Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Those Two Magic Words

11/11/2011 at 09:00 AM ET

Elisabeth Röhm, best known for her role as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order, is ending a very busy year.

The actress can currently be seen on the big screen in Abduction, as well as upcoming films Chlorine, Transit and Officer Down, and is found online on Facebook and @ElisabethRohm on Twitter.

In her latest blog, Röhm — mom to 3½-year-old Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — is filming her newest movie in Bulgaria and her daughter isn’t too happy about it. The actress finds that a simple “I’m sorry” goes a long way with her little girl.

Sean Smith

Sorry seems to be the hardest word. At least sometimes, when you are absolutely sure that you have done nothing wrong. Nobody enjoys being the brunt of someone else’s anger — when a person they love is mad at them or hurt by their actions. Especially if they feel innocent and mind-boggled about their loved ones’ rejection of them. What to do in cases where you feel right, but your loved one isn’t budging?

As we know, people’s feeling are totally subjective. Sometimes if we really love someone, we have to recognize that their feelings are real and legitimate to them and that saying, “I’m sorry” is the best objective plan in making the relationship whole again. People need to be acknowledged and none more than our little ones, right?

It’s been educational to me to recognize how real and big Easton’s feelings are. It’s so surprising, actually, how closely Easton’s feelings track with that of an adult. Her emotions are as rich and complex as mine. Her reactions are deeply personal and sometimes we just don’t see eye to eye on things.

So if at first you don’t succeed at pleading your case, sometimes simply saying, “I’m sorry. You have the right to be mad and frustrated with me” is the best alternative. Kids — just like adults — may not get your choices in life or may even be unwilling to understand your point of view.

In the end, being right is so boring, don’t you think? Instead, I opt for kissing and making up at all costs to my ego, rather than trying to convince a loved one that what I’m doing is justifiable. As long as my conscience is clear, I can move ahead with my actions and still swallow the horse-pill of apology.

This was really brought home lately because I’ve been very far away for work over the last couple of weeks — all the way in Bulgaria, of all places. I’ve tried to make a game out of explaining where Europe is on the map in relation to home. Easton didn’t bite. I’ve tried to tell her about all the boats I’m driving and the crocodiles I’m tracking — I’m shooting Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, a movie for SyFy — and she could care less.

I’ve tried to explain that Mommy and Daddy work to pay the bills and she’s like, “Huh?” I’ve even gone so far as to say, “Daddy gets to stay home because he works in Los Angeles. Mommy has to work all over the world. Daddy owns a business and I’m a working stiff, actress type.” Easton is like, “Save it, lady.” All she knows is that I’m very far away and she’s pissed at me.

Now, I want to clarify something — actors and actresses are not necessarily rich. This is a gross exaggeration promoted by the fantasy of celebrity. Most actors I know can’t pick and choose if they go away for work. Even if their life appears to be glamorous and wealthy, they are at best artists who struggle with periods of being in and out of work.

Therefore, when work rolls around, they are likely to pack their bags and get on the road. It may seem exciting — or even reckless — but in truth, it’s just part of being a working actor who has to pay the rent or electric bill like the rest of humanity.

Actors have a job, and although their lifestyle may be may be blown out proportion for the sake of promoting the fantasy, it is likely that most actors are simply getting by, just like most artists in general. It is the very few that make those salaries that you read about online or in the tabloids.

I know the subject of my traveling for work has come up, and I just want to make sure that you guys understand that I sometimes have to travel because I actually have to earn a living. And to top it all off, I absolutely long to be home when I’m on the road.

I try to enjoy the adventure of shooting on location, because I know that when I return to my house the madness of domesticity will set in and I won’t have a moment to myself, but mostly I sit around like a lump on a log missing my family and the comforts of home.

That said, right now as I write this blog I’m alone in a very quiet and clean hotel room. No one is asking for a PB&J or for me to wipe their butt. As nice as it is to have some silence and rest, I’m lonely without fulfilling that role and all that is required when it comes to being a mom.

