My story on living with and being married to an actor and the lifestyle we live it's a 3 part story so I'll be sharing each part separately...
PART ll - The Strikes and Surviving the Aftermath + My 3rd Career change & Baby #2
The 3 of us Ricky filming a commercial on location in San Francisco in 2000
We ended the last decade which also happened to be the end of a century and the beginning of a new millennium with so many life changes it was already overwhelming in addition to the unplanned birth of baby number 1 and my 2nd career change it was a constant flow of uncomfortable change challenges and growth. Since our wedding NYE 1990 to 2000 our lives had completely changed we were unaware and totally unprepared for the challenges loss and surprises we would go through during the decade from 2000 to 2010.
Our daughter was born June 1998 right after I had a cervical cancer scare. I was transitioning from a full time budding career in fine dining restaurant management to an out of work mom.
How did this happen? Why?
When our daughter was born I was able to take time off with the intent to go back and work fulltime again in restaurant management. But when I was ready to go back the restaurant I had been working at was going through another transition and would no longer be a place I wanted to work. I was devastated. Lost. Scared. I was a new and a totally unprepared mom and the one thing I knew and loved which was to "work" was no longer there. So when the year 2000 began I was looking for work and doing my best to be a happy mom and to keep moving forward.
I had never been the little girl who longed to be a mom I had never really thought of myself as a mom. I was a model an actress a restaurateur I was not mommy material. So needless to say I was overwhelmed and way out of my lane.
I was struggling with not working being a new mom and feeling guilty for struggling.
The original birth announcement for our daughter
What I didn't know and what my husband didn't know was that he was about to go through some drastic changes himself.
He had already gone through the closure of his theatrical agency due to embezzlement by the ceo and owner and his personal manager decided to retire and leave the industry. But he found another agent and manager so we thought he was set and would be ok. Little did we know.
His industry announced in the beginning of 2000 that they were preparing for huge contract strikes. Which at the time we didn't have any idea what that would mean to us. We were so young and overwhelmed already with new parenthood and my career challenges that the strikes ended up blindsiding us.
Original magazine from September 2000
The strikes seemed to go on forever. Actor's like my husband Ricky were hit the hardest. Unable to work during that time or renegotiate any quarterly guarantees it was like a slow leak. I hadn't worked since having our daughter in 1998 and had been looking for work with no luck. So we were already dipping into our savings and using our credit cards.
But once the strikes were in full swing the leak became a hemorrhage. A leak we ignored out of fear until it was almost too late.
Original newspaper clip from our neighborhood paper during the strikes
Original article on the strike
Original article on the strike concerns
Some of the photos from the strikes at the time
By the time the strikes were winding down we had gone through the rest of our savings and were using our credit cards alot. We were in debt. Ricky was unsure how his business would be now with the new contract changes. Everyone in his industry had been affected by the strikes in some way. We were all glad they were over but the damage had been done and the contract changes were taking affect and it wasn't looking good.
We kept moving forward together willing to do the work and love each other through it all. Hoping believing it would all be okay. I finally found work with one of my best friends in 2001 who was opening a new restaurant and needed help managing the restaurant and running the business. Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity to go back to work and to earn an income. Unfortunately her restaurant did not make it. And at the end of 2003 I was once again in need of work. With the added stress of the debt we had accumulated and the changes in Ricky's industry it was proving to be a very challenging time for us.
I was then approached by an old friend who was a nutritionist and naturopathic doctor who had become very successful and started his own company and needed someone like me to come work with him.
It was completely out of my work career lane of restaurants but I had already transitioned from modeling and acting to being a restaurateur so I thought I can do it again. I've always loved health wellness and nutrition so I took the leap and said yes.
I poured myself into my new career. I was up before 6am and gone before my daughter woke up. Most days were a minimum 12 hours so I would miss her at night by the time I came home too.
I missed my daughter so much. I was beginning to see and feel that I was no longer the person I started out as and that being a mom was definitely who I wanted to be. But I wanted and needed to work. That's when the real anxiety and stress started for me. Because now I didn't know who I was or what I wanted.
But knowing my husband was there for her kept me sane. He took her with him everywhere to his appointments and auditions he took her to school and to her extracurricular activities. I was on autopilot just getting through. I was surviving I was not thriving.
