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Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Are You A Naughty Or Nice Mom?

05/05/2011 at 09:00 AM ET

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, has a busy 2011 ahead of her.

The actress, 38, can be seen on the big screen in the upcoming films Chlorine, Transit and Abduction, as spokesmom for Juno Baby, and can be found online on Facebook and @ElisabethRohm on Twitter.

In her latest blog, Röhm reflects on those pre-child days of freedom before the arrival of daughter Easton August, 3 — and wants to hear (and see!) all about yours. Share your favorite stories from your past and reminisce about the woman you were before you were “Mom.”

Robert Evans


Stop!

Before you read another word of this blog today, I want to be clear that this week’s blog is not like the usual ones. You will find no words of advice, reflections on the latest vaccine news, or confessions on my flawed parenting. Nope — this week, let’s talk about ourselves (it’s been a while since we did that). Let’s indulge a little and look back into our sordid pasts. Trust me, the kids will be alright!

It’s not that I’m fantasizing about my former self (okay, maybe just a little) but I’m finding great humor in my transformation these days. For instance, just take a look at exhibit A:

Courtesy Elisabeth Röhm

I have oatmeal stuck to my pants, I clearly did ‘drop-off’ without putting a brush through my hair or even a touch of lipgloss. It dawned on me as I was doing the dishes this morning that I might even know just a little bit more about the latest Sponge Bob plot line than the most recent developments on Osama Bin Laden’s death. And please don’t even get me started on my chipping pedicure.

No, I’m not as concerned as I used to be with outward things. But, no bother! I love this new parenting life that is no longer about me. I’m not longing for those hangover mornings or the wild nights that were a bit empty that proceeded this domestic diva chapter. But it doesn’t hurt to reminisce, just a little!

For instance moms — when was the last time you took a road trip and just got out of town … just took off without a care? With maybe a friend or a random boyfriend, pre-husband? The top down, wind blowing through your hair (I know it sounds a little corny), the music blasting at a decibel that now you might think is a tad too loud?

I’m not saying we’re old or that this flashback is the be all and end all. BUT — my, how life has changed, huh?!

Tell me the truth ladies — do you ever sit back and recall the days of freedom with just a touch of longing? What about that period in your lives stands out the most to you? Is it the fact that ‘quiet’ no longer exists or that a lost afternoon is as familiar to you as an ancient fossil from the Ice Age?

Oh and let’s not even get into those yummy lost weekends … forget about it!! Those lost weekends are definitely worth a little bit of reflection and fantasizing. While we’re here, tell me all about them so that I can live vicariously.

I know that’s why we all still have a few single friends left. They are busy trying to get married while we are secretly enjoying hearing about their lascivious behavior.

Moms, have you noticed that your fashion sense has changed? Just a bit? I’m not saying that we’re not all still super sexy, but let’s be honest, even if it’s just on this blog for this moment in time. We may have lost a bit of our flair for fashion, as they say. I’m submitting exhibit B:

Courtesy Elisabeth Röhm

My oft-worn mom costume. It’s alright but it’s certainly not hot! And to tell you the truth, I’m okay with that. I do love this new, exciting and certainly unpredictable chapter of parenthood. Okay, wait hold on, maybe exciting and unpredictable aren’t the right words. More like safe and predictable. But I love it too.

So, let’s table the talk about superior parenting, spanking, learning and our usual mom-debates and turn back the hands of time. Come on, let’s reminisce about our former selves where every hour belonged to us and we didn’t have to be accountable to anyone. Let’s be selfish for a minute and talk about ourselves.

Which leads me to a favorite topic … sex. How are we doing with sex these days, ladies? Are we having it at all? A little? Too much? I mean seriously ladies, I know that whole subject has taken a turn too now that we are Mommies. I’m not saying I want to have a fling to add a little excitement to my life, but let’s be honest — sex is not what it used to be. It changes, that’s all.

Am I right? I don’t think there is anything wrong with us saying that life has changed and that it’s not such a wild ride anymore. I don’t think there is anything wrong AT ALL with us admitting that in exchange for this blissful, deeply loving and dependable chapter in our lives that we gave up not just something, but most things that used to be us.

And let me be clear, I have no desire to get drunk in a bar like I might have in the bygone era but I know for a fact that I haven’t seen the sunrise in three years and that I kinda miss, from time to time — the freedom and lack of responsibility to do so if I choose. I’ve either been pregnant, parenting or working. Sound familiar?

I’m not saying we’re martyrs, but we’ve sacrificed a lot since we became moms. True? So, even if we can’t go back to the way we were (I don’t even want to) or do something really crazy that makes us feel alive again, let’s spend a little time here talking about some of those highlights from when we were wild and free. It may just make us feel all shiny and new again and give us that old ‘twinkle in the eye.’

