners in crime (laughs).
YP: The event [we’re speaking at], sponsored by Band-Aid, Neosporin and KaBOOM!, highlights the importance of play. Tell me about playtime when you were a kid and how it translated to playing at home with your son.
TM: When I was a kid, my mom only let me watch two hours of TV a week. And I was like, mom! I’m an actress. But not having access to TV got me outside, being social and reading. My sister and brother and I made up games that forced us to be creative while having fun. One of our favorites was playing supermarket and checking out groceries.
My son is in the holy-crap-toddler-phase and we gotta get him outside. He loves playing baseball and gardening. We also have music time. Aden loves to play the guitar. He sings, too, making up his own songs. Seeing him create his own songs makes me feel good — it shows me how important playtime is. Play teaches caring, sharing — my son’s curiosity is always on high and I know that will help him in his everyday life going forward.
YP: Toddlers and playtime can equal boo-boos. How do you handle that?
TM: I freak out! Aden looks at me like I’m crazy. I always keep a first aid kit in the diaper bag. I love Neo To Go because it’s a quick spray application and helps prevent infection and scarring, plus relieves pain. My son isn’t a fan of keeping a Band-Aid on, but one of his favorite shows is Disney’s Jake and the Never Land Pirates, so I always keep themed Band-Aids around. He keeps those on!
YP: [You’re a] model, actress, talk show host, and now an author! Tell me about [your book], Twintuition: Double Vision.
TM: A lot of our fans grew up with us and they have kids now, so we thought why not extend this book to them. Plus, as parents, we realize the importance of reading. Reading to your child from a very young age helps all across the board. Tia and I have always been able to sense what the other is thinking. So, the characters in our book, Cassie (me) and Caityln (Tia), have a special gift too: premonition, the ability to sense the future and change it. The takeaway is of course sisterhood. You have two different girls with different perspectives. The universal message, however, is you don’t have to shy away from someone with a different perspective – you work together.
YP: I love your candid talk show The Real. So let’s get real! Best thing about being a mom?
TM: Realizing that the love you have for your child is so big and deep, it actually hurts. I never realized I was capable of loving like that. Being a mother taught me the true definition of … unconditional love [more than marriage did]. It’s mama-bear love. It helped me change as a person for the better.
YP: What is parenting with your husband, Adam, like?
TM: We are a team. There is no benefit of having good cop/bad cop. We try to make sure we are on the same page. And I just got my husband to understand the importance of a schedule, because for some reason, men don’t get it. Adam will be like, well when I’m hungry, he’ll eat. When I’m tired, he’ll sleep. And I’m like, no no no! You gotta get ahead of the tantrum and the meltdown. If there’s a meltdown, it’s usually because Aden is tired and hungry. He needs to nap and eat when he’s supposed to.
YP: Pregnancy cravings this time around?
TM: Sweets, sweets, sweets, sweets! French fries. Milk. It’s so weird. I don’t even drink milk on a regular basis. Beer! (Makes sip-sip-sip sound). My husband has a beer and I’m like (laughs) damn you.
YP: Aden is 2, so does he realize a baby is on the way?
TM: He’s such a boy! He taps my belly and says, “baby!” I feel like he’s gonna be a great brother.
YP: Is Aden a mama’s boy or daddy’s guy?
TM: It switches. Right now, he’s all about his dad. When daddy walks out of the room, he has a meltdown. When it’s bedtime, he wants mommy. He associates daddy with playtime and it’s great to have a hands-on husband who knows the importance of play.
TM: Do what’s right for your family. Aden has a toddler bed and usually shows up in the night to snuggle with us and it’s OK. Tia has a family bed. She works very hard [filming Instant Mom] and considers co-sleeping with Cree their bonding time.
YP: Bottle or breast?
TM: I’m a breast girl. Again, do what’s right for you. My ultimate goal is [to] breastfeed for 2 years. I went for 7 months with Aden. I know a lot of working moms who can’t do it. And it’s OK. There’s a story behind every mom and family.
YP: Birth plan?
TM: Yeah, I had that! (Laughs) But be aware you might have to throw it out the window. I wanted a natural birth, no pain meds in a hospital, but eventually needed a C-section.
YP: A golden nugget of advice for moms?
TM: Make time for yourself.
YP: What is your me-time like?
TM: TiVo! I catch up on The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and I’m an Orange Is The New Black girl. (Crazy Eyes follows me on Twitter). I’ll do the spa, mani-ped thing when I have an event, but I prefer relaxing and watching TV.