If you watch television, you’re familiar with Sarah Chalke. Chalke’s been seen on Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother, and Grey’s Anatomy, and is currently starring in the animated series “Rick and Morty” — co-created by the genius behind “Community,” opposite Justin Roiland, Chris Parnell and Spencer Grammer. But while we’re used to seeing her on the screen, Chalke’s most important role is the one of mom to two little ones. Entering into motherhood has not only affected Chalke personally, but it’s also affected her decisions on the roles she takes.
We’ve seen you on television so much, with Roseanne, Scrubs, How I Met Your Mother, How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life,) now you’re doing animation with Ricky and Morty, how does that compare to the acting you’ve done before?
I’ve fallen in love with doing animation. It’s so fun and creative. And as a mom with a new baby, it’s perfect because you go in for an hour or two, in sweatpants, no hair and makeup ☺ It’s such a talented group of writers and animators at Rick and Morty. I love reading the sci-fi sequences and then seeing them come to life.
How has your life as an actress changed now that you’re a mom?
It’s like every mom, before you have kids, you have time to think about/worry about lots of little details. When you become a mom, your time with your kids is so precious. If you’re going out, you’re lucky to get out of the door and get there on time, and hope you had a shower.
Now that you’re a mom, is there a difference in the roles that you do take versus prior to motherhood?
Balancing time away from your kids, the job has to be really important to you. And I think knowing that whatever job you take, your kids will eventually be able to have access to it, affects the jobs you do. A couple of the cartoons I’ve done, Prep and Landing and Milo Murphy’s Law, are ones that my son and his cousins can watch now, so that’s been really fun.
Are there any roles that you’ve played that you relate to the most?
Elliot on Scrubs. After eight years, we morphed into pretty much the same human. And the character I played on Grey’s Anatomy, which was based on my own struggle to get my son diagnosed when he had Kawasaki disease.
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
A hot bath, a glass of red wine, dark chocolate and a great book. (but with a one year old, that happens… never ☺)
What is your best parenting hack?
My grandmother would use chamomile tea to cure everything! A hot chamomile tea compress helps so much with an ear infection. And my other favorite trick is a frozen spoon for teething.
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
That my growing pregnant belly with Frankie was from too much dessert. (Which was not unfathomable given the amount of ice cream I was consuming).
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
Can I pick two? Humbling. And a gift.
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
Proud of myself, labor. Proud of my son, when he was five and he said… “Mama, can we get a big box of granola bars and water to keep in our car for when we pass people on the street who need food?”
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
All the stages go by in a minute. That is the beauty and curse of parenthood because it saves you when something is really hard, but it is SO painfully hard to say good-bye to some (when they fall asleep on your chest for a nap when they’re teensy).
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
When you’re working, make every minute with your kids count. Turn off your phone and just be there with them.
What was the last book you read?
The last book I read cover to cover is Goodnight Moon ☺ We’re reading The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen for my book club. I just started reading Kelly Oxford’s “When You Find Out The World is Against You.”
What’s in your diaper bag?
A backup change of clothes, and a backup for the back up – especially when you’re flying. (Our last flight began with Frankie dumping my son’s Cheerios and milk all over both of us.)
Philips Avent Soothies – Frankie loves them and we can’t get through a car ride without!
Chamomile tea bags – my fave.
Snacks! Some for Frankie, some for me, some for the dog – we try not to mix them up ☺
A few baby books. Frankie’s blanky. Backup pair of teensy sneakers because she just started walking and her favorite thing is puddles. Portable phone charger power pack.
Favorite Beauty Product:
Mascara (Great Lash by Maybelline or Dior Show) If I don’t have time to do anything else, I throw on mascara and it makes me feel better!
Favorite Form of Exercise:
Hiking or skiing
What is on your DVR?
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Catastrophe, Silicon Valley, Girls, Big Little Lies, Last Man on Earth
Spotify. Frankie has her own playlist. She LOVES music – it’s how we get through car rides.
Favorite Kids Store:
Any kid’s book store. For toys, monroeworkshoptoys.com. For clothes – Peek.