When It Runs In The Family



Generational career choice is something I happen to know a lot about.  I grew up with two Actor parents, and ended up pursuing the career myself for a decade and a half.  My younger brothers are both currently involved in the Entertainment Industry as well.  People ask me all the time how acting “popped out” at me– how did I decide I wanted to be an Actor? Did I see my parents doing it? Did I want to be just like them? I always tell them that the answer is pretty boring– my parents did it, my parent’s friends did it– it was around constantly.  As I was finding myself as a young adult, it was pervasive in my world, and so I thought at a certain point “why don’t I give this a try?” And then I did it for fifteen years.  See, I told you the answer was boring.  But I always remind these people of other generational careers– lawyers, doctors, different highly skilled trade jobs, or even extremely physically demanding jobs such as Fisherman or Builders– there are high rates of generational career choices in all those areas as well.  People oftentimes do what they know– but how do they know if the most obvious choice is the right choice for them? None of this interested me nearly as much as it does now– with a child of my own– who happens to (like her father) be obsessed with Soccer.  SoccerField_015SoccerField_012

And here’s the kicker (pun intended): she’s actually really good at it.  By the time she could walk, Marlowe would dribble a soccer ball across our yard and kick it in to the net.  We couldn’t believe it– after nine months in the womb of joking about how she would be “a little soccer player” like Daddy, it seemed like a total joke that she actually was skilled at the sport.  We expected her, after all of our soccer star discussions, to come out with two left feet.  But be careful what you wish for– Two of Marlowe’s first words ever were “Soccer Ball” and “Goal”.  Now let me back up a minute.  If you didn’t know, my husband Kyle was a professional soccer player for many years.  He started excelling at the sport when he was still in Elementary School, by High School was a Nationally awarded athlete, and started for the University Of Virginia before going pro when he was just a Junior.  He played for both the Columbus Crew and the Los Angeles Galaxy, as well as the US National Team.  In 2002 he was named MLS Rookie of the Year.

What an underachiever.  Haha!



But you can imagine how I am experiencing Marlowe’s soccer interest, as a Mom that loves her very much and only wants the best for my daughter always:  I see her kick that soccer ball and inside my head I hear “PRESSURE”.  How do you separate yourself in an arena where your parent has come before you? How do you find your own joy that is independent of their achievements (or shortcomings) and be seen as the individual that you truly are? I’m a second generational Actor, and I struggled with this my entire career.  Much less within my own brain, but more so in my relationship with the outside world– constantly answering to people’s questions and curiosities about how my Mother and I are similar, or different.  What I learned from her, or what I didn’t.  What are my favorite movies of hers? My favorite roles? Do I want to be just like her? I always was hesitant to say what I really wanted to in response to all of these questions, for fear of it being understood the wrong way– for fear of it being misinterpreted as ungrateful or unimpressed.  The truth was always that I didn’t want to be just like her.  I wanted to be just like myself.  And I wanted, somehow, to have the space to figure out who or what that was.

Of course, these are all WAAAAAY premature thoughts.  Clearly, Marlowe is a toddler.  Who knows what she’ll love a year, or a decade, or two decades from now.  The odds are that she will move on from this obsession and do something completely different.  But it definitely has gotten me thinking about how we as parents support our children’s interests, and most importantly– how we separate them from our own interests and see them truly as their own people on their own life journeys.  I think this is a challenge as a parent– we spend almost a year before we meet our children face-to-face dreaming of who they are and what they will do in their lifetimes.  We imagine their beautiful faces, their tiny hands and feet, their smiles, the sounds of their first words and the feeling of their arms around our necks.  Whether we are conscious of it or not, we create personalities, and images, and futures in our minds for these little beings because it excites us and makes us feel hopeful.  We spend all our energy figuring out a way to give them the best life possible.  We all want the same thing, really– for our children to be happy, healthy, safe, and above all for them to spend their lives as comfortably and interestingly as possible so that when we leave them (which we eventually all do) that they will flourish and make us proud.  This is every parent’s wish.  And I think it’s so important to remind ourselves of this: Nowhere in this wish are specifics.  The greatest joy we can have as parents is for our children to be joyful.  I think it’s a good exercise to remember that the thing which makes our children joyful will eventually be entirely up to them.




