Elisabeth Röhm is a busy mama!
Best known for her roles as Serena Southerlyn on Law & Order and in films like American Hustle and Joy, the actress is currently starring as Aria Price on her Sony Crackle show The Oath.
Röhm, 45, is also a proud mom to daughter Easton August, 10, whom she shares with ex Ron Anthony.
Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Parents newsletter.
I’m all for positivity and light, as anyone who knows me can attest to, but let’s pull the mask off this crap and talk about the hard stuff.
Nobody ever promised us a rose garden, which of course we already knew. But this grownup stuff is not easy — and as much as we know, there’s so much we don’t know how to handle. Frankly, we learn as we go while turning to our village for guidance, support and love, like in this blogging universe at PEOPLE.
Obviously, we know one of the big lessons in life is to never let ’em see you sweat. Grace under pressure can nearly feel like a slalom run at the Olympics, or cliff diving. I’ve done neither, but that’s how it feels for me sometimes. I’m sure you can relate.
For those of us who are parents, we’re always dealing with that overwhelming life stuff about all things kid-oriented because everything they need, want and deserve is sometimes scary, emotional and hard to provide. I never want to let Easton down. Especially when we fail in a marriage to their other parent, we feel like we’ve failed in a real and huge way.
So ladies (and gents, too), how do we navigate that ending and the new beginning of the new normal, I ask you? I’m breaking a sweat just thinking about the level of grace and strength that’s required in making co-parenting your No. 1 priority with your ex. It’s all about finding that grace and strength under pressure when, in our toughest moments, we feel like we’ve been brought to our knees.
RELATED VIDEO: Peek Into Elisabeth Röhm’s Backyard Oasis
They don’t give you a pamphlet for this part of the journey, either. I’m sure authors have written on the subject, but the aftermath of a separation and the longevity of being an advocate for someone whom you chose to part ways with not only at times feels near impossible but also requires nerves of steel, a huge heart and compassion for all the players who never intended for this family to go pear-shaped.
And here’s where those Yoda skills come in to pull it all off for Easton. It’s a daily re-commitment to be decent and patient, and breathe with the ultimate goal in mind rather than my own ego. And this separated/divorced family stuff takes the superhero version of Yoda skills. Talk about achieving enlightenment. What do they call it these days — conscious uncoupling? “Steady as she blows” is a mantra that I try to live by within our fragmented family.
Here’s the silver lining: You don’t have to live under the same roof as the person you struggled with, but the news flash is that none of it really goes away. You still have to sort out all the same family details and drama with a person you’ve chosen not to spend the rest of your life with and achieve real advocacy of each other while co-parenting on behalf of your child.
What they don’t tell you, as all of this comes crashing to the ground around your family, is that the problems just get replaced by new conflicts and stress between you and the person whom you struggled communicating and living with. On behalf of Easton, we both dig in and find more and more patience to co-parent from two separate homes.
I’m not trying to be a downer, but I wish someone had prepared me for the daily struggle that is required with always taking the high road for your kid and prioritizing and valuing someone who has hurt you, let you down or just basically shared in the disappointment called your marriage/union/cohabitation. Yet we must, we shall and we do — those of us who realize each parent has a value in our little human’s life.
I’d advise anyone now to think long and hard about separation because it is no joke and certainly not an easy fix in any way, shape or form. Let me not forget to mention how my beloved friends and family generally aren’t for the cozy conscious uncoupling, either — and of course, children do need boundaries and to not get their hopes up for reconciliation. There is a balance in there, somewhere, that we massage daily.
I’m not suggesting to show all the love to the ex if they’re undeserving or a deadbeat parent. I’m saying that rather than be petty or right and let things dissolve into a puddle of nothing that it’s better for everyone to rebuild a new normal that respects both parents, even if you’re pretty sure you’re usually the “right” one.
Weren’t we just talking about humility? The humility to work it out together and create moments of togetherness is a real thing, and I have seen it work in creating more confidence and less stress for Easton. Making the decisions together, even if one of the parents doesn’t agree, still works in creating a safe space in the family dynamic.
With those Yoda skills, endorsing what’s right for your child rather than digging your heels in to win — which is an easy knee-jerk reaction with someone you’re divided from — works for our “modern” family.
I’m here to say, after four years in the desert of this subject, it’s true that the family unit still has to remain somewhat intact to care for, guide, love and grow this child into the best human they can be. Right, PEOPLE.com? I’m always eager to get the conversation started with you and together expose our truths and find our way to the other side of happiness!
It goes without saying that children hate living in two homes and being schlepped back and forth and all of that becomes very complicated. Whether it’s their schedule, their after-school activities, their spiritual beliefs, sleepovers, travel, etc., there has to be a way to work it out — or, at least, we hope there is.
Ultimately, we’re showing our children that though some things may end, they still have a solid core and foundation. Not an easy task with the ex but although it’s exhausting, it’s worth it to encourage a healthy relationship with the ex, whether it be small or big.
Keep breathing and remember they’ll leave for college soon enough — in our case, only eight more Yoda years to go. Let’s keep talking about it, PEOPLE.com, because it certainly takes a village to fight another day and live to tell about it. We’re not alone in this journey. We have each other.
Until next time …