We first loved her as Rebecca Thatcher in the wholesome and heartwarming TV series Life Goes On. Years later she lit up the small screen as med student Lucy Knight in the popular drama ER. Kellie Martin is returning to our living rooms tomorrow (February 5) in the Hallmark Channel Original Movie, Smooch.
The busy mom-of-one opens up about her new TV movie, her 4-year-old daughter Maggie whom she describes as a “reluctant tomboy,” and her exciting new partnership with children’s clothing line and boutique Entertaining Elephants.
CBS: Tell us about your involvement with children’s clothing line and boutique Entertaining Elephants.
KM: “Entertaining Elephants is a children’s lifestyle boutique and clothing line, based out of L.A. And we have a store here as well. I just became a partner in the company. I’m so excited!! I’ve actually been a fan of this place. I have spent so much money at this store buying all kinds of gifts and things for my daughter. When I had the opportunity to become a part of it, I jumped on it. I just love the stuff so much. It’s so whimsical and fun and durable and still affordable. I’m so looking forward to working with it. It’s online as well at EntertainingElephants.com. The website is not perfect; we’re still working on it.”
CBS: Tell us about your upcoming film Smooch. What is it all about?
KM: “Smooch is a modern retelling of the Frog & Prince fairytale. I play this widowed mom who’s a mom to a little girl who is played by Mad Men star, Kiernan Shipka. She wants her mom to fall in love for Valentine’s Day. Through a series of events, little Zoe thinks that she’s turned a frog into a prince and she hopes this prince is who her mom is going to fall in love with. I end up falling in love with him and it turns out he’s actually a prince. It’s adorable; it’s this fun, romantic comedy and I think it’s really cute. I really loved doing it and I’m really happy with the way it turned out.”
CBS: How are you and your hubby planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
KM: “You know, we don’t usually do much my husband and I; this is probably our 14th Valentine’s Day together. I usually make him dinner which is usually really nice. I love to make dinner. That’s probably what we’ll do or we might go out to our favorite sushi restaurant. It’s kind of interesting because we have Maggie and we don’t want to not include her so I’ll probably just make a fun family dinner for us. Something kind of elegant.”
CBS: How do you keep the romance alive? Do you have date nights?
KM:” We definitely do not have enough date nights. We always start date night traditions and we’ll say, “Ok, we’re going to do this once a week,” and then we never follow through with it. It’s very hard to be consistent with that. It shouldn’t be, but it is for us. I think the thing that I find to be the most important is to really make sure you set aside some kind of time together and make sure you have time to laugh together.
My husband and I, when I’m not working on location, we both work from home so we spend a ton of time together. I really love the person he is and I think you also need to keep finding reasons to fall in love, every day. Don’t just think about the things that drive you crazy about the other person, remember the things that you love and admire about that person. Keep surprising each other. It’s not always easy to follow through on especially when you have kids. We get so busy.
One of the big things I wish we would all do more of is not over-commit ourselves and just try to clear your schedule when you can and just have a random surprise day of free time where you can go to the zoo or take a walk on the beach. I try to do that when I know that I can, I try to just let us have a surprise day like that.”
CBS: How’s Maggie doing? What is she into these days?
KM: “Maggie’s awesome! She’s at preschool right now. She’s very into playing outside and getting very dirty and then, at the same time, running inside and putting on her princess dress costume. She’s this reluctant tomboy, I suppose. And she’s very into dinosaurs right now and numbers. She’s super into numbers and finding how much things cost. She’ll always say, “How many bucks is that mom, how much does that cost?” She likes carrying pennies around and she’ll tell me if something’s for sale, and then she’ll tell me how much it is and I have to come with 5 pennies for her. She’s just really into math concepts right now which is just really fun to watch.”
CBS: What kind of values do you hope to pass on to her?
KM: “I really hope I raise a kid who is very open-hearted and accepting of other people and things that might come her way. I love the idea of being very honest and open with my kid about life and stuff so that she’s always going to be open and honest with me. You try to keep negative things away from your kids as long as possible because you want them to have a happy life, but I want her to see that life isn’t perfect and that there are kids out there who struggle to find their next meal. I want her to know how fortunate she is and be grateful, and also be very accepting of other people who are different than we are. I hope I raise that kind of kid.”
CBS: What’s your favorite part of being a mom?
KM: “Oh my gosh, she said to me, yesterday, “Mama, you’re my precious moment.” So sweet. Selfishly, I just love that she thinks I’m the greatest thing ever. I’ve never ever had someone think that the sun rises and sets with me, and Maggie thinks that I’m the greatest thing and I really love that. It’s such a gift.
I just love her ability to always just see the positive in things. There was an ant in our bathroom yesterday and it was crawling around in our sink; I was annoyed thinking, we have ants in our house. She said, “Mama look at this little baby ant. Isn’t it great that it came to visit us?” I saw it as get rid of the ant and she saw it as this little creature came to say hi. I love that twist on things. Although I am getting little flashes of what she might be like as a teenager, like when she says, “Mo-om”; really drawn out. I’m a little scared. Parenthood is the biggest roller coaster. I never anticipated how much of a roller coaster it would be. I’m just used to handling things pretty well and Maggie throws me 5 curveballs a day.”
CBS: So many moms get caught taking care of everyone else and not themselves. Do you set aside “me” time or plan activities just for yourself?
KM: “I do. Maggie’s a really good sleeper. She sleeps like 12 hours a night. She goes to bed at 6:30, so then I go to a yoga class or meet a friend for dinner or something like that. I definitely really, really try to make sure I have time for myself and keep my sanity. She goes to preschool now too, so I do have time to get my stuff done. I think yoga is my big indulgence and my therapy. I really need it.”
CBS: How did the ExtremeGiving campaign go?
KM: “It went really well. I got so many people involved. People that I never met, but met on Twitter and Facebook writing in to let me know what they did every day. I had so many people doing little random acts of kindness and it ended up meaning a lot to them. I’m going to do it every year. It’s something I want to do for me and my family to remember what the holidays are really about. I love that I inspired people to do this and they inspired me to continue on.
It’s actually really hard to do something every day for a month straight. One day it was about 6:00 p.m. and I hadn’t done anything yet, and I went to Twitter and read that someone had bought a cup of coffee for the person behind him in line. I was like, “Yes, gotta go do something; feed someone’s meeter, something.” Little random acts of kindness.”
CBS: What are some examples of ExtremeGiving?
KM: “I went through all of Maggie’s old baby gear and I brought the stuff to an organization called Baby2Baby which helps needy families with babies in the Los Angeles area. We did that the first day and Maggie helped me go through her stuff. I wanted to include her in that.
I also went through my closet for Covenant House and brought a bunch of stuff there. But I wanted it to be as simple as baking cookies for your child’s teacher or even smiling at someone who you don’t typically care for like maybe a co-worker who you can’t stand. Find a way to be kind to them. Little things like that that make you feel like you’ve made the world a better place. Even letting someone go ahead of you at a 4-way stop. Or big things like making a donation to a charity you love. But, I didn’t want it to cost people money; I wanted it to be something people could do every single day.”
CBS: Are you working on any other projects you’d like to tell us about?
KM: “Right now Entertaining Elephants is my thing. I’m going to dive into it and get as involved as I can in it. My acting jobs, you never know when they’re going to come up and when they do, they usually start right away. So I’m always open to new acting gigs, but my priority is being a mom and working on this company which I’m so excited about. This is literally my first week with them and we have very big plans. We’ll see how quickly we can realize them. The store in Los Angeles is magical. It’s an amazing store. I’d love to bring that specific kind of environment to other places.”