For the second entry in my “Diary of a Spy Mom” blog series for iVillage, I wanted to write a little more about the elusive balance between work and family.
I’ll start by saying that I don’t think I have or ever will achieve a perfect balance — I mean, who can? I feel fortunate that I’m in a position in my career where I don’t have to work as much as I used to. When I do work, I make sure that it’s time worth spending away from my family: taking jobs where I’m genuinely passionate about the material and excited to collaborate with the actors and filmmakers involved. And HUGE BONUS: I am lucky that I am able to bring Honor to work with me. Her days revolve around her nap — for now, at least — and she spends a lot time hanging out with me in my trailer. I create a makeshift playroom with a Pack ‘n Play for naps, I have lunch with her and spend all my down time with her.
We shot Spy Kids in Austin, Texas (where director Robert Rodriguez shoots all his movies), and our apartment wasn’t far from set. Most nights I was able to make it home in time for bath and bedtime reading. There was also a great children’s museum, and the Whole Foods headquarters in Austin has a playground that Honor LOVED. It was a great experience overall, and if I have to be away from home shooting a film, there’s really no better place than being on a Robert Rodriguez film in Austin, Texas. Because he’s a father himself, there’s such a family vibe to all his films.
In terms of day-to-day balance, our primary uninterrupted family time generally happens on the weekends, like most families with parents who work during the week. It’s during those times where (my husband Cash Warren) and I decided that we need to step away from work completely — no emails, meetings or texting — and devote our undivided attention to Honor. It’s important to us to not be “half-present,” which can happen when you’re still in work mode. It’s something I learned from my mother and father, who at some points in my life growing up held down three jobs each. My brother Josh and I never felt like we were neglected or came second because when they were around, we were treated like we were the only thing that mattered to them and we always felt unconditionally loved.
For Cash and me, it’s a never-ending, ever-evolving process to find moments where we can connect. It can be challenging enough to keep connected amidst the normal demands of life without children. To bring kids into the mix makes everything a lot harder and more complicated. We work at staying open and communicating. Most nights, especially lately, we have time with just each other (after we put Honor down). We don’t do anything major, just make dinner and talk about our day or watch TV together.
As far as what we do together on the weekends, well, we’re creatures of habit. No adventures involving saving the world — just a lot of time spent swimming, going to the park and having barbecues. (Ivillage.com)