INTERVIEW | TERESA PALMER
BY MARCIA LEONE
Teresa Palmer is best known as the Aussie actress making waves in Hollywood, but it's her transition to earth mother which has truly captured the hearts of many- including myself.
The founder of wellness site YOUR ZEN LIFE has just launched YOUR ZEN MAMA (with Sarah Wright Olsen) as an "all encompassing space to build a community of parents and caregivers discussing the comedy, beauty, and complexity of pregnancy and parenthood."
Honest, open and warm we chatted all things babies, boobies and balancing the glitz of Hollywood with her zen mama life. Enjoy xx
Congratulations on the launch of Your Zen Mama. It's a wonderful extension of Your Zen Life. What does "mindful parenting" mean to you?
Thanks! Mindful parenting is just being in tune with your kids and allowing an organic flow to be present among you all. I love gentle, open and calm communication as well as ensuring that Bodhi knows that all his feelings and emotions are okay with me. I never shame him, punish him or control him. I gently guide him and meet his needs respectfully and appreciate him as an individual with preferences and opinions.
Another big congrats on your pregnancy. I love that you are open about it not being such an easy path the second time round. Being in a similar position now, I know how all consuming fertility issues can be. How did you cope emotionally and mentally during this time and do you have any advice for others going through something similar?
It was really really HARD!! I would sometimes become really present about the whole journey and surrender to what was my current reality, other times I would cry and obsess on Google every night feeling anxiety pulse through my body. I would future trip badly some days and then others I would find a good balance with it. In March when I got pregnant I had stopped breastfeeding during the day and the change in my prolactin level as well as being in total acceptance, pure love and excitement surrounding the idea of just being Bodhi's Mummy, was the winning combination to help me conceive.
Did you learn anything from your first birth that you will apply to your second?
Yes that the key word is surrender. Just allow the waves to come along without tensing up or trying to retreat from then. The difference between surges when I was in that open mind state was incredible, anytime I tensed up it felt too powerful and then whenever I just became really fluid with it then I found them really bearable and almost enjoyable at times!
What has been your experience with extended breastfeeding and do you plan to tandem feed if Bodhi wants to continue?
I'm still breastfeeding my almost 2.5 year old. Anyone passing judgement isn't living in a conscious state of being. No one knows your connection with your child the way you do. Also just as a side note the World Health Organization believes that you should aim to breastfeed until age 3 and that the benefits of extended breastfeeding continue on beyond age 3! That one is a good one for the stubborn and old fashioned family members and I've used it a lot. Other than that if you have the ability and desire to continue breastfeeding your child all the better for everyone, no ones opinion should matter but your own. I will tandem breastfeed is Bodhi doesn't self wean before his brother comes!
How do you seperate and/or balance the glitz and glamour of your Hollywood career and your spiritual path as a mother?
Well the glitz and glamour are such small aspects of my life, I'm talking perhaps 3 weeks total of a full year. I choose not to attend events like a lot of my acting peers just because my preference is to stay home with my family, I also don't love getting in to uncomfortable shoes/clothes and having my makeup and hair done, I much prefer just being me as when I work I'm always pretending to be someone else. Because it's only a small fraction of my life I find the balance really easy. I have my family around me and always with me at work, I get to read all my favorite spiritual teachers at night when the kids fall asleep and that lends itself to keeping me balanced and in check. I have tools to keep me aligned when I need to recalibrate.
When I interviewed Jaime King she said "We live in an interesting time where we are taught that we should be able to do it all. Have kids, a great career, a great relationship, a healthy life etc. That is not only not possible, but totally unfair to place those expectations upon ourselves as women."
Do you think it is possible for women to have it all, or do you think you need to prioritise different facets of your life at different times?
I think perhaps society puts an unfair pressure on woman to "do it all" but that doesn't mean balancing it all isn't possible for those who want that. I have a desire to be a great Mum, have a succeeded acting career, a blogging career, be philanthropic, have a wonderful relationship, be a good friend AND be rooted in a deep spiritual practice. To me that's the holy grail and why not strive to find balance in all the things we want to achieve? Doesn't mean I will achieve it but at least I know what my goals are and I have an idea of something to strive towards and for me, that keeps me focused. That's just my path and might not be someone else's, I know so many woman content being a great wife and Mama and not so focused on work and that's just beautiful too. I may only be successful on my journey some of the time but I never put pressure on myself and most importantly I never listen to what anyone else thinks I should and shouldn't be doing, especially a societal pressure.
What it really boils down to is not being in a state of comparison with anyone else, cultivating self love and acceptance of what is and really doing the work to figure out what kind of experience we want from life.
What is your view on technology and kids?
I'm pretty liberal surrounding technology. My son definitely watches a show or plays "trucks" on my phone probably once a day. I have a limit to media exposure, I usually only let him watch one show or play a game for 20 mins however I'm a lot less strict than I thought I would be and this is for two reasons. Reason one is that realistically finding time for self during the day is really hard when, like our family, you don't have a nanny or a babysitter it's just you and the kids, he doesn't go to preschool yet so from wake up until nighttime that you're the one interacting with him. When I need to email someone back, write an article, wash the dishes or do the laundry, if he isn't interested in helping me, then I will let him watch a show for my own me time. Secondly, we live in a different world now where technology is all around us, there's no escaping it. I actually think I would be doing a disservice to him to hide all things media from him since he is and will be so exposed to it just because of the generation he has been born in to.
Three things you never leave home without.
Bodhi (seriously I can't remember the last time I actually left home without him haha) my phone, pocket copy of The Tao in my handbag, for a quick zen out.
Which movie of yours would you want your children to watch first?
Bedtime Stories is the most appropriate and was the first one they watched!
What is your favourite movie of all time?
Image: Gemma Paranita