I would love to see your own mom costumes — post some pics for me. Moms, tell me about your former selves. Were you naughty or nice?

– Elisabeth Röhm

Robert Evans has photographed parties for Christina Aguilera and Jim Carrey, and is also known for photographing some of the biggest celebrity weddings in the last 10 years, including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston and most recently, Shania Twain.

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Showing 35 comments

Leslie on

LOVE this post!

Elise on

Brilliant Elisabeth! You have summed up in this post exactly how I feel! My hubby and I last night were just reminiscing about our wild and free days in our 20s. I’m so glad we have them, so we can look back fondly and recall. But you’re right, I wouldn’t trade the long afternoons spent with my little guy now on walks, playing around the house, or at the park, for a drunken night on the town. It’s just a new, different phase in life. Wonderfully written and so true! Thanks for sharing. :)

Angie on

I love your blog and you!

This post is so fitting for Mother’s day…. I haven’t been child free or single in a very long time… My oldest is 7 and my youngest is 3. I’ve also been with my husband since I was 15. So, my wild days have been over for some time. Don’t get me wrong we occasionally get a sitter and enjoy a night out or a weekend away like for our 10 year Anniversary.

I was just thinking the other day that it’s been such a long time since I’ve just had a day of rest – a day with out taking care of 4 other people. How I long for the days of going to the pool to actually relax and enjoy the sun – now the pool days are filled with keeping your eyes on 3 little ones so nobody gets hurt. Days of going on vacation and actually laying on the beach reading a book are gone…heck reading a book now a days is hard! Simple things like reading, gardening, and even sleeping have vanished.

Your right I wouldn’t trade my life now for ANYTHING – but I do think of those days…

Today’s world is such a fast paced one… with children doing everything from sports to ballet. Parents now a days run everyday and have their kids in so many things we tend to forget the simple things… liking play outside – dinner’s as a family – relaxing!

My favorite day of the week is Sunday – because on Sunday we go to church with my parents – eat a fun lunch at McDonalds and play in the afternoon. It’s a 1/2 day of relaxing – we don’t get them that often so I cherish this part of the day.

Mary on

So smartly written Elisabeth! As a working mother to a 15 year old my Monday through Friday are a complete blurr of work/daycare/dinner/playtime/bedtime….repeat! And the weekend comes and it’s off to the Mom Uniform of tshirt/sweatshirt/yoga pants, hair piled on top of the head, etc. I was just telling my girlfriends how I need to “check” myself before I leave the door b/c I might accidentally run to Target w/ slippers on or no bra on(not that I’ve EVER done that). :)

Nothing wrong with yearning back to our younger wilder days. I love to think of my former self……….20’s, living in the city, drinking and bar hopping till 3am, sleeping in late, chasing men, NO responsiblities except to go to work, pay your rent, pay your utilities. Some of my favorite memories were the off nights where we decided not to go out and we’d order food in, watch countless episodes of TLC’s Trading Spaces and laugh and laugh.

All said, I wouldn’t trade where I’m at now for the world!

Jenn on

Great, well-written blog, but as someone who doesn’t have kids, it officially scared the crap out of me! My husband and I have been talking about having kids soon. But I think I want one more carefree year before we head down that road!

Kate on

Mary, your 15 year old needs to be put to bed and keeps you so busy that you can forget to put shoes or bra on??? That’s just so… fake.

Jen DC on

@ Kate: Maybe it was a typo. Maybe she has a son with special needs… Calm down!

@ Jenn: This is why I have no kids! I’m creeping up on 37 (this year) and the amount of self-sacrifice required for babies and kids has remained too much for me. And I am ok with that. My mother, on the other hand… I *told* her to have other children! LOL

And just to confirm that I wasn’t ready for kids, I nannied for 6 months. I loved that little bugger – I still love him. But yeah, 7 to 10 hrs a day with an uncommunicative, crying, crapping, germ-sharing critter isn’t for me. And I don’t care how much I’ll “love my own”! YOU ARE NOT TRICKING ME!

CAB on

I think what I miss the most is time alone…in the car, in the bathroom, in the shower…alone LOL

Emily on

I’m a new mom; my son is only five months old, but I was already starting to reminisce about the days when I could just hang out at our local cafe for hours reading and doing research on my own. Now I’m lucky if I do any reading that doesn’t involve Spot, farm animals, or wild things. I guess longing for the days of reading and drinking a cup of coffee makes me a “nice” mom, but it is absolutely the thing that miss the most.

Thanks for the blog!