So how am I moving forward with all of this soccer obsessive behavior? Both Kyle and I are cautious.  We don’t ever want to push Marlowe in to believing that she needs to follow in her Father or Mother’s footsteps in order for us to be proud of her.  (Quite the contrary for me personally, actually.  I would love a Doctor or Lawyer in the family– just saying! Ha.) When we play soccer, we try to make it a family affair, and make it fun for everyone.  We listen to her when she shows interest in it, and let her explore other interests constantly as well.  When our little boy is born this Fall, we will do the same for him– always listening.   What gives me joy is watching my children be excited and joyful about something.  As long as they find a passion in life, and work towards it wholeheartedly,  I will be a very proud Mama.




How are you parents out there navigating this concept in your parenting? Has it been hard or easy to let go of expectations, or are you excited to create a Mini Me?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!!


P.S.-  Yes, that is a picture of me scoring a goal on my ex-Soccer Player husband.  Maybe Marlowe’s Soccer genes aren’t so one-sided after all.  LOL



photographs by Nina Suh for Love And Lemonade Photography

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  1. Kristen says:

    Love this post, have no children of my own but appreciate this this well written blog post so much- very thought-provoking indeed! Also must say your performance in the Banger Sisters is HIlARIOUS and every time I see it on the television I need to turn it on! But also curious, what is your mothers favorite movie? She is one of my favorite actresses and I love her outspoken political stance. Thanks for this post and your blog, which I find refreshing and smart amongst a sea of boring and poorly written blogs out there. ✌?️

    05.04.16 Reply
  2. Monica Jessen says:

    Great blog. Love your insight. I’m a mom of three boys, ages 19, 15, 13. I’ve learned there’s a delicate balance between letting them choose their own paths and passions and pushing them to do things because you know, as a parent what’s best for them or they’re not old enough to make decisions that could permanently effect their future.
    In my case it was kind of the opposite of yours, my husband and I are very athletic, competitive, successful sports type people. Although my sons LOVE sports especially soccer, they do not have my husband’s and my passion, aggression, and relentless competitive nature. Which makes it very difficult to watch your kids play at a different level than you did. Knowing what you would do in the same situations.
    Like you said, its all about letting them set their own pace and defining themselves in whatever they choose to do. They really do have to want it more than you do, and it took me a long time to learn that. Sadly some parents never do.
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with the world. My family loves Kyle too. We watch him whenever he’s doing BPL analysis and commentary.

    05.04.16 Reply
    • Hi Monica!
      Oh my goodness, 3 boys…you deserve a trophy!! I guess I will get a taste of the Boy Life come fall 🙂
      I totally understand what you mean about separating your own interests and expectations from your kids’. I’m super type A, driven to a fault, and I constantly catch myself having to slow my pace when dealing w my expectations of my daughter. Hard to do but it’s a good practice!


      05.05.16 Reply
  3. Amelia (4resh_AIR) says:

    What a great post. I love how you’re constantly surprising readers with the variety of topics you choose to write about. This one truly gave me pause to think and reflect on what knowing or unknowing influence my husband and I may be having on our 17-month old daughter. [Dad is and both grandfathers were Naval officers so who knows if it’ll bump down yet another generation. She’d be pretty darn cute in a uniform 😉 ] I’m looking forward to reading (or seeing) your next topic – your YouTube channel is fantastic BTW!
    PS: Still loving the stationery I got based on your recommendations.
    Love from Canada.

    05.04.16 Reply
  4. Azalia says:

    Such a cute post!! You are def the right person to talk about this.. My hubby was never a professional soccer player but was so good at it that many people feel he could have. He loooooves the game (FCBarcelona
    is his jam)… Our daughter loves it too and we have wondered the same thing.. Is it in the genes??! Who knows! Lol
    Hopefully she can chose something that she loves.. Or she just might join Marlowe in the US Women’s team ?⚽️

    05.04.16 Reply
    • Oh amazing! You are a Soccer wife as well then 😉 Maybe I will see you in the stands watching our girls one day soon!!!


      05.05.16 Reply
  5. Lauren says:

    This is my favorite blog post you’ve written so far. I love this subject and how you are conscious of allowing kids to pursue their own interests and the pressures of trying to live up to outside expectations. Right on!

    05.04.16 Reply
    • Thank you so much, Lauren! I’m trying to mix it up a bit 😉


      05.05.16 Reply
  6. FishermansPal says:

    “I would love a Doctor or Lawyer in the family– just saying!”
    Oh, how I agree. That would be incredibly practical!