After 3 years of tremendous hard work in 2004 I decided I could no longer work for my friends company. He was becoming someone I did not want to work for or with and was devastated that once again I would have to start all over again.
During that time we had still not fully adjusted to the changes in our life we were just trying to get by. With Ricky's industry changes work was slow for him and his pay rate as an actor was literally 1/3 of what he used to make.
And that's when life really kicked in and presented me with one of my life's hardest challenges.
In 2003 my dad was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. He fought hard but unfortunately lost his battle on July 24 2005. I had been by his side through his treatments and had been there when we thought for a brief moment he was cancer free and had beat it. But when we rushed him to the emergency room on July 7 2005 he said he was done. That he couldn't fight anymore he was ready. When he's doctor informed us that he was stage 4 now terminal my Dad was terrified and I was devastated.
As his daughter his baby girl I was heartbroken the thought of not having my dad around anymore was just too much. But as the grown woman I was I understood his cry for relief. My stepmother and I set up hospice and prepared ourselves. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do thus far in my life.
Me and my dad
After working with my friends company and what a disaster that turned out to be I decided I wanted to work for myself. I thought becoming a realtor would put all my work experience together and that I could be good at it. So while my dad was battling cancer I went back to school for my real estate license. I got a part time job working at a boutique real estate company that specialized in restaurants I thought I had finally found my calling.
But life once again had different plans for me.
We found out in October 2005 that I was pregnant again with our second. Just as I had it all figured out. Just as I had started processing my dad's passing just as I thought this is it.
Our daughter with our son
It wasn't. My husband kept auditioning and working the momentum he had in the 1990's had faded and he was feeling unsure of his career and business since the strikes. We talked about his fear and concern now that we were going to have two kids living the actor's life may not be enough to support us. But we knew acting was and is his calling. It's what he's meant to do.
I kept working and trudging along like the little engine that could. I had another cancer scare in the midst of everything else just to add in a little more stress. But that didn't stop me from working from being a hands on mom from volunteering from being a girl scout leader from being my daughter's school fair coordinator....recognize a theme here?
Me with our son
The four of us at a Heal the Bay volunteer event
I was keeping myself so busy so I wouldn't have to deal with myself my feelings my emotions my fears etc as long as I kept busy I was good.
I didn't have to deal with my fears about our finances I didn't have to deal with my feelings of being overwhelmed with motherhood I didn't have to deal with how I was beginning to feel about working.
Deep down though I knew that it wasn't healthy and that I was doing myself a great disservice by living the way I was.
So again life has it's way of guiding you to your path if you allow it.
2008 the real estate market took a huge crash and the banks were a also dealing with the mess they made. So I decided that I would take a break from real estate and working in general. So starting in 2009 I officially became unemployed by choice. We consciously chose to take the financial hit. So we could spend more time together as a family and I could focus on myself be the mom I really wanted to be and take better care of myself mind body and soul.
I was now a mom of 2 and I recognized that I was a mess. I was overworked overwhelmed overweight and unhappy. I had let the challenges of my life take me down.
Me after my son was born I'm about 200 lbs
I had stopped taking care of myself mind body soul. I had served up my mental emotional and physical health on a silver platter and just stopped all self care and self love.
I realized I wasn't using any of my tools. All the spiritual and emotional work I had done for myself in my 20's I let completely go of in my 30's. I became reactive to everything I became anxious again and had even had a few panic attacks again. So as the decade was ending I knew that I had to do something.
2008 one year before I stopped working
I knew I had to find my way back. So I dusted off my self care tools and went to work on myself.
2010 a year after I decided to be a full time stay at home mom of 2 to live fit healthy and happy life and on my way to becoming my best self
As the decade was ending we were now a family of four we had survived a lot of challenges and we had worked hard and finished the decade debt free and we were all living a healthier happier life.
to be continued....
Part lll - Learning to Master Life on One Income and Owning the Alternative Entrepreneurial Lifestyle
I will also be sharing the 3 Life Lessons that helped me learn My top 10 tips for Whole Life Mind Body Soul Wellness ❤
"Conscious Positive Living"