So all that said — you guys know I’m long-winded — this whole trip Easton and I have been Skyping about how she has a right to not want to talk to me. Let me tell you how fun that’s been. All the while I’m trying to make some bucks to take care of things back home and shooting in the frigid conditions of a Bulgarian lake every day for weeks.

In spite of my efforts, I still get to wear the “heel of the family” on my forehead because of my absence. After a day of shooting, I run back to my room to Skype, only to receive a tongue lashing about my failures as a parent. Perhaps if I told her I was working so that I could buy her a pony … but then I’d actually have to buy her one.

And by the way, saying that I’m working so that I can pay for school simply won’t fly. I try to explain, “Mommy has to go to work sometimes so that I can take care of you. Buy clothes, toys, pay for the house.” She’s like, “Save it for someone who’s listening” and runs off. In her world, either you’re there for her or not. And for the last couple of weeks, Daddy has been there and Mommy is far away.

At first, I felt misunderstood and frustrated too because neither my lengthy nor silly explanations were working. I can’t seem to get out of this one! I’m jealous of the people who get to go to work in their local area or, in my world, to an L.A. studio and come home every day to kiss their babies.

But then I realized my self-pity wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I needed a solution because all I want is for Easton to feel loved and not abandoned. So I quickly realized that the only way to get her to sit in front of the computer with me for a half an hour, twice a day so that we can blow air kisses, laugh and connect is to say those two words that we all find so hard to say — especially when we haven’t done anything wrong.

“I’m sorry,” I say to Easton as she is running around the living room, avoiding my booming electronic and raspy Skype voice. “I know you are angry at me, and I’m so sorry I have to work sometimes honey. You can be frustrated. I understand.” And then I realize how lucky I am that she’s in touch with her feelings because she’s making it safe for me to be frustrated too.

All the books advise that when we leave our children for work, we make it a positive experience. I agree with that overall life philosophy, but sometimes people and even kids need their negative emotions acknowledged so that they don’t feel ignored and negated in what they are truly feeling.

And the funny thing is, once I acknowledge how she is truly feeling instead of pretending that being separated for a length of time is fun, she makes her way to the computer, sits down in front of it and soon we are giggling just like we would be if I was in bed with her at home, cuddling and have a good ole time like we do for the seven months out of the year that I am a stay-at-home mom.

I guess the moral of the story is that even if it sucks to be made wrong in a situation, sometimes the highest thought is to not worry about who’s wrong or right and to simply acknowledge the value in a loved one’s interpretation of a situation or event.

Easton may not come to understand why I have to travel for work sometimes until she’s older — perhaps in high school when she has a defined life of her own. She may even resent me when I do take those leaves of absence for a day or week or two. I may find my work harder for how she feels about it.

In the end, the only option is to do what you gotta do to survive and take care of those you love. And while you’re pulling off the toughest of feats, still assuring your beloved that they are still No. 1 in your book.

My mom taught me early on to repeat back to a loved one what they are conveying about their feelings so that they feel heard. I think that’s so brilliant now as I go through the daily experience with Easton and her complex feelings about my traveling.

We all want to be acknowledged and understood, especially our little ones — once again proving to be our greatest teachers. Hopefully I can take this lesson — compliments of Easton — and practice it with the adults in my life too!

Until next week, PEOPLE.com … carry on parents!

— Elisabeth Röhm

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glutenfreenz on

Great post Elisabeth and how true that we all just do what we have to do to get by each day! Good on you for acknowledging Easton’s feelings as being real and valid, and for accepting that negative feelings have to be dealt with.

Angela on

This blog made me a bit sad. It sounds as though you’re feeling guilt for having to work and Easton’s picking up on that and making you feel worse than you should be. We project how we feel about ourselves and the decisions we make onto our children and everyone around us. So if we feel guilty or insecure about something we’re doing, the people closest to us tend to pick up on that. And if we feel confident about the decisions we’re making, people pick up on that as well.

You can’t justify your decision to work to a 3 1/2-year-old. As closely as her feelings may appear to track those of an adult, she’s still a child with many life-lessons ahead of her. You’re the parent here and she’s the child. Please don’t allow her to guilt you into anything or manipulate the situation. If she were standing in the middle of the road with a semi barreling toward her, you would not rationalize to her why she needs to get out of the road; you’d run and get her out of harm’s way. I know the analogy if a bit extreme, but she needs the same from you emotionally.

And there is no right or wrong here. You’re not wrong for working and she’s not right for reacting to your being away. If you feel secure and confident in the decisions you’re making and the environment she’s in while you’re away, she’ll pick up on that and reflect the love and confidence she feels about herself and you.

RKF on

Seems like the conversation/content is quite heavy to have with a 3 1/2 year old. Judging from the blogs I’ve read thus far, this child is going to be very…intense. No judgments, but a kid should be a kid, and adult conversation doesn’t necessarily have to involve small children. She has a lifetime to be “in touch with her feelings.”

Stephanie on

I have no serious comment, I just want to know what kind of mom wears shoes like that to a tea party??? I hope you got to sit down the whole time, and Easton gave you full service!

Leah on


I was raised by a working mom. Thinking back, I don’t remember feeling abandoned or feeling I wasn’t loved. Well, it might be different than your case since you get to stay at home for some part of the year and my mother worked the whole year.

In other words, I didn’t know it any other way. I knew she had to work, so I never even asked her to stay.

My mom now says she felt guilty about leaving for work, but she managed to keep her guard up in front of me. As I said, I knew she had to work and she would come back.

Easton is quite young and longer work trips might be hard for you both, but just remember that kids sense our anxieties and get affected by them. Of course, it is nice to share how you feel with her, too. That’s a choice, but I think you are being tough on yourself.

As a daughter of a working mom, I turned out fine. I never felt angry about her absences. She worked to provide a better life for me. I love her and I respect her.

Easton will think the same way when she grows up. She will also learn the importance of having a job you enjoy doing as well as the value of working hard. So enjoy your work while you can.

There is no way to zero mommy-guilt, but you can surely lower it a bit.

blessedwithboys on

Working on another continent is a CHOICE. Don’t try to pretty it up by saying you “have to” abandon your child. You chose your profession, and your profession involves flying around the world.

TAKE YOUR BABY WITH YOU!!! It’s makes feel so ill to think of how Easton must feel to go weeks without seeing you.

And you’re thinking of having another baby?! Why not change professions first? Housecleaners make upwards of $20/hr and come home to their families every night.

Carrie on

blessedwithboys, that’s a bit rough. By making the choice she’s making she gets to be home 7 months of the year.

I wish I could do that. Unfortunately I have to work M-F and I’m gone for 9 hours a day. I think that’s a pretty good trade off.

MommytoanE on

Some people just don’t understand the meaning of being a star me thinks. Yes, they have choices. But they also have contracts, they have obligations. It’s not this perfect pretty life that everyone wants to imagine. There’s a lot that goes into it. It’s not as cut and dry as the dreams we have.

I actually teared up a little bit reading this. I know the feeling of feeling happy for the silence, but lonely without the noise maker. Growing up, it wasn’t my mom…but rather my dad that worked and was gone all week (he’s a trucker). Being a daddy’s girl, it was more hard on me than my siblings that clung to mom.

I never felt abandoned, but rather grateful. Grateful that he sacrificed to provide me with a roof over my head, and food in my stomach. Grateful that he made the times he had with me the best that they could be. Grateful that I had time with my dad.

Now that I’m an adult, I look back on the sacrifices he made, and feel sad in some ways. Sad, because I know it must have made him feel bad and guilty for missing the things he did.

My relationship with my dad thrives to this day tho. So don’t feel guilty for being gone at times. Just continue to make the best moments you can in the time you have.

M on

You nailed it Elisabeth. Acknowledging your daughter’s feelings and expressing empathy and a measure of apology is so key.

And you have the emotional strength to do it. It takes so much strength to open yourself to another’s pain caused by your actions (even though your actions aren’t wrong, like you said). By opening yourself to your daughter’s suffering and your own suffering regarding the situation, the paradox is that you and her were able to reconnect and feel joy in each other’s company again.

