It’s the middle of summer, but Tia Mowry isn’t slacking off. Her new podcast, Mostly Mom, is in full swing, and she just finished production on the second season of her Cooking Channel show, “Tia Mowry at Home.” In addition to work, she’s a busy hands-on mom to Cree, her 5-year-old son with her husband, Cory Hardrict. Recently, Mowry took time out from her busy schedule to chat with us about attachment parenting, the challenges of raising an African American son, whether she’d like another child, her passion for traveling, and more.
MT: What inspired you to do “Tia Mowry at Home”?
TM: I was ready to invite people in to see how I take care of my family, what I do for my family, and how they can do the same for theirs. I love cooking and eating healthy, and I wanted to inspire other moms to do the same thing. I wanted other moms to say, ‘Wow, if Tia can do it then I know I can do it, too.’
MT: Tell us about Mostly Mom.
TM: I produce the whole podcast. I come up with the questions, I request certain guests; I just interviewed Camila Alves, for example, and she was so inspirational. I have another producer that I work with but I’m doing a lot of the ground work. I wanted moms to have a place they could go to, a community, and be uplifted.
MT: You’ve been acting since the ‘90s. How do you stay excited about show business?
TM: I have to be passionate about everything I do. If I’m not passionate about it then I don’t want to do it. When I’m passionate about something I can be working 24 hours in a day. I’ll be tired, sometimes I’ll feel a little overwhelmed, but I’ll be having fun. So for me it’s all about truly enjoying and loving what you do.
MT: Is there a type of show or role that you haven’t done, but you hope to do in the future?
TM: I would love to be in a movie that’s a romantic comedy. I’ve also been obsessed with vampires since I was a little girl. I’ve seen almost every vampire movie. I would love to fulfill my twisted dream of playing a vampire. I think I’m obsessed with the whole romance side of it.
MT: Let’s switch gears and chat about your son, Cree. Does he understand that mommy is a celeb?
TM: No, I don’t think that he does. I don’t think he understands why people come up and want to take pictures with me. But, he does get that mommy’s job is on TV. He’ll see me on TV, and he’s done photo shoots with me before.
MT: Did you always picture yourself as being a boy mom?
TM: Yes, I have always wanted a boy. I grew up being a tomboy, I was never the girly girl until I got into Hollywood. When I was in college, my sister she would sit me down and talk to me. She’d be like, ‘Look Tia. Come on. You’ve got to do better. Enough of these track suits.’ She’s the girly one. All of my friends are guy friends. I only have two best friends that are girls. And for some reason I think I just get dudes. It is like a match made in heaven for me. I love having a boy. I love not having to worry about the bows and the manicures and pedicures and all that stuff. Cree is so easy. My husband, on the other hand, wants a girl so, so bad.
MT: Are you open to having more children in the future?
TM: I am so open to it. It’s almost like now or never for me. If it doesn’t happen sooner rather than later I don’t think it’s going to happen.
MT: What would you say are the challenges of raising a son today?
TM: First, gender stereotypes annoy the hell out of me. Just because you have a boy doesn’t necessarily mean your son can’t have his nails painted, or that he has to stick to colors and toys that are gender specific. You do not understand how much bullying I get on a daily basis whenever I show my son on my Instagram. People tell me that I need to cut his hair, because it’s long. I’m like, ‘Really? So just because he is a boy I have to cut his hair? Who made that rule?’ I’ve asked him, and Cree doesn’t want to cut his hair. Second, I have to be real here, I’m raising an African American male. And when I see videos of cops doing things they’re not supposed to be doing, I worry about what I’m going to do if my son continues to wear cornrows and hoodies when he’s 16-years-old.
MT: What do you enjoy most about having a son?
TM: The mother and son dynamic, it’s so special. In the morning my son gives me huge kisses and tells me how much he loves me. It’s so amazing and beautiful to me. I was in New York recently for two days and what I missed most was the huge bear hug that Cree gives me every morning. Then I started to think into the future. Once he’s 30 and I’m 70-something, is he still going to want to do that?!
