Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Gone Baby Gone
The SAG Award-winning actress, 41, is starring as Deputy District Attorney Amanda Tate in the new CBS thriller series, Stalker, which premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m.
Her book, Baby Steps: Having the Child I Always Wanted (Just Not As I Expected), is available now.
In her latest blog, Röhm — mom to 6½-year-old Easton August with fiancé Ron Anthony — seeks advice on teaching her daughter to embrace her willful spirit without being disrespectful.
Courtesy Elisabeth Rohm
Mary, Mary quite contrary, how does your garden grow?
This is the poem that keeps looping in my head as I get to know the new baby Easton (major emotional growth this summer).
She is not so much my baby these days, but more like a back-talking teenager and I her humble employee. Visualize some Hollywood actress’s assistant having to succumb to the quirkiest of requests and not getting much thanks back in return. Ho hum!
“Who knew?” is what I keep saying, my friends. This was not written in any baby books I read. I mean, isn’t 6 years old still very, very, very young? Shouldn’t she still be all about mommy and clinging to me?
Instead, God’s gift to me was a beautiful, willful daughter who has been independent since the day she was born. But now, OH BOY! Especially, keeping in mind, she’s a hardcore negotiator like her lawyer grandfather, and she will push anyone until they have become exhausted just by her sheer stamina.
Rather than cuddling and holding hands incessantly with my tiny little 6-year-old girl, I get a cold shoulder these days along with a lot of NOs. My life is starting to resemble some of my friends’ agonizing descriptions of dealing with their teenagers.
But hey, slamming her door and barring me out, now that is where I do draw the line. It brings to mind a certain poor friend and his teenage daughter who demanded her dinner be left at her closed door on a tray. Okay, it’s not that bad!
We still have family dinners and plenty of mommy and daughter time, but it has been a little bit wobbly lately with the begging for play dates or sleepovers on a daily, even hourly, basis. Little Miss Independent. At least she can’t drive yet!
I’m realizing that the art of NO is a two way street. Especially knowing that one day she will have mobility. I’m gearing up for a little tough love these days that I wasn’t prepared for quite yet. The little girl that was once my delicate flower is now more like a blowtorch of happiness and zing!
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? With silver bells, and cockle shells, and pretty maids all in a row.
(Note: This Mother Goose poem has some old fashioned English meanings, but to me it’s more about my delightful darling one who is growing, quite lovely, and ooooh so contrary.)
Where was the chapter on how my 6-year-old would resemble a 16-year-old? I joke that I feel I’ve been relegated to the role of assistant or chauffeur, only to get my sweet sugar from her in the stillness of night during bedtime or if she wakes up searching for Mom after a bad dream.
My uses as of late are facilitating play dates, driving her hither and yonder, while also providing her with revolving credit for all the latest whims. Maybe I have over indulged her a little bit in the shopping category, what with Monster High dolls for every occasion and clothes shopping sprees as Stella McCartney reveals her new kids collections, rather than sticking solely with the far more reasonable Target selection.
Courtesy Elisabeth Rohm
I always say she’s my IVF miracle baby, so what if I spoil her a little? I can hear each of you say, well there is the problem! She’s spoiled. Yet, it runs a bit deeper than that, PEOPLE.com!
Let’s take it back a bit to her ultimate nature, level of maturity and also what some astrologist told me at one point as to who she is as a person: An individual who has her strong opinions. This, of course, is essential.
She is an Aries. She is fire, fire, fire. It’s her way or the highway. And like my father, the lawyer, she is a litigious soul, and one who feels that she must defend everyone’s rights. She is a righteous talker with deep compassion and sensitivity towards others, but most especially herself, who she defends on a regular basis.
So now we are dealing with a very particular nature that we want to nurture, but at the same time, create some strong boundaries. I want to encourage her spirit, yet her way of doing things is slightly terrifying considering not only her age, but also, what life will be like when there IS a boyfriend, four wheels and an engine with college around the corner.
She must hear us and respect our guidance, which we give lovingly with only her best interest in mind, just as you do with your little ones, right?
I’m faced now with my own issues of deciphering when I’m being a hoverer parent, as one friend calls those overbearing types and being strong, clear and not wishy-washy. I would have gladly played the hover role with a more timid child who still wears the dresses you suggest and holds a teddy bear tightly.
I’m in the process of adjusting to what type of mother I need to be for this very special and powerful person. Again, I’ll say I didn’t realize that she would be so defined at such a young age, but then again I was no wilting wallflower.
All my reactions come from the mommy perspective of being a worrier, but in comparison to the crazy things I did in the woods of upstate New York, she’s a walk in the spring rain; I guess I turned out okay, right? No broken bones or lockups.
Perhaps I should get control over my fears; it’s just that I don’t want to end up with no control over an older version of all this willfulness, where she does what she wants, when she wants, with whom she wants, and tells me very little. I can hear you all saying good luck.
Not to mention it makes me a little verklempt that my darling little girl needs to climb every mountain, every countertop, ledge, wall and person, scraping her body up with 10 new bruises a day. She’s definitely an athlete who needs to express herself in this way!
She is physical and strong like bull; a rough and tumble tomboy with a heart of gold, but watch out if she’s steamrolling. A little firecracker I’d say, who would like to be in clothes that are dirty and mismatched because that’s the way she likes it.
She likes to cross the street where and when she’d like to, instead of when Mommy says it’s safe to cross. “Please hold my hand … please, baby please, hold my hand!”
Instead of swinging on the swing set gently and wistfully, she has to swing so high and vigorously to get up to the very highest point and JUMP! Meanwhile, her little girlfriend is in a lemon yellow dress sitting right by my side, and she is more inclined to have bubble-blowing lessons from Easton’s mommy while giggling melodically.
I know of course the adventuresome girl, the powerful, fearless athletic type will ultimately lead an exciting life. Not a wallflower, but a trailblazer. It’s certainly paid off for me to be independent and of that same nature. But this is my little girl we’re talking about.
Courtesy Elisabeth Rohm
How do you support that spirit, avoid crushing her exuberance, and yet, start laying down the foundation for a more responsive and respectful relationship, PEOPLE.com?
I definitely feel that I am on the mommy learning curve. Is anyone with me?
I think the best tool for us moms out there is to reflect and reassess who our child is as a person, and then we can give them the tools to become the best version of themselves. Isn’t our goal essentially just to have children that are well adjusted, happy, and thriving through life?
We all must find our voice as a parent, hold strong to our boundaries, but tighter to our babies while we still can.
Through it all, this will always be my favorite job, curveballs, confusion and all.
God bless all you mommies and daddies out there, and especially the ones that had to raise us.
Until next time …
— Elisabeth Röhm