The work life balance thing can be tough. Weird, sometimes… especially if you’re on a red carpet and memories come crashing down. Recently I was back at the Critics Choice Movie Awards. Not as an attendee (like years past), not as a red carpet host (like years past)…. but this time as a MENTOR and ‘mom’ of sorts for a young woman just starting her career. It was an assignment I was genuinely thrilled by: I was honored and I was happy… but actually being there was bittersweet. As I watched my young protege doing interviews with the stars that I spent several years interviewing myself on red carpets, I couldn’t help remember all those hopeful, excited and invigorated feelings of when I first started my little career about 10 years ago. (TEN YEARS?!?) Damn you, nostalgia.
My grandmas have told me for years now: “Getting older is HARD.” They’re not kidding… it is hard. I often think of my past and romanticize even the most non-eventful things because I was ‘younger.’ This sounds stupid, I know. I’m healthy, I’m lucky, I’m capable, I’m thankful for so many things (my young daughters included). And yes, I know… I’m not “old.” And even though it’s not socially-popular these days for women to lament about their age (50 is the new 40! 40 is the new 30!), we’re all getting “older” and it’s ok to talk smack about it every once in a while. Years pass… and in the entertainment business that’s sometimes a hard thing to swallow when your career trajectory unexpectedly offshot into another direction (i.e.: When hosting your own shows & interviewing A-list celebrities evolves into mom blogging and fronting lifestyle segments).
But it’s all good. Really. (You guys know I’m genuinely happy with what I’m doing now.) It’s just that I sometimes get startled when certain situations (i.e.: red carpets) draw out memories that I’ve forgotten about. We’ve all been there… seeing that someone that once broke your heart, running into an old colleague at that company you loved working at until they got that promotion or just finding a picture of a funny moment with friends from when you were 20 and didn’t have to worry about anyone but yourself. Again: Damn you, nostalgia.
Right there on the red carpet, I was feeling all those feels. And then something really weird happened sometime between my oh-my-I’m-older-now moments and my protege’s interview with Nia Long: I suddenly felt validated, credible and accomplished.
Nevermind that I was trying not to get my head bonked by the swinging jib camera getting the wide shots (video proof below), my job that day was to call on my own experiences, earned know-how, capabilities and moxie as someone who’d been there and done that (in a fabulous way). It took me two babies and a big boot to the back of the press line behind the camera but in that moment I officially gave myself credit and credibility. I saw myself from the outside-looking-in: I am now the type of woman I used to look up to when I was in my 20’s and just starting out. If only I can keep working and have know-how like them, I used to watch them and think to myself. Now I was the one with the know-how, setting someone else on their path. It felt good… comforting. I had a young girl looking to ME for direction, guidance and insight. I remembered how I used to soak up direction, guidance and insight from the women who worked the same scene before me. Stand over here. Do this. You’re doing great! Try it this way. Can I get you anything? Whoa. I was a ‘Red Carpet Mom’ that day. It was really fun, especially when I met her real mom at the event, and fast-forwarded my own thoughts to when my two little girls eventually set out on their own career paths. This was her little baby girl at one time… and I realized that I would always be a part of her little baby girl’s first red carpet. That was special. That made me happy like only a mom can understand.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes fixate on ‘things that are missing’ or ‘things I haven’t done yet’ as opposed to remembering the things I have done, the goals that did come true and the new and unknown accomplishments ahead of me. We’ve all had accomplishments, we’ve all had disappointments, we’ve all had I-wish-I-could-go-back moments. As moms, we need to stop and recall our own resumes to combat the potty-training trials, temper-tantrum showdowns and scraping of food off the floor days… and remind ourselves that new dreams are ahead of us (even if we haven’t figured them all out yet).
And then there’s that whole don’t-bump-your-head thing… WATCH: