Win a Winner!
Writers & Photographers
Berlitz Summer Camp
by Vivien Santana Hughes
Face it, parenting is messy. From “how’d-he-do-that?” baby projectile vomit to the never-quite-balanced juggle of work and family to navigating the minefield of puberty, it can actually be chaos. And that suits Soleil Moon Frye just fine.
As mom to daughters Poet, 6, and Jagger, 3, Frye often felt in the beginning that other parents, “got the secret manual that I never read. They all made it look so easy.” As she struggled through parenting, says Frye, “I started sharing through social media and, all of a sudden, I realized I was not alone and there were millions of other messy parents like me out there!”
Frye shares her fortuitous finding in Happy Chaos (Dutton, 2011), but “author” is just the latest adjective to describe the actress best known as the smart, spunky Punky Brewster in the iconic ‘80s sitcom. She’s now an entrepreneur with an eco-friendly children’s clothing line and L.A. store – The Little Seed – along with a social media following of close to 1.5 million on Twitter, more than 100,000 Facebook fans, plus her very own parenting community, Moonfrye.com. And now a new gig as Target’s Mommy Ambassador. We caught up with Frye just before her book signing at The Grove.
Why write a book?
I’ve kept a diary since I was 7 years old. I wanted to explore the kids we are and parents we become through my own fun, crazy childhood adventures and my children’s adventures. And I had gotten so much insight from parents through social media, I had this incredible desire to share what was being shared with me, to help put a voice to the many parents going through the messy moments. Every chapter starts with a question of the day and has all these incredible contributors that I never met in person – they’re from the Moonfrye community, but became my mommy group, my inspiration and the parents that I turned to.
It was Poet’s birthday during my book tour and I couldn’t be without my daughter! So we flew the whole family to New York. During the flight, the plane ran out of gas and they had to do an emergency landing in Philadelphia. We had to drive to New York and soon it was 20 hours since we left in the morning. And here we were with my nieces, my daughters, my brother and sister in law, in the midst of total chaos. You have a couple options, you can either make yourself crazy thinking, how could this happen? Or you can just laugh – and laugh hard – and make the best of it. It turned out being totally fun and the kids had a blast. Even when they had their little meltdowns, we just traded off holding them. Then, after Poet’s birthday party, we had to evacuate [due to Hurricane Irene]. It was a clear indication that I was being tested with my own happy chaos while talking about Happy Chaos!
You wrote a chapter on ‘girl time.’ Why is it important for moms?
Moms have to have that time to connect and spend time with each other and remember who we are at our root. Our kids are such a special, beautiful part of us, but it’s special to remember what we were before. Our passions we’ve had since we were kids. My girlfriends and I are each other’s mirrors. We say, ‘OK, all we’ve talked about is our kids, now let’s talk about what we talked about before we were moms, too!’ It’s taking time to laugh and not take ourselves too seriously.
You still embrace Punky. Did the character reflect your real personality?
There is so much of me in Punky and Punky in me. I just had such a blast playing her. She’s so close to my heart still. I’m proud of the character!
Chat Room columnist Vivien Santana Hughes is a former L.A. Parent editor and the mother of three – two sons in college and (surprise!) a 6-year-old daughter. She embraces chaos daily.
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