Cupid's Pulse Article: Celebrity News: Comedian Julia Sweeney Tells Us Why ‘If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother’Cupid's Pulse Article: Celebrity News: Comedian Julia Sweeney Tells Us Why ‘If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother’

By Jessica Conigliaro

It’s almost every girl’s dream to get married and start a family one day. But what do you do when you reach a certain point in your life and that dream hasn’t come to fruition–yet? Actress, comedian and author Julia Sweeney took matters into her own hands: she adopted her daughter Mulan before she found Mr. Right. In her new memoir, If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother, she tackles life’s challenges with both humility and humor. Sweeney shares the difficulties of having a family and the importance of making time for yourself. Here, she chats with about adopting her daughter, finding love as a single mom and her upcoming projects, including a voice over role in the upcoming Monster Inc. sequel, Monster University.

In your book, you discuss how important starting a family was to you and your decision to adopt a baby without a partner. There are so many single women out there who want the same thing and feel like time is escaping them. How difficult is it for a single woman to adopt?

For me, it was really easy. I decided to adopt from China. There was a two-year waiting list, and I wanted a long wait; there were so many things I wanted to do first. I’m really glad I did it. In many ways, I was very naïve, but I’m sure that’s how it is for all parents before they have a kid.

Was adoption always the only option for you?

There are so many kids in this world who desperately need parents. There are definitely more children who need parents than there are parents out there to take care of them. I felt like trying to have a biological child was unethical, so I never seriously considered it.

Was your daughter’s name inspired by the Disney character?

No! Put that in caps – NO! That was her name in China, and I immediately changed her name to Tara Mulan. When she was about three-and-a-half years old, she announced that she was Mulan. My daughter came from China with so little, but she did have a name, and she liked it – so we legally changed it back to Mulan.

Let’s talk about relationships. Was it challenging for you to find love after you adopted your daughter?

In some ways, I’ve never had so many guys interested in me as I did after I became a single mom, which I think is so funny. I think the reason is that, before Mulan, I was like a loaded bullet on dates. I wanted to be a mom, and I was over 40; there was a lot that I wanted from a man. I think that scared them off, which is understandable. You like to start a relationship thinking people don’t need so much from you. People start healthy relationships that way.

Once I actually had a kid, two wonderful things happened. First, all of that was off the table – I’d done it on my own, so I didn’t need a guy to do it anymore. Second, I had so much love in my life from this kid that I was a much less needy date. I didn’t care if I was dating or not, which made a lot of guys more interested.

How did you meet your husband? How old was Mulan at the time?

Mulan was six years old, and we met him in a crazy way. I got a fan letter from his brother, proposing to me on Michael’s behalf, even though Michael didn’t know anything about it. It was a cute letter, but I didn’t respond to it. Several months later, I came out of a show, and there was a guy waiting in the lobby. He told me he wrote a letter about a year ago, proposing for his brother. He told me his entire family, including Michael and his mother, were mad at him for sending the letter and weren’t talking to him. I wrote to Michael and told him not to be mad anymore. He wrote back and said how embarrassed he felt. We just kept writing to each other, and eventually, he did, in fact, propose.

How did you know your husband would be both a good partner for you and good father to your daughter?

I was so smitten with him, and nature just took over. He had a solid career, and I admired that. The thing I really liked was he had achieved success in his field and wasn’t an insecure guy. Insecurity is such a poison, but Michael was comfortable with himself. That was a huge ingredient that went into our comfortableness around each other.

He was also really great with Mulan. He’s a quiet, calm, reassuring presence and doesn’t get ruffled very easily. I’m much more emotional, and he’s more steady. I could see that personality trait being such a good addition to our family.

You discuss how hard you worked to start a family, yet you feel like you need to escape from them sometimes. Mothers have such guilt when it comes to needing time for themselves. Any advice you can give for just letting go?

One thing that was hard for me when it comes to having a family is having constant interaction with others. I lived a long time by myself where I could work and come home and really decompress in my own way. Even though it seems like I’m an extrovert, I really have to honor the part of me that’s an introvert. I guess my advice would be to try and do things on your own: go off to a movie by yourself or go sit in a park for an hour each week. I definitely need that.

You spent a month away from your family. During this time, you reflected on your life and what you wanted out of it. What did you learn during this time? 

I realized how much I loved and cared about my family. I just missed them and wanted them to come back. I also realized I needed to build more breaks into my life, so it doesn’t get to the point where I need a month alone again. I’m always a better mother when I’ve had a couple hours off.

And finally, outside of your book, do you have any other projects in the works?

I do! I have this show that I do with Jill Sobule called The Jill and Julia Show, and we have a website going up soon. We go around and do shows over the summer; she sings, and I tell stories. It’s really fun – Jill is my best girlfriend, and we just have such a great time on stage together. Our shows are really about the ups-and-downs of our careers and relationships. We’ve kind of been humbled by life.

I’m also a voice in Monsters University, the sequel to Monsters Inc.

You can purchase a copy of If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother in bookstores and online from Amazon. For more information about Sweeney, visit her Be sure to check her out in Monsters University too, out on June 21st.