LEARNING TO LIVE WITH ANXIETY

As a child, I hated taking tests. I got nervous, had to poop, and got physically sick. Watching my daughter get her yellow strip in Tae Kwon Do recently brought back all those emotions. I instantly got a lump in my throat. She was smiling, standing tall and as confident as ever as her Master tested her. I began to take comfort in her confidence as she performed every move correctly. Before she was honored, she turned and looked at her Grandmother and me. I had tears in my eyes, not just because she did well, but because my anxiety was not passed onto her.

Anxiety is something I live with and battle daily. It can be brought on by anything. At times, it gets on my nerves. I get anxiety about being late. Will there be traffic? Will I get my child in bed on time? Even writing this is making me feel some kinda way. I live through it every day. I read everything I can to learn more about how to control it and make sure it’s not projected onto my child. I don’t believe in medication. I tried that once, and it made me a zombie. Never again, but what does help is breathing. I literally talk to myself and make myself breathe easy.  Here are the steps if you’d like to try it.

Calming Breath

• Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs.

• Hold your breath to the count of “three.”

• Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.

If you live with anxiety, you’re not crazy and you’re not alone! 

LEMON BAR CONFESSIONS

I hide in the garage and eat frozen lemon bars!

Confession: My daughter doesn’t like them, so it’s not about sharing, it’s about my sanity!  Having children is the best most ridiculous choice I’ve ever made.

The garage is quiet and there’s nothing in there that my daughter wants except her bike and scooter and it’s the last place she looks for me. The 2 minutes I spend hiding are euphoric.  The garage is clean, quiet and nobody is in there. Nobody to ask me to do anything for them.

No “Mommy, I’m hungry!” or “Honey, do you know where BLANK is?”

It’s 2 minutes of peace with nobody talking to me.  LOL.  In between cooking 3 meals a day, providing 2 snacks, homeschooling, taking my daughter to swimming lessons 2 times a week and Tae Kwon Do lessons 4 times a week, it’s 2 minutes I grab for myself daily.

If all you do for yourself is grab 2 minutes, it can change your world. I’m a better mom because I have a deep freezer in the garage. LOL.

SOCIALLY AWKWARD MOM WANTS TO RAISE A SOCIAL CHILD

By 40, I know who I am. I have come to embrace the fact that I’m slightly socially awkward. Growing up in the spotlight has lent a hand in me becoming a bit of an introvert. I never thought of it as a problem until I watched my toddler start to follow in my footsteps.

She would scream anytime someone outside her immediate circle stepped foot in the house. At first, I thought well maybe it’s just a phase, but after 6 months it became completely emotionally draining to even have company. When I say company, I mean family members over. Remember, I’m an INTROVERT so I don’t do many people myself.

One afternoon, Melanie came over for a playdate with her toddler and I realized, “Wait a minute – no tears or panic attack. What’s going on?

Two minutes later, my daughter is sitting in Melanie’s lap giving her big love. I was sitting back smiling because I realized my awkwardness had not passed onto my toddler! My little one is simply cautious and can sense the vibrations people give off.

I too am not easily trusting, and I am not swift on letting people into my personal space. So, why should I expect my daughter to be any different. I grew up in a time where adults would say, “Give me a hug,” and as a child you were supposed to grant their wish. I hated that and swore when I became a parent I wouldn’t force people on my child, so I don’t. I let her gravitate to people at her own pace, when she feels comfortable and if she never does, I am ok with that too.

Back to Auntie Mel, because she’s clearly one of my daughter’s favorites. Melanie is social and always has her daughter, whom is 4 months younger than mine, out and about and around people.

I know you’re not supposed to compare children, but for the sake of this conversation, it’s a must. Melanie’s lil bundle performs for the crowd when they are around and is totally free in a room full of strangers. While my little bundle is all of a sudden shy. She will still speak, but it’s soft as she observes what’s going on around her.

Through conversation with Melanie and my daughter’s pediatrician, they eased my mind.

I am happy to say that by 2 ½, she no longer cried when her uncles and cousins walked in the door. Not only is family welcomed, she invites them in.   Now, I just have to figure out how to stop her from crying when they leave.

What traits did you worry about passing on to your children?

 

HOW NOT TO LOSE YOURSELF IN MOTHERHOOD

Moms, most of us go through that “Who the fuck have we become?” moment. I know I have! I am now living in a small ass town. I have cut off my hair and have the perfect soccer mom bob. I spend my weeks HOMESCHOOLING instead of HOLLYWOODING!

Sometimes, it’s a mixture of hysterical laughter and tears. I wouldn’t trade motherhood for the world, BUT I also can’t let myself forget in the middle of tea parties, driving to ballet/tap, swimming lessons and Tae Kwon Do WHO THE FUCK I AM!

Listening to music is a huge way that I take time for myself during parenthood. It’s also a time I spend connecting with my 4-year-old.  Who doesn’t enjoy a good dance party? Or a rock out session in the car?

I have anxiety about being late, so I am everywhere early. (Can’t get use to there being no traffic.) My daughter calls it “GIRL TIME.”  She climbs out of her car seat and into the front of the truck with me. She turns up the radio and we sing and dance for the 15 minutes until her lesson starts.

