In our interview with Autumn Reeser, she shares about life with her two sons, her passion for nature, self-reflection, and some honest advice about motherhood.
Raised in Southern California, Autumn Reeser fell in love with acting when she saw her first stage play at age six. At 17, she attended UCLA’s musical theatre program and went on to shine in roles on “The O.C.”, “Entourage”, “No Ordinary Family”, and several Hallmark movies, including the upcoming “Christmas Under the Stars”.
Favorite food: Does wine count? If not, I’ll take pasta Bolognese, please… with wine.
Best vacation spot: A campground in the woods, near a lake.
Ideal way to practice self-care: Listening to your body & soul and taking the time to give it what it needs that day / week / season of life.
Words to live by: Be here now. Only when we fully accept the present moment can we transform the future.
Green / healthy beauty routine: I use True Botanicals and have been so happy with the results and with the mission of the company itself. Outside of work, I don’t wear much makeup.
Your positive energy and joy are evident no matter where you are, and our team often remarks on how at home your children seem in nature. Did you set it up that way? Or do you follow their lead?
Awww, thank you! I think our children absorb the way we do life. That became abundantly clear to me after I had my first child, and I embarked on an unintentional personal mission to change the way I show up in the world, so that I can live the values I wanted to teach my children.
It’s been a long, difficult, joy-filled process. So much of the life I was living at 30 didn’t feel authentic to who I am or what I value. Even though I’ve been scared every step of the way, I started speaking more honestly, exited toxic relationships, downsized my entire life and made wayyyy more space in my schedule to just be with myself.
All of these changes allowed me to rediscover the deep love for nature I had as a child, and I am so grateful to myself for being brave enough to bring that girl back to life because now she gets to give the same gift to these two beautiful boys.
Since we live in the city, it’s so important to me to get them out in nature as often as I can. My ancestors were farmers in Germany, Russia, and eventually South Dakota, and my parents and sister still grow their own food, which inspires me. That doesn’t work for me with my travel schedule, so instead I focus on environmental conservation, involvement in our community, and celebrating our national park system.
They seem to be at that super fun (and fairly easy) stage. What’s your favorite part of raising boys?
YES! Finally! I’ve been waiting forever for this stage (ages 5 and 8) and now that it’s here I can feel how quickly it’s going to slip through my fingers. I’m absolutely trying to maximize this beautiful period of time with them, which has resulted in a dwindling social schedule, and I couldn’t be more pleased with my choice.
I love interacting with them — they’re so funny, smart, endlessly energetic, infuriating, delight-filled, magnificent, and challenging. They continue to be my greatest teachers, every single day.
Many of our readers are new moms, and they often ask how long it took to feel like yourself again after having a baby because they are still in the thick of it. I think most of us agree you’re never the same as you were pre-children, but tell us about new motherhood for you and how navigated those changes.
Three years? I think I read somewhere it takes three years for your body to truly recover from giving birth, and I think that’s true.
Even though it may have appeared on the outside that I physically bounced back, I didn’t feel fully back into my own skin or in charge of my own autonomy until almost three years later. I found those years pretty awful, personally, and I was desperate to just be able to be present and love that moment with my kids but I was so triggered by their strong emotions and the constant feeling of being needed so completely.
I’m a free spirit by nature, so those years were the most challenging, but ultimately the most growth-filled, of my life thus far. I was so angry and so ashamed of being so angry. Man, being a human is hard sometimes! And the pressures our current culture places on young mothers is insane.
I’ll tell everyone reading right now “You’re doing great! Trying to live up to anything on Pinterest will slowly kill your soul. Get off of Instagram if it’s making you feel ‘less than’.
You are enough, your efforts are enough, and you are doing it right. Focus on being kind in every moment and that includes being kind to yourself.” I believe that in itself is enough to change your life and ultimately has the power to change the entire world.
What helps you process or cope when life gets overwhelming?
Remembering that “this too shall pass.” A bath, music, a good cry, dance class, a talk with my best friend, attempting even 5 minutes of meditation and exercise. And wine can be a great pinch hitter.
Do you and your children have any special holiday traditions?
I’m not a big holiday person. I prefer to celebrate the rhythms of nature, especially because I don’t follow a specific religion and the origins of our current holidays are murky at best!
We don’t decorate, as over time I’ve really come to question the value of storing items year round that you only use for a month. I don’t like excess and I believe that everything you own actually owns you, so I would say I’m a minimalist…except when it comes to books, which I cannot seem to stop buying!
We do make seasonal crafts and display those, because they celebrate both a season of nature and a moment in time within our family, but I don’t really save much. I do take pictures.
If you could give one bit of advice to your 20-year-old self, what would it be?
Learn to meditate. Separate the beauty of who you truly are from the critical voice inside your head. I promise you that negative voice is offering nothing nourishing and will lead you down multiple painful paths that you can avoid if you simply surrender.
Start listening to the true rhythm of life. It is magical and full of power and surprises and joy!