Very zen, the healing power of being present to it all, including the suffering in your loved ones and in yourself. We resist doing this till the cows come home, but once we let ourselves go there, a feeling of wholeness is inevitably restored. Great job parenting and also taking care of yourself and your family.

SadieA on

Well said Angela

Cindy on

Blessedwithboys is a sexist troll who cannot grasp the concept of fathers as equal or primary parents. Ignore.

M on

honestly. blessedwithboys has never had anything but cruel words and judgement. Why kick someone who is clearly already down? Must be nice to know you’re a perfect parent making all the right choices, all the time. And this is coming from someone who believes that staying home with your kids is one of the most important things you can do for them.

Ksp on

Blessed with boys…..you want her to be a housecleaner? Seriously? What kind of a future is she providing for Easton? Work is work and we all need to provide for our families. I don’t think we should make her feel bad for her choices. We are all Moms struggling to do the best we can.

oldmom on

Stop apologizing and stop analyzing and talking at a level that is way above a 3 year old’s ability to grasp. If you don’t work, she doesn’t have a house, toys, clothes. Stop apologizing for doing what it takes to make that happen. Does her father apologize for working long hours?

I have to travel for work. When he was your daughter’s age, my son wouldn’t even talk to me on the phone. My daughter is almost 5 and cries the night before I leave and tells me not to go. But I have to.

Get a calendar and stickers that she likes. When you travel, give them to her dad so that together than can mark off the days you are gone and talk about how many stickers until you come home.

Working mothers must stop apologizing for doing what must be done to support their families.

Kris on

Oh, sweet Jeebus Elisabeth! Those shoes!! There’s just no way I can relate to you *at all* when you’re wearing spiky shoes to a tea party & I’m schlepping around in socks & yoga pants. =)

My husband travels for work a lot, too; and one things that’s worked great for us is a visual calendar. Take a picture of you, Ron, & Easton; & another picture of just Ron & Easton; and one more of just you & Easton. Make a bunch of copies of each one, get them laminated, and stick velcro on the back. Then make a big, posterboard sized calendar; and on days when you’re gone, the pics of just Ron & Easton will be on the board. On the days when you’re home, put the pics of all 3 of you up. And days when Ron is gone, put up the pic of you & Easton. Let Easton take a magic marker, and cross off the day before she goes to bed. Then have her count how many more days until Mommy comes home.

It’s been a lifesaver for us, and it will work for you, too, if Easton is a visual thinker (as I think most 3-year-olds are).

Also, great choice on Lake Placid! I cracked up at the first one – hearing Betty White curse like a sailor still makes me snicker. 🙂

rebeccachristiansen on

isnt it funny how men have been dealing with this dilemma forever…traveling to make money to keep the family’s quality of life up to a certain standard.

elisabeth needs to quit giving her daughter the opportunity to ream her a new one. She is not going to understand now plain and simple. She is too young so quit explaining, save yourself the agony. Remember when they are 5 this will be a non issue because you are not abandoning her and she always has a parent at home with her.

Count your blessings and take control of the relationship back from the child.

momtoKB on

It is very hard on a family when one parent must travel. My husband often travels and when he does, he’s gone for a week at a time. We have worked to make this time when Mom and daughter do fun things or be lazy. We speak to my husband on Skype each day and as my daughter gets older, she’s 11, it gets easier.

While we need to be sensitive to our kids feelings, we also need then to understand that working is necessity for most of us. With technology, it is much easier to stay connected these days that when we were kids.

Understand Easton’s feelings, accept them but don’t ever apologize for doing what has to be done. It will only teach Easton that she can get to you and manipulate you because you feel guilty. If she can manipulate you, she will not respect you.

I think you are doing a great job but I think you cater just a bit too much to Easton’s guilt trips. She needs to understand that you are the one in charge not her. You can listen, empathize and validate without feeling guilty for doing what you have to do to provide for your family.

