As an actress, philanthropist, co-founder of parenting site Your Zen Mama, Sarah Wright Olsen wears many hats but her role as mama to her cubs Wyatt and Esme is her most cherished one of all. Sarah and her hubby – NCIS actor Eric Olsen – are raising their kids in Los Angeles are determined to give them a magical childhood filled with love and adventures. We spoke exclusively to Sarah about life with her tribe.
You’re one busy mama. What does an average day look like in your world?
Ha! Well it really depends on the day. Most days lately, Wyatt wakes up first with his daddy and I wake up with Esmé around 7am and make breakfast or Eric makes breakfast if he isn't already at work. I finish packing up the bento lunch box, dress the kids and we are out the door by 8.15am.
Some days we have coffee at a coffee shop before school and then Wyatt is in school by 9am. During this time, I grocery shop, work on Your Zen Mama, read scripts for work or take care of any phone calls or appointments.
At 1pm, it’s back to school to pick up Wyatt. We head home for bath, an after school snack, and then kids both nap at 2:30.
While the babes are sleeping, I will either answer emails, work on YZM or work on my other job while prepping dinner.
At 4.30pm, the babies wake up and we play outside or build forts inside depending on the weather.
Around 5.30pm Wyatt, helps me finish dinner and we are usually eating by 6 or 6.30pm. If dad is home, we eat as a family and if not then we hang with him while he eats when he gets home.
At 7pm it is books and songs and Wyatt is in bed at 7.30 and both kids are usually asleep by 8pm. This is when Eric and I have time to work, chat about our days, catch up on our favourite shows, or read. We are usually in bed by 9:30pm.
How did the concept for Your Zen Mama come about?
Teresa and I had talked about a collaboration of some sort for a few years as we both had a common interest in building a non-judgmental, safe community for parents, care givers and those wanting to start a family, to come and share. When we finally had the chance to make it happen, we worked for about a year on our concept before we launched in 2016.
What has motherhood taught you?
I have always appreciated the little things in life, but it has reminded me to slow down my fast-paced life and appreciate all the tiny moments with my children and my husband. I see how fast life goes I don't want to take a moment for granted. I have learned to communicate in a way that has taught me a lot about how to communicate with everyone in my life.
What is one treasured, joyful moment you've shared with your children?
We love going to Hawaii and just recently we were there on a trip and our son who loves "chefs" and the movie Ratatouille was taken back to the kitchen to help the pastry chef make dessert. It was a dream come true for him and Chef Ray made us this incredible dinner. It was a magical night.
And the most challenging or utterly heart wrenching moment as a mother so far?
Having your child sick and in the hospital has to be one of the scariest experiences. We had this happen with our son when he was only a few days old and this winter our daughter had RSV and was in the hospital for five days on oxygen. I am very grateful these were both fixable things and the visits were short lived but they were the most terrifying moments for me as a mother.
Do you have any non-negotiables when it comes to parenting?
We feel like the right food is such an important part of building the foundation for our kids. We have always offered a huge variety, and in doing so our son loves vegetables and fruit and protein. He likes Japanese, Thai, Indian and Italian. We like to have a "colourful" plate of food and we buy only organic and local when possible.
What is the secret to maintaining a happy marriage not only as working parents but also in the spotlight?
My husband has always said communication is key. We have been together for 11 years and it really is incredibly important to communicate about everything and try not to hold anything inside. It's easy to get lost in a routine and not spend time together but when we are not working for instance on the weekends, we do lots of family activities together and spend the days "going on adventures" as my son likes to call it even if it's just a trip to Costco, or to lunch.
Your own mum was right about….
LOVE! Love your babies, hold them and kiss them and let them know they are loved. It sounds so simple but it really is the key to everything. If you have love at your foundation, you can do anything.
The most valuable piece of parenting advice you've received?
With babies, don't get hung up on a schedule. Leave it a little loose so you have the freedom to travel and be away from home.
When you feel exhausted and life is kicking your butt, what do you like to do to recharge the batteries?
If it's possible, take a spontaneous family weekend getaway trip or if that's not possible then do yoga because there is something about it that is incredibly healing for me. Otherwise I have a cup of coffee, or a bath, and power through until I can crawl in my cozy bed and sleep.
How do you hope Wyatt and Esme describe you in the years to come?
Loving, kind, open, forgiving, goofy fun, and happy.
What is your dream for your children?
That they will use their voice to fight for the things they believe in. That they will always feel loved and know how to communicate and love those around them. That they will find what makes them happy and work to make that their reality.