Imagine the stress of being a new mom. Then imagine adding the stress of being on an incredibly popular television show that is currently filming. That's what Younger star Sutton Foster was facing when her daughter was born. Being forced to be away from her baby girl for long hours while filming left Foster with a lot of time on her hands. So, what would she do to fill that time, stare at her phone for 12 hours a day, or be a little more productive? She chose productive. Foster, who has always been am avid crafter, put those skills to good use during those early days by knitting a baby blanket for her daughter. Now that her baby is quickly becoming a toddler, she's again diversifying her crafting beyond blankets.
We were able to sit down with Sutton Foster recently while she was celebrating her partnership with craft store giant JOANN and talk all things crafting and see how life as a mom, and more specifically the mom of a toddler has been treating her.
Before we even started to chat, the first thing I had to do was tell Foster what a huge fan I was. Not only did I mention her role on the show Bunheads, but we briefly talked about her numerous roles played on Broadway and how wonderful they are. I also couldn't help but mention the absolutely adorable crocheted bag she had been carrying. She had crocheted the bag herself, and was understandably proud to show it off.
So, just how did she get into such a hobby? "I think I have social anxiety, and it's a healthy way to keep busy," she explains. As a kid, she was taught to knit by her aunt, which opened up a whole new world of possibility for what she could do with her spare time. Seeing her aunt constantly working on either a crocheting or knitting project, and then seeing her mom, who was into cross-stitch working on projects was inspiring for her. After being inspired by her mom and giving cross stitch a try, she made the leap to something bigger. In her late teens/early 20s, she bought a book and began to teach herself to crochet.
"I was on tour; I toured [in stage productions] a lot when I was younger, and I had lost my voice," she said. Forced to be on vocal rest for two weeks, she had no clue how she was going to fill her time. "I walked into a craft store, probably a JOANN, and bought myself a 'How to crochet' book, and taught myself to crochet. It like, saved me."
Ever since, she is always making something, be it a blanket, or buying another book and making a pattern. But when her daughter Emily was born, the same thing that had saved her in the 20s would save her again. Emily was around four weeks old when Sutton had to return to work, and she was obviously rattled. "I started making her a baby blanket at work, so that I could put all my stress, and energy, and anxiety into this blanket," she said with a laugh. The blanket was a blessing in many ways, because not only did it give her something to focus on during the long hours away from her baby, but now her daughter has something to keep forever.
That is one of the coolest things about crafts; they give you something to show for your time. There is a certain sense of accomplishment when you can hold something in your hands that you took the time to create or be able to show your children and say that you made it for them. It is also a great way to keep yourself busy or to relax. "It's a great way to keep busy, and at the end of the day, I can say 'I made this!'" Foster explained, becoming visibly excited.
Diving more into what those first few weeks back at work were like after Emily was born, Foster talks about the mom guilt that plagued her. "It was hard," she says. "The mom guilt thing is so real. I felt like I experienced it in such an intense way." She adds that men don't likely feel the guilt the same way women do, which is absolutely true. "And yet, I'm like, 'but I'm living my dream!' And I want her to live her dreams!" As much as this is true, we just cannot help feeling guilty from being away from our babies, no matter how amazing the situation.
"I want her to have a mom who is more than just a mom, but I want to be everything too. I'm trying to find the balance," she says.
Crafting and creating is a good way for her to find the balance.
"I'm always making something," Foster says. In addition to her home in New York City, where Youngeris filmed, she and her husband have a house in Studio City, California, and she says that while she doesn't have a designated craft room (yet) she has crafting materials all over the place, ready to be conquered. "I have paper, and boxes of yarn," she said. That's why her partnership with JOANN makes so much sense. As we sat and talked, surrounded by yards and yards to fabric, there is a certain sense of possibility that only comes when you are in the mindset of creating something special. The sense of creativity is something Foster hopes that she will get to share with her daughter as she gets older.
The road to motherhood wasn't an easy one for Sutton Foster. During season three of Younger, she was going through fertility struggles, and her castmates were incredibly supportive. When she and her husband decided to go down the adoption route, her co-star Peter Hermann and his wife became invaluable. As adoptive parents, they were able to provide guidance and resources that made the process much easier.
"I didn't tell anybody [that they were adopting], I didn't tell anybody that she was coming. I think I sent a text to everybody saying 'So, this thing happened' with a picture, and everyone was like, 'WHAT?'" she recalls how she told those closest to her about the arrival of her daughter.
When asked what she's most excited to share with Emily as she gets older, "I want to share everything with her," she said, a smile on her face. In addition to crafting, Foster adds that she likes to cook, draw and spend time outdoors, things that she's already including Emily in. " But I wonder what will take," she says.
"I want to open up the world to her for anything, things that I don't even know. So she'll introduce me to stuff too." And isn't that exactly what we all want for our kiddos?