Scholastic Parents: In The Descendants, you play the role of a mom. Did you have any real-life experience to base that on?
Judy Greer: I’m about to be a stepmom — I’m getting married soon and will have stepkids, ages 11 and 16. So that helps give me a little “street cred.” In doing any preparation for mom roles, I think about my friends with kids and try to do what I see them doing.
SP: What are some aspects of their parenting that you admire?
Greer: One of my friends takes away a handful of her child’s toys — at night, of course — that he hasn’t played with in a while. She’ll put them in the garage, and he won’t even know that they’re missing. So, when he gets bored with the toys he’s played with, she takes the ones from the garage and switches them out. It’s like having new toys every few weeks. It’s the same concept as when your closet gets too full of clothes and you complain that you have nothing to wear.
SP: That's a great idea.
Greer: Another girlfriend, who is in my book club, helped out a friend who was pregnant with her first baby by taking her to register for her baby shower. She showed her what she would actually need.
SP: What are the last few books that you read in book club that you loved?
Greer: Room was great. Most of the members of my book club are moms, and I’m excited to hear what they thought of the book. We also just read The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides, which I couldn’t put down.
SP: Let’s talk about your new web series on Yahoo!, “Reluctantly Healthy.” What spurred that venture?
Greer: The idea for "Reluctantly Healthy" came from working with a health coach who helped me eat healthier and exercise. She gave me tips about eating better when on the road — things that seemed like common sense — but that I didn’t know. So I thought others might want the opportunity to have access to such advice. I want to share what I’m learning with people.
SP: What are some of your favorite tips?
Greer: Whether you’re traveling or running hundreds of errands, pack food with you. Keep snacks in a cooler, or pack them in a carry-on or overnight bag if you’re going to another city. I also love using frozen ingredients — like frozen veggies — because you don’t have to worry about wasting food or having it spoil. It’s nice to keep some food in your freezer that you can whip up into a healthy last-minute meal.
SP: If you had to choose two on-the-go staples, what would they be?
Greer: Almonds and KIND bars. I’m also a really big fan of Starbucks’ oatmeal and breakfast wraps. Go-to meals are helpful — it’s hard to make a decision when you’re starving. I also drink a ton of hot tea. If you really need French fries, eat them with lunch instead of dinner, so you can burn them off throughout the day. But don’t deny yourself! It’s the hardest thing in the world to not eat a slice of pizza when I’m out with my future stepkids.
SP: What are you focusing on right now?
Greer: I’m a wannabe runner. I recently read this article about three moms who work full-time and trained for a marathon. Hats off to them — I think that’s awesome! I’m so impressed with any little thing people do to stay healthy, because on top of doing it for yourself, you’re setting a great example for your kids. I didn’t start exercising until I had to, but I think it’s really cool to incorporate it into kids’ lives from the beginning.
You can follow Judy on Twitter at @missjudygreer.
Megan Hess is the digital editor at Scholastic Parents.
Photo: CBS Photo Archive