Kate on

Some of you are probably going to scoff and think I’m lying but…honestly, with our first, our lives didn’t really turn into a blur of “nap-diaper change-feeding-crying-etc.” Maybe it’s just because our daughter was an uncommonly good baby/toddler…

BUT I will admit that with our son (5 months old now) things did get a lot crazier. He’s a bit fussier than she was.

I do still think I got off easy, though, judging by your posts and what I hear all the time from other moms. It’s just that I was prepared for a completely different life and it was…mostly the same life, just with her in it.

Mary on

Kate – 15 MONTH old. I can see how that would have been weird if it was a 15 year old. sorry for the typo.

mera on

before i became a mother i read that pregnancy and motherhood will fortify your nature, will bring out who you really are. motherhood did not really change me, so i guess there is some truth to what i read. except for one aspect: i don`t like music anymore, it mostly bothers me if my hubby turns on the radio or some other kind of music. i`d rather prefer no background noises at all (as far as you can have silence in a house with a 18m old). this is very strange to me, bc before, i was so much into music/going to concerts. i don`t know where that came from.

otherwise i still don`t mind staying at home in the evening, i still don`t miss any party or the drinking ( not that i was a party chick before), i still wear comfy dresses, i still don´t think about sex very often.

but i`d really like to sleep in on the weekends (will that ever gonna happen again?)

and elisabeth, you said you would miss the sunrise: my girl is an early bird so i kind of didn`t miss a single sunrise since becoming a mom ;)

Amanda on

Another well written post Elisabeth! I love my daughter to death and wouldn’t go back to my pre-child life for anything, but I would love to have another evening with a few of my best friends, sitting on a roof and watching the sunrise while sipping whiskey and talking.

Of all the elders in my life that I have spoken to about their favorite memories of life, they always seem to be the ones with their children. Not the ones from before they had children. While I am sure they treasure those memories as well, they always bring up their children. I think they may be onto something…

Kristine on

What a honest blog. Thanks for writing what all of us moms are thinking. You are a beautiful mom on the onside and that is all that matters

What of it? on

Elisabeth, your blogs are awesome.

Holiday on

Mary I was thinking wow a 15 year old still needs so much help you dont have a minute to yourself?? But 15 months is a whole different story. I have a 5 year old son and almost 1 year old daughter and I have sacrificed to much to do everything for them. I am with them all the time except when my son is at preschool because I dont have any family near by. I give everything of myself to both of them and love to do that but I admit it can be tiresome and by the end of the day I am beyond beat. I had kids rather young, 22 so I didnt have my 20s to be wild and carefree like most women but I love my life and my kids and have never been happier.

Dawn on

My sister and I were just discussing this and how your free time and priorities change with children. For example, she and her husband went out to dinnner and were so excited about being childless for the evening they were rocking out to music in the car until they realized that what they were listening to was Sesame Street ‘Songs From The Street” CD. Too funny!

It becomes second nature to just put everyone else’s needs above your own. Isn’t that where the phrase “self-sacrificing mother” comes from? I love my two kids but I do wish I could just take an hour or so each day and be completely alone! I just don’t see that happening and to be honest, I really don’t mind most of the time!

victoria on

I love your blog Elisabeth, is just amazing. I’m not a mom, but I am an aunt, 6 nephews, 1 grand-niece, I’m 28, but I come from a very big family, I often wonder, reading your blog, looking at other moms my age, they seem so tired all the time, it’s a total shift in life (180° kind), in our culture daddies don’t do much, so the mom is kinda single if she wants to work too,

I have a supporting and loving partner, we have thought about children, he’s ok with the idea, I am not. Call me selfish but children change lives forever, my mom has a saying: “since you become a mother you never eat a full, warm or calm meal, and you never sleep the same way.” There will always be a little nagging voice on your head telling you: is your baby fed, changed, safe? so I recommend you making some time for yourself, leave the baby with grandpas for a weekend and just enjoy 48 hours of selfish nurture for yourself, have crazy sex, go shopping, get wasted, but do it for yourself, children grow, and then they leave, so what’s gonna happen when you realize you put your life on hold for them?

Don’t get me wrong, being a full time mom, is a job, god knows grandmothers are completely irreplaceable when moms are working, but sometimes I hear my grandma saying she wishes she had gone to college and become a doctor, so she could depend less on her children, yes now she’s very old so she depends on children and grandchildren to get things done, she never learned to drive, and she has Alzheimer, so stop… and think about it. We are not eternal, we are here for a short period of time and we should make the most of it.

