Hollywood moms, they look like they have it all together. They make the rest of us regular moms in snot-stained yoga pants look like mere mortals. That’s why it’s so refreshing to sit down and have some real talk with Zabryna Guevara — better known for her starring role as Sarah Essen on Gotham on Fox, Mondays at 8/7c.
If you’re already a fan, you’re going to like Guevara even more because she just happens to be a Hollywood mom unicorn. She cuts to the chase, and she’s not putting up any fronts. According to Guevara, returning to work in her first series regular role was a challenge, to put it mildly.
So what’s it like to go back to work as a mom in Hollywood? Pull up a chair because Guevara is ready to spill:
SheKnows: Hi, Zabryna! Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. With two kids, ages 1 and 5, what has been your biggest challenge as a working mom?
ZG: The biggest challenge has been carving out quality time with my boys. It’s a never-ending journey on balancing home life and work. It’s always a work in progress, but totally worth it!
SK: How do you make time for your kids while working 14-hour days on set?
ZG: With one child in school and the other under 2, taking them to set is rarely possible. What I end up doing is putting the phone away while at home and spending as much time with them when I’m not filming. Our family has been attending a lot of theater lately, and we’ve discovered they’re both incredibly good audience members for their age.
SK: An even better question, how do you make time for yourself between work and family?
ZG: What I’ve found most therapeutic for my sanity is meditation twice a day. It has become my little bit of Zen that keeps me calm in the storm. I do my best to give myself that gift daily.
SK: You booked the Gotham pilot right after giving birth to your second child. How quickly did you have to return to work?
ZG: I actually did the first audition and a few weeks later flew out with my baby to L.A. for the test. He was only about two-and-a-half months old. Not that bad compared to some mothers who have to return after as little as three to six weeks.
SK: Was it difficult to make the decision to return to work?
ZG: Not really because, as an actor, work comes in little waves. You may get a heavy calendar for a period of time, but then you get times in between episodes or roles when you actually are quite free and get to be home and enjoy family time.
SK: What is the best and most effective way to connect with your kids after a long, hard day?
ZG: We read together quite a bit. My 5-year-old loves getting read to and is now an avid reader of his own. My 1-year-old loves flipping through books and looking at the pictures and words. It’s an easy way to get great quality time with the bambinos.
SK: What is the best part of being a working mom?
ZG: I love getting to work with some of my favorite actors! I have had the honor of working with Carol Kane, Peter Scolari and Margaret Colin and discovered that, aside from consummate professionals, they are lovely people to boot.
SK: Do you have any regrets about being a working mom?
ZG: Oh, goodness no! I’m a better mother because I’m doing what I love. I hope to instill the same desire in my children to find a career that makes them happy or funds their passion.
SK: Are there any similarities between your role as a mother and your role as Sarah in Gotham?
ZG: I think Sarah would do anything within her power to protect the officers that work for her at GCPD. That feral loyalty to her people, I certainly share for my children and family.
SK: What is the most important parenting truth you have learned so far?
ZG: Listen to my kids — I have found some deep wisdom in the comments of my 5-year-old that I have followed. Also, I find I’m much more patient with other people’s children and, when life feels crazy or I’m particularly harried, I’ve found treating my kids like they’re “not mine” has been a great way to find patience and circumvent those unwanted “mommy moments.”
The thing I like most about Guevara, besides her gorgeous hair and impressive acting chops, is her willingness to give back to herself. Perhaps one of the most powerful parenting principles that takes quite a while for most of us to learn is this: Put on your oxygen mask before you help the child next to you.
As a busy working mom, Guevara seems to have a firm grasp on that. She fills herself up first with regular alone time and meditation. She pursues a fulfilling career to inspire her children. She stays in the moment and listens to her kids. I’m taking notes.
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