In the latest issue of Redbook, the actress opens up about being a working mom and setting boundaries for her kids


Kristen Bell understands it’s easy to feel like a Bad Mom after scrolling through social media, but the mom of two wants everyone to realize that reality has often been polished.

“In the age of social media, when you can edit your life in beautiful pictures, it’s important to remind moms that all of us are wearing yogurt and all of our hands smell like urine,” the actress and humanitarian, 35, says in her cover story for Redbook‘s August issue.

“When you present an unrealistic idea of perfection to people, it’s not fair,” adds Bell, who has two daughters with husband Dax Shepard: Lincoln, 3, and Delta, 18 months.

Kristen Bell Redbook

Alexei Hay

Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.

With both her children past the baby stage, the Veronica Mars alum is trying to find the balance between being a friend to her girls while still providing them with plenty of structure.

“Recently I’ve had an epiphany that if I’m as nice to my daughter as I want to be, she’s not going to respect me,” she confesses. “Giving your kids strong boundaries is good for them, because if you just let them do whatever they want, you raise a jerk.”

Kristen Bell Redbook

Alexei Hay

Between parenting duties, a marriage, and a flourishing career, Bell is a busy woman — and as such, she has no qualms about saying no to the things that take her away from her children.

“I don’t let myself feel guilty about not committing to things anymore,” she says when asked what surprises her most about being a working mother. “How I position it in my head is that I have more of an obligation to my daughters than I do to anybody else.”

Kristen Bell Redbook

Alexei Hay

The voice behind protagonist Anna in Disney’s hit Frozen has had her fair share of challenges in both parenting and her marriage to Shepard, 41.

RELATED VIDEO: Kristen Bell Finally Explains Her Epic Trip to Africa With Hubby Dax Shepard

But their struggles — including overcoming hurdles associated with anxiety and depression for Bell and addiction and childhood molestation for Shepard — have only made them stronger.

“We fought a lot and I loved a dramatic exit. If I could slam a door, I felt so powerful. If I could get in my car and screech away, it was even better,” she admits. “He said to me, ‘If we have an issue, you can’t leave. We’re going to talk or I’m not going to do this with you.’

“I loved him so much that I was like, ‘I better get my act together,’ ” she adds.

Jen Juneau