Jenn MKE on

Elisabeth – What a great blog! You’re a great writer! I have to say that I waited a long time to have kids, so I was very ready to leave the days of wild abandon behind, but I do wonder – what on earth did I used to DO with all my time?? My wee one is not quite 5 months old and at the moment, every day is a foot race from the moment my alarm goes off until I have to get back in bed and I think back to what I used to do with myself all day long and I have no idea…?? Is that what they call momnesia??

Sharron on

Elisabeth, what an honest and accurate description. I know I tend to look back on my wilder days with a romanticized notion about them. I also did the same thing when I got married. I look back fondly on those days, but I honestly love being a mother so much, that at this point (my baby is only 9 mos) I wouldn’t trade or change anything (except maybe the ability to choose to work and not needing to work for financial reasons).

There are two sayings that I absolutely love to describe motherhood “My cup runneth over” and “the hype that exceeds the hype.” Motherhood is so rewarding in a way that no one can describe until you are actually a mother. Lovely, honest and well written post.

Liwen on

I have to admit, whe I had 1 it didn’t really slow us down because he was so easy! We were the reason that our double-income-no-kids friends had kids! Granted, now that we’ve had our second we are the reason NOT to have kids now. Go figure. But I think that everyone is different and every kid is different.

Holiday on

Liwen I agree! One was such a breeze compared to 2 for me. With 1 my life was in order and not chaotic. 2 is not twice as hard for me…it’s about 5 times as hard.

Daria on

Elisabeth.

I totally get this. Thanks so much for your lovely post. I’m so glad I randomly found it!

I’m a mom to a special needs kiddo and having her has been such a life altering event, even more so than our first “typical” child. I wrote about how motherhood had changed for me for an online mothering mag here: http://www.mamalode.com/blog/2011/05/06/an-unexpected-path-the-mother-i-have-become/

Hope everyone had a great mother’s day.

joanne on

I read your blog with much interest.I have been married for 41 years(yes to the same man) and I have 3 daughters 40 ,38, and 34.I remember very well what you are going through now.

My mother always told me–enjoy it ,make the best of it, it is all over so fast.We always seem to wish our lives away or later wish it back.

I have 6 granddaughters and I love them dearly. I try very hard to give my daughters a break on a regular basis so they dont get as overwhelmed as I did. Take some time for yourself everyday and you will be better for it. Some advice from someone who wishes that she had.

Good luck and be happy.

lisamb on

I don’t ever hear enough mom’s out there speaking about this topic. It was refreshing to hear another mom talk honestly about remembering out former selves without feeling guilty, as if to not appreciate the littler person we brought into this world. of course we love our kids and have no regrets but there is still stigma out there that if some of us talk like this in society, we’re somehow not good moms. and that is not true! we’re all human! i miss my alone time. endless amounts of alone time to pamper myself with reading, nail polish etc etc. girly things. but, of course, i wouldn’t trade it for the world now that i have my 15 month old boy. he’s replaced that stuff with endless amounts of entertainment. but i still think about planning a girl weekend getaway….if i can ever feel guilt free about leaving him! LOL

Deanna on

My daughters are 10 & 8 and I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. My husband and I just returned from one of 3 annual long weekends that we spend with our college friends. It was a little slice of heaven, we get to run around campus, pretend to be freshman & live vicariously through all of our single friends. I can’t tell you how much that recharges you for another 4 months.

The only thing I really miss about the time before kids is being able to finish a thought or heaven forbid an entire sentence. What I wouldn’t give to have someone actually listen to what it is I have to say and understand that my life experiences might actually amount to something.

Jordana on

This is a great blog. I have a 21-month-old daughter, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I wonder what it was like before my daughter was born. Don’t get me wrong – I love my daughter. But sometimes I wonder what it was like not to have to schedule your day around another human being. I don’t remember what’s it like to be out of the house between 6 and 7 p.m. (usually when we do our bedtime routine). I don’t remember what it was like when I could yell to my husband upstairs to get me something without worrying about waking up my daughter. I don’t remember what it wsa like to be able to leave my house whenever I wanted without having to worry about who would sit with my daughter.

I also can’t imagine what life would be like without her. She is such an amazing human being. But even so, I sometimes wish I could go back in time and just enjoy the independence I used to have, knowing full well that one day, someone would be dependent on me.

Pam on

As the Mother of a 2 AND a 3 year old, who started a Family at 39, this Blog really hit home. I do miss time to myself and having the ability to just get in the car and go….even if it’s just to the grocery store, but with that said, I wouldn’t trade my life now for anything. Being a Mother is the toughest job I have ever had by far, but also as cliche as this sounds…. it is also the most rewarding.

Ag on

Love your comment Pam, I’m really hoping to start a family too and I’m 38 with no prospects yet.. ;) good to hear it’s worked out for you so well!

