Felicity Huffman: Stumbling Forward Joyously
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Neither of them took home a statuette. But actress Felicity Huffman and her husband, actor William H. Macy, both of whom had been nominated for Emmys (Huffman for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie in ABC’s American Crime, and Macy for Outstanding Lead Actor in the comedy series Shameless), didn’t seem bummed at the 2016 awards ceremony. They just seemed happy. Discussing marriage with E!’s Giuliana Rancic at the awards ceremony, Huffman shared, “It’s not for the faint of heart. We got lucky.”
If Huffman, who already won an Emmy in 2005 for her portrayal of frazzled mom Lynette Scavo on Desperate Housewives, knows something about marriage, she also knows about parenting. And she learned from the best. Raised by Solo Mom Grace Valle (née Ewing) after her parents divorced, Huffman and her seven older siblings grew up in Colorado; Huffman has said that her mom, who studied acting before starting a family at 23, was a huge influence on her. Valle helped her youngest daughter run lines before plays and wrote up notes after previews. Not a big fan of television, Valle “kind of poo-pooed TV,” Huffman told the Los Angeles Times in 2012. “But she went to every play I was ever in.” In fact, Valle herself participated in community theater until her death in 2009.
Huffman and Macy are parents to two teen girls, and Huffman is the first to say that parenting is not always easy. In fact, in 2012 she launched a website, What the Flicka? (Flicka was Huffman’s childhood nickname), to capture not just the good but also the scary, hard, even tedious aspects of raising kids. Huffman has said that she and her six sisters would often gather around their kitchen counter to bitch and exchange advice. On What the Flicka?, Huffman has created a sort of virtual kitchen countertop. The site, which includes tips from Flicka herself, as well as her friends, sisters, and other guest bloggers, covers everything from children and family to cooking, fashion, and books, and it’s not afraid to acknowledge what’s tough about being a mom. As Huffman told futureofbusinessandtech.com, “I found mothering to be bewildering, exhausting, boring and lonely, and to add insult to injury I had to keep my experience a secret. The first big article that I wrote for What the Flicka? was about mommy guilt, and I got a response from women in England, women in France, women in Turkey, women in Ireland, all saying, ‘I feel the same way.’”
Huffman is equally forthright when it comes to discussing the balance of work and home. “First, I have to recognize how lucky I am to have to navigate [home life/work balance] issues,” she told People magazine early in 2016. “I have a job that I love and a fabulous family that I love. But people always ask, ‘How do you balance home life and work?’ And I tell them, ‘I don’t. I just drop the ball all the time.’” Part of the balance entails a hell of a commute: American Crime films in Austin, Texas, and home is in Los Angeles. “I try and fly back to L.A. every two or three days. But that can take a toll. Sometimes I think, ‘I’m failing as both a mother and an actress.’ But I do what I can to stumble forward joyously.”
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