Michelle was travelling on the highway to Whistler, B.C during our half hour conversation about motherhood, acting, and her new daughter, Mara.
On the West Coast today, the weather is rainy, while here in Ontario dampness falls over us like a blanket.
Like the weather, Michelle and I are two worlds apart while enjoying the journey of motherhood. I am on the cusp of molding my children into adults, while Michelle is embracing being a new mother and all the wonderful things that Mara is learning.
One interesting fact that I learned about Michelle, at the onset of our conversation, is that after completing university Michelle stayed in Cambridge, ON while she acted at the Cambridge Theater in Downtown Galt. She was enamored with Cambridge’s farmer’s market and quaint neighborhoods.
Thus, our interview commenced:
How has having a child changed your life?
Well I was used to have a personal life. Having a child completely changed my priorities as I really enjoyed having a social life. With working full time having family time is now my highest priority.
To keep the home fires burning, do you and your husband make it a point to schedule occasional date nights?
Yes we do schedule date nights. We are fortunate to have a nanny at home. Last week, we took the afternoon off and went for a walk down 17th street, in Calgary, for a late afternoon drink. When we come home we find ourselves enjoying Mara even more!
Tell us about Mara’s Personality?
She is super bubbly and loud. She is really happy. She has really been vocalizing a lot lately. She screams loud but not an upset scream.
Has she started crawling yet?
She’s, what I call, revving her engine on all fours. She can shuffle backwards.
(I realize then that I love talking babies and I miss those days when my cherubs were small. *tear*)
Who does Mara resemble the most?
My husband Derek for sure. His mom brought over photo’s the other day. They are male and female identical twins.
What are some unexpected challenges (if any) that you have faced?
Finding the time to stay in shape between being a mom and my career.
The baby is crying, dinner’s burning, your husband is in a bad mood and you’re at the end of your rope, who do you call for support?
Do you take Mara on set with you when you’re working?
I do sometimes, but we’re experimenting with having Mara on a routine. It appears to be working as she sleeping through the night now. She’ll come visit me occasionally but having her sleep in my trailer and the fear of disrupting her as I’m changing makes it hard.
What has been the biggest struggle in being new mom and returning to work?
Mara was 8 weeks old when I returned to work. The biggest struggle was breast feeding or the inability to do it due to overwhelming stress. With the pressure of returning to work, being a new mom, pressure to breast feed, moving to Calgary, and hiring a Nanny, biologically I was unable to do it. We ended up supplementing with formula and it’s been working well.
Next time, I plan on giving myself at least six months off to relax, recuperate, and enjoy it.
Can you relate to Lou’s back to work struggles as a new mom?
Totally. Last year and this year, the show has mirrored my life. Lou going back to work is the perfect storyline.
Let’s pretend for a minute Michelle. If Lou had her baby at the beginning of last season, do you think you could have pulled off the role of new mom, with such perfection as you do, had you not experienced the trials and tribulations first hand?
Ah you’re sweet. I think, No. Being an actor, there are times where we play roles that we have never personally experienced, like someone killing another person. However, having gone through new motherhood has given me so much to work with as an actor. It’s such an out there experience and it’s hard to imagine what it’s like til you go through it.
On the the topic of Moms, who is your favorite television mom of all time?
I would say Peggy Bundy, from Married with Children is my all time favorite Mom.
I remember how exciting it was to become a new mother. I wish Michelle and Derek health, happiness and lots of love with baby Mara.
Thanks for the wonderful conversation!