    “Two of Marlowe’s first words ever were “Soccer Ball” and “Goal”.”
    What were your first words?
    Mine were “Tette” (supposed to mean Kette = necklace) and “Banenanne” (supposed to mean Badewanne = bathtub). I’ve never been all too fond of jewelry myself, but loved the necklace my mother was wearing all the time. It had a pendant with photos inside. Maybe I should have said “photo” as a first word? Bathtub was for obvious reasons. I loved to take long baths. Some years later the bathtub sessions would end by me shoveling almost all the water out of the tub into the bathroom (tiled floor, of course). I could almost swim on that floor 🙂 This was ok, I had an arrangement that if I cleaned up the mess, I could go ahead.
    Now, decades later, I have to say that I like photography a lot – and water sports as well. 😉

    Let’s see whether Marlowe will change her mind or stick to ball and goal (or eventually come back to it after decades).

    05.04.16 Reply
    • So interesting, I can’t wait to see what she will love as she grows up!


      05.05.16 Reply
  7. Greg Fillmore says:

    Hello Eva,
    That is a very insightful post about your family, how specific ‘wired in’ gifts of interest with and or talent is born into each of us.
    For me before the age of four and a half, when I had my first memory being driven to Montesorri preschool with my Uncle, older brother with me, I would take naps on the couch, and their was a tv station that played soothing and or orchestral music, it was called (from what my parents, older brother told me, because again, those neurons were not connected for full memory yet) the RE (Real Estate) station.
    The Montesorri schooling design, in a healthy positive way, hard wires the “endless curiosity of life” into the developing mind. Also it allows the child the freedom to based upon “their wiring” persue their interests. A love of current news led me to an interest in -> sociology->politics-> economics-> business-> psychology-> spirituality->writing->logic-> law->business-> ethics, it really is like the universe, curiosity in a practical way is never ending, like the universe that we see each night looking up at the stars (those are REALLY old light from those stars folks, millions of years old that light), nurture curiosity with the instilling of a responsible work ethic with your youngsters, and reasonable altitudes of their life path is reachable.
    Instill the tools of logic with your children, as well as your family, and you will have young Nancy Drews, and Ben Matlocks running around your residence, with you with your journeying partner working hard at your meaningful jobs, they will be able to help you solve life puzzles that you are working on, as well as you with them too.
    As a man in my mid thirties, the wisest thing each of my parents did was limiting our time with people our age.
    Why is that? , you may ask, and that is a valid question.
    I talked with my mother about this several times over the years before she moved onto the higher frequency dimension (heaven, the afterlife).
    She told me “Greg, if I would have had you, spending a lot of time with people your age, whose values would you be learning, then applying, in your life?
    I replied “their values”. She replied, “or something that is from the culture that THEIR family believes is acceptable and ok.”
    So my brother and I spent most of our time growing up with our parents, with cultural products (music movies et al) that they had to approve of.
    Also we ALL ways talked about what: tv show, film and or music we watched together as a family.
    Lots of “that’s bull*#it son” came from my parents mouths over the years, about what is in our media.
    My dad once said “Son, everyone has been convinced in our society that they will be a bigshot who makes a lot of money. However who will repair the roads, help you pay for your groceries, fix your coffee drink, drive the truck, or stock the shelves at your local food market?”
    Eight of of ten jobs are not professional jobs (doctors, lawyers, managerial class, business owners, wealthy investors).
    If each of us applied the golden rule sincerely toward others, we would have a much healthier happier society, humbly all of the philosophy theories in books that I have read over the years cannot really top that.
    Sadly in the Blacks Law Dictionary, there is a definition for ‘unethics’, none for ‘ethics’ or ‘truth’.
    What happens when there is not protections for ethical people in unethical business environments? Generally, that is the reality in America.
    Hopefully families will get back in the US, of having those foundational ethical discussions, as my parents did with my brother and I.
    Eva it sounds like you with your journeying partner Kyle, are doing a superior job of that. I humbly, am happy to see a renaissance couple, passing along such important values, to their youngster.
    This is what I originally had written, however Eva’s post I felt could have the potential for dialoguing through one or two humble insights that are above. Sorry to be a chatty Greg, just sharing humble rocks in the lake of consciousness for Eva’s wise co leaders to consider, while taking what, if any, that they need.

