Ellie Kemper: ‘I would imagine all parents feel guilty most of the time’

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The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star, Ellie Kemper, is promoting the show’s fourth season and a new Sonic campaign she is doing with her co-star, Jane Krakowski. Ellie is mom to a 19-month old baby boy named James. Can you believe he’s almost two already? I feel like his birth was announced last month. Ellie has been pretty low-key about her son and being a mom. I imagine that has a lot to do with the fact that parenthood doesn’t feature very prominently on her show. However, Us got her to talk about how she’s treading through motherhood and like most of us, it’s hit and miss.

Ellie Kemper is an open book! The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star, 37, talked about the challenges of raising her 19-month-son James, whom she shares with husband Michael Koman, while juggling her busy career.

“I’m new to this, but I would imagine all parents feel guilty most of the time,” the Bridesmaids actress explained. “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. I am a dinosaur and I’m not on social media.”

While she tries her best to prepare meals for her son in her off time, The Office alum says cooking isn’t exactly her specialty.

“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 explained. “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,’” she joked.

[From Us]

I agree – all parents find something to feel guilty about. We probably feel a degree of guilt in all our relationships but since there is so much competition among parents, it stands out more. I know social media feeds my neuroses, specifically Facebook. For me, it’s exactly like Ellie said, “Occasionally I will wonder, ‘How is that mom doing everything and apparently doing it really well?’” I’ve admitted to a thin skin about this before so guess what? I stay off my personal page on FB now. I visit every once in a while to wish happy birthdays and like some posts until I start feeling bad and then I jump off. It’s made all the difference in the world. I’m not trying to sound self-righteous, but explaining how bad it got for me.

I posted the part about her cooking because I really think meal prep is the number one battle ground in the Mommy Wars. I’m okay in the kitchen but like Ellie, I have a timing problem I can’t ever seem to fix. My current string of failures is from not reading the recipe thoroughly and missing the marinade time I didn’t account for. Of course, when that happens, and I don’t have time to make dinner properly, I have to order it. So maybe it’s a subconscious omission.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is back in May. I’m looking forward to it because I think Ellie is funny in that role. Plus I adore Titus Burgess. Seriously, I could watch him read the phone book.

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Photo credit: WENN Photos

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13 Responses to “Ellie Kemper: ‘I would imagine all parents feel guilty most of the time’”

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  1. SLP says:

    Yep, I am the same way—can’t do meal prep. It’s like my brain shuts down. Glad I’m not the only one. But man I know how to use all of the meal ordering services!

  2. Hh says:

    Do all parents feel like this? Or mostly mothers? I think there is a reason why the “mommy wars” is a thing, but I haven’t heard of anything for fathers. I think there’s a reason why the “dad bod” is an endearing, funny thing, but moms—you know the ones that actually carried the child—are under pressure to “bounce back.” Sorry, the disproportionate pressure faced by women just grinds my gears sometimes. I can’t believe we’re still fighting these battles.

    • Sera says:

      Right? I feel like as long as magazines have covers with the words “so and so shows off her post- baby body!” And “First post – baby body pics!” it just speaks volumes to what our culture values . Sigh .

    • Baby Jane says:

      Dad Wars = Little League games

  3. Jess says:

    I watched my niece and nephew for an entire weekend once (7 and 3 years old respectively). By the end of it, I was just caving to their whims and praying for my sister to rescue me!! Moms really need to be easier on themselves and nicer to each other; kids are SO MUCH WORK!! Love and respect to all of you because I know I couldn’t do it lol

    • Betsy says:

      To be fair, I find coming in blind to other people’s kids to be a lot harder than parenting my own. When I expressed fear in my first pregnancy about my general feeling of child ignorance, a colleague wisely said you only have to know your own kids. And it’s true.

  4. hkk says:

    Ha! I feel exactly the same about Titus. Put him in ANYTHING and I will watch it.

  5. Ytbtet says:

    She has a vibrancy about her.,. She seems so mentally healthy

  6. Lucy says:

    She’s 37! I thought she was in her late 20′s. Huh.

  7. Gisele says:

    Timing has to be learned. It’s tricky. The first time I cooked a holiday dinner it was a disaster. We didn’t eat until 9 at night. Kid’s were crying. People were drunk because I ruined the appetizers and I was serving them chips. Half of the side dishes were burned or underdone because they cooked at different temps and I got desperate and shoved them all in at once. That was 20 years ago and I have it down now, but I felt like I was completely inept and no one at the dinner was any better at cooking than I was, so they couldn’t really help. I was an exhausted, new, breast feeding Mother too, so that added fun to the mix. I wanted to be Martha Stewart and instead was lucky I didn’t poison anyone. The pressure, guilt and embarrassment I felt was overwhelming.

  8. Betsy says:

    Develop a recipe stable is all I can say. I have foods that eight years into cooking I can make more or less with my eyes closed, and since I am not a natural cook or a great timer, I pick forgiving sides.

    Love Ellie Kemper.

  9. AMA1977 says:

    To anyone who struggles with timing issues when cooking: make a timeline! An actual, physical, on-paper timeline. Start with when you want to serve and work backwards. I still do that with holiday meals just to plot out what has to go where, when, and to have an idea of what can get shifted if needed, and I have a culinary degree and was a chef.

    It really helps to see it on paper. That way you know if dinner is at 6:30 and the chicken takes 45 minutes to cook, and you’ve got to season it and get it in the pan, you need to start working at 5:30. It takes the mystery out a little bit. Also, remember that most things (veggies, rice/potatoes, etc.) can sit for 10-15 minutes while you finish the rest up as long as they’re covered and not in a draft. PSA over! :)

  10. whyhanie says:

    Meal prep saved me. I’m not a fan of thinking what to eat every.single.day
    hahaha
    so yep. I do meal prep. I plan a menu for a week based on what I have and my non-ability to cook. Then do my meal prep on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday night. Sometimes I just make extra portions and freeze them and thaw it when I’m busy.