Listening to Meghan Trainer’s new song “Treat Myself” she says “Let me give myself a hand / Get up and dance / I love all of me.” It’s really a great feel-good song but also a reminder of how great we are as women and we deserve to take time to be good to ourselves.

I tend to play a lot of happy, fast paced music when spending time with my girl. Music is a real mood booster and also helps you reconnect with old feelings, which is a reminder of the old me before kids. So even in the middle of a crazy busy week, take 5 minutes to turn on that song you use to play on the way to the club when you were younger and remind yourself of who the fuck you really are!

*I was a RockSTAR. I don’t know where this inner soccer mom came from, but I refuse to EVER drive a minivan or station wagon. Big Trucks and Fast Cars are also how I hold on to my identity!  How do you hold on to yours?

FIRST PLANE RIDE WITHOUT HER

I’m an actress. I travel for a living. No biggie, right? All bets are off and the game totally changed when my daughter was born.  She was 23 months old, and I had never left her.  Then, I signed a contract to go on a day trip to Houston to film a movie…without her! My plane took off at 6 o’clock in the morning, and by 10pm that night, I would be back in LA.

24 hours before I was scheduled to leave, I had a full out panic attack, which was followed by an anxiety attack. Forget the fact that I have baby brain, and I am having a hard time remembering my lines. Like that wasn’t pressure enough, but that I could handle. Leaving my child was something I couldn’t handle. I was ready to give them my deposit back and, for the first time ever, breach a contract and quit a film. I just could not do it. I couldn’t leave her. Get on a plane without her and go 1,500 miles away?!?  Anything could happen. There could be an earthquake, or the sun could fall from the sky!

I called my mom and said, “I can’t do it! I just can’t do it!”

She started to laugh and calmingly whispered, “Now you know how I’ve felt my entire life. Baby I understand.”

Those words hit my core. In my mid-30s,  I was still calling my mom the second my plane landed and again when I checked in the hotel to let her know my exact location. For 35 years, I’ve traveled endlessly for work. This is the first time I ever thought about a plane crashing or worried about any sort of technical hiccup.

Thirty minutes on the phone with my mom completely brought me back to reality, and I was ready. I packed my purse with everything I needed and prepared my daughter for Mommy’s departure. When the time came, my daughter gave me a kiss and simply said, “See you later,” as my mom gave me a big hug and winked at me as I walked out the door.

When I got to the car, my mom sent a text. “Everything will be fine, I promise.” I’m 40 years-old and my mom’s promise still means everything to me.

I got to the airport and boarded that plane with tears in my eyes and I prayed the entire take off. When I landed at Hobby, I texted my mom that I was safe and went straight to set. I had a wonderful time and had no issue remembering my lines. It was great being back at work and doing what I love.

When my scenes were over, I went right back to the airport. On my way home, there was a beautiful curly haired little girl I will never forget. She looked at me and gave me a big smile. I felt like it was a smile from God. I knew everything would be alright again. This time, I wasn’t worried about the flight. I was ready to go home and see my own curly haired child. I smiled the whole flight.

I got back pretty late but walking through the door and seeing my daughter peacefully sleeping next to Grandma was one if the happiest moments of my life.  She woke up, looked at me, and said, “Mommy you came back,” wrapping her little arms around my neck.

With tears of joy flowing from my eyes, I told her, “Of course honey, Mommy always comes back.”

This was a mommy milestone for me.

I’d love to hear about some of your mommy milestones.  Share in the comments!

 

THE MOVE

I decided that I needed a different life as a mother. Hollywood wasn’t the way I wanted to raise my kid. So after 36 years, I packed up my life and my kid and left town. I was scared it would mean a halt to my career, but my priority rang loud.

My child isn’t a Hollywood kid. She is a kid who deserves a chance to claim her own identity! She will develop  her own interests and desires and not the ones I or anyone else assumes she should have.

Yes, our life before the move was comfortable but I was uncomfortable taking my daughter to the grocery store, the park or anywhere because the first question people asked was, “Are you going to put her in the business?” After hearing it 100 times before she was one, it started to feel disrespectful.

I started asking people, “What do you do for a living and do you want that for your child?”

EVERYONE I asked back said, “NO!”

The common sense part of my brain didn’t understand but after I remembered the world doesn’t run off reality anymore and the lines of fact and fiction are blurred it was my confirmation. TIME TO GO!

Now, I live in a small country town that I won’t name because I love my privacy and the life it’s given us. Trips to the Walmart, the grocery store and the  park are all different! People recognize me; but they simply say, “Hello. How is your day?” AND they MEAN IT!!!

My daughter takes Tae Kwon Do, and I get to watch her without people talking about Urkle or asking about my next project. For the first time in 36 years, I am living and walking around with my head up instead of constantly looking down. I get to be like everyone else and SO does my child. Nobody is tryna sneak a picture to put on the internet. She’s just another cute child running around the neighborhood.

While I was nervous to make my child start over with new friends and without all her family, I had to remember that a mentally healthy, happy mother raises mentally healthy, happy children and that is really what it’s all about. My mother moved for me and now I moved for my child. Thank you, Momma.