MT: Are you still practicing attachment parenting?
TM: Yes, my son still takes a shower with me, for example. I know he’s 5 and I’m going to get a lot of heat for that but he’s my son. I think once he starts to get a little curious that’s when I’ll be like, ‘OK, it’s time for this to end.’ He is sleeping on his own though, and that has been his choice. He’s growing up, becoming independent. He doesn’t want me to kiss him all the time.
MT: What does attachment parenting mean to you?
TM: It means that I’m allowing for him to guide me and tell me when he’s ready. In my opinion that’s what makes our relationship so amazing. I want my son to have a little say-so in what he wants. If, for example, he decides that he wants to sleep in our bed again with us, that’s fine.
MT: I read that Cree started sleeping in his own bed when he was 3. What was that transition like?
TM: He would start in his bed but he wouldn’t end up in his bed. As soon as he turned 4, he was fine with being on his own. He loves dinosaurs, so his room is all about dinosaurs. I wanted his room to be a place that he really enjoys and wants to spend time in. He’s grown out of his nightlight, so now he doesn’t want that anymore. Our routine is that I read him a book and then he goes to sleep.
MT: How do you handle people who are critical of the decisions you make as a parent?
TM: When I was a new mom, I felt bad. I thought, ‘Wow, they don’t even know what goes on in my household and they’re judging me.’
MT: How did you get past those feelings?
TM: Seeing other moms who are different, like Angelina Jolie. What she does with her kids, traveling around the world all the time, is not traditional. I know several moms who judge that, because they believe kids need a routine. And I’m like, ‘No, I think she’s doing okay with her kids.’ Her journey is different from mine. She has children that she adopted from different countries and she wants them to learn about those places. Who am I to judge? So I think by looking at other women I was empowered and inspired by the ones who don’t do things like everyone else does. It makes me feel like I’m not alone in this.
MT: Who are the other moms inspiring you most right now?
TM: Camilla Alves. She’s a very hands-on mom. She also travels around with her kids. I love her and I love Jessica Alba. My whole motto—and they follow this—is just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dreams and your aspirations and your goals in life. Yes, we are called to nurture and take care of our kids and be there for them. But that doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself.
MT: What other passions do you have beyond your family and acting?
TM: I love to travel. Cree also loves to travel. He’s living up to his name in the sense that Cree is an Indian tribe but back in the day they would travel around the world, and they were warriors. My hope and my dream is that he will continue to want to travel with his mommy when he gets older. We recently traveled to Anguilla for a family vacation and we lived it up.
MT: OK, so we were talking about your passion for healthy living earlier. Do you still follow a vegan diet?
TM: I go back and forth with following a vegan diet. Some years I don’t. Cree does not follow a vegan diet. We limit his protein intake when it comes to meat. My husband and I are both vegan right now. I’m doing it to detox. I’ll listen to my body to see how long to go. We typically give Cree almond milk instead of dairy milk, but he will have pizza every once in a while. So we’re not very strict with him about being vegan but we are strict with being organic. We don’t let him eat processed foods and foods with additives because that stuff changes your child’s personality!
MT: What’s your go-to dinner for the fam?
TM: Turkey meatballs with spaghetti. It’s a meal that Cree and my husband both love. I put oatmeal instead of bread crumbs in my meatballs, as well as spinach. The adult version of my tomato sauce includes a little bit of red wine. My kid’s version is regular tomato sauce with tomato paste.
MT: How do you beat stress?
TM: I’m very social. I love to be around people. But I’ve learned to love “me time;” so, I’ll go out to dinner by myself. I’ll go to movies. I’ll go to the spa. Or, I’ll just get in my tub with bubbles and listen to music.
MT: Last Q before we let you go: What’s something about you that would surprise others?
TM: I’m like a dude when it comes to watching TV shows. I love “True Blood.” I love “Spartacus.” I love “Game of Thrones.” I love all those hard core, raw shows. My husband doesn’t even watch that stuff with me.