Ever dropped an F-bomb in front of your kids? (Oh Jill, that’s child’s play…) Well it happened to me for the very first time not to long ago. Especially for Women’s History Month. Let me tell you — it didn’t feel fabulous.
Thanks to Babble.com’s incredible ’49 Great Moms in History Who More Than Left Their Mark’ tribute to honor Women’s History Month, I slipped. I don’t know how, but I did. Oh wait: I slipped in the name of trying to ‘be’ the role and get a really great shot of me channeling Cleopatra — mean, tyrant-y, powerful, could-care-less what you think of her no matter what she does.
So I was acting. Kind of. The F-bomb was dropped for art…
I usually don’t take my kids to work with me. (Except for that story I describe in my book — about the time I rolled my first newborn infant into the Four Seasons Beverly Hills Hotel to interview actor/comedian Russell Brand because I had no other choice.) Taking kids to work is just too complicated, even if you work in a creative industry. My girls always steal my focus no matter what.
I couldn’t snag a sitter the day of my big Egyptian goddess photoshoot so I figured ‘why not bring the little ladies.’ I got them Happy Meals, they schmoozed with the creative team and got first-class lessons about how to effectively design a set.
My little interns. While they were doing their thing (the crew was SO GREAT!) I was getting into character — makeup, hair, jewels. This isn’t real life girls, I told them. This is dress-up for Mommy’s work today.
Then we started shooting. It wasn’t easy. I’d forgotten how intimidated I felt in photoshoots until we actually started. (Yes, fun fact: I FEEL WEIRD DOING PHOTOSHOOTS. Ask me to talk or speak on camera and we’re golden… but doing still shots has always scared the you-know-what out of me.)
Where should I put my arm? Am I sitting weird? Do I look comfortable or uncomfortable? I can’t stop laughing, why can’t I stop laughing?!?
“Jill, can you not smile?” the photographer asked me.
I tried to not smile and I ended up smiling. (This is why I never made it as an actress, folks…)
“Ok Jill, we need you to be mean. Cleopatra was mean,” Megan (the manager of the whole operation) stood in the corner and told me. (I adore Megan, so naturally I started laughing again. Get it together, Jill.)
“Think MEEEEEEEEEEEN!” they were all encouraging me. I sat on my box and tried to curve my body Cleopatra-y (as if any of us know that she actually did that in the first place…) All I could think was, Do the job you’re supposed to do right now.
“I can do it.” I said. “Ok. Here we go.” Megan was snapping behind-the-scenes pictures with my iPhone. I looked into the lens, shifted my demeanor and got in character in the fastest way I could think of at that moment. I said what I thought would be effective to change the mood out loud: “F-CK.YOU.”
Things got silent. Or was it my imagination. My eyes shifted to the right of the camera, over to the computer screen a few feet behind the photographer from me and saw my older daughter, standing in her pink Shimmer-and-Shine T-shirt, snap her head around and look at me.
WHAT. WAS. I. THINKING?!?!!?
I wasn’t thinking. Truth be told, I totally forgot my kids were there with me. (They were that well-behaved, believe it or not…)
Did she hear what I just said? Did she know what I just said? I’ve never said that word in front of her before. Oh no oh no oh no. $hit.
(Her little sister wasn’t in my eye line — I think she was at the cookie table another 20 feet away.)
I gasped and felt awful. What had I done?! I kept going. (Click.) “Turn this way, Jill.” (Click.) “Move your arm over your leg.” (Click.) “Can you tilt your head towards the light more?”
LadyP continued to watch the computer screen to see the live pictures as they were happening.
My concentration was split between making my feet look ‘natural’ and whether or not my daughter heard the bomb I’d just dropped. But I kept going. After about 45 minutes we wrapped and the team seemed happy with what we got. (It really was a blast! Minus my slip-up. And trying to look comfortable in photoshoots is no joke.) We packed up our Happy Meal toys, nabbed some snacks for the road, told everyone “thank you for the fun” (our fave phrase) and headed home.
In the car, I told my girls how I was so proud of the way they handled themselves and behaved… they told me how they loved the food table and that they’d had a fun time watching me dress up as ‘that Egypt lady.’
“Was there anything that happened there, that you saw me do or heard me say, that you didn’t like — that made you feel sad or scared?” I asked.
They shook their heads no and looked confused. “No,” my 6 year old said.
Okay then. One free pass for me for that epic fail that day — a fail that will NOT happen again. Because a strong woman isn’t afraid to say she messed up, forge ahead, and make a commitment to not make the same mistake again. How’s that for channeling Cleopatra…