One Blogger to Another: Emma Willis and Eva Amurri Martino talk
Emma Heming Willis connects with Amurri Martino.
Photos by Rana Faure and Stephanie Elliott Photography
Mothers are notorious for stretching themselves thin in their efforts to simultaneously care for their spouses, children, and careers, and they often end up neglecting their own needs. So, when I sat down with “mommy-blogger” Eva Amurri Martino, who grew up weekending in Pound Ridge with her mother, Susan Sarandon, stepfather, Tim Robbins, and brothers, Jack Henry and Miles, we naturally ended up talking about the importance and challenge of self care.
An actress, who has had recurring TV roles on Californication, The Mindy Project, How I Met Your Mother, and New Girl, Eva is married to NBC Sports analyst and commentator Kyle Martino, with whom she has two young children, Marlowe and Major. Recently, she put her acting career on hold to celebrate the joys and perils of motherhood via her blog, Happily Eva After.
Emma: As a fellow blogger and a busy mom, I follow and love Happily Eva After. How did you get started?
Eva: I had no idea the challenges of blogging before I started. [Laughs] In fact, I had to teach myself everything with YouTube videos and by reaching out to bloggers I admired. I emailed 40. Two wrote me back. I begged them if I could take them to lunch and ask them 100 questions. Two of them said yes—just these two really awesome, generous, kind women.
Emma: What inspired you to start?
Eva: I was really searching for something that was going to make me feel more purposeful and to be able to be unapologetically myself. I had spent so many years trying to fit into all these different people’s boxes and different roles and TV shows and personas—and by the way, in an industry that’s extremely unwelcoming in terms of having a family—that I really didn’t want to apologize anymore for wanting to have the life that I wanted to have.
Emma: I love your writing and how open and honest you are.
Eva: Thank you. I fully stopped acting to go into this as my full time job, so I knew that when I was switching gears, I had to really commit myself. I wanted to talk about things I like, things I don’t like, my authentic experience, as well as how it is more than acceptable for me to be a mom, it’s celebrated.
Emma: Do you come up with all your own content and calendar?
Eva: Everything. I’ve been so lucky in that it has been growing and there seems to be an appetite for it, which has been really rewarding, but right now I’m at this funny tipping point where the demands on the blog are increasing, and it’s still just me. Even on the most stressful days (because I also have had some sobbing, hysterical, emotional breakdowns when my husband was like, “Uh, are you okay? Do we need to stop this? This maybe is a problem.”), we always come out of it on the other side.
Emma: How do you juggle being a mom and blogging?
Eva: It’s really hard. I think my best advice has been to really try to compartmentalize as much as possible. It really didn’t work to have childcare in my home. For me, having the kids in the house was really distracting because my mom brain is on them 100 percent. So for me, putting my kids in a daycare program helped me tremendously. I have time with them in the morning, I drop them off at daycare, I go home, I work in my office, and I get it all done. Then the time that we have together is so much better quality.
Emma: Given all that you do, what does self-care mean and look like to you?
Eva: I think I’m learning. I was really bad with that with my first child. I really gave everything until I was pretty empty, and then I would have these crash and burns where I would just be depleted. Now I’m kind of getting into my groove a little bit more. I found a hip-hop class out here that I really like. I’m starting to find time to go into the city and see some old friends occasionally and do things I liked to do before I was a mom. Then also, slowly but surely, getting back on our marriage track, as well. I think you get distracted, especially when you transition into two kids. It’s real easy—you take one, I’ll take one. Ships passing in the night kind of situation. We’re starting to get better at that, but I always say it’s such a learning process, and sometimes I feel like I’m doing a great job and then other times I feel like I’m doing a terrible job, and then other times I feel like I’m the only one who’s doing a terrible job, and everyone else has figured it out.
Emma: What are your daily rituals? For example, I wake up earlier than my children to have a moment for myself.
Eva: That’s an amazing idea! At this point, I just want to sleep until the last possible moment, but we always have our mornings together, the four of us down here. At night, after the kids are down, if I don’t have to work, Kyle and I watch The Bachelor or Homeland together with a glass of wine.
Emma: You came back to Pound Ridge while your current home nearby in Connecticut was under renovation. What was that like for you to be back as a parent in your childhood home?
Eva: We ended up moving into the house where I spent summers and weekends growing up. I hadn’t been there for a very long time, so when I arrived at the house newly pregnant with a rambunctious toddler, I hadn’t realized how “toddler unfriendly” it could be. It’s a mix between modern and Scandinavian architecture with slate floors. The master bedroom is so far away from the other bedrooms that the monitor didn’t even reach, so Kyle and I ended up sleeping in my tiny childhood bedroom so we could hear Marlowe. It was pretty trippy to be there with my kid, but it was great that we were in this area that I knew. We had some friends in town. So that was nice just to feel a little bit more secure. And if anything happened we’d have someone who could take the baby.
Emma: Has Pound Ridge changed from when you were a child?
Eva: The Pound Ridge Town Park is still the best park because the playground that they have is so cool—we played Little League out there growing up. And I grew up going to the carnival in Bedford. That was really fun to bring Marlowe to. And we found new places, too. Probably our favorites are Truck Restaurant, which is so great for kids—we like the five-pm special. And then we love The Kitchen Table in Pound Ridge. I would go there with Marlowe all the time in the mornings. And then, of course, The Inn at Pound Ridge is amazing. I think it’s become a lot more elevated in terms of food than what I remember.
Emma: What does a Sunday look like in your home?
Eva: Kyle works on Sundays, so I’m with the kids, and we usually have a pretty slow morning and stay in pajamas. But after the kids get up from naps in the afternoon, if Kyle gets home early, we like to go out to dinner together as a family. It gives me a break from cooking, and also it’s just so nice to get out and do something special all together. Sometimes Kyle will take Marlowe to go run around the park. And so that gives me some time just with Major which is also really special, because, as we moms of more than one child know, a lot of times those younger ones get shafted a little bit.
Emma: Your husband is an NBC sports analyst. Do you share his love of sports?
Eva: I would say there are two sports that I actually like watching—soccer and hockey. I really like fast-paced, low-scoring games, and I really like soccer players. I’m biased, of course, because Kyle was one. They’re some of the nicest, kindest, sweetest guys, and it really is the world’s game, as they say. People of every culture, every race, every ethnicity play the sport. And there’s something that is really lovely about the people who play it.
Emma: How do you prepare for the week?
Eva: I try my best to have all of my work done before Sunday evening, so that when the kids are asleep we can just be together and go into Monday without a panic, without this mad rush to get things done. I’m lucky that I make my own schedule. At the end of the day, no matter how stressful it is and no matter how much pressure I think I put on myself, I am in charge. But you know, I think it’s hard being a mom no matter how you slice it. Whether you work or don’t, it’s hard to get everything done, but we always kind of figure it out.