Actress Nadia Bjorlin is no stranger to motherhood. Not only does she play a mother on TV, starring as Chloe Lane on the long-running soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” but she happens to be a new mom in real life, too. She and husband Grant Turnbull are parents to Torin, 11 months old, and recently announced they were expecting another son in August. She’ll be appearing at a “Days of Our Lives” fan event April 22 in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina, so we asked Nadia about her acting career, motherhood and more.
You’ve been off and on “Days of Our Lives” since you were a teenager. What’s your favorite thing about being on the show?
There’s never a lack of having to use your imagination or excitement, that’s for sure. Playing a character that is constantly growing and changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, is always an interesting challenge. And we shoot the show so quickly these days that you really have to rely on instinct, you really only get one take, and there’s something exciting about that.
She’s had some crazy storylines. What can you relate to most about playing Chloe?
I guess I can relate to the growing up of Chloe. I really grew up on screen and off during all these years. Chloe started off as a young, lonely, enigmatic girl who was different and just wanted to feel like she belonged and was loved, and then evolved to a stronger more confident woman who’s now a mother and has seen her priorities in life change. I mean, Chloe still has a long way to go in her decision making and getting her life together, but I hope I’m more stable than Chloe is!
How has becoming a mom affected the way you approach your roles?
Well, I no longer have to imagine what it’s like to have a child and knowing that deep-seated love that comes along with it. It’s a love that you really can’t understand or describe until you become a mother. My heart feels like it could almost burst every time I even look at my son, and I would do absolutely anything for him. It’s a really intense but rewarding feeling. So playing a parent now on screen has a totally different feeling to it.
Do you have any advice to other working parents in regards to juggling and balancing a positive home life?
I was hoping YOU could give ME some advice on that! I think we’re all just trying to figure it out. I would say not letting yourself feel too guilty over not being able to do everything perfectly all the time. Whatever perfect means. I know I try to work, keep a perfect house, cook dinner every night and make sure my son is always happy, playing, learning, etc. But that’s not realistic. There’s so much information out there on parenting “rules” and a lot of fear mongering that happens as a first-time parent, but I think relaxing a bit and trusting yourself goes a long way. So, if you’re tired and that means plopping your kid in front of the Disney Channel for a bit while you make yourself some coffee, he’s gonna be just fine. Or if you turn your back for 10 seconds and he’s got a dog toy in his mouth, he’ll live. I have to constantly remind myself of this.
What do you do for your own Mommy time to unwind?
I force myself to go work out, or try to do something nice for myself like a manicure and pedicure. Though manicures seem pointless these days when washing your hands a thousand times a day with a baby in the house!
Craziest thing you've done because you were sleep-deprived:
Crying at a commercial on TV, or wearing my PJs to the grocery store. Maybe that’s more sad than crazy.
What’s the funniest thing your son has ever done?
I mean, it’s hard to pinpoint one thing at this age because I think he’s just the sweetest, funniest, most delicious baby ever! Said every mom ever — haha. But his little personality is really coming out now and so he makes me laugh every day. He’s doing a funny “side eye” thing to me now when he gets a bit peeved, and making really funny faces. But my favorite thing is how he scrunches his nose and smiles with both top and bottom teeth when he’s happy. It’s adorable.
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
Really living in the moment with my son and seeing him discover things for the first time. It’s so precious, and makes you really stop and smell the roses. I also look forward to holidays and firsts with him.
What’s your favorite charity and why?
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has always been near and dear to me. My father passed away from leukemia when I was 13, and my character on “Days” also had leukemia for a storyline.
Your son is asleep. What are you binge watching?
Well, right now my husband and I are watching a show called “Wentworth” on Netflix. It’s so good! We just finished “Goliath” and “Sneaky Pete” on Amazon. Watching TV is pretty much the extent of our nights now with a 10-month-old baby and one on the way.
Are you a morning person or night owl?
I used to be a night owl, but now am forced to be a morning person since my son wakes up at 5 a.m every day. Not a lot of sleep happens for me these days.
If your parenting style was a book, what would it be called?
“Love, Listen, Laugh and Learn.” I just made that up, but looking at that title I’m sure something similar already exists.
Do you ever catch yourself doing things as a mom you thought you'd never do?
Oh yeah, where do I begin? Becoming a clean freak and compulsively cleaning, making people remove their shoes in my house, yet wearing the same clothes two days in a row, or a bath robe because I can’t be bothered.
You’re also a singer. What song do you sing most often to your son?
“What a Wonderful World,” the Louis Armstrong song. I don’t know why I started singing that to him over and over again, but it always seems to make him smile.
What is your favorite family ritual?
Doing anything really all together. My husband and I love taking our son out for walks or hiking, anything outdoors in nature, our son loves it.
What would surprise people about you?
Maybe that I’m funny? I hear that a lot. Maybe working on a soap people expect you to be really serious or something. I don’t know. Also, I’m really low maintenance and I don’t really wear make-up when not working.
What has surprised you most about being a parent?
The incredible hard work, change and sacrifice it takes, but realizing that it’s so worth it. That it’s not about you anymore, but about this child(ren) that shows you love like you didn’t think was possible.
One thing that always makes you laugh is…?
My husband trying to do an American accent. It’s ridiculous. He’s from Northern Ireland.
What is something important life has taught you?
Listening is really important. And be grateful for everything in your life, good and bad — it’s your journey.
What is the best gift a parent can give her child?
Unconditional love, caring and acceptance. Letting them truly be and become who they want to be, and nurturing them as well as you possibly can.