Busy Phillips talks co-parenting, social media rules

The busy Phillips talks co-parenting, social media and not being a “cool mom.” (Photo: Getty Images)

Welcome in So mini waysYahoo Life’s parenting series about the joys and challenges of raising children.

“You have to rely on a lot of people to take care of motherhood,” Busy Phillips tells Yahoo Life. “The term ‘it takes a village’ rings true, but we don’t live in villages anymore. You build your village with other “mothers” and not necessarily real mothers, she notes.

Phillips isn’t alone in her thoughts on motherhood. The Girls5Eva star worked with online supermarket Zulily, whose report on the state of motherhood revealed that 86% of parents who say a “mother” is someone who has an essential role in raising a child with care and love. For Phillips, her children Birdie, 14, and Cricket, 9, were raised in part by their beloved nanny, and the actress makes sure to honor her every Mother’s Day. She adds that it’s “really interesting to see who in my life has stepped up and taken on the role of mother” in her circle of family and friends, too.

“My childhood best friend, Emily, has been in my children’s lives since birth,” notes Phillips. “My sister was an aunt before she was a mother herself, and she was so dedicated to showing up for my kids. My friend Jen took on a really sweet motherly role with Birdie. I think that’s important: when kids become teenagers, they need other secure adults to lean on.”

That means lots of Mother’s Day gifts: For all those early shoppers, Zulily is launching a gift advisor for all moms between March 9 and April 18 that will allow anyone looking for gifts to give the moms in their lives to respond two questions and you’ll be prompted for curated events to help you find the perfect item. (As for what Philip likes about Mother’s Day, it’s time spent with his kids.)

One aspect of motherhood she enjoys being in charge of, however, is guiding some of the more difficult conversations. And as a mom raising kids in the age of social media, Phillips says she’s had plenty of chats with her kids about navigating the Internet landscape.

“The one thing I tell my kids is ‘once you see something, you can never unsee it,’ and that works well for us because my kids seem to fundamentally understand that concept,” she explains. “Both of my kids are part of the post-social media generation — they wouldn’t know anything else. For me, it’s changed in terms of my relationship with social media, in terms of how I share and what I share, but for my kids, it’s as much a part of teaching them about life as anything else.

She adds that there are some “hard and fast rules” about what they share on social media and what they don’t — just as “there are about life and privacy and how you show up every day as, hopefully, the best version of yourself . “

“Will you make mistakes? Of course, everyone makes mistakes,” she says of what happens if her kids slip up. “But will you double down and let those mistakes define you, or will you learn from them and move on?”

Phillips and her ex-husband Mark Silverstein use a “nesting” strategy when it comes to parenting, meaning her children don’t move households, but she and Silverstein do, taking turns coming to the family home and returning to separate dwellings. Still, Phillips knows there’s no way to have a standard set of house rules for her kids that will stick no matter which parent is in charge.

“I don’t think you can,” she explains. “Married, divorced – I have no idea if that has ever worked for anyone, ever. Kids are great at knowing which parent to go to when they want candy and which parent to go to when they need help with their math homework. We try to be consistent, but with the understanding that hey, maybe Mark’s had a hard day at work and he’s exhausted, so he lets them have more screen time — it is what it is. It’s part of being adaptable in parenting as you are in life.”

Phillips is also taking on a new role as a mother: she’ll play mother to brand new Regina George (The sex lives of college girls star Renee Rapp) in the upcoming film adaptation of Bad Girls musical. The role, which was created in the Amy Poehler film, famously stated that she was “not a regular mom” but a “cool mom.” Of course, notes Phillips, that’s a title you can’t really give yourself

“My kids don’t think I’m a cool mom,” she says. “My kids think I’m so shy and I’m so grateful for that… My kids like me well enough, I think, but they don’t think I’m cool. Although Birdie thought playing Renee Rapp’s mom was pretty cool – so I got one win this year.”

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