November 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm
By Patty A. Martinez
She may call Los Angeles Home, but this 45-year-old isn’t raising her daughters, Rory, 11, and Piper, 7, to be typical Hollywood kids. Instead Melora emphasizes the importance of family dinner and good manners.
Q. You play an event planner on your new TBS show Wedding Band. Do you also have a flair for organizing off-screen?
A. While I don’t have the uber-planning skills of my character Roxie Rutherford, I have been known to throw a lavish party every now and then. For my wedding, I created all 200 invitations by hand. I embossed them with gold powder, wrapped them in rice paper and sealed them with wax. It was quite a feat.
Q. Are you as crafty with your kids?
A. When the girls and I create something together, they tend to compare their work to mine. I’d rather just set them up with the tools they need and only oversee when it involves the glue gun!
Q. Describe the typical Saturday at your house.
A. By the time my husband [actor Gildart Jackson] and I wake up, the girls have usually climbed into bed with us, so there’s a lot of cuddling and giggling. We head off to whatever fun thing we’ve planned for the day–going to the theater or seeing a dance performance or taking a long walk. At night we watch old-school musicals like My Fair Lady or Mary Poppins.
Q. Was it your role a few years ago in Chicago on Broadway that got the girls hooked on musicals?
A. Well, they certainly loved seeing me in action! In fact, they came to the show 13 times and knew all of the songs.
Q. Then they must be happy you’re back on Broadway for Don’t Dress for Dinner.
A. They think New York City is a blast. And since my mom teaches acting there, they get to enjoy special grandma time.
Q. You’re originally from Houston, Texas. Are there any Southern values you hope to pass down to your girls?
A. Manners, definitely. I believe life is easier if you’re polite. And since Gildart is English, etiquette us very important to him as well.
Q. Any traditions from childhood that you incorporate with your family?
A. We light candles to make dinner feel like a special occasion. My parents did this when my brother Shawn and I were growing up.
Q. You share a story about helping one of your daughters get over her fear of heights in the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms. Do you consider yourself to be one?
A. Yes! Sometimes I think it’s hard for women to take credit when clearly it’s due. But I think all women who are cooking, cleaning, carpooling and doing countless other things as a mom and wife are pretty darn powerful!
Bedtime Ritual: “I sing the same folk songs that my parents sang to me, then I tuck the girls into a beautiful canopy bed that’s been in my family for a few hundred years.”
Best Summer Memory: “Last year we went to a rodeo in Northern Californis and Rory ran with the pigs. She caught one, but couldn’t hold on to it. Apparently they kick pretty hard!”
Mommy and Me: “Two to three times a year I treat each of my daughters to one-on-one Mommy time. We go to a hotel for the night, swim, order room service, sit in the Jacuzzi, watch a movie and stay up late.”
Life Lessons: “The other day Piper came home and declared, ‘All the kids at school get dessert during the week except for me!’ She was so mad, stomping her foot and drying, ‘We’re not like everybody else!’ I said, ‘One day you will realize that’s a good thing.’
Melora’s new show, Wedding Band, premieres on Saturday, November 10 on TBS.
Patty A. Martinez is a frequent contributor to Family Circle.