'They're Tiny, Drunk Animals': Julie Bowen Speaks The Truth About Kids

by Valerie Williams
Image via Alberto E. Rodriquez/Getty Images

“Modern Family” actress Julie Bowen nails what life with little kids is like

Julie Bowen isn’t just a mom on television. She’s also one in real life to three gorgeous little boys. She plays Claire Dunphy on “Modern Family” and her hilarious character on the show doesn’t seem too far off from the person she is in life. As she proves in a recent interview, her sense of humor when it comes to parenting is definitely not just an act.

Bowen tells Today all about life with her three sons — Oliver, 9, and twins Gustav and John, 6. She explains that she has many scenes on “Modern Family” that are described as the “morning rush” with Claire getting breakfast ready and the kids heading out for school. She explains that when she first started doing them, her kids were so little and her “morning rush” looked a little different. Now that her boys are school-age? She gets it.

“It’s so hard! I mean, I don’t understand why it’s the hardest thing on earth to get three boys to put their shoes on and get out the door — you would think I was asking them to climb Mount Everest.” PREACH. It’s like we’re asking them to launch a NASA shuttle. Just put. Them. On.

When it comes to how life has changed since having her kids, Bowen is spot-freaking-on about the mind-fuck that is becoming a mother. “I’m always amazed — I am a terrible cook — and I’m always shocked when these three little people look at me and go, “What’s for breakfast? What’s for dinner?” And I think, “Oh, I have to feed you! It’s my job!””

It’s kind of a funny thing, having children. Maybe you liked to cook before you became a parent, or maybe you didn’t. And it’s not like you suddenly become Martha Stewart once you drop a placenta or two, you have to really learn how to cook and feed these tiny humans so they can grow.

Luckily, Bowen got some excellent advice from her sister, who reminded her that kids don’t come out “at age five” and that you have time to learn how to cook real dinners. “You start with boobs and breast milk, and you work your way into it really slowly. So, you figure it out as you go along. And kids basically like beige food.”

So much truth. Goldfish crackers. Cheese sticks. Chicken nuggets. Cheerios. You can’t go wrong with beige food. I’m going to laminate that on cards and hand them out to my friends when they have their first babies.

As far as her relationship with her growing sons, she has a strange, but oddly perfect comparison. “It’s like having three boyfriends and a husband. It’s like I’m married, and I have these three boyfriends.” She goes on to explain that it’s not as creepy as it sounds, saying that they go through phases where they ignore her or don’t want her to kiss them. Yet, at other times, they’re “desperate” for her attention. “And it’s like being a teenager and asking a boy, “Why are you calling me all the time? Why aren’t you calling me all the time? Why do you seem to either love me completely and totally, or you’re ignoring me?””

Like I said — a little strange, but it makes sense.

When it comes to being humbled as a parent, it turns out that even hilarious and famous moms can’t escape their kids bringing them back down to earth. Bowen says, “It’s funny, my kids don’t necessarily think that I am funny. But they’re kids — so their job is to make you feel slightly insecure at all times about everything you’ve ever thought about yourself.”

And although they might not be too eager to flatter their mother, she certainly thinks well of them, as all moms do of their children. However, while we all think our kids are amazing and brilliant, Bowen notes that they definitely don’t always show it. She explains that her sons cause “a shocking number of unflushed toilets on a constant basis” and forget to bring their backpacks to school, as though they had no idea that’s expected every day. But as she so brilliantly sums it up, “They’re stunningly sophisticated, and yet they’re tiny, drunk animals and they don’t know what’s going on half the time.”

Nailed it.