BY MARCIA LEONE
Tammin Sursok is one of Australia’s most successful acting exports, currently starring in the huge US series Pretty Little Liars and previous roles on The Young and the Restless and Hannah Montana.
Living in the US with her husband and 3 year old daughter, Tammin is currently in Australia to launch Reading Eggs Junior– an offshoot of the incredibly popular online reading program for kids – ABC Reading Eggs, with her daughter Phoenix.
I had the pleasure of chatting to Tammin about how she balances her Hollywood career with motherhood, her blog Bottle & Heels , kids’ clothing line Stella.Pheonix. and of course her partnership with Reading Eggs Junior.
Welcome back to Sydney! When you are in town what is the first thing you do?
Normally I like to go to the beach – I like to be around the water. In LA there are beaches, but I find the water is often so cold that it’s not so nice to swim in!
Between your acting roles, blog, clothing line and business ventures, you obviously super hectic schedule – how do you find balance as a working mama?
My mantra for myself and other mothers is – you can have it all you just can’t have it all at the same time. The minute I accepted that my whole life changed. I spent a lot of time in the beginning as a new mum feeling so guilty that I would leave Phoenix to work … and then feeling equally guilty that I wanted to work when Phoenix was around. You just have to be present in the moment and be grateful and not expect everything to be perfect all at once.
I’m a huge advocate for self-care + best self = best mum. When you have an hour to yourself, how do you spend it?
When I get time to relax I like to have massages, do yoga or eat chocolate and drink wine!
Has becoming a mother changed you, and if so how?
My life has been always dominated by work so to suddenly stop that and become a mum was a hard transition at first. I felt like I lost a little bit of my identity for a while. However now four years later I feel like more of a real mum. I think I know what I’m doing a bit more now! I reckon I’m now about 50 per cent of the same person I was before I had Phoenix.
What is the best piece of parenting advice you have received?
Just to be more accepting and to let go of things you can’t control.
Having a blog and sharing pieces on parenting and mum life, I have personally witnessed a lot of “mum shaming”. I’m sure you have seen the same “judge-y” comments with your blog Bottle and Heels as parenting can be a sensitive subject. What are your thoughts around “mum shaming”?
I wrote this piece a little while ago – Unhappiness is the fastest pipeline to hate. I always think when people make horrible comments about me it says so much more about the other person than it does about me. Because people who are happy with the way they’re raising kids, don’t talk badly about other people. They might disagree with something and think – that’s for them, that’s not for me, but hey everyone has their own lives. However the people who shame other mothers I feel are often doing it because they feel guilty about their own parenting.
Tell us a bit about your kids’ clothing line Stella.Phoenix?
It’s going really well, we’re onto the second collection now. My friend Kellie and I wanted to create a clothing line that are daughters would love. The collection has really cute but chick designs in high quality fabrics. All the pieces are practical but have real long-lasting style. We wanted to introduce that sense of style to little girls early on so they could develop a love for quality fashions.
So you were recently in Australia as an ambassador for ABC Reading Eggs Junior online reading program. Tell us a bit about the partnership.
When I first heard about ABC Reading Eggs Junior I really wanted to be involved because I think education is so important from a very young age especially when it comes to reading. I wanted to make sure that reading was also fun and exciting so Reading Eggs Junior was the perfect fit for Phoenix.
I love ABC Reading Eggs and have used the program with my son since he was four – how early can you start and what are the benefits of the Junior program?
So with the Junior version kids as young as two and up to the age of four can engage with it. It’s really good for developing recognition of letters, sounds and phonics. Most of all it’s fun and keeps kids motivated. Phoenix just loves the animations, games and electronic books. She’s learning so much and it’s really helped spark her interest even more in books. Her favourites are The Giving Tree, The Cat and the Caterpillar and The Airport Book. I don’t allow screen time during the week so she uses the app on the weekend.
Coffee or Tea
Tea. For the last 17 years I drank coffee. But for the last six months I’ve only been drinking tea because my adrenal glands just bottomed out due to all the caffeine.
Cocktail or wine
Wine – white or red.
Gym or Yoga
Swim or Ski
Trainers or heels
Both, sneakers for mum life and heels for married life.
Photo by Sarah Keayes