Leah Remini: Real-Life Mom and Sitcom Star
As a stepmom to three sons, The King of Queens' Leah Remini reigned over a testosterone-heavy household until daughter Sofia Bella was born in June 2004. Now the actress admits that her princess -- along with her sleeping patterns -- rules the roost.
Everything Is Different
"It's hard to concentrate at work. You just want to be at home, but know you need to work because college tuition is around the corner. You don't sleep. I worry constantly about making the right choices, whether we'll screw her up. I can't take a vacation. We don't even go out at night. She wakes up every two hours, and we want to be there."
Seeing Is Believing
"When I saw her for the first time on the ultrasound, I cried a little. Having a baby and giving birth is a miracle."
"I have repressed all those memories. I do have one funny story to share. I brought my regular jeans to the hospital because I thought the weight would all come off with the delivery! I was such a rookie."
"I looked like Shrek during pregnancy. I brought it on myself because I ate everything -- grilled cheese, McDonald's, Taco Bell. Now I'm paying for it. I'm still 30 pounds overweight, but am strangely comfortable with it. Not that I'm not working out five days a week with a trainer to get it off! But I recognize that it takes time."
Tickled Pink and Green
"Sofia's nursery has pink and green stripes with a big Shabby Chic chandelier. It's a pretty room and very peaceful. I hang out in there and have coffee."
"I really, really wanted a girl. I love tea parties and dolls and clothes. I had a feeling I was going to have a girl, although I wanted the doctor to confirm it as soon as possible. I don't like surprises."
"I love the diaper warmer. And Sofia loves her Little Giraffe blankets because they're really soft. She also digs in my closet -- she's attracted to anything with sequins or shiny material. My purse collection will never be the same. She gets in her walker and drags my Gucci bag around the floor. At least she's showing early signs of good taste."
Finding Mary Poppins
"Some people might give me a hard time about having a nanny, but I am a working mom and need help. I wanted someone mushy and who loves to love. Most of the nannies I interviewed talked about cleaning, but I wanted someone who was going to care for my daughter first and foremost."
Do It Again?
"Hell no. One is enough. I can't believe my mother did this multiple times. It is a lot of work. Then again, I could see maybe adopting another kid because I can't imagine growing up without a sibling. I'd want that for my daughter."
Carrie Bell is an entertainment writer in Los Angeles.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, November 2005.