Even when Kellie Martin was pregnant, she says she didn’t know a baby from a breadbasket. “I never even babysat,” she said in the weeks before labor. “”The only time I’ve changed a diaper is when my friend, who just had a baby, called and said, ‘Come over, you need to practice.'” But Martin, an acting veteran who found her greatest fame as ER’s compassionate intern, Lucy Knight, showed that it wasn’t just her television character who had great bedside manner. Since her daughter, Margaret “Maggie” Heather Christian, 16 months, arrived in November 2006, Martin has been happily caring for daughter on her own. “I’ve been working since I was seven,” Kellie, 32, tells Modern Mom. “I never thought I could so much as take a few weeks off from acting and be happy. Then I met my husband (lawyer Keith Christian) and had a baby. Suddenly work took an appropriate back seat to being a wife and mother. Careers ebb and flow, but family is constant.”
She does get a little help from her close friends, such as actress Melissa Joan Hart, whose son Mason is 10 months older than Maggie. “It’s been nice to have her be my guide,” Kellie says. And her playdates keep her in touch with Hollywood. Kellie and Maggie regularly frolic with Melissa and Mason, and fellow child actor Fred Savage and his two-year-old son, Oliver. “Maggie’s very lucky to have all these cute boys to play with!” says Kellie.
Like the rest of us Modern Moms, Kellie, a Yale graduate who writes screenplays, books, and directs television movies (such as the Mystery Woman series, in which she also starred), is always searching for balance. “It’s important to have creative outlets and satisfy your need to work,” she says. “But I just make sure it comes in second in the list of priorities.” She talks to Modern Mom about the importance of raising a child with an open heart and a non-toxic home, and finding a little private time for herself, too.
What’s your definition of a Modern Mom?
My definition of a Modern Mom is someone who can embrace a full, busy, often overwhelming life of family, work, and play with joy and grace.
What’s your secret to balancing career and family?
The secret to balancing career and family is making sure you have your priorities straight. Family always comes first. Careers ebb and flow, but family is constant. I’ve been working since I was seven years old, and never thought I could so much as take a few weeks off from acting and be happy; then I met my husband and had a baby. Suddenly, work took an appropriate back seat to being a wife and mother. It’s important to have creative outlets and satisfy your need to work, but just make sure it comes in second in the list of priorities.
What did your parents teach you about parenting?
My parents taught me to be honest, grateful for my blessings, and to work hard for what I want.
What do you want to teach your children?
I hope to teach my children to live with an open heart. I hope they are compassionate and loving towards others and themselves. I also want to teach my kids to respect the world around them — to live with less “stuff.” Life is a lot simpler without all the clutter.
Who do you admire the most?
I admire my husband most. He is the most thoughtful, patient, loving, smartest person I have ever met.
What’s your favorite family activity?
My favorite family activity is hiking. We love putting Maggie in her Bob jogging stroller and getting out for a good long walk.
What is your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is giving birth to a happy, healthy little girl. My marriage and my college degree come in a close second and third.
What product(s) can’t you live without?
Slowly but surely everything in my daughter’s closet, crib, playroom and anything that touches her skin will be free of toxic chemicals. So let me give you a list of my favorites: Weleda and Avalon Organics baby skin care products; Can You Dig It? organic cotton clothes; Born Free bottles and sippy cups; Haba toys and wooden toys from TheWoodenWagon.com. (I could go on and on–this might be a whole other article! I’m really passionate about keeping everything around your baby as safe as possible!)
What do you do when you’re feeling selfish?
I go to yoga class or for a long run when I need to just be alone or baby-free.
What’s keeping you busy these days?
My 15-month-old daughter is keeping my really busy these days. Work wise, I had written two scripts just before the writers’ guild strike, so I those are on hold for the moment. I’m also working on writing a book, which I will tell you more about when it’s a bit further along. The subject matter is very appropriate for this website!