By Eugenia Miranda Richman
Actress, entrepreneur, and mom of two Tia Mowry-Hardrict talks exclusively to SheKnows about how she is happily yet prudently approaching a return to the classroom for her kids and how she’s hoping to support moms with her new cookbook and wellness line.
Like a Sister
“We cannot do this on our own. I wanted to encourage and inspire other people out there.”
PHOTOGRAPHER: Felisha Tolentino
HAIR: Davontae Washington
MAKEUP: Anton Khachaturian
STYLIST: Judy Len
hen Tia Mowry-Hardrict’s kids start school this fall, it will have been almost two years since her son Cree Hardrict, now 10, has learned in person, and the first time her youngest, Cairo Hardrict, who just turned 3, will be learning in person, period — and the mom of two is already feeling those first-day jitters. “I’m very anxious, to be honest with you,” she says. “I never thought in a million years that going back to school would be something ‘new.’” It’s a sentiment millions of parents likely share this season, as 93 percent of households with school-age children did some kind of distance learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Speaking to SheKnows exclusively from her home in Los Angeles, the 43-year-old actress, author, and all-around mompreneur shares how she’s managing the unease. “Basically, I’m just really leaning on faith, and, you know, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do,” she admits. “But I’m really, really thinking about the kids and their growth. I think it’s important that they go back to school. And Cree has definitely voiced wanting to be around his friends.”
While Mowry-Hardrict first gained widespread fame from Sister, Sister, the sitcom she and her identical twin Tamera Mowry-Housley starred in from 1994–1999, it’s parenting that has taken center stage in her life of late, inspiring a book on pregnancy in 2012, a podcast in 2016 called Mostly Mom with Tia Mowry, a Youtube series on parenting hacks called The Quick Fix, and now, a cookbook that’s especially useful for parents called The Quick Fix Kitchen, launching Sept. 28.
After she had her son in 2011, she would go to the park with him and talk to other moms about the joys and challenges they shared. “Everybody is always inquiring and asking questions,” she says of the new mom friends she has met. “I realized the importance of community. I realized the importance of help.” And so her career started to take a different path. “We cannot do this on our own,” she says of the genesis of the book and her myriad other projects. “I wanted to encourage and inspire other people out there.”
If ever there was a time women needed encouragement, inspiration, and help, it’s now. About 57 percent of working mothers with children under the age of 12 found it difficult to manage childcare responsibilities during the pandemic, according to a Pew Research study from October 2020. And as a mom, Mowry-Hardrict has been grappling with the same issues all parents have been facing during the Covid-19 pandemic — calculating the risks and benefits of in-person engagements and finding activities for her family to keep busy and stay well. While she says her son Cree actually improved academically with the hands-on attention of online-schooling at home, Mowry-Hardrict and her husband, Cory Hardrict, made the decision to have him return to in-person learning this year. “I personally believe that [by] socializing and being around your peers, you learn from each other. You grow,” she says.
After having turned Cree’s play space into a classroom (replete with affirmations to keep him motivated and a rewards and consequences chart to encourage good behavior), she’s now switching it back. “It was all about trying to find new ways to motivate them and keep them engaged and happy,” she says, adding she won’t be keeping most of the homeschooling setup. “I don’t know if I want to remember that!” she says, chuckling. Cree will also be getting a big-boy room, as she’s working with celebrity interior designer Jake Arnold to re-decorate it. “I’m putting a desk in his room, so he can have a little more independence,” she says.
Mowry-Hardrict isn’t just looking forward to making changes at home, though — she’s also prepping for a return to some kind of normalcy this fall in other ways. On the mend from a cold she caught from her daughter, she’s helping boost her kids’ immunity with elderberry, Vitamin C, and kids gummies from her own wellness line, Anser, which launched in January 2020.
She’s also excited for back-to-school shopping, something she loved doing growing up. “My mom would take us to Target or anywhere where there was some kind of school supplies, and we would just go at it,” she recalls. “We would get new school clothes. We would get new school supplies, from backpacks to lunch boxes to markers to folders. It felt great. It really felt like a renewal.”
And like a lot of moms, Mowry-Hardrict has quite a few other things happening along with back-to-school, including the premiere of season 4 of the Netflix series Family Reunion, in which she stars. In October and November she will be debuting her own line of kitchenware called Spice By Tia Mowry that includes prep tools, gadgets, cookware, bakeware, storage, dinnerware, drinkware, and more.
Cooking has always been an important part of her family life, she says. “Food is a part of nurturing. And it puts a smile on people’s faces,” she says, remembering what dinner time meant to her growing up, “When we would sit down at the table, that was when we would bond.” And she hopes to help mothers do just that (as efficiently as possible, of course!) with her new cookbook, The Quick Fix Kitchen.
Featuring 65 recipes, her new tome promises time-saving tips, easy and delicious dishes that the whole family will enjoy, plus other hacks. “It doesn’t have to feel like a chore. It doesn’t have to be boring,” she says. So what does she recommend to make cooking on school nights easier? Prepping ingredients on the weekends and buying pre-cut vegetables, for starters. Also: one-pot meals and sheet-pan dinners. “I’m a huge fan,” she says, adding that the trick to a perfect sheet-pan dinner is to cut all the ingredients the same size so they cook evenly.
Her life experiences have also shaped Anser, a wellness venture that not only offers vitamins but a community of support, especially for Black women like herself. After she was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2006, Mowry-Hardrict changed her diet and lifestyle and saw a marked improvement in her condition.
“When I was on this journey, I didn’t see any women of color or representation of African American women,” she says, adding that offering products at an affordable price point without sacrificing quality was her goal. So what’s next for the brand? A green powder that would serve as an intake of veggies, a probiotic for digestive health, and a brain boost powder that would help with energy, focus, and memory. After all, what she has always wanted was to “have women of color [to] be part of the conversation.”
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By Tia Mowry-Hardrict
The Quick Fix Kitchen
Take Me Home
Sharing Her Journey
“Basically, I’m just really leaning on
faith, and, you know, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. But I’m really, really thinking about the kids and their growth.
I think it’s important that they go back
to school. And Cree
has definitely voiced wanting to be around his friends.”
The Affirmations That Inspired Tia Mowry-Hardrict's Son Cree