I want to start this post off by thanking iVillage for the opportunity to guest blog on your site for my “Diary of a Spy Mom” blog series. I am writing a few entries about the film and the parallels to my own life as a working (and very pregnant!) mother. Hope you enjoy these.
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D (which opens on Aug. 19) is my first foray into a true family film. I wanted to do something my 3-year-old daughter Honor could watch. On top of that, the opportunity came to me at a perfect time in my life from a thematic point of view, something I think many moms reading iVillage can relate to: the idea that we’re stretched so thin in our daily lives as mothers and how to achieve balance — if there is such a thing, LOL.
While shooting Machete, our second film together, director Robert Rodriguez came up with the idea of a new Spy Kids film. We discussed, among other things, the challenges of going back to work after having a child, which is very much a theme for my retired Spy Kids mom character. But Robert will credit Honor’s exploding diaper on the set of Machete as having really sparked the lightbulb for the return of the Spy Kids series, LOL. After that incident, he began to write my role for a new film and a new set of spy kids, played amazingly by newcomers Mason Cook and Rowan Blanchard.
Trying to work, be a mom and wife and do it all perfectly with a smile is tough as heck. In fact, it feels nearly impossible sometimes. As much as I try to prepare and have everything planned out, there are moments where I haven’t packed enough outfits, toys, snacks, pacifiers, burp cloths or some other necessity to avoid baby meltdown. And Honor will vomit, poop, pee or some combination, and I’ll only have one diaper left. I’ll make do with a diaper and a blanket, but I feel like I look like a bad mom. No matter how prepared you are as a mom I’ve found that you’re always going to make mistakes. And most crushingly, I always feel like I should be doing more.
We had a lot of fun incorporating some of these themes into Spy Kids. (My character) Marissa is a first-time mother with two stepkids who are very critical of her and a husband she barely gets to see because he’s always working. She tries desperately to please them all. I think she’s relatable to moms who are trying to do it all and want it to seem like everything is going according to plan. ;)
One of my favorite scenes was shooting the action sequence where I’m on my last mission before retiring to be a full-time mom. I’m full term and going into labor in the midst of a chase sequence where I have to save the world — ONE LAST TIME — before throwing in the towel. It’s obviously silly and light and not showing the “real” side of active labor, but I got a kick out of waddling around with a big (fake) belly, kicking butt.