For You and Your Family Just for Dads Just for Moms

Nicole Sullivan

Parenting advice from the hilarious MADtv comedian.

You may know the very funny Nicole Sullivan from her comedic stints on MADtv or King of Queens — or perhaps you’ve caught a glimpse of her incredible post-baby body. Yep, Nicole is also mom to boys Dashel Pierce, 2, and 6-and-a-half-month-old Beckett, with husband Jason Packham — and from what we can tell, she has one hell of a hysterical time doing it. —Andrea Zimmerman

What’s your parenting philosophy?

Don’t hover — it’s really important to raise independent children. And as little TV as possible. It turns them into monsters! Even the cute shows, [Dashel] watches a half hour, and all of a sudden, he’s picked up three things I don’t want him saying!

What are your kids allowed to watch?

It’s the best learning computer program. They have little skits, and it feels like he’s watching something, but it’s all about letters and spelling and sounding out words. I swear to God, he’s almost three, and he’s reading words.

If you could teach your child one life lesson, what would it be?

Not to leave your life or your happiness in other people’s hands. It’s up to you to make every day fun, good, and productive.

What shocked you the most about parenting?

Breast-feeding blows! (Laughs) I was like, “Wow! That hurts!” And I can’t believe how early I have to get up every day of my life. Sometimes, the baby’s up at 5:45 a.m., and I’m like, “Oh my God, this is inhuman.”

What’s off-limits in your house?

No hitting the animals. We’ve got four dogs, and I worry that if they treat one of them badly, they’ll turn on them. And no pulling the cats’ tails. The boys have to treat the animals with respect — with two of them, it could end badly if they turn up in a street fight. Boys versus the pets.

What’s it like being a mom in L.A.? I’m so used to walking out of rooms backwards so people don’t see my butt.

Gisele [Bundchen], [when she was pregnant] goes, “Oh, I just altered my clothes a little.” Oh, life is different for you Gisele. Really, [living in L.A.] is like living in a sea of Giseles. I didn’t want to be the mom wearing the winter parka by the pool.

When you were losing weight, was your oldest son old enough to tell any differences?

Sometimes his father will tell him to tell me nice things to put me in a good mood. But when we were shooting the bikini shot for People, he said, unprompted, “Oh, Mama, you look pretty!” That was nice to hear.

How did it feel to put on a bikini?

I’m so used to walking out of rooms backwards so people don’t see my butt. It was awesome.

If you could be any TV or movie parent, who would it be?

The mom from Malcolm in the Middle. She’s got a bunch of boys, and she has them all handled. No one pulls one over on her; she’s in control. That’s what I want. I want control over those boys.

What terrifies you most about raising boys?

I’m terrified of them jumping off roofs. [Then after that], I have to deal with them bringing little tattooed eighteen-year-old home, in those shorts you see at Abercrombie & Fitch. Like who fits into that? They look like baby clothes!

What is your biggest parenting challenge?

Consistency. When I say no to something, I can’t let [Dash] wear me down, because, boy, he’s good. He should work for the CIA. He negotiates. He says, “That’s a good idea, right, Mama?” and I’m like, “I guess. I guess it’s a good idea. Okay.” And next thing I know, he’s eating Smarties and watching Oswald. I’m like, “How did this happen?”

Does he have a good sense of humor?

He does comic bits already. He runs into things and “Oh, I’m just kidding.” Or he’ll go “Oww!!” and I’ll say, “Are you okay?” and he says, “Oh, I’m just kidding.”

Does that make you proud or completely terrify you?

Terrify! My husband and I are both smart-asses, and we’re just like, “Oh, God.” A whole house of sarcasm — it’s going to be great.

What do you do for “me” time?

With a six-month old, if I can squeeze a pedicure in, I’m lucky.

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