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When it comes to movies about blended families, plots often make the step-parent an unloving or unkind person, or they just dismiss them entirely. However, in the upcoming comedy "Daddy's Home," we meet Brad (Will Ferrell) who is married to Sarah (Linda Cardellini) and is the stepdad to her two kids, whom he adores.
But just when the kids are starting to connect to him, their dad Dusty (Mark Wahlberg) comes back into town. Suddenly, both dads are competing for the affection of the kids with hilarious outcomes.
We got a chance to speak to Ferrell, Wahlberg and Cardellini—who all happen to be parents themselves. They talked about everything from "Daddy's Home" to their own parenting experiences—mishaps and all.
Linda, your character already has it figured out, but both men discover different parts of their identities as parents. Have you discovered something new about yourself now that you are all parents?
Linda Cardellini: I think the one thing I realized when I first became a parent is you stop seeing things from the child's point of view, and you start seeing them from the parent's point of view, and it's just a totally different thing. Somebody asked me about "Freaks and Geeks" the other day, and I realized that I hadn't watched it as a parent. Watching that show as a parent will be a completely different experience than only coming from the child's perspective. But I remember the day after I had my child (3-year-old Lilah-Rose Rodriguez), I woke up in the morning and I thought, "Oh, my parents were just people." You know, you sort of glorify your parents and think they know all the answers. Then you realize when you have your own child, like, "Wow, they were just people doing the best that they could." And I think that's what the three of us are doing there. You know, we're trying to fight for family in the best way we know how.
Will Ferrell: I'm probably the opposite, in the sense that I thought I would have it all figured out, and I'd probably be pretty easygoing. I found that I'm the one who's like, "Please put it down. (Louder) Please put it down. PUT IT DOWN NOW!!" You know, like, did that just come out of me? So I have to sometimes just relax, and just have patience. I'm always trying to work on the patience.
Mark Wahlberg: You know, for me, I just get so much joy watching them grow. They're doing things, and they have opportunities that I never had. My wife had a picture last night of my two sons in the bed, and they have their own rooms, which was something I always wanted—to give my kids their own room. They don't even want their own room. They just want to sleep together, in the bunk bed, or share a bed, and they had this light. Because we were away, we let them go and get something at the store, and they bought these little lights so they could read in their bed at night. It's, like, I never read. You know, if I wasn't sneaking out the window, we were doing something else bad. They're good kids and that brings me a lot of joy.
So there are a lot of parenting mishaps in the film. Can you talk about any parenting mishaps that you've actually experienced?
MW: I've had quite a few! But I've got a good one—I keep showing my kids stuff that I think is appropriate, and my wife quickly corrects me.
WF: I drop my oldest son off at soccer practice for about two hours ...
MW: On the wrong field?
WF: On the wrong field, yeah.
MW: My dad took me to the wrong school, and put me in there, and I'm like, "Dad, it's not my school." He was like, "Get in there, you're all right." You know, "That's your school." I was like, "Dad, it's not my school."
WF: [to Linda Cardellini] You're a responsible mother, so you've probably never done anything like that.
LC: Oh, please, I'm a first-time mother, so you're scared you're making some kind of misstep. But I do, and she corrects me, and it's fine. She's 3-1/2, and she already knows better than I do.
I'm a first-time mother, so you're scared you're making some kind of misstep. — Linda Cardellini
WF: But I think that's what the movie is pointing out and celebrating, is the fact that as parents, you really don't know what you're doing, and you're just making it up as you go along. Some nights you lie in bed going, "Today was a good day. There were really some great, teachable moments, and these are moments our children are gonna remember." And then other days, you're like, "Oh, I totally blew it. That was not good. Yeah, I have no idea." So I think floundering in that, and the fact that these three characters learn to kind of work together and kind of figure it out, is the message of the movie that is—it doesn't matter what method you use, as long as you approach the rearing of children with love and respect, and everything like that, it's all gonna work out.
"Daddy's Home" is rated PG-13 and opens Christmas Day.