Andy Cohen Talks Single Fatherhood & His Hack For Holiday-ing With Kids

The radio and talk show host opens up to Scary Mommy about finding balance in his hectic life.

Originally Published: 
Andy Cohen gets festive this holiday season with Alexa Routines.
Michael Simon

Andy Cohen has a lot on his plate. He records Radio Andy on Sirius XM a few mornings a week, emails his staff about the upcoming taping of his late-night show Watch What Happens Live, perhaps does some press, watches cuts of Real Housewives episodes, preps for interviews and Bravo specials, plans out events like CNN's New Year's Eve, and then heads out every evening to record said show.

Oh, and he has two young children who depend on him.

"As a single dad, I just want them both to feel like I'm around and available a lot," Cohen, 54, tells Scary Mommy of 3 ½-year-old son Ben and 7-month-old daughter Lucy, both born via surrogate. "I do have six jobs, so it's challenging. But [the hardest part] is time management. The good news for me with my jobs is that I'm in and out of my home all day long, so they're really seeing me throughout the day, which is way different for most working parents."

Andy Cohen chatted with Scary Mommy about fatherhood, the holidays and his love of Amazon’s Alexa.

Scary Mommy

Cohen admits to having a nanny and support system around him, but credits himself with being home as much as possible for his children. He insists Ben "owns" him all weekend long, and mornings are spent having breakfast with the kids and getting them ready for their days.

"Some nights, I'm not there to tuck Ben in because I have to go to my show; some nights, I can. [But] we definitely have a few hours every morning and then, you know, throughout the day and all the weekends. So it's pretty good. I feel like they know I'm always around, and as inconsistent as my work schedule is, I'm consistent with them, which I think is super important."

There are days when Cohen wakes up bewildered by his life, dreaming of an extra hour of sleep. Most of the time, however, he feels blessed to be able to raise two tiny humans.

"It was definitely a learning experience for me," Cohen says of adjusting to late nights and early mornings. "Now, it just is my life, and I'm over it. There's nothing I can do about it. And it's OK. I'm kind of like a tank. I don't need much sleep. I just keep pushing forward. And that's what we have to do as parents; we just have to keep pushing forward."

The radio and talk show host leans on many women for support, including his sister Emily Rosenfeld and friend Graciela Braslavsky, as well as his "super helpful" celebrity mom pals, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kelly Ripa.

As for those Real Housewives stars, Cohen — who is an executive producer on the show and moderates the reunion specials and BravoCon panels — says he would trust any of them to babysit.

"I think they're all great moms. And I think none of them want to get it wrong with me."

Bring your baby to work day!

Cohen is fully geared up for the holiday season after spending Thanksgiving at home in New York with Ben and Lucy, as well as his parents, sister, and her children, who all flew in from St. Louis, Missouri. He has discovered that traveling with kids is more of a hassle than anything and decided that, this year, the Big Apple is the site of all celebrations.

"I think that people get it in their heads and want to be really aggressive with what they're doing with their kids, and sometimes it doesn't work out the way your fantasy has it," Cohen says. "'I want to take my kid to see the Rock Center tree!' And then you get there, and your kid is pissed and has to go to the bathroom, and there are no bathrooms, and they're barely looking at the tree. It's like, you know what, I got a string of lights at home. 'Look!'"

"I just think I think what kids really need is just right there at your fingertips," he adds.

Ain't it true. By the time you pack the bags and food and toys and bedtime necessities and load up the car or head to the airport, the joy and excitement is mostly gone. (Not that there aren't parents who have successfully handled the traveling-with-kids effort.)

For Cohen, though, staying put for the holidays is much more manageable, especially as he navigates being a new dad of two during the already chaotic season. Cohen admits he's in the "threenager" stage of parenthood, which is made easier by sticking to a routine.

"The transition from zero to one kid totally changed my life, but it seemed like something I could navigate. One to two, I mean, I had a summer where I was like, 'What am I doing?'" Cohen admits, adding that he found 3 ½ to be a very challenging age.

"Since the summer ended and we got back to the city — and he's back on his schedule and he's with all of his stuff — Ben is so much calmer. And he's so much more regulated, and everything is just better," Cohen says. "So, that goes back to taking your kids to do too much. I think that, right now, Ben is at an age where he responds to being comfortable in his routine and his schedule. And that's something that I just feel like is more important for me to do and meet him halfway there."

Andy Cohen with Ben and Lucy in July.

Cohen is currently using Amazon devices to set a festive mood in his apartment — building a custom Alexa Routine to play holiday music, control Christmas tree lights, and pull up a fireplace screen on his TV. He also uses the tech to get recipes, set cook timers, and order gifts for family and friends.

"I'm focusing on keeping a really happy home and keeping the vibe great. Alexa is definitely helping with that with all I have going on," Cohen explains. All he has to say is, "Alexa, let's get lit," and she's off to the races.

"It feels like a party in my apartment all the time," he insists. "And Ben absolutely loves it. He loves it when I light fires, and he loves the Christmas lights. We have these old Snoopy ornaments, and he and I will put those up — although I'm terrified he's gonna break them because they're super breakable. And I have got this crappy old menorah that I used for my entire childhood, and so we light the Hanukkah candles every night. My apartment is my winter wonderland."

And, good news: With 2023 approaching and news that CNN plans to "sober up" Cohen and co-host Anderson Cooper's New Year's Eve coverage, the friends and single dads insist they'll conclude the holiday season with a boozy bang.

"My thing about my relationship with CNN is they didn't hire me to be boring. The only direction I've ever gotten for New Year's Eve on CNN is have fun. And so that is what I plan to do," Cohen tells Scary Mommy. "I'm gonna have a blast, and it's gonna be great."

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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