    Happy May 4th, it is “May the Fourth Be With You Day”, Star Wars Day.
    It will be an endless dialogue about what “the force” is.
    However sciences has found some interesting, consistently provable patterns to consider.
    If you feel the need, with whatever search engine you use to research things on the internet, look this up “Japanese scientist experiment where he attaches one note each to two cubes of water”
    Human beings are 70 percent water, with the results being quite fascinating.
    My favorite Jedi is Qui Gon Jinn from Episode One, he was Ben Kenobi’s Older Jedi mentor.
    Adventure is growth, surprise is the gift of the awareness of limits. ~ Qui Gon Jinn .
    I heard from a wise acquaintance once, that “the jedi, may be the extreme of compassion, the sith the extreme of greed. It was asked by another to the person of wisdom “How do you find this balance?”
    The reply was “That is up to each person to determine for themselves, that is why studying then applying ethics (the practices of goodness, being virtuous) is somewhat important in life.”
    Here are two songs, where the musical melodies with both songs sound like “I love you.” , as well as “I love you too.”
    Sometimes you can find harmonic musical accidents.
    The first is ‘Brian Wilson Said’ from Tears For Fears 1993 album Elemental,
    The second is the victory celebration song from Return of the Jedi,
    The harmonics of these songs are nice, with enhancement, from a walk in nature and or just outside where you reside.
    How are you bringing balance to the force in your life? 🙂
    Here’s a thoughtful quote from Obi Won Kenobi to ponder:
    I would add, “It also binds together your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oreo cookies too!” 😉
    May the force be with each of us all->ways.
    Greg Fillmore

    05.04.16 Reply
  8. Sue says:

    Eva, Kyle, Lowie and Baby Boy Martino…..you are a wonderful example of a loving, nurturing and talented family…no matter what careers your sweet babes choose or choose them…they will be wildly successful and fabulous. I am looking forward to seeing your family grow and making many wonderful memories. Much love…Aunt Sue

    05.04.16 Reply
  9. Shahed S. says:


    Okay, so I’m a little late to the discussion. I don’t speak from the perspective of having any kids (although I want to someday) but your writing made me think about my own path and family. Growing up, my father was a doctor, so I was always introduced at gatherings as “Dr’s son” so it was pretty much assumed that I would follow in that path.
    As I grew older, I went down a different path. I was terrible in all my science classes in school. From my mother’s side, everybody is into the arts. They are writers, artists, poets, more in the liberal arts path. I am the same way. Therefore, when I got to college, I majored in literature (much to my fathers disapproval).
    Eventually, after graduating, I went to law school (a small law school in Sacramento). I originally wanted to be a teacher, teaching English in high school. I picked law because I thought being a lawyer would get my father’s approval, and it was a respectable title.
    I have been in the legal field for 2 years now, but I constantly struggle because I am VERY introverted. Unfortunately, in the law field you have to be aggressive or else….. it just won’t work, and people will walk all over you.
    So my point is, trying to make your parents happy ultimately does not work. I think a person has to look at themselves and see what works for them. Generationally, I do have a parent who is a doctor, but I constantly struggle with making my family happy and weighing that with following my ultimate dream of being a writer (or a teacher)
    I think the solution is just sitting down and being honest with oneself, finding what you want to do and pick something related to that.
    I hope that rant was somewhat relevant and helpful ☺

    05.05.16 Reply
  10. Andrea says:

    Great post!

    I read an article once, can’t remember where it was from, but the topic was pressuring children too far in activities and how it can cause them anxiety. The author gave an example of her daughter’s piano. Rather than pushing her daughter competitively and for perfection she’d say to her daughter “I just love hearing you play”. Like she was just happy her daughter was enjoying the activity rather than expecting her daughter to be perfect. I hope I’m not botching the lady’s words too much for the message to make sense.
    My husband and I have dreams for our son but we’re trying to pay attention to his interests and strengths and then expose him to activities related to those interests.

    05.16.16 Reply
  11. Julie S. says:

    So cute! I find what you said about wanting your children to find passion regardless of their path to it intriguing. Although connecting you to your mother may be the opposite of this post’s point, I’ve heard her say just that in multiple interviews. I’m probably just analyzing too much, but that’s useful for a highschool student (who has no business being on a mom blog.) : )

    05.22.16 Reply