New Outlook: Love & Hip Hop’s Tara Wallace On Her New Baby And Book
Tara Wallace has been on VH1’s popular show “Love & Hip Hop: NY” for the last three seasons and, as you may know, her storyline has been full of the requisite drama that’s known in reality TV. But it’s been the real-life drama that has her social media fans and followers reaching out to Wallace, sharing their stories and asking her for advice on how she’s been dealing with it all.
Now tuned into a drama free life, she’s the mom to her third son, getting her mind right and body back in shape, and she just wrote a new book on women’s empowerment called “The Goddess Potential” with Mommynoire contributor Allyson Leak. Here’s what she shared in our recent talk.
Mommynoire: What inspires you as a mom?
Tara Wallace: What motivates me is to try to be the best mom I can be. I tend to overextend myself and I get that from my own mom. The passion I had to move to New York to be an actress is the exact same passion I had and have about being a mom. People ask me all the time, ‘What’s the thing you’ve done that you’re the most proud of?’ and it sounds corny, but I always answer, ‘being a mom.’
So now you’re the mom of three sons–Jamison is 8, Kaz is 4 and Gunner is now four months. How has becoming a mother this time been different for you?
Tara: From Jamison to Kaz until now, it changes drastically. This time I feel more relaxed than ever. When I had Jamison I didn’t know what to do, it was just pure instinct. I just did a lot of reading. When he cried, I got extremely tense because I was trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, and it’s just the reality of having a baby. With Kaz I was a little better, and now with Gunner I’m so much more relaxed and just enjoying it. Also all my boys are such mama’s babies so they get calm when I’m around.
Also, before when I was with the older boys, I was trying to work on a relationship and that also had me stressed out. Now, for the first time I’m able to just enjoy the moments with him and the older boys too, and what ever is, just is.
Do you feel like you’re more balanced?
My acting coach, once she found out I was having another baby, told me to keep the artistic part of myself going even if it’s just doing crafts, but just keep creating. Auditioning and acting are a bit difficult for me now, so I have to keep being creative. But I struggled for a bit because I had the college degree and the graduate degree, I had the relationship and the beginning of a career and I couldn’t let the idea go of what a perfect family should be. It took me a long time to adjust to things not being what I thought it was going to be.
Having three, I have stressful moments, but all in all I’m more relaxed.
You have had a very public life for the past few years, what has that been like?
I feel like such a small part of my life has been public and grown weeds everywhere.
What is the biggest misconception about you?
I’ve always tried to take the high road in all of this, but a friend told me, ‘you taking the high road has put you in the position that when you do start saying things that are truthful, people take them as anger or bitter.’
But from day one, I’ve kinda taken the high road, but I never dealt with my own issue in all of this. Like I never sat down and said, hey, do you want to work this out or do you want to do something else? In all of this, Peter left our home and got married and then we started dealing with each other, but from day one I never dealt with my feelings in any of this, I just kind of took it. And to be honest, there was really no time to deal with it–before I could stomach one thing, it was something else, and something else…and in the meantime I was still working my job. It was like a whirlwind. Just because someone makes choices in their life it doesn’t mean you have to comply and make them happy. Everybody can’t now want to play by the rules.
Can you explain what you mean by ‘play by the rules’?
Once they make a crazy decision, now I have to do the right thing for everybody…or what they think is the right thing. That’s not fair. There are songs written that say, ‘Even if it’s wrong I want to be here.’ Now, you can’t have it both ways and want to play fair. In my situation it goes for the both of them…whether it’s him not understanding when I say, ‘Well I’m about to start dating.’ And he’s like ‘What?’ Or with her, it’s: ‘This was wrong, what I did, but now we’re married.’ In the meantime, he and I still lived together.
The huge misconception is how all of this happened, and how people think I don’t have a right to choose. Right now I’m not done, and I don’t have to be nice and I don’t have to explain that to anybody.
How hard is it to having people judge you?
Out in public it’s sometimes hard, but then there are people in my DM’s pouring their hearts out and they’re in crazier situations than I’m in. So that’s motivation for me to keep going. Women are in my DM’s taking the time to write me these paragraphs about what’s going on in their lives. They need someone who has been through this, or something similar, to talk to.
[Being betrayed] is like the worst thing that could happen in a relationship, so every woman is bracing herself for that to happen and thinking that they know what they would do in that situation.
Can you say where Peter and your relationship is right now?
Peter and I are still in the bliss of having a baby. We haven’t really talked about the new things that are going on and him having a child with someone else. Of course, there’s a part of me that wants to be angry about it, but it’s really as simple as, let me get through this pregnancy and then you go have more children if you want. The mom is that one person that has to know everything that’s going on with the child no matter what. The mom is the one that makes the ferris wheel go around and around no matter what else is going on. When Gunner was conceived, Peter was talking about getting his own place and it wasn’t like, let me have another child and Peter’s really going to do the right thing. At this moment, when I look at Gunner, I’d go through it all for him. I do everything in my power to make sure we’re getting along.
There’s no right and wrong, it’s just all crazy.
Regardless of it all, it’s important that we all come together for the boys. What people miss is that even though we women can do this alone, it’s still dysfunctional to be in a single parent home. Issues can develop with the children because of being raised without their father, so I’m not going to do that. Peter is going to be there for the children and be an adult and deal with the consequences.
So where are you now as a new mom? What do you do for yourself?
One of my favorite things to do for myself is working out. I hired a trainer and I make no excuses–we have set times and that’s it. To be able to release physically and focus on myself for that hour, it feels good. For emotional and spiritual healing, I read a lot of Maya Angelou and Paulo Coelho books on my phone. I take a moment to read a chapter or meditate or just stop and think about something great and try to redirect my thoughts. It’ so easy to wallow in a bad moment, but the simple effort of redirecting my thoughts helps me get out of a bad mood. I was giving so much–not necessarily with a smile–but I forgot about me. Now I focus on the positive. And in the last year I got to put that to the test.
What does the future look like for you?
Reality TV goes by quicker than a hot song. Most of my girlfriends who are my age are already on their second careers and I had so many things that I wanted to do, so I want to take the time now to focus in on those things. The etiquette classes–just voice and speech–that’s something that I’ve been into for a while and never knew where I was going to direct it, so then the etiquette class came. Writing a book was also something that I had thought about and I penned “The Goddess Potential: A Guide To Developing A Relationship With Your Inner Self” with Allyson Leak, an amazing motivational speaker and journalist, and mom!
What else do you want readers to know about you?
It’s just important that we all define our lives and take responsibility for our actions. As women we have a tendency to forget ourselves, and when I think about all of the things that have been happening and what role I played, I can definitely say, oh, I kinda forgot myself because I was taking care of everybody. I’ve been hearing Jada Pinkett Smith say recently that if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anybody else. When I think back to my mom, she was always forgetting herself when taking care of the seven of us [kids].
Even in all of this craziness, I’m still so blessed. I’m in a great place. I’ve talked to so many women who’ve had crazy things happen and are having to rebuild themselves. Every morning when I wake up, I pray and say thank you because I’m able to wake up, take my children to school, do homework with them, make dinner for them, and put them in the bed. Had it not been for “Love & Hip Hop,” I wouldn’t have been able to do that. I would have still had to go to work at night at the restaurants, pay a babysitter to basically live in my house and help me with my kids…and you miss out on a lot. I want to be very clear that even in all of this craziness, I’m so extremely blessed and thankful.