Malin Akerman on Her Son Learning the F Word, Mommy Guilt, and Dating

Malin Akerman was looking pretty well rested during a recent visit to SiriusXM Studio in New York City. (Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images)
Malin Akerman was looking pretty well rested during a recent visit to SiriusXM Studio in New York City. (Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Just like the rest of us, all Malin Akerman really wants is a good night’s sleep. “When I was in my 20s, I looked forward to the weekends to go out and go party, and now I look forward to the weekends to get caught up on rest,” she explained to Yahoo during a chat to promote Hotel Style by Walmart, a new line of luxury sheets that the Billions star swears by. “I have a three-and-a-half-year-old and sleep is key,” she added with a smile.

Even when she is adequately rested, however, raising a son on her own is challenging. One recent challenge? Cursing. “They’re like little sponges and you don’t realize it until they repeat things back and they sound like you,” she explained. (To be clear, she realizes she might not be setting the best example in terms of word choice all of the time.)

“We have this thing where he’s not allowed to use bad words, anything from the F word to poop. So when he does sometimes, like he’ll say the F word, and I’ll go, ‘Sebastian, you can’t say that word,’ and he’ll go, ‘Mama, it’s just an expression.’” You have to admit, the kid has a point. “He’s smart. He’s manipulative,” she sighed.

It is worth noting, though, that Akerman doesn’t think her son’s colorful language is anything to get too worried about. “Part of me is like, ‘They’re going to say it when they’re teenagers anyway. Let’s just let them say it. Let’s just let it be,’” she reasoned.

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Sebastian recently started preschool, which the actress admitted has been a welcome break for both of them. “He hops right into school and he is equally excited to hop right back out, and for me it’s great because I get a few hours of me time, which is well-needed after the baby stages, which is all-consuming,” she said. “It’s really nice because I’m starting to feel a bit of a freedom coming back to myself. I think there’s a bit of a mother’s guilt if you’re leaving your child and you don’t have to for work or something else. I’ve had some great friends who have convinced me to take time for myself over the years, but now it’s different because it’s guilt-free.”

So what does she do during those newfound free hours? “Usually it’s laundry or answering a million emails or just handling everything that’s accumulated over the last week,” she revealed. “It’s nice to be able to do laundry guilt-free.” Amen to that, sister.

As for screen time, Akerman tries to keep it to a minimum, limiting it to the weekends, or when she’s too tired in the morning to set up an activity for him while she prepares breakfast, or when they fly overnight to Sweden to visit her family for the holidays. Once they get to Sweden, her dad does the honors of dressing up as Santa Claus to entertain the kids. “We weren’t sure if Sebastian was going to freak out the first time [he saw her dad as Santa], but he just opened the door and said, ‘Come in, Santa Claus,’” she recalled. “My dad is an insurance broker, but he kind of missed his calling. He probably should have been an actor,” she added.

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Though she spends the holidays with her family, by and large, Akerman is raising Sebastian on her own. “When we’re in L.A. his father [drummer Roberto Zincone] is involved on a weekly basis, so that’s really nice,” she said before adding, “But it’s hard because other than that, everything is on me. He is watching me for every cue in life and so when I see him make mistakes — you’re just so hard on yourself because you really don’t want to mess them up.”

Akerman currently lives outside of the city with her son and a nanny who also happens to be her best friend, and while she is open to dating, she isn’t currently trying. “I’ve really spent this past year focusing more on self-love, just taking care of myself and my son,” she explained. “It’s not that I’m not open to it, but I just really needed a minute to take care of myself because I really haven’t done that in a long time. So I’m definitely open to it, but I’m not actively looking.” (For the record, she’s “scared” of Bumble and other dating apps, so if she does meet someone, it will likely be in person.)

But while being a single mom with a precocious, “manipulative” child can be tough now and then, it can also be pretty fantastic. “I do get to spend so much time with him and really develop him into this incredible little human being,” she explained. “He’s my buddy. I feel like I have a limb missing when I’m not around him and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”