Dana Robinson on

I would not trade my mommy days for the world. I am a single mother of a beautiful three year old boy. He has set me straight. I can honestly say I am a better person because of him. I have a reason to act like a kid when we are playing. I love being the type of mom that is interactive in my sons day to day life.

True, Occasionally, I miss having a MY TIME! LOL!!! Then, when the grandparents get him, I miss him. LOL!!! I don’t miss the diapers or the pody training. I do miss the baby smell and holding him in my arms when he was first born. I miss those baby’s first sounds.

I can honestly say, I don’t miss drinking. Sex! Nah! I am engaged and my fiancee and I are waiting until AFTER we are married. He is an AWESOME Man of God.

I am going to be 33 in a few short weeks. My fiancee just turned 42. We are tired of the old been there and done that and want to do something different. He is a father himself. If we have another kid. It is all good. If not, then, that too is all good.

I don’t even remember my pre-mommy days that much to be honest with you.I think I have done more living in having my son than I have had before.

True, I miss the freedom I once had. But I love the responsibility I have now. God Bless

Megan on

OMG, I love this post too! It is a given that I love being a mom to my 3yr old daughter & 21 month son, but damn I absolutely miss being able to sleep when I want or feel the need to!!! Gone are the days of staying up to 2am on a weekend…not a big deal b/c I could sleep until 9am or later the next morning…not happening now.

I also dream about those lost weekends where I could do a couple of household things if that, but spend most of the time lounging on the sofa watching the Lifetime channel movie marathons in my pj’s. Run out to catch an afternoon movie at the very last minute. I loved having to not care about what is for dinner (or for lunch for that matter) b/c a bowl of cereal is totally fine.

I can also relate to the chipped pedicure or even the brows that are in serious need of waxing. Ah those were the days. I also miss the former organization and cleanliness that use to be the norm around the home…I have learned to let it go (well, most of the time anyway). Thanks Elisabeth for such a great post and keeping it real:-)

Kari on

Thanks for the post Elisabeth! As a single 25 year old, with no kids, I often see myself as an odd-ball in my group of friends because I know how much I want them. When I envision my life over the next 15-20 years, there’s no way it doesn’t involve kids. Children are a definite, even if I’m still 10+ years away from having them.

Reading your blog and all of the comments from fellow readers gives me a greater perspective into how my life will change and helps me to think about more meaningful ways to parent. I feel as if I’m gaining insight into a secret club where I get to learn the ropes (or at least think about the challenges I’ll be facing) beforehand, which helps me better prepare for them. I constantly find myself thinking about what type of parent I will be. Working with college students in my job now has taught me a lot about development, but blogs and insights like this implore me to consider the development at different stages in life.

I look forward to reading future blogs as well as comments from readers across the country. Thanks for helping me prepare for my journey into motherhood – whenever that begins!

chelsea on

Thank-you for your honest blog Elisabeth. I am 26, have been married for a year and my husband and I are planning to start trying for our first baby this fall. I only have a few more care free months left and I have been doing a lot of thinking about the drastic changes that are going to take place in my life.

One thing I learned from this blog and the reponses from other readers is that no matter how much work a baby is, it’s the reward of a child’s love that makes it worth while. Any further advice ladies would be well appreciated!

I know that my husband will share all of the parenting and house hold duties with me which makes me feel so lucky. He is so excited to be a Daddy and it makes me so much more attracted to him.

I just took a trip with my girlfriend’s to Vegas and had the time of my life. We were out late everynight living it up, but at the end of the trip I realized where my priorities lie. As much fun as it was, I really look forward to the family time I will be having with my husband and future child.

pamela on

Wow! Thanks for the blog. I adore my son and was completely ready to have a child when he came along but my life has definitely changed.

Before I never had a job longer than two years and travelled the world attending conferences and networking to develop projects. I never wanted to ‘settle down’ and yet here I am – nearly nine years in the same job and five years in the same home, which we love, and in Peru, SA. Moved here as his dad didn´t have the same access to change jobs and live elsewhere. And we are very happy – but…turned down the possibility of a great job in Europe the other day, and I know 10 years ago it would´ve been a dream position and location for me.

Still, at the end of the day my life is far richer than it ever was pre-child.

Karen on

I can say that I honestly do not recall much of my pre-mom days. My husband and I try unsuccessfully to think back and figure out what the heck we used to do with our free time :-)

But my new life is pretty awesome. My favorite part of the week is Friday nights, when my now teenage daughter and I turn on TLC and watch all the shows, like Say Yes to the Dress, when I promise her I will NEVER be one of “those moms” LOL

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