Sarah Michelle Gellar on Raising a Girl: "I Need a Princess-Phase Vaccine!"

The actress and mom talks about why children need to be vaccinated against pertussis -- and princesses.

It might not surprise you to find out that Sarah Michelle Gellar, icon to butt-kicking girls everywhere after her role as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is not into princesses. However, daughter Charlotte, 3, is. We talked to Gellar, also mom to son Rocky, 8 months, about raising a strong daughter, how she and husband Freddie Prinze Jr. parent their two kids and her involvement with Sounds of Pertussis, a campaign to educate parents about the threat of whooping cough (pertussis). Rates of whooping cough, which can be deadly in infants, have reached record highs in recent years, and babies are most likely to get pertussis from an adult family member -- which is why it's critical for adults to get a booster.

Sounds of Pertussis stresses that adults need to be vaccinated to protect babies. How do you deal with your own kids getting shots?
I have two kids and we've all gotten the vaccine. I would love to say I sent my husband, but we know that's not true! We just got the next round of shots for my son, and he was so mad at the doctor he never even noticed the immunization. With my daughter read books and talk about how getting sick is worse than getting a shot. We don't do a lollipop after -- the reward is not getting sick.

You are an icon for strong women on the screen. Is that informing how you parent your daughter?
Having a good self-image and being confident is how I want to parent any child. Charlotte is in the princess phase; I think it's a clinical term. I thought we skipped it but then it hit. My next campaign might be a vaccine against the princess phase! But she loves Tangled, which I like because the character's making her own decisions, and there's no bad message there.

What's your policy about what you let your kids watch?
I don't let my kids do anything before I've done it, whether it's books or TV shows. Someone will give them a book and you'll be half way through it, and then you realize the fish dies! That's the most important thing, to look at it first.

Rocky is a great boy's name. Is there a story behind it?
We just got it from reading a baby name book. I wish I could say there's some great story behind it, but we just liked it.

Are you one of those women who love being pregnant?
I loved being pregnant in terms of the fact that there was a baby growing inside me. Were there some parts that weren't so fun? Yes. No one likes morning sickness. But I like crackers and I like pasta.

And how has it been with kid #2?
It's so much different. I don't like to give advice, but the advice I would give now is trust your instincts. The second time around, you're so much more confident that you're not going to break the baby, so you're not so stressed.

What kind of parents are you and your husband? Are you strict?
We're partners and that's the way we look at parenting. We make the decisions we feel will be the best for our kids. We're probably on the stricter side. Our kids are in bed every night by 7:30.

How has the way you approach your career changed since having kids? Do you struggle with the balance?
Obviously it changes drastically when you have kids because every waking moment you're thinking of them. If I had my way, I wouldn't work at all and I'd just stay home with my kids. But that's not my reality. I have so much respect for people who travel all over the world, but for me I want to work in Los Angeles where I can be home every night for my kids.

What can you tell us about your new TV series The Crazy Ones?
It's David E. Kelley and Robin Williams -- those are two of the greatest people in their field. Forget the fact that Robin Williams is a legend and one of the funniest people I've ever met. He cares about my family, and he wants me to get home to my kids. One night I was stressed about getting home to my kids, and he told me to go home, he could finish up without me.

Do you get something for yourself out of working?
I like to say I go to work for the rest!

Mom of two Sasha Emmons is a writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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