This Mom With Moxie Is Actress Ellie Kemper And She's Slowing Down For The Holidays

Ellie Kemper shared how she's planning to spend more real time with her family this holiday season.

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You undoubtedly love Ellie Kemper in something you've seen. Whether it was her arrival on The Office as Pam's cheerful replacement, her role in Bridesmaids, or the four hilarious seasons of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (or all of the above), Kemper has made a name for herself as a comedic actress. And, as she has taken on a new role as mom in recent years to her two young sons, we've cheered on all the moments she's stopped to keep it real about motherhood. In fact, we went so far as to name her one of the celebs we'd love to have as a real-life mom friend (you know, because we could totally have our pick!). 

Accordingly, when offered the opportunity to interview Kemper about her plans for the holidays, we couldn't say no. After all, how could we possibly pass up the opportunity to laugh alongside this awesome human? Kemper was kind enough to fill us in on all of her current projects — from partnering with HP to bring families together over the holidays to parenting young children and what's next for Kimmy Schmidt. She also taught us that screen time actually goes up for families during the holidays, which is something we definitely didn't realize but want to curb, too.

So, grab a cup of hot chocolate (or, let's be real, something a bit more caffeinated) and check out what Kemper had to share. And, if you can't be bothered to read, we saved you time by including video of the interview  — that way, you know, you can finish making dinner or attempt to fold some laundry as you listen!

Mabel + Moxie: We’re in a bit of denial, but the holidays seem to already be here — what are you up to this holiday season?

Ellie Kemper: I know, it came about so fast, I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week! I’ll be going to St. Louis two times over the holidays, both for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ll be traveling with two little kids — which is my first time traveling with two of them, so that will be an adventure. But my whole family is going to gather in St. Louis, which is my hometown, and I’m so looking forward to spending time together, and playing games together, and just being together as a family because we all live in different cities now so it’s rare to see each other all together. 

M+M: You have two sons, a three-year-old and two-month-old — is that right?

EK: Yeah, almost three months, we’ve almost hit that mark!

M+M: Okay, so before we ask you a little bit more about what you have going on workwise, we’re just curious, how’s it going with two kids?

EK: It’s a lot of umm... It’s a whole new experience, I’ll say that anyone who has any kids will know that it’s always an adjustment, so we’re not sleeping very much but, again, any parent knows that you don’t really sleep that much. But it’s a new moment in life! My friends keep reminding me that everything is a phase, so you know if the baby is screaming one night that won’t last forever, like everything in stages — which is a very positive way of thinking. 

M+M: We also have toddler-aged kids and we have to ask, does the word 'threenager' ring true for you?

EK: You know, thank you! I wasn’t sure if it was the arrival of the new baby or a new preschool or what but YES and I don’t understand where it came from. It’s sassy, it’s angry, it’s defiant and I am like what happened to how you used to be? So yeah, threenager, I get it!

M+M: Back to the holidays and screens, we know screen time goes up for most families over the holidays, what ideas do you have for families looking to spend more “real” time together?

EK: So I’ve partnered with HP on their campaign Get Real and HP has created over 250 hours of printable activities for families and friends to do together. So, it’s really easy to just sort of become lost in your phone and screen time jumps up over the holidays, like you said, so with this new project you can print out hours and hours of activities that don’t require any screens.

For example, I’ve collaborated with HP to create some snowflake stencils and you can do this, I’m by no means a master craft person and even I can do this, it’s great for kids of all ages — you know you have some sorts of simpler designs for kids who might not be as skilled with crayons (or me!) and it’s something that the whole family can do together. There’s games, there’s coloring, there’s puzzles, there’s a lot of Disney content on the site and it’s just nice to be able to be present in the moment because families aren’t always able to spend time together, so I think it’s nice that HP has created this opportunity to put down your phones and be present with one another. 

M+M: That’s awesome, we’ll definitely have to check it out. Speaking of work — Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is over after four amazing seasons – but we heard an interactive special is set to premiere in 2020. What can you share with us?

EK: Yeah, so we filmed this interactive special over the summer. It’s basically a choose your own adventure show and every five minutes or so the viewer can choose what he or she wants to see the characters do. If you want to see Titus take a nap or exercise on the treadmill, you can choose whichever one you want to do and you continue down that path. And, it’s such a cool way to tell a story and a couple of shows have already done this, but I think this is the first comedy to use interactivity and I’m excited to see the finished product — it will be out later in 2020. 

M+M: How fun, we can’t wait to check it out, too — before we let you go, two quick questions. First, what three words would you use to best describe motherhood, and second, where can our readers go for more info on everything you’ve got going on right now?

Yes, okay, three words to describe motherhood… umm, tired, joyful, frantic — at least for me — I’m a frantic person {laughter}.

Okay, and then you can visit HP.com/getreal for more activities and more information about the new campaign. 

M+M: Thanks again, Ellie, we love how you keep it real (and funny!) about motherhood, from everyone here at Mabel + Moxie, have a wonderful holiday season!

Senior Editor, Mabel + Moxie olivia.obryon@livingly.com
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