Beth on

I think what she’s saying is that she *tried* overexplaining everything and realized that the simple “I’m sorry,” is more effective and true. Because she *is* sorry that Easton is sad, and it makes sense to acknowledge that. I don’t see how that’s talking over Easton’s head. Even from a young age, people appreciate respect.

And sure it must be hard to travel like that (and Elisabeth makes a good point that not every Hollywood actor is raking in the big bucks all the time), and sure she feels guilty. I stayed at home when my kids were little, and sometimes I felt guilty too — that we could have provided more if I worked too, that sometimes I got so very frazzled. The older I get the more convinced I am that a degree of Mommy guilt goes with the territory.

All that said, I read the comments after Elisabeth’s post and often wonder why people are so incredibly hard on her. She’s earnest and trying her best — we might disagree at times, but I’m sure she appreciates when people keep it civil, and frankly, kind. blessedwithboys — I know the internet’s anonymous and all, but man, you’re not kind. Why say anything if you can’t be kind? I guess I’m just tired of mean people!

Hope you get home soon Elisabeth and can enjoy some great one on one time with your girl.

J on

Poor blessedwithboys. The person above me complains that people pick at Elisabeth and how mean people are yet she doesn’t complain about the people picking on blessedwithboys

Maggie on

Because blessedwithboys is consistently a jerk across the board. I haven’t seen her contribute a positive thought to this website, on any topic.

Sharron on

I have become a loyal reader of Elisabeth’s blogs and find this one in particular pulling at my heart strings.

So many posters on here have said stop feeding into the Mommy Guilt and quit letting Easton manipulate you into feeling guilty. I don’t think it is that easy. I think we all want to be everything for our children and to fix all their fears, ouchies and heart aches. It is extremely difficult to watch a loved one, whether it is a child or otherwise, be unhappy and know that something you have done has contributed to that hurt, whether or not it was the best thing for them or for you. To feel otherwise, I think, would be inhumane.

That being said, just because we can acknowledge the validity in the “you can’t please all the people all the time” doesn’t mean that we don’t feel guilt when are hit with that truism in the face. I work full time and my daughter is in daycare. I could lower my standard of living dramatically and probably survive on my husband’s income, but that isn’t what we want or what makes us healthiest (mentally and emotionally) and happiest. So I feel guilty and my heart breaks a little each time when I drop her off on the days when she cries and doesn’t want to be separated. I think that is normal and healthy, for both of us.

Nor do I think Elisabeth talks “above” Easton. I truly believe that to the extent we can, we should try to provide an explanation to our children for our actions which directly impact them. I think it promotes the ability of children to think through situations and develops empathy for other perspectives.

We all raise our children differently, and I would hope that we can each acknowledge that we are all raising our childrent with the best interests at heart. Great minds can disagree and that doesn’t mean either one os wrong.

Sabrina on

Wow. This amazes me how judgemental people can be. I am a VERY attached parent yet I’m also earning my living in the military in order to put myself through school and build a better life for my family. With that comes an obligation at some times where I have to spend weeks or a month away from my husband and 2yr-old daughter. According to a lot of posters on here that would make me a bad mother as well. It’s a temporary situation and a sacrifice that we make as a family to secure a brighter future for my child and how is she any different other than she’s on TV? Seriously.

Donna on

I don’t know why the thesaurus doesn’t have “motherhood” under the synonyms for “guilt”. Don’t we all feel guilty most of the time about something, with help from others? If we’re stay-at-home Moms, “aren’t you worried about getting your kid(s) properly socialized?” If we work and put them in daycare, “How can you stand to let other people raise your child?” Blah blah.

I agree with you, Elisabeth. Parents must do what they can in their unique situations, considering temperament and personalities and lifestyles and individual needs and, yes, money, to cope and survive. I also agree that saying “I’m sorry” is extremely powerful and necessary in all relationships. And children of all ages can be very, very forgiving, if they feel they are understood and the apology is sincere.

