When it comes to first-time motherhood, you never know when you'll get a handle on it. Actually, that goes for motherhood in general.
For Sarah Drew, who stars in film "Moms' Night Out," a comedy that hits DVD aisles on September 2, that moment came when her whole family was battling a stomach bug and she had to, well, "mom up."
"It was just this convergence of misery," she says of the experience. But she made it through and, like most moms, realized she could do more than she thought she could.
The 33-year-old mom, who recently announced her pregnancy with Baby No. 2 (she has a 2 1/2-year-old son), talks to mom.me about being a good-enough mom, why her "Grey's Anatomy" gig is so amazing and the best advice her mother ever gave her.
Do you ever struggle with any of the motherhood issues that your character Ally went through in “Moms' Night Out”?
Absolutely. That’s why I was so excited to do this film, because I saw so much of myself in her journey. I relate so much to the whole idea
of not being enough. I spent most of my life in a prison of perfectionism, trying to be everything for everyone at all times, to the point of completely
forgetting who actually I am and what my needs are. I would sort of present
a different version of myself depending on who I was with, in order to make them
happy or take care of them, and it was completely and utterly exhausting, so I
relate to Ally’s struggle with that and the whole thing where she says, 'I
have everything that I wanted but I’m not happy.' Well, no, you’re not going to
be happy until you can actually just be and recognize that you are enough.
What's the most surprising thing for you about motherhood?
Realizing I could do a lot more than I thought I could do. I
had this moment a couple of months ago, where I felt like I had arrived as a
mother. My whole family got sick with the stomach flu, all three of us, and we
had this one night where I was throwing up uncontrollably. And on my way back
to my bed from the toilet, I was going in and cleaning up my son’s vomit,
and then changing sheets. And then going back and throwing up myself. It was just this convergence of misery that
if I had imagined that scenario before being a parent, I would have been like, "No, there’s absolutely no way anybody could do that. It’s not possible." And it
was. I woke up the next morning so empowered — because this stuff with
parenthood, you don’t think you can do it but then when there’s no other option,
you just do.
Religion is incorporated into the film. How do you think that will be received?
It’s rare to see a normal person who happens to be a person
of faith in Hollywood, like a person that anybody could relate to. I feel like
that’s more of a rare experience in the media. That’s what I love about this
film. It’s really a movie about motherhood, fundamentally, and it’s told
through the lens of these three church ladies, which adds to the comedy of it,
but they’re like you and me. They’re like any mom anywhere. The faith element
is part of the movie, but it’s not a message movie.
You juggle movies, TV and motherhood. How do you balance everything?
I’m so unbelievably lucky. Being on “Grey’s Anatomy” is the
best job in the world during this stage of life because we have such a huge
cast, there are so many different story lines going on that I actually have
quite a bit of time at home. Sometimes I’ll have to work on the weekend,
but my husband’s schedule is pretty flexible as well, so we just look at the
week ahead of us and we plan what our family day is going to be, and we just
make that a sacred day.
It’s really amazing. I think if I were trying to be Emily
Van Camp on “Revenge” (I’m thinking of her name because she’s my friend) ... she’s in every scene on her show, I feel like it would be so much harder to
also be a mom and get to see my child, so I’m incredibly grateful.
Do you have any advice from your own mom that you carry with you?
My mom has a couple of awesome pieces of advice
about anxiety. My parents were both in town for the premiere, which was just so
awesome. I was anxious all
day, I was excited, I didn’t sleep, and my mom just has a great way of putting
things. And she’s like, "Well, nobody’s got cancer. Nobody’s dying. It’s all
going to be fine." And I’m like, "This is true." She always used to say, "What’s
the point in stressing about all of this? It’s a waste of stomach juice." And I
use that all the time.