Angela Kinsey may play a conservative, buttoned-up character on the hit NBC show The Office, but in real life, she’s a bubbly, refreshing mom who just wants the best for her daughter, Isabel, 2 with (ex-husband, Warren Lieberstein). We caught up with the actress at a Post-It event to promote arts in schools to dish about channeling farm animals, having four moms, and why a chaotic house makes her the happiest.
Why do you think it’s so important to keep arts in the schools?
It’s what helps kids think out of the box and it helps kids cope. Maybe they’re inspired by where they live or where they go to school or what’s around them, but if they have art as an outlet, then their dreams become a reality – whether it’s on paper or through performance. [Arts] are a great way to inspire our kids to dream bigger than what they started with.
How do you instill this value in your daughter, Isabel?
I love playing with her; that’s a big part of our day. We imagine and we pretend. My parents have a farm, so she’s really into the whole farm thing right now. We bought a little barn by Fisher Price and we have all the animals. Now, Isabel’s taking it to another level saying, “Okay Mommy, you be a horse, I’ll be a cow.” So I walk on the floor in my house neighing and mooing, and we act out the farm. I love to see that next step in her imagination. She’s not just playing with these toys; she’s pretending to be these animals. Playtime is so important as parents, to be really involved and respond to whatever it is your kids are into at that moment.
Have you experienced the terrible twos yet?
I haven’t! I will say this: I feel like out of nowhere last week on a Tuesday afternoon, everything was going as normal, when all of a sudden Isabel starts saying, “No.” I was thinking, ‘Uh-oh. When’s the no phase?’ So I called my sister and said, “‘We’re in the no phase! Everything is no!” When did that happen? I don’t know if that’s part of the terrible twos, but we ventured into that phase.
Have you managed a public tantrum?
I haven’t yet but it’s looming on the horizon, I’m sure. I just hope TMZ won’t be around.
When you discipline your daughter, do you ever channel your strict, conservative character on The Office?
Oh my goodness, no. I am so different from my character on The Office. I jokingly call Isabel ‘el jefe’ because she is the boss. I’m such a pushover; I need to be better about my boundaries. Two of my sisters came to visit this summer and stayed with me, so I had three southern women around Isabel all summer. They said, “You better start setting up some rules right now.” I could do much better being stricter with her.
Do your sisters have kids?
My sisters are all older than me, and they all have kids, so they are the experts on everything. It’s like having 4 moms giving me mothering advice.
What shocked you the most about parenting?
How much I love it. I love every part of it. I had a play-date the other day and invited a bunch of my friends [who] are moms and their kids over. There were eight kids running through my house, wreaking havoc, and I was so incredibly happy. It was chaos and kids were everywhere and Playdoh was everywhere and cheerios were everywhere, and I was so incredibly happy.
What do you look forward to the most with Isabel growing up?
Getting to know her as my friend. And just seeing the woman she’s going to grow into. I love her so much as a person.