I think what you are dealing with is simply her confusion over the disruption of her routine. Routine is everything with these little ones, and her routine was to have you at home (seven months of the year, right?). So, the routine is broken, and now she’s confused and acting out on her very real feelings, feelings that she doesn’t understand or know what to do with.

My daughter, at 3 1/2, became uncontrollably angry and dangerously disobedient (envision the semi truck of an earlier post) when we moved and she found herself in a new house with new daycare and new neighbors. She was devastated and had no recourse or control over the situation. She adapted, and your daughter will adapt as well, but your choice to acknowledge her feelings and then apologize for your (necessary, desired whatever) actions causing those feelings was the right decision. Well done!

Rebecca Christiansen on

You know, apologizing for feelings sets a dangerous precedent. Feelings are completely unaccountable and you need to remember that “feelings” will never hold up in court. Little Easton needs to not know she can manipulate you with her tantrums and moodswings. Mom, you are the adult. You can’t cede control over to the kid it just doesn’t work.

dansmot on

Why do we really care what Elisabeth Rohm thinks? Her life is so far from most of our lives that she has no business trying to pretend she’s just like us! Mollycoddling a small child like Easton is a recipe for disaster. I’m sure she’s just playing Elisabeth while she’s away and is having a rare old time at home with her Daddy. Most kids play up to their parents when they realize they can manipulate them and Easton is no different, the difference is most of us don’t have the time, and in my case, the inclination, to pander to our kids the way these people can.

Trish on

Wow, Elisabeth, I completely feel ya there! I work nights, so that I may be at home during the day with my children…and every night is a repetition of “yes, I have to go to work….” no! why? “Because that’s how Mommy pays for toys and rent and all the things you need…” no! I’m mad!

And I’ve discovered that just saying, “You can be mad, that’s how you feel.” Seems to diffuse a lot of the anger. I remind myself that as a parent, it’s not my job to prevent uncomfortable or negative feelings, but to teach my children how to deal with those feelings. And like most people, acknowledgment is really all they want.

Teri on

Elisabeth! Thank you so much for being you. I, like a few others, nearly cried when I read this. Easton and my Ahvie sound nearly identical.

I HAVE to say this, because this time I am really mad at some of the comments. Those of us who sit our kids down and try to explain things, and try to reason, and try to get them to understand, that is OUR way of doing things. It is what works for US. My little girl is bright, so very very smart. When she asks why it is dark outside, I explain to her that the Earth moves and the Sun shines on different parts at different times. The other day, we went for a walk right after dark. She looked up at me and said “Mom, it’s dark outside because the Sun is shining on a different part of the Earth.” She’s 3 1/2. But she GETS it. Some kids GET it. Easton sounds like she GETS it.

We’re not “mollycoddling” nor are we talking “above” their intelligence. We’re doing what is right for OUR family, the way WE are raising our kids.

And Elisabeth, I commend you. Do not not not let these hateful people make you feel guilty. Every situation is different. Every family is different. We would only understand the way the others work their families if we were walking in their shoes and…we’re not. But we understand the way OUR families work.

I really hope you keep writing. I absolutely love reading your posts.

Kelly on

Elisabeth, I have found your blogs to be thoughtful and relevant. I appreciate that you put yourself out there so that we can discuss and relate. For example, I enjoyed reading your blog about whether to have a second child. After going through one high risk pregnancy, I have grappled with the same issue.

As a working mother, I also feel that pull between providing a good life for my family and being at home for my child. It’s not easy, but at least we can talk to each other about it!

Thanks for sharing.

Carrie on

Here is what I don’t get. This blog is a voluntary read. So why read it, then you bash it, asking why anyone would look to her for advice, etc.? If you don’t want Elisabeth Rohm’s input, advice, thoughts, etc., why on earth did you even read this?

I personally felt it was very relevant to many working moms’ situations. She realized she was over-explaining and decided to just acknowledge her daughter’s feelings, which do matter, even though she is only a toddler. Why does that make her a bad person, out of touch with other parents, etc?

