What made you all want to do this movie?
Mila Kunis: It was the first movie I did after having my daughter. I think doing a movie with so many strong women about being a mother was just incredibly serendipitous to me because of where I was in my life. I got to dip my toe in the water [of going back to work], and this could not have been a more beautiful group of women for me to dip my toe in the water with.
Annie Mumolo: I feel like it was the first thing that I read in—I don't even know when—that really showed how I feel and speak with my friends: the things we wish for and the things we share with each other when we're just hanging out, and what we do. It's just a real version of what moms today experience, and it covered every secret.
What were the moments you guys could relate to most?
Kunis: The amount of guilt. Mine was less moment-based and more the idea of struggling to find balance. For me, that first year of figuring out, “How am I going to balance having a baby and going back to work full-time?” and ultimately coming to the realization that there's no such thing and that something's going to have to give. That, and it's also a beautiful thing to have to ask for help. It took me a really long time to be OK to know that it doesn't make me any "less than" to ask for it. I think this movie showcases that.
Christina Applegate: Also, the idea of going to see a movie in the afternoon, how it's really luxurious. And wrong.
When you have a rare moment to yourselves, how do you spend it?
Applegate: Watching Live with Kelly. When my daughter leaves for school, I run up the stairs and I'm like, ”I did it, I did it!“ I did the hour-and-a-half of breakfast, teeth-brushing, getting her dressed, did not brush hair—never brush hair—making sure the socks that she likes doesn't hurt her little toes if she doesn't like the way they feel in the toes, and getting her to finish her breakfast. After the marathon that is the morning, I run upstairs and I watch Live with Kelly.
Kathryn Hahn: I look at porn. [Laughs.] My porn is basically Internet real estate. I like to dream about other people's houses.
Kunis: Me too! Mine is Internet interior design.
One of my favorite parts of the movie was actually during the credits, when we get to see you all joking with your own moms.
Hahn: They recorded about an hour of each of us. It was really profound. I had never really spent that amount of time with my mom. That definitely sounds horrible! Let me start over: I haven't spent that much time talking about us, ever really, so it was a really moving hour.
Suzanne Todd: I thought it was incredibly brave of all the girls to let us do it, and of all the moms, who aren't used to being on camera the way their daughters are. They really came clean. They really shared. I wouldn't have done that with my mom for sure. It would be super embarrassing.
What’s a parenting tactic—good or bad—you inherited from your mom?
Hahn: My mom would always say, “The days are long, but the years are short.” I always remember it in that crazy stress, when you're looking at the clock, and it's only three, and you know you cannot ever imagine it getting to dinner or bath time. You think, “What am I going to do with this person for this many hours? I'm going to go crazy!” Then, all of a sudden, you turn around, and your kid's 9 years old. I can't believe how fast it went.
Kunis: I always have to feed everybody, which is my mother. My mom always had to feed me, my friends, the dog, the neighbor. My mom worked a full-time job at all times and always seemed to have time to make homemade meals. I was like, “God, she feeds everybody all the time!” Then I had my daughter, and I can't get enough food in her. I'm like, “She needs to eat more. She needs to be more plump.” My husband's like, “Relax, that's enough.”
Hahn: Yeah. The “clear your plate” business.
Kunis: I still adhere to it, and I don't know why. I'm like, “One more bite, one more bite.” He's like, “Baby, she's full,” and I think, ”She's not full.“
Applegate: I used to feel that way. Now I'm like, if you don't want lunch, OK, cool. You'll eat when you're hungry.
Kunis: That's the most logical way. Why? Why are we like this?
Hahn: My daughter was just arguing with me about why a cookie for breakfast isn't that different than a muffin from Starbucks.
Kunis: My mom used to send me to school, and I say this in a positive way, with a Dove candy bar. I drank coffee too. My mom would have a little piece of cheese, then I would go to school and she would give me a little tiny Dove candy bar. That was my pseudo-breakfast in the morning. Let me tell you, it's great. It's perfectly filling. It has a little protein, has a little dairy, and antioxidants.
When is the last time your kids made you cry?
Hahn: My daughter sang a song the other night, and I recorded it. She made up the words, and it's incredibly hilarious. It basically went something like, ”It doesn't matter if you've got two fingers and one leg if you're beautiful on the inside.“ It was long and tender. I was with my husband afterward, and we were both crying because it was hilarious and also because we could not believe that we made this person.
Applegate: This was like, five days ago, at pick up. She was in a real mood. I softly wept in the front seat of the car all the way home. Just tears, quietly streaming down my face. I needed to get out of that f—king car with that little monster. [Laughter.] I got home, she was like, ”Are you OK?“ I was like, ”Yep, allergies. Go inside and I'm just going to walk away for a while. Show papa your project, that picture of a crayon, just a big squiggle, go show him that and I'm going to go weep some more.“
Mumolo: My daughter was in the talent show after school and everybody was making fun of their routine when they were practicing it. She said, ”Everyone is making fun of us and telling us our routine is stupid.“ When they actually went up and did it at the talent show, it made me cry. I thought it was a brave thing to do. They'd been getting harassed for, like, a week.
Hahn: But they did it.
Mumolo: Yeah. It was literally just them singing a song that they liked. They were doing cartwheels. They're 9-year-old little girls. They tried to put together this dance on their own, but people were making fun of them and stuff, so to see them actually get up and do it made me proud.
Todd: That’s beautiful. My 17-year-old decided he wanted, for part of his summer, to go and do community service in India. He had other friends going other places that are closer that I thought were more right for me, but he really wanted India. So he committed to the trip. I took him to the airport and did the whole, “Have a great time, I'm so happy for you, the trip is going to be so great!” I stood outside on the sidewalk watching him go through security like a crazed paparazzi where I might have taken a bunch of pictures that he didn't know I took because he was in line and couldn't see me. The second he got out of sight, just a flood—a flood of tears.
Applegate: Wait—you all have such nice stories! She did a number at her school. They sang a song in, uh, sign language about being kind to one another. It was beautiful! She's not a monster! [Laughter.]
Todd: We all have our monster stories too.
Applegate: Yeah, majority "monster," occasional "oh god, you’re the sweetest," majority “what the f— is happening?”
This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.