Amy Poehler Gets 'Mommy Brain,' Too

The 'Free Birds' actress talks about raising boys as a working mom

Amy Poehler says she's thrilled to be playing a strong female character who's also a natural leader. No, she’s not talking about Leslie Knope from NBC's Parks and Recreation; she’s talking about Jenny, a fierce and brave turkey in the animated film Free Birds, about time-traveling turkeys who go back to the first Thanksgiving in hopes of changing the (main) course of history.

Poehler stars alongside Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson in the film, which opens November 1, and stopped to chat before the Los Angeles premiere. The 42-year-old actress talked about raising the two sons she shares with ex-husband Will Arnett—Archie, 4, and Abel, 3—as well as her work/life balance, and what she sometimes forgets when it comes to her kids.

On being a mother of boys…

“You learn a lot about men and boys by being the mother of boys, I think. My boys are still at the age where the girls in their class are sitting, helping the teacher, doing their homework, dressing themselves, and the boys are not doing that.”

On how they got their names…

“We liked the idea of a double A. I refer to my boys as my double A batteries, and they certainly are. They keep me going and wear me out.”

What they’re reading…

“We read every night, and we’re plowing through the George and Martha stuff (from children's book author James Marshall). It’s fun to read them, especially when you’re a working mother. It’s a really good way to connect at the end of the night, to talk to them without forcing them to talk to you.”

What they’re eating…

“I’m trying to slowly introduce them to complex food. They’re tough, they’re picky eaters”

“Kids have such little control, and what they put into their bodies, what they eat, is a really good way for them to exercise control. So sometimes you have to just let them do their thing and trust that they’re going to be OK, and if they go to bed hungry they’re going to be OK.”

MORE: Alyson Hannigan Offers Mom Advice to Her How I Met Your Mother Character

On sometimes having "Mommy Brain"…

“Sometimes I forget where I’m driving them to. I do just stop in the middle of road and go, ‘Where are we going? How are we in this car? Who am I dropping off? and Where are we going?’ That happens a lot. It’s a lot of forgetful stuff that every mother has to deal with.”

What she’s learned about work/life balance…

"What works for you is what works—everybody’s thing is different. You learn especially as you go on what things are important to you and what things fall away. And you shouldn’t listen to anybody’s advice. And don’t worry about what anybody says. Do your thing. Whatever works for your family. … Be a little easy on yourself. There are only so many things you can do in one day.”

About Saturday Night Live

“We are always sharing stories and pictures, and we had a really nice moment a couple of years ago. I was pregnant with my second kid, Abel, so this must have been three years ago. Betty White did the Mother’s Day special on SNL, and everyone brought their kid. It was really cool. There were all these little kids on stage. … Maya (Rudolph)’s daughter looks exactly like Maya and she’s 9 now, and Tina (Fey)’s Alice is like 8 or 9. Nothing makes you feel older than other people’s kids growing up.”

On how they will spend their Thanksgiving..

“I like to cook, don’t get to do it as much as I’d like … (and) I like watching movies with my kids, on Thanksgiving night especially, a movie that they’ve never seen.”

MORE: From the Mouths of Babes—Superhero Moms

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