What she does for a living isn’t what this is about. It’s about a person, a mom, trying to juggle her family and her job, regardless of whether that job requires her to be out of town or just down the street. Why so harsh, people? I’m all for different opinions and points of view, but verbal attacks on a person you don’t know, whose blog you CHOSE to read?

heather on

sorry but I just dont really get it…I mean you didnt HAVE to take the job away from your family, you chose to.

Also I cant stand when people say, I have to work so I can buy you things…am I being judgemental? Maybe but I was a working mother for years until my husband and I decided I would stay home and be with our children. We gave up ALOT…we stopped eating out, stopped shopping for new clothes as often, cut down on extras (fancy phones, cars, ect.) got a modest home, you get the idea.

The time I have with our boys is priceless and no amount of money will get that time back. I know some people have to have two working parents but in all honesty, alot do not…they choose to so they can live according to the standards and lifestyle they set for themselves.

Stacey on

I’m not a mother, but I enjoy your posts! This was a great one!

dansmot on

The blog is indeed a voluntary read and I was interested in what she had to say regarding the situation. It doesn’t mean I have to agree with her just because I read it! If Elisabeth and others like her want to write a public blog then they should be prepared to accept everyone’s reactions. Just because I don’t agree doesn’t make me a bad person or make her a bad person either. I was merely stating my opinion and to be attacked for that it unfair. I’m sure there a plenty of people who would love to live their lives taking advice from a celebrity who they don’t even know, I’m just not one of them. I respect her opinions and I’m sure she would respect mine so forgive me if I take no notice of your slap on the hand and I’ll happily carry on having an opinion of my own!

Rebecca on

I get the same thing from my 4 year old whenever I have to go out of town for a business trip, and his father is a SAHD. Trust me, I justify the fact that I have to go to the office after 5 days of working from home semi-weekly. And it still hurts, because he breaks in to tears and starts with the “but why mommy?”. You can’t get away from it. Eventually, they’ll understand, and unfortunately, continually justifying it just doesn’t help… except you, because it reminds you that you’re making life that much better for your little one.

EJ on

Firstly, blessedwithboys, it’s fantastic that you think EVERY woman has a choice on whether they work or not… but unfortunately, working is not a choice. If you’re blessed with the option of staying at home with your kids, kudos to you. Not every woman CAN do that (whether you believe it or not, not every man can provide enough for their families by themselves), and not every woman WANTS to do that.

How dare someone judge another for a LIFE CHOICE she is making about HER life.

It’s not like Elisabeth is ditching Easton with a nanny. She’s with her father.

Did you want to tell me that most men don’t travel?

Double standard. If Elisabeth wants to be a provider for her family, I don’t think we should hold that again her.

SECONDLY… and this goes to the actual post… and I am trying my hardest not to be super judgmental…
So I’ll just say this… if my child ever said to me “Save it for someone who’s listening” – there would be consequences. Maybe Easton needs a lesson on what is appropriate behaviour for a child. It sounds like your three year old doesn’t know who is boss is doesn’t understand your authority.

I get that kids can express their feelings… so let her express them. Saying “blah blah blah I’m not listening” would frankly be unacceptable in my house, and if that ever happened, the kid would be snapped out of it so quickly they wouldn’t even remember what we were talking about.

Partly, I think that “explaining” (or, trying to explain) things that are grown up to a three year old might be the problem. When I was a kid, my mom worked. She had to work weekends sometimes. Sometimes I didn’t see her for a few days. It was what it was. No one ever had a sit down about it.

I get that it’s a bit different because Elisabeth is home with Easton the majority of the time, but seriously. I think Easton needs to learn some respectful coping mechanisms.

Elisabeth doesn’t sound like the kind of parent that blows up and expresses her feelings in an unacceptable way, so I am also curious where this behaviour is coming from. Is it just because it’s never been corrected? Or is it because that’s the way Easton gets treated?

Those are my thoughts.

Teri on

EJ – I don’t think that Eason is actually saying the words “Save it for someone who is listening”, from what it seems (to me) she’s just giving off that kind of attitude that she’s not listening and nothing you say will get her to. When my kid gets angry, that’s exactly what she does. It’s like someone put soundproof earmuffs on her ’cause she sure isn’t paying a lick of attention to what I say!

