Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, is in the middle of a very busy year.
In her latest blog, Röhm — mom to 3½-year-old Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — wants to clear the air regarding her last few blogs and the comments she’s received (yes, she reads them!).
PEOPLE.com readers, I just want to make one thing perfectly clear: I read every single one of your comments.
I write this blog for each of you — even the ones who seem to enjoy ripping me a new one on a weekly basis. Sometimes I even get a good laugh at how truly creative you can be. FYI: I know I’m flawed and thank you for pointing it out. ;)
Why, you may ask — and some of you have — so I think it’s worth addressing this week. Because I love the community we have created, I embrace the conflict and I sincerely appreciate the encouragement to be a better parent.
Sometimes I’ll read a comment that goes right to my heart — either positively or negatively — and it leaves me with something to ponder throughout the week, before another issue arises in our lives that I want to share with you.
I want to share with all of you because I enjoy you sharing with each other. That’s a huge key to this blogging thing. It’s less about me and what I bring up every week and more about you being open and wanting to grow with me as I try to become a better parent and person.
Shocking, right? I actually don’t write it to hear my own voice. I write it to hear from you! And I do look forward to reading every single thing you write. I contemplate it and grow from it (unless you are telling me to disappear, which I’m not planning on doing).
I feel proud of each of us ladies, that we have created a strong bond through our writing to each other and discussing very personal issues. It takes a lot of confidence to be open and revealing, which each of you have been. Every week you share with me with such intelligence and courage to be real and it opens my heart and mind.
The only thing that would make this blogging experience more fun would be if some of you were not trying to be mean on purpose. That is not the intent of this blog. Yes, the debates are welcome and feel free to criticize me; I enjoy constructive criticism. But when you are putting each other down, it sucks.
I love what we have created here this year and I’m not going to stop reaching out to all of you in this place that we have made together. We did this so that we would have a community to grow in and that we belong to. Thankfully those of you whom enjoy the blog continue to share, despite the mud-slingers.
Even if you think I’m a moron or I really piss you off one week or every week, hang in there — I promise I’ll write something eventually that you’ll be able to think positively about. One of these days I’m sure it will happen. Or maybe not!
But for all of us that are enjoying the process of being positive together and learning from each other, just know that we love you too, even if you find my new and sometimes naïve parenting unbearable. Please don’t go away, as we all so enjoy the spice you add on a weekly basis.
So that being said, I want to respond to the blog reactions from two weeks ago, which were wildly passionate (to say the least)!
First of all, PEOPLE.com did not take the piece down — instead I asked them to remove it because I felt the responses were so negative that it could hurt Easton in her community. The things said by me and the reactions it provoked created a fire here in my little world, and the more negative the comments got, it was like adding kerosene to a flame.
Whether or not it was an inappropriate blog subject, it was what was happening at the time. I think my first mistake was having the word “bully” in the title, but by the time I thought to change that the comments were already way out of control. Just for the record, I don’t think this child is a bully. I think she is a beautiful and sweet child that has a strong personality that doesn’t bring out the best in my kid.
I thought that would be an interesting subject for all of us to discuss and one that might get some conversations going. Clearly it did!
Bully is a powerful word and it was misused by me. In Easton’s case with this particular friend, it’s merely about one kid dominating another. She’s not a bad kid. She’s a powerful kid. And she dominates my kid. It’s something that we are working on. Don’t worry, I’m not bullying that child. I adore her. I just would like the school to separate them from time to time when they get wildly out of control.
I was looking forward to us discussing the need for appropriate adult intervention on the playground. It was not my intent to do anything other than discuss those “playground politics” — from the smallest of incidents to the bullying. Why not? We have a wealth of life experience that we can guide them with. Why would we sit back and let them hurt each other with certain behaviors?
Enough said — I clearly offended most of you and certainly my community here at home. That was not my intention. My only purpose was to create a conversation between us on how to handle peer pressure. This is a very emotional subject and I do hope that we can return to it again. I promise to find a gentler approach.
I took the blog down because I simply didn’t want Easton to be alienated in her school due to the tone that my blog may have had and then continued to project because of your feelings. I thank you for bringing it to my attention. I look forward to discussing both the subjects of peer pressure and bullying at a later date, because they are worthy and urgent issues.
I’d also like to clear up the paranoia blog. Yes, I did sign Easton out of camp. Yes, I believe she is old enough to go to camp without a parent. Yes, I confronted them on her discomfort. Yes, yes, yes … this was a blog subject meant to elicit conversation about the paranoid head space that we have to live in as parents due to our protective instincts, but again, that unfortunately didn’t seem to come across as intended.
It’s not always so literal, guys! I don’t tell you every single detail of each event — otherwise, I’d be writing a book and not a blog. I try to keep it simple so that we can get into the discussion rather than have you read more and more and more about my life.
I want to hear about your lives. I’m interested in what you think. Every week I’m dying to know how you are feeling. I look forward to you telling me about what’s happening in your homes. So thank you for sharing all the details that you do and for having this relationship in the blogosphere with me.
That said, since you all have such strong opinions: What do you want to talk about next? Not only do I want to hear what you think about yourselves, I want to hear about what you are longing to discuss. I’ll blog for certain but I’ll get right into whatever subject you are interested in, so that we can have more debate and sharing in that way that we have for these last months. I can’t wait to hear from you!
Okay, enough said about the past but I felt these last few weeks needed a response from me, rather than just another blog.
Moving on, my friends! This week, sleepovers and telling the truth seem to be the big subjects in our house. As usual, just wondering where you all stand, PEOPLE.com readers. When were your kids old enough to do sleepovers?
I don’t remember sleeping at my friends houses until I was at least 10 years old. Even then, I really preferred being at my mom’s house as opposed to a friend’s home. Unless I wanted to sneak out, of course! In that case, it was always easier pulling it off with someone else’s mother, because my single mom had a “no lying” policy that I actually embraced. But at a friend’s house … hmm. What she didn’t know wouldn’t kill her!
Needless to say, the desire for sleepovers wasn’t a big one in my life, which may have a lot to do with why Easton hasn’t successfully pulled one off with any of our relatives. As of late, she asks me almost daily for her friends to sleep over. And they, too, seem gung-ho for the experience. Three-and-a-half seems a bit young, right?
I’m excited about the idea really because I love having Easton’s playdates at my house. It gives me an excuse to play hooky, which I always embrace. I’m much happier baking and reading books to Easton and her pals than answering emails. I’m sure you relate! Also, since I’m leaning towards having another babe, it gives me a taste of the future.
So I’m figuring if their parents are okay with it — and tell me all there is to know about their kids’ very specific night-time rituals — I’m totally open to it. Any great, entertaining stories from some past sleepovers? I’d love to hear!
I’m running out of space this week, but I’ll just throw out there that Ron, Easton and I are getting deep into the importance of telling the truth.
My mom, as I mentioned before, had a great way of accomplishing it with me. She said, “I’m a single mom, Lis. It’s hard enough taking care of everything without adding into the mix whether or not you’re telling me the truth. So here is the deal: Always tell me the truth and you won’t get punished. Lie to me and I catch you … it’s all over!”
Okay, I have a 3-year-old, so that approach doesn’t work quite yet! Not to mention these little ones have such huge imaginations that I’ve noticed it’s hard to get a straight story out of them.
Even last night — I came home from an audition and asked Easton what she’d done while I was out. “Nothing. Stayed home,” she replied. Ron just looked at me, raised his eyebrows and shook his head. “We went to the park for two hours — we just got back five minutes before you,” he said. Oh well, we’re working on it!
Until next time, ladies.
– Elisabeth Röhm