Motherhood Is A Fast-Paced Venture For GH’s Emme Rylan
Despite growing up in “a big family and a very loud house,” GH’s Emme Rylan (Lulu) never envisioned herself as the matriarch of her own brood. “Are you ready for this?” chuckles the mother of three. “I never wanted
To hear her tell it, her younger self didn’t have a genuine aversion to the idea of motherhood so much as she thought she’d have to give up her passion for performing to become one. “I grew up in a really small town where people had kids really young; that was just kind of the way of life,” she explains. “My perception of that as an 18-year-old was that either you chase your dreams or you stay home and have kids. And so somehow I just thought, ‘Well, if I move to New York and chase my dream, then I’m not doing kids.’ Every woman I met in my life was like, ‘I was born to be a mother!’ I didn’t feel [that way]. I wasn’t imagining the day I had a kid growing up; I was imagining traveling the world as an actress and playing different parts and I really thought it had to be one or the other. I thought I had to choose.”
Happily, life has taught her that, as she puts it, “Guess what? You can actually have a job that you love and have a family! Even when I was pregnant with Jackson,” who’ll turn 9 in October, “people were telling me that I couldn’t have my career anymore. I was like, ‘Uh, did you notice that everyone else you work with has kids?’ But once we had Jackson, I knew I wanted more. I was like, ‘He’s so freaking awesome! I want a hundred of him!’ ”
Pop Secrets: Before giving birth to Dakota, Rylan showed off her bump. “The doctor is guessing that she will weigh 9 ½ pounds,” she posted. “Might be why the last 3 strangers I’ve passed have congratulated me on the twins. #noiamnothavingtwins”
Rylan has starred on three soaps (GUIDING LIGHT, Y&R and now GH) and has had a child during her runs on each of them (she began her stint as Y&R’s Abby back in 2010 while pregnant with her second son, Levi); her most recent addition, Dakota, made her debut last June, much to the delight not only of her parents, but of her two big brothers. “They wanted a sibling so badly that they were ready to ask Santa for one,” Rylan reports. “And by the way, I was already pregnant and had this huge stomach that they hadn’t noticed when they told me that [laughs].” While she describes the transition from no kids to one as “startling,” by the time Dakota came around, “We did not have an adjustment. I feel like she was meant to be here the whole time and she seamlessly came into the family. It feels complete.”
Complete but hectic, with a level of chaos she says she could not manage without her kids’ supportive and involved father, Don Money. “He’s been so hands-on from day one that I kind of forget that’s not the norm,” she muses. “He’s been so 100 percent a partner. He set the bar high and we could not be living the life that we’re living right now without him being all in. People on Instagram are always like, ‘Is Dakota with the nanny?’ We don’t have a nanny! We don’t even have a babysitter! We have three children! Just feeding all the living creatures in our house — cats and dogs included — we basically run a farm. ‘Feed these ones! Pack up these lunches! Get these ones out the door. Feed her!’ It’s never-ending and constant.
“For both of us to be working as much as we do and have our hobbies, that’s what I think is the amazing part of having Don as my co-parenting partner,” she continues. “He loves to play basketball and plays on several different leagues and he understands that I have my own interests, too. Apparently our dreams and ambitions can’t be killed no matter how many kids we have! We can be parents and support each other in being who we are. We just have a lot more love — and chores! It’s just like this never-ending juggling act of, ‘Who has the kid? When do you have the kid? Who’s picking up the kid?’ Every day is like a surprise!”
Party Of Five: Jackson (l.) and Levi had their eye on Don Money’s birthday cake while Rylan held baby Dakota.
Raising three little ones hasn’t dampened Rylan’s enthusiasm for expressing herself, be it via acting, dancing (she’s an avid class-taker) or crafting (she’s got her own Etsy store at etsy.com/shop/EmmeRylan). “I still feel like I want to be creative,” she nods. “I’m sewing with Dakota on my lap. I didn’t do acting class while I was pregnant, I was too sick, but I just mentioned to Don the other day, ‘I think I’m ready to go back.’ ” But whereas her career “was my main focus in life before I had kids,” now, “my main job is for my kids to outlive me. That’s all I really care about! [Motherhood] changed the way I approach everything in life.”
