The co-host of the new daytime talk show, The Talk, opens up about being a mom and admits “No one tells you how difficult it is! I’m here to tell you it is very, very difficult!” Can you relate, HollyMoms?
She may be best known as a former Dancing With the Stars contestant or as a new co-host on The Talk, a CBS chat fest for moms that premieres today (Oct. 18), but Marissa Jaret Winokur is most proud of her role as mom to son Zev, 2. “It’s the hardest, most gratifying challenge of my life,” confesses Marissa, who admits she had a Mommy Life Crisis when she became a mother (via a surrogate) and thought it was a good day if she managed to change out of her sweats!
Your talk show, The Talk (with co-hosts Sharon Osbourne, Leah Remini, Sara Gilbert, Holly Robinson Peete and Julie Chen) is like The View for moms.
Yes, and I hope it’s as successful too! Being a mom really affects how you see the world. I may be an actress, but I’m still going through play dates and doing diaper changes in my car’s trunk. What’s really great about the show is that it’s true and honest about what it’s like to be a parent. I always heard before I had a child how great it was going to be. But no one told me how hard it was going to be. The first few months, OK nine. The first nine months of motherhood suck. On the show, we won’t be sugarcoating anything — believe me!
Who would be your dream guest for the show?
I know Leah is friends with Jennifer Lopez and I’m a huge fan so I would love to have her on the show [Ed. — J. Lo is a guest on Tuesday’s show]. I’d also love to have a dear friend of mine, Matthew Morrison, who is the teacher Mr. Schuster on Glee. I have to try to figure out a way I can use him on the show even though he’s not a dad.
Would you ever want to return the favor and guest on Glee?
Of course I would! Everyone’s like, “Are you campaigning to be on Glee?” and I’m like, “I don’t even think it’s worth campaigning — everyone wants to be on Glee.” Any smart actor would want to be on that show.
You were on DWTS right before your son was born. Did any of your DWTS co-stars give you good parenting advice?
They all gave me great advice, but my mom gave me the best. She basically told me to keep my sense of humor about me. When things are just a mess, try to find a way to laugh about it, otherwise you’re going to cry about it (which I did plenty of too!). But other people had said to me, the minute you pick up your son, you’re going to fall in love and you’re just going to know what to do. Truly, I didn’t know what to do. I was a total mess. I thank God I had a wonderful husband who kept me in check because I cried so much that first six months. I was so overwhelmed.
How did your life change when you became a mom?
It changed completely. My schedule is all about him. I have no control over my days anymore. My wardrobe changed quite a bit. My uniform has become a sweatshirt. If it’s clean, great. If it’s not, I don’t really care. I definitely shower less.
I still love my career, but the minute I had my son, I became less focused on conquering the world the way I used to be. Now I just want to conquer sleep training.
Do you see yourself in your son yet?
Oh, yes. He doesn’t shut up! And if he doesn’t have anything to say, he’ll just be like, “Mama, mama, mama” to the point where I stop responding because then he’d do it all day long. He’s exactly like me. His inner voice is his outer voice. Everything he sees, he says.
You’ve been very open about using a surrogate to have Zev because of your past cervical cancer. Do you plan on having more kids?
I am one of four and my siblings are my closest friends, so I definitely want Zev to have a brother or sister. I don’t know if we’ll use a surrogate again or adopt — we’re discussing every option right now and trying to figure out what will work best for our family. I’m excited to have another 2-year-old, but I’m not excited to have another infant!
You’ve said that you went through a Mommy Life Crisis a few months back. What was that like?
About six months ago, I looked at myself and thought, I’ve had the same haircut for 30 years. I was at a point where I wasn’t taking care of myself. Every second was for my son. I was the woman who turned her tank top inside out and then said, “It’s clean!” and put it back on. I was so tired and had such sleep deprivation that I wasn’t taking care of myself. One day I went to the salon and said, “Let’s go blond!” Everybody thought I was crazy but I just needed to do something drastic for myself so I could feel pretty again. It had nothing to do with being a blond. It had more to do with wanting to look polished and grown up. It changed the way I dressed even for Mommy and Me classes. I thought, I could put on mascara and look pretty. I can wear clean clothes. I don’t just have to go in my pajama bottoms!