BY NADIA CARRIERE
Sherri Shepherd is learning to embrace – and laugh at – her life experiences. The View co-host, 42, known for her guest appearances on 30 Rock and Everybody Loves Raymond, is now breaking ratings records with her new sitcom Sherri, inspired by her life. Not to mention her new autobiography receiving rave reviews! In a BlogTalk radio interview, this busy single, Christian mom to 4-year-old Jeffrey opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her new projects, the joys and challenges of motherhood, her health struggles and how she has learned to laugh at it all.
CBS: What would you say is the best part of motherhood?
I was talking to Elisabeth Hasselbeck about this, this morning. My son, man, when he grabs my face and he says, “Mommy I want to kiss you. Mommy I love you! ”
He just wants to lay with me and he puts his head right on the inside of my shirt, it comforts him. Something about these boobs comfort men, I don’t know what it is! When we just lie there and look in each others eyes I think, “What did I ever do before I had you?” That’s what I love about being a mother just the bond that my son and I have.
CBS: How about the most challenging?
Jeffrey didn’t go through the terrible twos he went through the terrible threes!
My son has developmental delays. Because his speech was delayed, he wasn’t able to express how he felt so he expressed himself by screaming. Apparently there are no manuals that come with these kids! I wish a book would fall out of our uteruses as well but apparently there was nothing!
There were times I would put him in the room, close the door, sit on my couch and just cry thinking, ” I don’t know what to do!” That I think is challenging because I sit here and I go, ” I’m not sure what to do in a situation like this.
Because he is four, it’s the little things not really deep, profound things. For example he just got potty trained. I’m a single mom and he’s a boy and I’m trying to figure it out. Like, “How the heck am I going to get you to just push your butt in a little bit more to pee in the toilet, so its not dripping everywhere!” I looked at him and I said “Darnit if your wife or girlfriend is going to call me and go, “Didn’t you even teach the kid how to use the bathroom?!” That is not going to happen!
When he is in the bathtub and he’s going, “Mommy what is this?” and I’m going, “My gosh do I say its your penis, or do I say its your wee wee?” I’m not quite sure what to say. Its the little things.
CBS: Just learning as you go I guess?
Yes, its learning as I go and also thinking that I hope I’m doing this the right way. That guilt. All I know is I love you to death and I would give my life for you but I hope I’m doing this the right way. Now I understand that phrase when they say your parents did the best they could. Absolutely! After all these years I actually understand it.
CBS: What piece of advice would you offer to single moms?
I think we go through a lot of guilt. It doesn’t matter if your working as a secretary or if I’m working at The View and you are working at the bank, we all share guilt. The same guilt as when we walk out the door and they go ” Come home! Come back! Where are you going? Don’t leave! ” That guilt for having to support our family.
I would just say that I am living proof that we are working to support or child/children. I will always pray that hopefully when he grows up, he will see that mommy went out there and she cared enough about me to work really hard so that I could do what I’m doing right now.
I think that it is really important to to show our kids that we can do it. It is scary being a single mom! It really, really is because we just don’t have the help other people do. We have to show our kids that we do stuff despite the fact that we are scared. I think it is important to show our children that we are willing to step outside of our comfort zone.
CBS: With your new Lifetime sitcom Sherri, your spot on The View and now that you are promoting your new book how do you find time to spend with your son Jeffrey? Are there any special activities you like to do together on your days off?
Absolutely! Elisabeth Hasselbeck told me something that I keep close. She said, ” You know Sherri, you have a lot of of spinning plates. Just make sure your child is not one of them.” So in everything I do, my first priority is my son.
I have to say no to a lot of things which is why you don’t see me doing the salsa on Dancing With The Stars! That is a show I’ve wanted to do since it came on the air because I love to dance! But everybody who has been on the show with children has said to me, “Sheri you won’t see your child”. Because of the fact that I am a single mother, I don’t have anybody to help me with Jeffrey for 12 weeks at a time – because I’m just assuming I’d make it to the final four! Every year I have to say no because he is my first priority. That is how I know if I’m going to do something or not.
My job at The View is from 9 a.m until noon and my job at my sitcom Sherri, is from 1 p.m till about 5:30 or 6. I am still able to wake my son up in the morning, make breakfast for him and put him on the bus and then I’m there before he goes to bed. We do our bathtub routine, we do our story time, we bond, we wrestle and then he goes to bed. So, that is really important to me, making sure that I’m always there for Jeffrey.
I don’t do a lot of stand up on the road because again, I don’t have anybody to take care of Jeffrey all the time, so there is a lot of stuff I want to do but I want to make sure my son always knows that his mother was there. On the weekends when I’m home, I try not to schedule a lot of stuff and we stay in our pajamas a little bit longer than necessary.
We do simple things. He likes to tumble so we have a little gymnastic class that we go to. I try to do things with just him and I. We do a lot of walking. We also play a lot of the little simple games because I’m not up to these computer games that kids like to play these days. What just one ball will do! You know, we have a ball we throw back and forth, until one day he hit me in the eye! Having a boy is something else! I don’t know why, but they just love whippin’ stuff at you. Oh my goodness!
CBS: How has motherhood changed you?
Again, this is the very thing Elisabeth and I were talking about in the green room today (October 29) while Sting was singing!
I have a lot more patience than I ever thought I would have and I feel like many things just aren’t as important as I thought they were. Before I had my son I lived, ate, and breathed my career. I was always hustling, going to the next comedy club and trying to get the next job. I had a million and one goals which I wanted to accomplish. Now being a mother, I feel that my number one priority is my son and everything else comes after that. I feel like I really won a lot of wisdom because the stakes are too high to make the mistakes I made before.
CBS: He’s your #1
He is, and his future is really important to me. Even as far as my health. In my book, I talk about how I think women should give themselves permission to just stop everything and take care of themselves.
My mom passed away at 41 because she didn’t take care of herself. I was on the same path, I didn’t take care of myself which is why I got diagnosed with diabetes at 40 years old.
I was sitting on the stairs one day right before I started The View. I had no energy, I couldn’t even get up off the stairs and I had this vision of my son at 5-years-old, laying in bed crying because he was trying to figure out where heaven was, because his daddy told him that was where mommy was. It was then that I realized, it was not fair to do with my son what my mother did to me. When my mom passed, my sister was in 17 and I was in my 20’s. I didn’t want my son to feel how I did without my mother all these years. I didn’t want to do that to my son.
I still slip with the way I eat but I try to do things in moderation. I lost a lot of weight so that I wouldn’t have to go on medication to control my diabetes. When I go to that gym at 5 in the morning, I hate it! I swear I’ve been going for 6 months and it has not gotten any better. I hate going to gym! But the thing that makes me do that one last squat and that one last mile on the treadmill is picturing my ex-husband with another woman and my son calling that woman mom. I am not having my son calling another woman mommy!
That’s what keeps me going to the gym, that vision in my head of my baby and watching him walk down the aisle.
Be sure to pick up a copy of Sherri’s new book Permission Slips: Every Woman’s Guide to Giving Herself a Break, available at most bookstores or on Amazon.com. You can also catch Sherri every weekday on The View on ABC and her hilarious sitcom Sherri airs every Tuesday at 10 p.m. EST on Lifetime. For news and more Sherri updates checkout her Twitter page and official website.