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In her new children's
book, "Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein," on shelves today, Amanda Peet and co-author Andrea Troyer take their Christmas-decoration-obsessed Jewish heroine on a journey to figure out what really
matters when it comes to celebrating the holidays.
Mom.me spoke with the actress and mother of three, who currently stars in the HBO
comedy "Togetherness," about balancing
work and family and being OK with not always knowing what the hell you're
Did you write this book because your
kids started asking about Christmas?
Oh, yeah. They look
at all the decorations and the store windows and people are talking about their
trees at school. And they kept asking me, "Why can't we just have a tree?" So the
first thing we did was we tried to write a book that would poof-up Hanukkah and
put it in direct competition with Christmas ... and we couldn't do it. Hanukkah isn't as spectacular as Christmas, let's face it. So we decided to make
it about a Jewish girl who wishes she could have Christmas.
It seems like the message is, it's OK to not be like everyone else.
I think it's really
helpful for kids when they can zoom out and see that what seems really dire,
like not being able to celebrate Christmas, isn't really a tragedy. That's why
we had Rachel's mom work at the hospital on Christmas. People have to work on
Christmas sometimes. People work at the airport hauling your luggage for you.
So you start to think about that and think about other cultures and realize how
lame it is to complain.
Since I have an
inferiority complex about not celebrating Christmas, I get my kids too many
Hanukkah presents. And that's got to stop, because they're getting older and
they're going to become very Beverly Hills. My favorite thing is that I love
wrapping presents. It's a very Stepford part of me. My sister and I get drunk
and wrap; as you can imagine, the wrapping gets more and more messy and ugly
the drunker we get.
Is your Christmas the typical Chinese food
and a movie?
Yes. My sister's
family is usually here, so we have a lot of kids running around and it's
incredibly chaotic and messy.
My favorite thing is that I love wrapping presents. It's a very Stepford part of me.
Do you want to continue writing
It wasn't that we
wanted to write children's books. It was that we had this idea, and we were very
frustrated and we felt there needed to be a book about this.
Since you celebrated both holidays
growing up, did you consider doing that with your kids?
We thought about it, but David (Benioff, "Game of Thrones"
show runner and Amanda's husband) never celebrated Christmas and felt strongly about it, so I was
happy to sort of choose, I guess.
What do you wish someone had told you
before you became a parent?
My favorite piece on
parenting is by Nora Ephron—"Parenting
in Three Stages," which I think every new parent should read. And I'm pretty
sure she opens with something about how "parenting" is a word that didn't exist when she became a
mom. You just had kids. You didn't "parent" them.
I also feel like
I wish more people had talked to me about postpartum depression because I had postpartum depression. You know, I think there's still so much shame around
it. The more you can share with your friends—it's empowering for women to
understand that they shouldn't aspire to be blissed out all the time on being a
We all have thoughts
like, "Why am I bored some of the time?" "Why am I frustrated and angry some of
the time?" "Why do I miss work?" "Why do I not feel like making dinner?" You know,
all that stuff.
Do you feel like you've found a balance
between work and being a mom?
No! I don't feel like I've found a balance. I'm learning
on the job. If I go too far in one direction and get a complaint, then I start
to move in the other direction and so on. It's an improvisation.