You’ve seen actress and model Monet Mazur in plenty of your favorite TV shows: CSI: Miami, Cold Case, Party of Five, and this week, she’s reprising her role as Gina Cowell on Castle. But what you probably didn’t know about Monet is that in addition to playing Mom to son, Marlon, 5 (with husband, Alex de Rakoff), she’s also lived – and raised her son – all over the world, never fights in front of him, and is infatuated with The Sound of Music.
What’s your parenting philosophy?
I think [parents] always have one before they have their child, but then once they give birth, every kid is so different. We definitely treat and raise Marlon as an equal – as much as you can treat a child as an equal. We let him make a lot of his own choices and try to be easygoing. When we had him, we went on a three-year crazy move across the world, so my ideas of how I thought [parenting] would be – regimented, strict and scheduled – were thrown out the window. You have to let go and go with the flow. We’ve lived all over the world – he’s gone to school in Spain, London and New York and now we’re back in L.A. He’s adapted so well.
Did living all over the world affect your parenting?
To an extent. When we lived in Spain, it was in the country and there wasn’t much to do like there is in L.A., with structured schools and classes. It was much about nature and taking him for walks near the rivers and animals and farms and road trips to the beach, which was so amazing. It was just the three of us, so there was something very romantic and easygoing about living there.
Was moving across the world in the plans or was it spontaneous?
It just happened! The type-A controlling side of me was like, “We can’t do this!” But once we relaxed, we saw every country as a new land, and we figured it out.
Favorite vacation spot: Tulum, Mexico. It’s easy and beautiful. It’s a beach on the coast where there are a lot of things to do – but not too much.
Favorite exercise: Pilates. It got my body in the craziest shape after I had a baby. And I just started taking dance aerobic classes with Tracy Anderson.
Weirdest habit: I’m a compulsive list-maker. Late at night, my husband has to rip the pen out of my hand.
What makes you cringe? A messy house. I’m a neat freak. And loud noises, like when people scream.
If you could teach your son one life lesson, what would it be?
Always be kind to other people. Marlon is turning five next week, and he just became super-aware of what it means to see homeless people on the street. I explain that some people don’t have a home, and he’ll say, “If he doesn’t have a home, can’t he stay in a hotel?” What do you say to that? It deeply affected him. He kept asking where the guy in the park was, and if he could come home with us. It’s very hard to teach your children to be kind and do the best for people, but that they can’t do everything.
How have you managed a public tantrum?
In the beginning, your first reaction is to be embarrassed by it. But the older my son got, the less I cared. Kids are kids, and they’re not going to be perfect and sit quiet all the time. If you’re going to throw a tantrum, we’re going to leave. Instead of catering to him, I’d get in the car and go. After a while, he realized “A” plus “B” equals “I go home.”
What shocked you most about parenting?
The pace. Even if you’re the busiest, hardest-working person in the world, you can’t imagine what it’s like to have a child that doesn’t stop from the second they get up until the second they go to sleep. That’s the biggest adjustment – there’s no such thing as sitting on the couch and reading a book. There’s no time for yourself anymore.
Does he have an understanding of your career?
I don’t think so. He knows what I do, and what my husband does, and he’s seen appropriate things, but I don’t think he gets the concept of everyone else knowing who mommy is. He gets excited when he sees me on a poster. He’s my biggest fan, but doesn’t quite grasp it.
What’s off-limits in your house?
He’s never heard my husband and I fight. We don’t get into heated discussions around him. The first time he heard me yell, he burst into tears, and I thought, “Oh my God, he doesn’t even know what an argument is.” It’s not natural for kids not to know conflict, but I don’t like to let him see me get super-emotional. He’s too sensitive.
What do you wish you knew as a new parent?
You don’t need all the stuff and the things and accessories and furniture. At the end of the day, you have your baby, and all the baby needs is love.
If you could be any TV or movie parent, who would it be?
When I was little, I really wanted Daddy Warbucks to be my dad – oh, and Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music! I aspire to be her as a mother. I’ve had my singing-in-the-hills moments.
What’s your biggest parenting challenge?
Discipline. It’s so hard to know when, what, how much. You have to have a group meeting [with your husband] and get on the same page. Kids need boundaries; it makes them feel safe.
Who’s the bad cop – you or your husband?
I’m the bad cop. I run the shows and make the rules. So he knows when I say no to go to daddy.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Sitting online and looking at who, what, where. I get sucked into my style pages. I also probably get a manicure and pedicure way more than I need to.