15 Lovely Parenting Quotes From Ellie Kemper

The actress and her husband, Michael Koman, have a son named James.
Kemper and her husband, Michael Koman, have a toddler son named James. 
Kemper and her husband, Michael Koman, have a toddler son named James. 

Ellie Kemper is very open about her parenting highs and lows.

The “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” star and her husband, Michael Koman, are parents to a toddler son named James. Since welcoming her baby boy in 2016 (and throughout her pregnancy), the actress has spoken about her experiences navigating motherhood ― from baptism to baby food to air travel.

In honor of her birthday, we’ve rounded up 15 relatable parenting quotes from Kemper.

On Being A New Mom

“Motherhood is crazy! Why didn’t anyone tell me? ... You have to [figure it all out]. It’s sink or swim.”

On Baby Photos

“He is the cutest baby on the planet. Now that I’m a mom, when I see a photo of any baby, I know ― even if I think the baby is just so-so ― you have to react like, ‘That’s the cutest baby I’ve ever seen!’ Because if anyone doesn’t have that response when they see a picture of James, I’d leave. It would cut!”

On Her Son’s Baptism

“He got baptized sort of later on, like in May. He was 10 months old, which I think is too big for the priest to be holding at that point. I was actually very nervous when the priest was holding him because I’m not sure priests are known for their, like, grit, so I was nervous he was going to drop him. But he didn’t drop him. [At 10 months,] they’re strong, they’re emotional, and they have opinions ... An hour after the baptism, I found James with a shard of glass in his hand! It was in my parents’ house ... He was miraculously unhurt. I don’t know if he was testing God. I don’t know what the point was, but I mean, he turned out OK. I don’t know if it was a sign.”

On Dealing With Strangers While Pregnant

“Now I’m showing, and I don’t know what goes through a person’s mind — a stranger’s mind no less — when they think, ‘Oh yes, your stomach is something that now belongs to me and I can touch it.’ It’s actually crazy. It was just odd. I’m not a very touchy-feely comfortable person so with someone touching me, I’m like ahh personal space violation. It was like touching my digestion. There was nothing quite there. In a way, I think it’s a nice reminder of humanity, but then I go quickly back to the idea that you wouldn’t do this if I weren’t pregnant.”

On Parenting Guilt

“I’m new to this, but I would imagine all parents feel guilty most of the time. 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. 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.”

On The Magic Of Babies

“Everything that a baby does, when it’s your baby, is amazing to you… He does something new every day that I never thought before that I would find completely fascinating. He looks at his hand and I’m like: ‘How is he understanding what his hand is?!’”

On Flying With A Baby

“Everyone kept saying, ‘Oh, it’s fine, people help, other passengers are really friendly and helpful when they see you with a baby.’ That is not true! I feel like humanity is at it’s worst when they see a lady with a baby on a plane. Everyone’s like averting their eyes. I was literally hauling the carseat up the aisle. Some older lady goes, ‘That looks hard!’ I’m like, ‘It is hard! Help me!’ ... James would not be calmed by anything. You know, you’re like a one-man show? “I was showing him like the seat belt buckle and like, the barf bag. Nothing would appease him until I noticed the airline magazine ― the cover of the magazine was the beautiful face of Allison Williams. Her gorgeous face delighted my child. It was the only thing that worked.”

On The Surprises Of Parenthood

“Everything is different from what I expected, because I, weirdly, only thought about being pregnant. I didn’t fully wrap my head around the fact that there would be a person at the end of it. I read endlessly about pregnancy and what to eat and what not to eat ... And then I sort of prepared not at all for the actual baby. So, every day I learn something new about how to take care of him and what he responds to ― and he’s changing every day.”

On Co-Parenting

“Spending time with the baby is a joy for both us of. I feel very lucky that my husband is such a good father. We’re very good at taking turns with chores, like diaper changing, etc., but also in terms of ― OK, let’s be honest, I still do most of the household stuff, ha-ha ― divvying up time [taking care of the baby]. That’s pretty evenly distributed between the two of us.”

On Reality Sinking In

“When you start feeling the baby kick, you realize there’s a person inside and that pregnancy is very different from having a person you’re responsible for, for the rest of your life. I don’t know what I’m doing, but then I have to remind myself no parent does, right?”

On How Motherhood Changed Her

“Ever since becoming a mother, I thought that I would become more mature with this greater responsibility. But in fact, I feel like I’m becoming a baby. I go to bed at 7:30, and usually I’ve eaten dinner by 5. And most of that is like, mushy food.”

On Expectations And Reality

“I’m a little disappointed in myself because before getting pregnant I resolved to do all these things during my pregnancy, to nurse a healthy pregnancy ― and I’m finding in these final weeks that, uh, I didn’t do any of them. Like, playing classical music to my kid, reading War and Peace to my kid.”

On Cooking For Her Son

“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. 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.’”

On Sleep

“The biggest surprise to me was the sleep deprivation. I had heard about it, but I did not understand how intense it was. It was very difficult because you can’t really operate ― or I can’t really operate ― on such fragmented sleep, but you have to.”

On The Perspective Parenting Brings

“Things take on different significance, in a good way. I think you’re forced to not think about yourself, which is great for me because I don’t like to think about myself. And now everything is put into perspective, which is healthy.”