Chrissy Teigen on Parenting, Fast Food and the Fourth Trimester
Chrissy Teigen is far from a wallflower. But she’s also not the enthusiastic center of attention you might have once pegged her for. In fact, these days, the only social scene she’s concerned with is the elementary school birthday circuit. As a busy mom, she’s quite content staying at home, planning crafts for her Girl Scouts’ troop and eating fast food. Parenting has certainly shifted Teigen’s perspective and made her more self-aware and less concerned with what others think. We talked to the TV personality and cookbook author about how life has changed since she welcomed her daughter Esti in January, and what advice she has for newbie parents in the throes of it. Here’s what she had to say.
The Bump: What are some ways you prepared for your respective birth experiences that helped you feel set up for success for the fourth trimester and beyond?
Chrissy Teigen: Honestly, with the first two, I didn’t read anything, I didn’t study anything, I didn’t go to any breathing classes. I was kind of coming from the idea of “people have been doing this for millions of years, I should be able to do it too.” So I pretty much did that. I went in knowing to expect the unexpected, and I didn’t really plan very much. I knew my hospital. I knew my room. I knew the doctors I wanted. Aside from that, I just had everything kind of come to me.
I did know that we wanted to bank cord blood and tissue with CBR—that was obvious. We’ve been doing it since Luna was born. I had a really trusted ob-gyn that just had asked me one day if I’d ever looked into it. And I love talking all things medicine, technology and science, and any kind of advancements in those fields… It’s such a little window that you have to be able to save and preserve this for them. Science is incredible now, and the things that we can do, the things that we can cure and the things that we can help treat—it’s really important to know about these options. So if I can be that person that’s bringing it to light and letting people know more about it, that makes me happy.
TB: So this is not your first experience in the fourth trimester. The postpartum phase is different from pregnancy to pregnancy and birth to birth. So tell me what has been your “rose, bud and thorn” in this most recent experience? What has been the highlight, the learning opportunity and the low point?
CT: The rose is definitely Esti as a person. And I’d say getting to see Luna and Miles as siblings—that’s really incredible. I mean, John cried—like sobbed. He didn’t cry for the births. But when he saw Luna and Miles being so good to her when we brought her home, his eyes filled with water immediately. So that’s my rose. The bud is a challenge I’m working on. I guess self-care. I probably don’t do enough of that. But it’s not like I really did a lot of that before. My therapist will ask, “What’s something that makes you happy? Just you.” And I’ll say, “Making my kids happy and making my family happy.” And he’s like, “No, no. We’ve got to find something for you.” And I’m like, “No, if that brings me happiness, doesn’t that count for something?” So, yeah, I’m working on the self-care thing. And then the thorn I would say is probably the c-section in general and the recovery from the c-section. That’s been interesting. Normally, any thorns for the other births would’ve been like breastfeeding and stuff, but I just feel so seasoned now that I’m not even stressed about the breastfeeding thing. It’s just the c-section was like a whole new ballgame. It was way harder than I thought it’d be.
TB: What’s been the biggest learning curve in your parenting journey? And what’s been the biggest surprise welcoming Esti into your family?
CT: I was just shocked at how easy the baby is and how hard the other two would be. The baby is the easiest part of our life right now. She’s very scheduled. She just needs love and kisses. Miles and Luna are at the age where they’re very complex right now. They’re moody, then they’re happy. They’re madly in love with her, but they’re very competitive with each other. They want attention, and they want to feel like we’re always listening to them. So we’re running through hoops all the time trying to make sure they feel like they’re still so important, because they are. Keeping up with them is way harder than anything baby-related.
TB: Walk me through what a lazy Sunday looks like now for your family.
CT: We love Sundays. Saturday is crazy because Saturdays are T-ball and sports and stuff. A few weeks ago, Sundays would’ve been just cooking and football. Starting in the morning, John makes fried chicken and waffles and stuff. We usually have maybe one or two birthday parties that the kids have for a friend. It’s always just nice to get out of the house for us because we really don’t do it very often. But, of course, once you enter elementary school, you’re propelled into the party circuit… John and I usually cook together every Sunday night. Lately, he’s been loving making a full recipe from start to finish on his own. It’s a lot of reality TV, which is basically any other night, but Sundays are just a day for family.
TB: What does your ideal date night look like now? How are you getting quality couple time in and making it happen?
CT: We don’t have a lot of date nights. But I’ll say John loves a date night. Lately, the only thing we’ve been doing is going to this restaurant called Chain here in Los Angeles, which is this incredible concept from chef Tim Hollingsworth and B.J. Novak. They take your favorite fast food—and I’m a big fast-food eater. I have no shame in it. It’s not a guilty pleasure for me. I just love it. So they take your favorites, whether it’s the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese or something, and they turn it into a Michelin-star meal, basically. So they use wagyu and bone marrow, and they’ll have it as a pop-up location around Los Angeles. So John and I go on a double or triple date with our friends. And we try to hit it up every weekend. And that’s our date night because it’s fun. It’s casual… You don’t have to get so dolled up for things. I love that you can just go there, be yourself and literally play Mario Kart while you’re eating. It’s so cool. I love it. That’s our date night.
TB: What would you consider your parenting superpower?
CT: I can juggle a lot of things at once. I’m very good at throwing kid-friendly events. I’m a Girl Scout troop leader. I love creating those fun days. Maximizing those two hours is so fun to me, and getting to pair it with my love of food. I get to teach them something from the food world, or make a snack with them. Getting to teach them about compost, or getting to change their little brains, is so cool and so fun to me. And I really love putting together fun sleepover nights for my kids.
I’m perpetually stuck at age 14—and so I just have the mindset of knowing what kids are going to enjoy and have fun with. I really enjoy doing it. I love volunteering for their class parties and getting to make 25 cute little Halloween or Christmas snacks or whatever. That brings me such joy, and I have so much fun with it.
TB: What are your words of wisdom for first-time parents who are maybe struggling with the transition into parenthood?
CT: Don’t be too hard on yourself. There’s going to be all sorts of people that think they know exactly what you should do. There’s a million different ways to [parent]. And there’s a million different right ways to do it. Everyone’s going to have their opinion, and everyone’s going to say it with such conviction that you think they must be more right than you, but that’s not true. Everybody’s learning as they go. Everybody wants to do the best for their child, and you’re going to get it. And if you’re having a bad day, it’s going to get better. By contrast, if you’re having a great day, it might get bad, and then it’s going to get good again. You never know what to expect exactly. But just trust your gut, trust your instincts. Don’t let people shame you.
This is the first generation that’s big on making sure that our kids’ mental health comes first, and we’re really going to listen to them and provide for them in a way where they know they have complete control over their own bodies and their minds… Just love on them and teach them to be kind and loving and empathetic, and you’re good to go.
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