A former Solo Mom discusses her work, passions, and activism
I’ll admit it. I have a girl crush, and her name is Tara Strong. If you have kids, you’ve probably heard of her. And if you haven’t heard of her, you’ve definitely heard her: she’s the voice of Bubbles in The Powerpuff Girls, Timmy Turner in The Fairly OddParents, Raven in Teen Titans, and Harley Quinn in three video games, among approximately 1,000 other credits. “I usually have 10 different animation projects going at once.” But the one that makes her fans (and cult following) the most bonkers is that of Twilight Sparkle in My Little Pony. Tara has also appeared in oodles of live-action projects such as Party of Five, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Big Time Rush, among others.
Yet her most important roles are those of übermom to her two sons, Sammy and Aiden; wife to real estate powerhouse Craig Strong; and advocate for activism platforms and charitable causes dear to her.
Tara lives her life with devotion to her Jewish faith as well as a tremendous compassion for others. When my ex-husband left for the proverbial other woman, my family fell apart. I fell apart—and worse, I discovered I’d become one of “The Uninvited,” a club we women are relegated to when our husbands leave.
But Tara invited. She included my kids and me in holiday celebrations, social functions, and family events. She kept my son overnight when life became too difficult and sometimes just listened when nobody else would. Magically, I still receive her heart emoticons when I need them the most.
A stellar role model to her children and mine, Tara shows the next generation that a woman can have success in career, parenting, family, friendship, service, and life.
But success was not handed to Tara: Born Tara Lyn Charendoff to Lucy and Sid, Jewish Canadians who ran a toy and candy store, Tara’s future acting career began when she was four and volunteered to be a soloist in a school production. From there, she acted in the local Yiddish theater, even though she didn’t speak Yiddish, memorizing her lines phonetically. At 13 she was accepted into a school of performing arts in Toronto, and after receiving a few small roles on TV, in 1994 she moved to LA and hit the ground running—landing her first major cartoon voice as Hello Kitty. The rest is history.
Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I just wrapped a live-action movie called Witness Infection and am currently working on Ben 10, UniKitty!, Teen Titans Go!, DC Super Hero Girls, Bravest Warriors, Rick and Morty, and also a bunch of video games and other various shows.
Q: Oh, my! And on top of this, you’re also involved in two charity passion projects. What are they?
A: Mercy for Animals is an organization that combats cruelty in factory farming. They’re incredible. They go into farms and document any cruelty, and then put all the money raised toward preventive measures. And RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) is an organization that helps reunite families separated by Trump’s immigration policy. RAICES pays the legal fees; they get these parents out of jail; they pay bail money and pay to reunite the families. Both organizations are very dear to me, and I encourage people to donate if they can.
Q: Do you ever sleep?!
A: Honestly, I could use a few more z’s! I love sleeping so much and definitely don’t get nearly enough.
Q: How are you able to manage a life that seems like three squeezed into one?
A: Sometimes I wish there were more hours in the day. I feel like as hard as I try, I can’t fit everything in. I need more time to organize my house, more activities with my kids, more volunteering and doing good for this beautiful planet. More activism! More time with those less fortunate.
Q: As a working mom, I imagine you have to miss things with your kids: sporting events, school performances, etc. Is that tough?
A: It is tough. I try my best. I hate letting my boys down. They never make me feel bad, but I love being a hands-on mom.
Q: You’ve been through some difficult times, yet you always manage to keep your spirits up. You truly are Bubbles. Any advice for us moms who sometimes get really down on ourselves?
A: It’s tough; I’m not gonna lie. There are times when it’s challenging to listen to my inner Bubbles. I’m really good at faking it! Surround yourself with good, positive people who see you, truly. People who cherish and love you, even when times are tough. Therapy! Study the laws of attraction! Hold on to your babies. Love yourself. Take care of yourself. Do what fills your heart with happiness as much as you can.
Q: What’s your favorite busy-mom shortcut? For me, it’s making breakfast the night before.
A: I’m an early bird, so I don’t mind the morning rush. Any sort of mom shortcut for me would probably be doing things I’ll need the night before so I can focus on the kids in the morning.
Q: Words of wisdom for the struggling mom?
A: I’d say, know you are not crazy. You are not the “only one” feeling certain things. It’s easy to feel isolated when times are tough. Moms must remember—even when sleep deprived, depressed, hopeless—there are so many out there wishing they could be moms in the first place. We are so lucky. The hard times will pass. Of course, there will always be challenges. That’s why we must always keep our trusted sisters close. Be there for each other, make time for girlfriends. They say women hold up half the sky; I believe we hold a lot more than that. We hold all the hearts.
Kathleen Laccinole, ESME’s Dating Resource Guide, has penned numerous films and parenting books but is best known for producing the highly lauded Greta, age 20, and William, age 16.
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