Elisabeth Röhm’s Blog: Gone Baby Gone

10/01/2014 at 03:30 PM ET

Elisabeth Röhm has been blogging for PEOPLE.com for three years now.

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.

She can be found on FacebookGoogle + and on Twitter @ElisabethRohm.

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.

Elisabeth Rohm Blog
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.

Maybe she’ll put her knack for argument to good use one day, becoming a civil rights attorney or activist. We could use more good ones in the world!

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.

Elisabeth Rohm Blog
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.

Elisabeth Rohm Blog
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?

We must help her be gentle and collaborative, and encourage her to see and hear other people, and act with more compassion than self-indulgence.

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

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Showing 11 comments

kristin on

I am right there with you. My now 7 year old was such a loving little baby. She was a major mommy’s girl. Then, like a light switch, it just changed. She doesn’t need and/or want my help anymore. And thinks I must be the dumbest person she knows. She knows everything and will argue to death about it. What a crazy age. It is very hard trying to figure out how to parent this “new” little girl. Then every once in a while she says I love you and I get a glimpse of the baby she used to be. I love those moments and try to cherish them as much as possible. I’m not sure how many more there will be as she continues to grow.

darla on

The title of this article could have been worded differently. Sounds kind of morbid.

Jen DC on

Well, my mom told me this, and it’s stuck with me throughout my life: You can do anything you want to do, so long as you are prepared for the consequences of your actions. So you set your boundaries, and you remind her what the punishments are for various “bad” or not-preferred (and age-appropriate) choices. And then, when she breaks your rules, you stick to your defined punishments. “We discussed this. I asked that you not do X, and told you that if *you chose* to do X, then punishment would be Y. You were warned, and now it’s time to face the consequences of doing X.” Simple. She still gets to make her choices; you still get to define what’s safe and appropriate for your household.

I still think like that today. Oh, it was great in my teenaged years, when my friends would want to do crazy stuff or stay out past curfew or whatever? I could always hear my Mom in the back of my head, “If you miss curfew, what happens? Is this worth it? The consequences?” (I would lose use of the car except for school and chores; and get loaded up with additional chores, since I’d be sitting at home doing nothing.) Whatever it was my friends wanted to do was almost never worth the consequences of being caught and punished.

holly on

I’m no expert, but I hope you get your daughter enrolled in some team sports, if she’s such a natural athlete. This may also help keep her out of trouble when she does get to the willful teen years. I would also cut back on the clothes shopping or she will be out of control shopping by the time she is 13. At this young age, a group like Brownies/girl guides may be a good idea, as they are focused on helping others & developing a love of nature & outdoors. It’s great she is a free spirit. But if she is not listening to you now, or being thankful for things, she’ll be developing a sense of entitlement that is not going to be pretty the older she gets.

Stephanie on

This whole article is drivel. The girl is spoiled because the mother pays attention to her every move. I can only imagine how suffocating it must be for the child to be examined this way.

Mommytoane on

I don’t think attention is spoiling her, its the giving in to her every whim that is. There’s spoiled, and there’s spoiled rotten. Somewhere the line is set where you have to set boundaries. Yes, you can have that monster high doll…but you have to do something like pick up your room and put away your own laundry for a week and continue to do it if you want other things. Like Easton, my daughter is an only. She has lots of things and in the material way is a little spoiled, but she’s not rotten. She knows compassion. She’s donated toys, and clothes to others in need and not just at holidays either. She earns toys and money to purchas things she wants with chores and good deeds. The boundary line comes when you realise you are the PARENT not the friend. Compermise is a must. Yes you can have a playdate, but tomorrow you must play at home by yourself for a while. Enrollment in team sports is an excellent idea. Or even lessons like tennis, swimming, and the like. You can raise a spirited child without crushing their spirit and still setting boundaries.

MHR on

Elisabeth Rohm’s blogs might have decent content, but she does seem to live an entitled life and isn’t afraid to show it. And her daughter does sound like a rich, spoiled kid. I’ve learned that children develop attitudes similar to what values they are raised with. If you take your 6 year-old daughter on shopping sprees, buy her every Monster High Doll, and indulge her every passing whim, of course there will come a time when you can’t get her everything she wants and you realize just how spoiled she is. Buy your kid whatever toys and clothes you want, but teach them the importance of giving and helping others. Let them be involved in assorted outside of school activities, but help them find a few passions. It amazes me how many parents don’t seem to know this, and enjoy flaunting their wealth, and raise self-absorbed kids. As a child I was lucky to have a very loving family, a chance to find my passions, and enough material things to go around. But, I am most fortunate that I was taught the value of helping others and the rewards of kindness and compassion.

liarlairpantsonfire on

I always say as a parent you get one that makes you look good and one that keeps you humble. My first 2 kids were delightful from day 1. Child #3 is my…challenge(???) She’s 13 now and while we still have some “wrangling” over attitude and sassy stuff, its calmed down from where you are now. Hold the line momma! Your hard work will pay off. And my willful one is also the dynamic child. Social and engaged with everything around her. Its a VERY different parenting experience. Enjoy!

teammom on

School will help her focus on and refine her cooperation skills, but it sounds like you have a girl who needs activity, so I recommend putting her in soccer, ASAP. Soccer is great – very physical, and success is very much a team effort, lots of lessons there to learn! Sounds like you have a great kid…get her focused and have fun!

Nancy on

Great article. She seems doing good on raising her daughter. It’s so refreshing to read her story and learn from her.

Kelly on

Hi, Elzabeth! You obviously have really great instincts, and maybe you’ve done some good reading, aka “the willful child”? You seem to well understand concepts of positive parenting and that they will get you (and your lovely!) much further than if you tried to squash her will. Are you familiar with Conscious Discipline (Becky Bailey)? You appear to embrace these conscepts–kudos to you!! As long as your guidance aims to foster personal responsibility on her part, she’ll do fine! I would also encourage you to check out The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendene. It will get you far into the understanding of your little counterpart as she grows. Keep sharing; your insights are impacting others positively.

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