TRIBE INTERVIEW: TERESA PALMER
Actress, mother to Bodhi Rain, wife to director Mark Webber and founder of websites Your Zen Life and Your Zen Mama, Teresa Palmer, took time out from promoting her new - and ultra scary - movie Lights Out to chat to Children of the Tribe about her second pregnancy, unconditional love, travel and how motherhood has led to some of her most fulfilling film roles yet.
A blissfully happy marriage, a healthy son Bodhi, another little man on the way and a thriving career. Would you say this is the best time of your life?Well, thank you! Yes, I would say it is. I'm feeling very fulfilled in all aspects of my life right now. I'm creatively stimulated as well as enjoying this pregnancy with Forest and, of course, I am loving hanging with my best bud, Bodhi. I feel very grateful. It's not without its peaks and valleys but it's all about finding balance, which I feel like I'm in alignment with right now.
When are you the happiest?When I'm with my family and best friends and their children having epic play dates in the sun. There's nothing I enjoy more!
In terms of motherhood, what was your own mother right about?My mother had a much more challenging parenting experience than I have had myself as she was a single mother battling with mental illness and I was certainly a spirited child! My favourite thing that she did as a mother was love me unconditionally no matter what the circumstance or my behavior. I never felt unloved or judged; her love was unwavering. We talk about that a lot.
I feel as though I'm that way with Bodhi too by following my mother’s example.
It seems your career has gone from strength to strength since becoming a mother - you have some big films out this year. Has motherhood had an influence on you professionally?It's been a really interesting few years. I think if I'm honest, I was nervous about how I would be able to balance work with having a child and if it would mean fewer work opportunities but in my experience, it has been quite the opposite. Despite trying to dissect the reasons for this, I still haven't got a clear answer as to why my career has more momentum now than ever before. I have some reflections though; I do think that not having all my eggs in one basket has been really helpful. Having something else to be so passionate about and focused on meant that there was less obsession and control surrounding my career. Perhaps the loosening of the fixation on it created the space for it to organically unfold in a way that it was supposed to. It has felt a lot easier than years past and I think my relationship has gotten healthier with my career, which has allowed it to thrive. I also believe that I've just become a better and more thoughtful actor. I truly understand emotions on a much deeper level since I've had Bodhi - love, fear, gratitude, hope… I assume that's translated in some ways in to my work.
You’ve travelled a lot with your little tribe. Do you have a favourite place to visit with your family?Adelaide, South Australia! It's where our second home is and where many of my best friends and their kids live. We adore coming back to Adelaide and experiencing the community feel. There's a wonderful simplicity and a focus on family, which is a beautiful contrast to our lives in LA.
How would your closest friends describe your parenting style?I think they all think I'm a hippie earth mother [laughs]. I know they recognise my commitment to natural and conscious parenting, which can get labelled as hippie or earthy. It's just very relaxed and laidback. I try to be as present, observant, loving and fun as possible without schedules. We just go with the flow!
You seem so far removed from the Hollywood stereotype. You’re so refreshingly open and approachable! What is your advice for surviving – and thriving in - Hollywood?Just to truly be yourself. Don't be afraid of shining in your authentic voice even if it's left of centre; it's what makes you so interesting and individual! Don't feel the need to conform. Stay away from egomaniacs and toxic people [there are tons of them out there] so find your tribe and stick with them. Cultivate a spiritual life and surround yourself with people who want real, deep and vulnerable communication. This applies to all people in all situations not just Hollywood.
I was sad to hear about your health scare while trying to conceive a second child. That must have been terrifying for you.Yeah, it was sad at the time but in a few days I came to a place of acceptance and could recognise that none of it was bigger or more powerful than me because it WAS me and it had happened and that there is something beautiful to take away from it. I also had a lot of distractions, which was very helpful during that period and, of course, having my deep connection and friendship with Bodhi really helped. I also think it was divine intervention in some ways and really helped me to slow down and reconvene. I realised that Bodhi and I weren't ready yet for another babe to come our way and that we would let that next journey unfold in a more organic way. It wasn't until Bodhi began breastfeeding less after the age of two that my body was ready to carry another child.
Can you share one of the most special moments you’ve shared with Bodhi so far?There are so many! I write down a lot of special moments. One of the most special is when we fall asleep together every night, since we co-sleep; he wraps his arms around my neck and tells me to rest my head on his heart. He loves pretending I'm his baby - it's really sweet. Before falling asleep, he will always sleepily kiss me all over my face really gently and sweetly and says, ‘I love you to the moon, the stars and all the way back down to the earth’ as it's what we have always said to each other. Before he's asleep, he positions himself so he is cheek to cheek with me. I die!
Do you and Mark have any non-negotiables when it comes to parenting?We never raise our voice or get angry at the kids. We always have clear communication with them - firm if we need to set boundaries - but never stern. It's just being conscious of their feelings and emotions and ensuring that they recognise that we are here to help them move through whatever it is they're trying to navigate and that all of their feelings are okay with us. People can label kids as naughty but typically they're just asking to be heard, so for us, checking in, removing frustration and really speaking with them calmly is always our go-to technique.
In a nutshell, for you, what is the key to balancing motherhood with your creative passions, friendships and marriage?Just recognising what the things are that I'm wanting to balance - playdates/Bodhi, Your Zen Life/Your Zen Mama, acting, spirituality/self development, fitness, ‘me’ time and Mark. I will grab my calendar and see what my obligations are and then I will often put in colour codes of each of the above things so I know I'm making time for them each week. Ideally, it'll be a balance of all or most things each day but if I get to do just a couple each week then I feel like I'm in a harmonious place. The other major thing is that I include Bodhi in a lot of the things I want to balance, except of course Me-time and I carve out special Mark and I time. I incorporate him in my fitness, I listen to Eckhart Tolle podcasts in the car when he is with me, I bring him to work and he is in a lot of my Your Zen Mama and Your Zen Life videos, too!
What are a few of your favourite little luxuries?Sleep-ins, baths with lavender bath salts, a good mystery book, playing an App on my phone and right now, the obsession is Monopoly! I have rare moments to do these things so that's why they feel so luxurious.
Where is your happy place?Either at my home in LA with Bodhi, Mark and friends and their kids or in Adelaide doing the same thing. I'm always feeling so blissed out when that happens and all my loved ones combine.
Above all else, what is the one dream for your children?I just want Bodhi to have enough self love that he can be in an unwavering place of happiness, which will in turn extend to all those around him and filter through all he does.