Marla Sokoloff’s Blog: Dear My Formerly Judgmental Self
Ariel at Elliotte’s party – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff
A warm welcome back to our celebrity blogger Marla Sokoloff!
Since audiences first got to know her at age 12 as Gia on Full House, Sokoloff has had many memorable TV roles — Jody on Party of Five, Lucy on The Practice, Claire on Desperate Housewives — as well as turns on the big screen in Whatever It Takes, Dude, Where’s My Car? and Sugar & Spice.
Sokoloff, 33, currently plays Dani on ABC Family’s The Fosters.
She wed her husband, music composer Alec Puro, in November 2009 and the couple — plus pup Coco Puro — make their home in Los Angeles.
Sorry for being M.I.A. but life has been a wee bit busy over here!
Miss Elliotte turned two last month (OMG!) and I have been working on ABC Family’s The Fosters. I’m still searching for the perfect balance of being a kick-butt mom mixed with a busy-ish working mom. Like I said in my last entry, I’m still searching. One always seems to feel compromised.
The good news is, both are so incredibly fulfilling that I’m just doing my best to go with the flow. Some days I find myself wondering how anything got done!
For Elliotte’s second birthday, she told me she wanted a princess party with Ariel, Elsa, Anna and her best friends. Not sure where this princess obsession came from, but let me tell you, it’s serious.
Elsa and Anna were super busy — obviously — but Ariel stopped by to say hello to the birthday girl and Elliotte even had the nerve to ask her to change her diaper. (I could tell by the look on young Ariel’s face that she didn’t have kids, so I spared her the requested torture.)
Now that my little girl is 2, I find myself chuckling a lot. Mainly I’m laughing because my daughter is one funny little lady, but the thing that makes me laugh the most is the laughing I do at myself on a daily basis.
These laughs aren’t belly laughs or ones that put me in complete hysterics … they are the kind of laughs that only I can hear. It’s that silly little voice that says, “I told you so.”
With my mom and grandma – Heather Bear Photography
Who is that voice? Is it my mother? Friends who became moms before me? Or is it just the voice of a mom who has lightened up her act a bit? I think it’s safe to say that I’m a little less stressed in the hysterical mom department.
(Author’s note: if you ask my mother to confirm or deny the above statement, she will most likely say that nothing has changed and I’m still a crazy neurotic mommy. Love you, Mom!)
I’m the first to admit, I was off the rails when Elliotte was born. Before stepping foot in my house, I would give you a nice bath in hand sanitizer. If the fruit you were serving wasn’t organic, you would definitely be hearing about it. If you even thought about coming near my kid with a stuffy nose, you were dead to me. (Because we all know you don’t really have “allergies.”)
Here we are two years later and all of those things still irk me a bit, but I’m about 80 percent (okay … 72 percent) better. Time was the rehab I needed to see that at the end of the day, she’s going to be okay.
We all made it out of infancy and toddlerhood just fine drinking from our BPA-laden cups. (Although it’s very nice to know that we now have other options!)
Due to the heath problems Ellie had when she was born, I think it made me (and my equally neurotic but unbelievably sweet husband) hypersensitive on every level about every single thing. Now I just think — if we made it through that, we can get through anything.
New Year’s Eve – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff
To all of the soon-to-be parents out there or ones that are in the throes of insanity — I decided to write myself a letter that I wish I would have read as I wiped down every high chair in the greater Los Angeles area. Or as I judged every parent’s child-raising choices and swore I would never be like them.
Clearly my judgments and hopes for my family were the expectations of an inexperienced parent who didn’t know … well … anything.
Dear My Childless Judgmental Self,
I know you are rolling your eyes right now. Especially if you are at a restaurant and there are children screaming or throwing food in your direction.
I know that you are frustrated and annoyed that you are sitting next to a fussy baby on an airplane or at your wits’ end over the child who is kicking the back of your seat. It seems like their parents aren’t doing “enough” to control them, and that is terribly confusing to you.
One day you will understand early morning frustrations and temper tantrum marathons that occur with most children, so you will know the feeling of not being able to “control your child.” You will know it well and some days it will leave you in tears.
I wish you knew the helplessness that every mother feels as her child is doing anything and everything to attract unwanted attention. She doesn’t like it and believe me, she also wishes her kid would stop screaming.
She has tried every trick in the book (including the shunned upon bribe — gasp!) to get her little one to calm down. She has failed miserably and doesn’t need your stink eye on top of that headache. This is not the first temper tantrum she has dealt with today. She’s tired and broken down, so cut her some slack.
I know you think the kids menu is filled with junk and that your healthy kid will be eating quinoa and veggies exclusively. But guess what? Your healthy kid wants grilled cheese for every meal — and quinoa equals starvation — so the kids menu will be your saving grace for meals out.
You say that sugar-filled fruit juice will never enter your child’s bloodstream or that cupcakes that aren’t gluten/sugar/flavor-free are out of the question … but just you wait until you enter the birthday party circuit.
You can try to pry that juice box out of your screaming child’s sticky little hands, but you will never win. Ever. Seriously.
The devil wears frosting – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff
Juice – never say never! – Heather Bear Photography
It’s super cute that you don’t think you will let your kids watch television or use an iPad. Seriously, it’s adorable. Cut to you having the flu and no one is available to watch your daughter besides Dora the Explorer.
You know that 2-year-old running through the park without their shoes on? Before you mumble to yourself in judgment, “Why doesn’t that mother put some shoes on that kid?!” just know that’s YOUR kid.
While we’re on the subject of shoes, don’t waste your money buying those cute outfits either.
I’m writing you from the future to let you know that your little princess has worn her Ariel pajamas everywhere for the past week. Complete with bright blue Nikes. Some battles are just not worth the fight.
Beloved Ariel PJs – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff
Anna PJs and the Nikes – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff
I’ve saved my very favorite thing for last. You ready for this one young lady? All of those annoying phrases and threats your mother used to say that you promised and swore you would never EVER say? You say ALL of them. Every single one.
You count to three. You give time outs. You looks could kill. In a few more years you will most likely say, “I don’t care if all the other kids are doing it …” Get ready. You even wipe your daughter’s snot with your shirt.
As you’ve been told a million times before, they pass by very quickly so even on the days that you aren’t exactly enjoying it and are counting down the seconds until bedtime, try your very hardest to not get frustrated.
You will leave a million restaurants, regret every plane ride, and count to 10 on a regular basis — but this is all part of the wild ride and it’s the most amazing journey.
So PEOPLE.com, what are some things you do with your kids that you SWORE you would never do? iPad? TV? Junk food? Co-sleeping? No judgments here! Would love to hear and honestly, feel better about my own parenting skills.
— Marla Less Judgmental, Way More Understanding Sokoloff
P.S. Don’t forget to send me Tweets @marlasok or leave a comment below — love hearing from you!