Daniella Rabbani Sirkin | Another Mother Her Way
Daniella Rabbani is absolutely the person you would have a chance encounter in an elevator and then stay in touch for a year following. She had just had her son and was riding up with me a few months into Mother Untitled when we traded notes on our work and life set up. She squealed with her positive energy when she recognized the site from a conversation she'd been having on her end as she contemplated her new world and how she would reconcile her acting career with the pull of loving her day to day with her child. One year later, she's a wealth of intel on finding her footing including a move, set babysitter hours and mandatory self-care.
Q HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
Everything changed for me. Most notably, my relationships to work: I continue to work because it makes me feeeeel purposeful and good so that I can bring that energy of wholeness back to my babe. Work has slowed down a lot because I’d rather take these early days of motherhood to be with Ness as much as I can. I have to remind myself of that choice very often when I complain about my slowed productivity and income drop. It’s temporary.
My mom: I had no idea. I feel like I spent so much of my life begging to be seen by my parents and all the while I never looked at them. I feel so seen and taken care of by my mother these days. More than ever. She babysits and cooks and cleans for us. She listened to my incessant groaning about breastfeeding and the search for childcare. She tries hard to integrate my desired way of mothering with her approach. She’s the shit. I love my mother in a way I really didn’t expect.
My body: I’ve been in recovery for a binge eating disorder for ages. And it wasn’t until I became pregnant that I experienced my body to be ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT. I was able to experience myself and my body and food in a new loving way which felt like a miracle. It’s an ever-evolving relationship but the memory of loving myself in all my godessness has radically changed me.
I’m going to leave it there though there are so so, so many other relationships that motherhood has touched in my life.
Q WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
We moved to Brooklyn! My husband and I were living in a townhouse on a cobblestone street in the west village with our pup Bernardo for about four years before Ness arrives. The landlords were shady and the heat went out all the time but we were busy enough not to care. Cut to having a newborn and dealing with two flights of stairs and an apartment with no laundry. People have it way worse, I know. But man, was that first year tough. We moved to a busy street in stroller city, Brooklyn. We have a doorman and laundry in unit. I miss the village. Hell! I’ve been a mom long enough to say I miss my old life. But I wouldn’t change the move or the changes for the world. They’re the right thing for us right now. And right now is all we got.
Q DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
If I ever write an auto biography, it'll be called: Daniella Rabbani, extremely thoughtful, incredibly flaky. As a mom, I consider myself to be: 1. Respectful 2. Understanding and 3. Patient but only because I take time for myself. Daily. I strive to see Ness as a whole person, outside of me. Capable, intuitive, able. But man, my ego gets super flared up and tested. So, in order to be this kind of mom I need time to collect myself.
I am the mom, I want to be today.
Q HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
OMFG. This is the question. This is it. This is ever evolving.
1 - weekly date night with myself: it's a must. 2 - weekly date night with my husband: also a freakin' must 3 - I check in with my therapist (I'm a New York Jewish mother/actress you guys!) 4- I have a babysitter come in for about 15-20 hours/week so that I can get office/house/personal work done: I find this really hard on my ego, actually. Like somehow, I should be able to get shit done with my baby but I can't so I gotta own that! 5- I continue learning which makes me feel so good. Right now I'm studying family constellation therapy and reiki. I take one weekend a month and one night a week to touch base with my mentors which satiates both, my intellectual curiosity and my interest in the psycho spiritual healing modalities.
Q EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
My husband takes the mornings. He’s amazing. The mornings have become a really special time for them which is cool. My mom babysits at least once a week. And we have a babysitter for about 20 hours a week for when I need office hours or have auditions and bookings etc. Not unrelated, I see a functional medicine doctor and touch base with mommy groups on Facebook and WhatsApp. I seek out emotional help when I need it and logistical help too. I felt like a failure about that for months but I’m so over that thinking. I can’t do it alone. And I don’t want to.
Q WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
My health and vitality. I found out I’ve been walking around with Lyme disease about four months ago. It explains a lot. So, my health is a priority. Because if I don’t pour from an overflowing glass then I’m left depleted and really no good to Ness. And I want to be good to Ness. I love that little cutie.