My own solution to this is for ME to leave the room, close the door behind me, and go off somewhere alone for a bit to gather thoughts and frankly, just cool down a bit. Sometimes it works, sometimes I have to repeat the leaving the room process a few times, but eventually we are able to sit down and discuss things on a satisfactory level to each other.

lilly on

Hi Elisabeth! You have a beautiful daughter! She is strong willed, right? Most people with aries sign are. But in my opinion you are not doing her any favor by letting her to be a manipulator. Sooner she learns she is not the center of the Universe is the better. And please don’t allow her to disrespect you /or anybody else/ because it will be just harder and harder to handle, and it’s not going to be any cute in a couple of years. She is the child you are the parent and no need to overcomplicate your relationship. Good luck and hope you will have a 2. baby soon.

me on

I loved this blog Elisabeth. You are so right. Our society often sees ‘negative’ feelings such as anger, fear, and jealousy even as bad things. But they are actually human feelings. And we also need to remember that children are people too, and most of us don’t like to be told that when we are angry it’s really nothing. So kudos to you for realizing that your daughter has a right to be angry. Whether it is reasonable or not does not matter, the point is that those are her feelings and that is just the way it is. Thanks for sharing:)

Missy :) on

Elisabeth –

The guilt!! I, too, feel the guilt of having to work occasionally away from home and my daughter. Only I work part-time, and my “away” is only 2 days, 3 nights at a time. In addition, like you I enjoy being “off” in my quiet hotel room, but miss being there for my daughter’s every need! My sister also works away during her travel seasons in the fall and spring – while on the flip-side enjoying entire summers off with her two kids! We wouldn’t do it if there wasn’t a pay-off!!

We all parent differenly and handle these situations the best way we know how. There are women who chastise us and ask why we work when our children are the most important things in our lives, and why we are even -GASP- contemplating having more kids while having to work! There will also be people who scold us for even feeling guilty that we work – although I say, OF COURSE we’re going to feel guilty!! It’s absolutely sad that these women, the people we need support and understanding from the most, can be so judgy!!

Love your blogs, Elisabeth! BOTH of my sisters and I read them, even though one of my sisters doesn’t even have kids yet!! So real and refreshing!

P.S. Love, love, love the pics you post with Easton! You girls are gorgeous!!

KarenB on

Aww – Elisabeth – I so understand. My kids are 5 and 9. And I’m 38 – and I still struggle sometimes with the desire to be “right.” I have to step back and say, “Hmmm. Is this something where being “right” is important? Or do I need to fix the situation?” Sometimes, honestly, being right matters. Guess what, 9-year-old son, I am right that you cannot namecall. Period. I get you were frustrated and I get you think that kids was mean too. But namecalling is wrong, and I will not tolerate it. Other times, I realize it’s pride and I just need to say, “I’m sorry you’re so mad.”

As for work, I think you have a unique situation. I work daily. In some ways, that was easier for my kids. It’s their daily life. As a toddler, their day is measured by the things that happen – we get up, dress, eat, mom takes me to daycare, I have playtime, we eat a snack, more play, lunch, nap, play and mommy comes. Then we go home, play, have dinner, play, bath and bed.

With you, you have the luxury of being a full-time mom for more than half the year. But when you do have to go away for work, it’s such a radical change of routine. You don’t just work – you are away from her for weeks, even months at a time. That’s hard, because it’s so not her norm. And little kids don’t always adjust as we hope.

My one caution to you is to be careful about saying you “have to” work. I tell my kids that I work. I have to, and I want to. I like it – I like getting to do the things I do at work. I went to school for this. It’s important to me. I want my kids to know that working is not some self-less, miserable requirement.

I want them to know that while they are the MOST important thing to me, the are not the ONLY important thing. I have friends, my husband, my job, the work I do with our synagogue. I figure it slowly sinks in, and when she is an adult, she will be a well-rounded person too.