What part of your child's experience mirrors yours growing up? How are the experiences different?

I can't speak to a child I have now, but I can speak to the childhood I want my children to have. There are many gaps I want to fill for them that I had in my childhood. I want to be madly in love with my significant other (whether we're married or not when it happens) to set an example of how they deserve to be loved in future relationships. I want to create a judgment-free environment so they feel free to be themselves around me and make decisions true to their own feelings and perspective. (etc, etc.) I intend to love them as deeply as my own mom loves me and take the good I learned and fill in the rest along the way.

What are the boundaries you have set for social media and technology (iPads, having access to internet, time limits, ETC)?

 

With technology, I feel like I'm going to have all these answers and then actually become a parent and change them ALL. (lol) Growing up, my mom had me turn off my phone at 10 so I could get ample rest, and I remember being SO mad. But it makes total sense. With technology constantly - and rapidly - evolving, I don't want to completely plan out my tech plan for them for the future. But I do want them to know that the media isn't who any of us actually ARE. That every human experiences severe ups and downs even though they only post the ups. If it looks like your friends have a perfect life, it's probably much worse than you think.
 

What about parenting did you find unexpected?

In working with the little ones in my life who aren't my own, I think the most unexpected thing I've found is my knack for meeting them where they are. I love kids, but I am quickly stressed when they don't do the things I want or need them to do. In return, I try to meet them where they are. Why do they want to do something? Is there any way I can rationalize my decision with them? (Likely, no.) I want to start having conversations with my kids as soon as they're able to have them; I'm not sure I'm going to be the parent who says "because I'm the mom, that's why."

Did the actual event of starting a Family match your expectations?

I don't have children yet, but seeing my close friends have kids reassures me that I want them someday. Just not yet.
 

What were things that were different? What went according to your “plan”?

 

My family always said I'd be the first to get "knocked up" (which is pretty hurtful). Because I was always the one opening my heart more freely. I feel like I'm on the path to be the last to have kids now - I think I always knew that, but it's interesting to see that I took their "plan" on as my own for so long. We don't think the people close to us can really be wrong until we have time to sit with those "truths" for ourselves.

How have your perspectives of gender roles in raising children changed? What expectations are different?

 

For the most part, my close friends who have children are raising them in "nontraditional" ways (unmarried parents, single mothers, etc.) - and they're crushing it. I was raised in a "traditional" family dynamic until I was 10, and that's really when my gender role expectations were overturned. My dad made it seem like we couldn't manage without him - but we flourished. It makes me proud to see the mothers in my life continue to defy traditional gender roles.

Photographer: Jasmine Shields, Creative Consultant: Sameer Bhatia

Photographer: Jasmine Shields, Creative Consultant: Sameer Bhatia

Photographer: Jasmine Shields, Creative Consultant: Sameer Bhatia

Photographer: Jasmine Shields, Creative Consultant: Sameer Bhatia

Photographer: Jasmine Shields, Creative Consultant: Sameer Bhatia

Photographer: Jasmine Shields, Creative Consultant: Sameer Bhatia

Giselle Muise

Giselle Muise is a NYC-based actor, singer/songwriter, playwright and educator. Most recently, as a result of live theatre’s brief hiatus, she founded Theatre Unmasked—a virtual group that explores important contemporary stories and facilitates conversation around unique and marginalized voices in the theatre.

Growing up, what kind of timeline/ expectations did you place on yourself for having kids? Were they self formed or pushed onto you?

Growing up, I looked at the idea of having kids "traditionally" (in my 20s), which was generally self-formed. However, as a child born to a 37-year-old woman, I now see that it isn't selfish to focus on myself before bringing a child into my world.

How did the media influence what you thought that part of your life would look like?

The media influenced what I thought every part of my life would look like - and still does. How are we to know what the future holds except for from our parents or the media? Now, we see women telling their real stories, showing their real bodies, etc. As this changes the landscape of media, so these expectations change for me as well.
 

When did that timeline become more flexible? (if it did)

The timeline became more flexible as I approached my mid-20s and realized I'm nowhere CLOSE to wanting a child.

REMEMBER WHO YOU WILL BE

October Feature