There’s just something about Kristen Bell that makes you want to be friends with her. She just seems so real (and so funny). Add her talented, honest, and also hilarious husband Dax Shepard to her persona and you’ve got my easy answer to who I’d want to sit next to at a dinner party.
Since Bell became a mom in 2013, she’s entertained fans and fellow moms with her relatable parenting quips and stories. Her mom hacks make headlines and her “Momsplaining” segments on The Ellen Show make us laugh. Both highlight how Bell embraces and contributes to our collective motherhood tribe. She even recently won the 2020 #SeeHer Award, which recognizes women who “push boundaries on changing stereotypes and acknowledge the importance of authentic portrayals of women across the entertainment landscape.”
In addition, I personally admire her fierce protection of her kids’ privacy, her refreshingly honest talk about the work of marriage, and her business and philanthropic ventures. In my opinion, she’s indisputably likable. In fact, in researching and writing this article, I actually googled the sentence, “Does anyone dislike Kristen Bell?” And the top result was a satirical Buzzfeed article about how awful she is (hint: she really is that great).
So what, specifically, have I taken away from the life she so candidly shares with the world? Here are a few motherhood lessons I’ve learned from Kristen Bell.
1. Embrace the Quirks in Your Kids
Kristen Bell often talks about growing up as a weird, goofy, and quirky kid. As she grew, she learned she could hone these unique traits into a strength. As she said in one interview, “The theater loves weirdos!”
Sometimes when you have a kid who’s a little bit different, especially when they enter school, part of you wants them to conform because you know it will be an easier path for them. It’s a tough juxtaposition between awe over how they stand out and worry about how they’ll fit in. By embracing their unique passions and their quirks, we might just help them become the person they’re meant to be.
2. Vulnerability Creates Connection
I think vulnerability is at the core of why Bell is so likable. In the celebrity-perfect world, Bell isn’t afraid to share pics of herself (or her husband) with under-eye beauty patches or delve into her own struggles with anxiety and depression.
While very protective of her children’s privacy, she and her husband are extremely open about their marriage as a constant work in progress. They’ve recounted blowout fights, shared stories from therapy, and openly celebrated Shepherd’s sobriety milestones. She embodies the “Celebrities—they’re just like us!” headlines from the pages of Us Weekly.
Being more authentic and open with the world probably offers a little more protection from the scrutiny and scandal that plague so many celebs. Applied more broadly to marriage and motherhood, sharing our own struggles, whether with the world or with our partner, helps us be more authentically ourselves in our relationships. It’s refreshing and comforting to know we’re not alone. Plus, it makes it easier to ask for help when we need it.
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To the man mocked me in our wedding photos because I cried too many tears of joy, Who wore a baby Bjorn for 2 straight years to show his girls how to be as adventurous as possible, Who held our dear little shakey mann pup for 8 hrs straight on the day we had to put him down, I know how much you loved using. I know how much it got in your way. And I know, because I saw, how hard you worked to live without it. I will forever be in awe of your dedication, and the level of fierce moral inventory you perform on yourself, like an emotional surgery, every single night. You never fail to make amends, or say sorry when its needed. You are always available to guide me, and all of our friends, with open ears and tough love when its needed most. You have become the fertilizer in the garden of our life, encouraging everyone to grow. I'm so proud that you have never been ashamed of your story, but instead shared it widely, with the hope it might inspire someone else to become the best version of themselves. You have certainly inspired me to do so. I love you more than I ever thought I could love anyone, and I want you to know, I see you. I see how hard you work. You set an excellent example of being human. Happy 14th year sobriety birthday, @daxshepard. Xoxo
3. Teach Values by Action
Bell and Shepard never forget where they came from. In interviews, they both refer to their family and childhoods back in Michigan. They started their baby product company, Hello Bello, with their Midwestern families in mind to make organic baby products more accessible to all. Yes, they’re building a business, but they’re doing it with a clear purpose that reflects their family values.
And it’s not their only venture. Bell has a reputation for using her platform and popularity for good. And she doesn’t call it in. She and her husband waited to get married until gay marriage was legalized. She showed up at hurricane shelters to help and entertain. She’s honored deserving teachers, rewarded struggling families, and has supported a variety of charities. She’s shared in interviews that “Acts of Service” is her love language and has shown love for a lot of people. Her other motivation she joked via Instagram, “It’s really all selfish because it makes me feel great.”
Now most of us don’t have the status or income to match Bell’s scale in giving back, but we can still make smaller impacts by showing up. Finding purpose in our work, giving back when we can, and standing up for our beliefs can teach our kids a lot. Plus, simply showing up for our children is one of the greatest demonstrations of love we can give to them.
4. Reframe What Success Looks Like
When asked in an interview whether Frozen 2 and her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame were yet more signs that she’s “made it,” Bell answered that, while proud of the movie’s success, she was proud of so much more. She enjoyed the process of creating the character and the potential impact of the movie to both entertain and expose people to an evolved version of the Disney princess story.
Additionally, she’s talked about the health and happiness of her family as being the true measure of success—a sentiment we can certainly all relate to.
Read More: 6 Motherhood Lessons I’ve Learned From Oprah