Mothering a girl for the first time has brought about some additional changes. “It’s embarrassing,” she groans. “I’m like rainbows and sparkles and unicorns now! I’m not even joking. It’s so awful. As it turns out, I am a girl and I’d forgotten about it! She is so feminine and all of a sudden when I’m looking at clothes, I’m like, ‘Oh, well, she needs the rainbow unicorn shirt, obviously!’ And then I’m like, ‘Wait. I need this rainbow unicorn shirt!’ ”
With her own domestic life more bustling than ever, Rylan is thrilled that her GH life has become more work-centric, with Lulu’s new career as a reporter taking center stage. “I’ve been doing so much journalist stuff that I haven’t seen Rocco or Charlotte lately,” she observes. “I haven’t even been on Lulu’s home set in a while! But I feel like we spent a lot of time on her domestic life. I was ‘Mom Lulu’ for a while and I’m happy for her to have a job and to do something different. Working with new people is my favorite thing, just because I feel like it brings in a new energy, so to be having scenes with people like Steve [Burton, Jason] is really fun for me. I’m having a great time at work and then I get to go home to Don and three kids who want to cuddle every night. I am very, very lucky.”
Switching It Up: “Having scenes with people like Steve [Burton, Jason] is really fun for me,” says the actress.
JUST THE FACTS
Birthday: November 4
Raised In: Central Pennsylvania
High Five: Rylan and longtime love Don Money are parents to Jackson Robert, born October 22, 2009, Levi Thomas, born November 3, 2011 and Dakota Rose, born June 26, 2017. “We are the crazy maniacs who had both boys in school and decided to start over with a newborn!”
Meet And Greet: After Dakota’s birth, both Kirsten Storms (Maxie) and Brytni Sarpy (Valerie) came to visit (and meet the baby, of course).“I ended up having to have an ex-
tended stay because I had a really rough recovery.”
A Rose By Any Other Name: Storms’s daughter, Harper, with Brandon Barash (ex-Johnny), whose middle name is also Rose, “is so cute with Dakota,” Rylan beams. “She loves her and is very mothering and sweet. She brings her toys when she’s in the Jumperoo.”
Open Attachment: Rylan’s daughter is a Stage 5 Clinger. “When she wants me, absolutely no one else on the planet will do. When the boys were babies, they were like, ‘I kind of want Mom, but you’ll do!’ But around 8 o’clock is her witching hour and Don is no longer acceptable. It’s the rudest rejection.”
DID YOU KNOW?
• Though Emme has been her legal name for nearly a decade, she was born Marcy, in honor of her mother’s late sister.
• In her GUIDING LIGHT days, she shared an apartment in New York with Alexandra Chando (ex-Maddie, AS THE WORLD TURNS).
• When she played Y&R’s Abby (2010-13), the first person she met at work was Billy Miller, then Y&R’s Billy, who is now her GH co-star as Drew.
GIMME A BREAK
Emme Rylan has broken two bones since she joined GH in 2013, most recently, one in her foot. “I’m not in any pain; it’s just, like, inconvenient to have to use crutches and the scooter thing,” she says. “After pretty much being sick the whole time I was pregnant with Dakota, I am just so happy that I don’t feel like crap. It’s annoying to have this boot on for six weeks, but that’s it! I went back for my checkup and all of my bones are in alignment and we just have to wait it out. Compared to what my other children have done to me, this is nothing! Levi breaking my nose [accidentally in 2016] was so painful and such a hellacious recovery.”
Jackson was the party responsible for this particular injury, “but he is not totally aware that it’s his fault,” Rylan reports. “When he’s older he’ll be like, ‘Oh, did I break your foot?’ And I’ll be like, ‘Yeah, you did. It was you.’ Isn’t this perfect for the Mother’s Day issue? Jackson broke my foot, Levi broke my face — my kids sound wonderful!”
Leg Up: The actress modeled her injury on the Kelly’s set.
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