Being a parent with Phil Roy and Léane Labrèche-Dor
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:00:00] Hi everyone! I’m Anne-Élisabeth Bossé and welcome to Beneva’s podcast, It happens to everyone. Since at Beneva, they’re really good people, we tapped into their contact network to create some memorable meetings.
During each episode, I will have a guest here to discuss what’s going on in their life. They say becoming a parent changes your life...but to what extent? Can you have children and maintain your career, especially those first few years? We’re talking breastfeeding, bed sharing, positive parenting...but in the end, doesn’t all this just put more pressure on parents? To discuss their experiences, we’ll talk to comedian Phil Roy, who’s been a dad for almost a year, and actress Léane Labrèche-Dor, who's been a mom for almost two years. Let’s get to it.
[00:00:46] Phil Roy, thanks so much for being here!
Phil Roy: [00:00:47] Hi! It’s a pleasure.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: A pleasure, he says.
Phil Roy: A pleasure. You're here, we’re going to talk about my daughter...what more could you ask for? Water?
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:00:54] I have some right there! Hey! To your health! A brief introduction... Actor, facilitator, comedian. You must be filming your show, Philou, these days?
Phil Roy: [00:01:03] Exactly. Yes.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:01:04] And your daughter was born in December 2022.
Phil Roy: [00:01:08] Yes, 2021.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:01:09] So she’s a year old...15 months.
Phil Roy: [00:01:11] Yes, 15 months old, exactly. Yes.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:01:13] So tell me how this amazing event shook up your life.
Phil Roy: [00:01:16] Well you’ve probably already heard everything I’m about to tell you. As for me, when people spoke to me, they said you’ll see, it changes your life, it goes by fast, you’ll finally understand some things. As much about you as a person, about children, and a whole lot about your parents.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:01:36] Yeah.
Phil Roy: [00:01:37] And people tell you that all the time. But after a while I was like “Whoah! Take it easy. Am I really in for such a rude awakening?” And, as much as I hate to admit it, they were right. It turned my life upside down. I often tell myself this is the first time that I’m not the main character in my life or in charge of my schedule or anything else for that matter. And most of the time we are focused on ourselves, but right now, even if you love your parents, your friends, your dog, your life, everything, your schedule still revolves around you, know what I mean?
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:02:16] Your needs, of course.
Phil Roy: [00:02:17] That’s it and, you know, that’s not me anymore. What comes first now is my daughter. If I get a call now, “There’s a problem with Billie, she needs this or that”...there’s no way I’ll say “OK, I’ll try to figure something out.” I will try to figure something out, but first I have to be sure my daughter’s fine, that she’s safe, that she has everything. All her needs have to be met before I can start thinking of my own.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:02:46] Yes, totally.. We’re used to being in the lead role of our own lives.
Phil Roy: [00:02:49] Yes, we really are.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:02:50] Which brings me to my next question. You can tell that dads are a lot more involved these days. Is that what it was like for you at home when you were a kid?
Phil Roy: [00:03:00] With my family?
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: Yes?
Phil Roy: Yes, my dad was around. But my mother ran the show.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:03:08] A stay-at-home mother who managed her household, of course.
Phil Roy: [00:03:10] And you see, I have a friend, well, we have a few friends, Virginie and I, and for their second child, they split the leave time in half, taking six months each.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: Oh yeah?
Phil Roy: So the mom took the first six months to breastfeed. After that, I think dads can manage preparing baby formula or something. So the dad took six months and the mom went back to work. And he said to me “I’d go out with the baby carrier, the dog, I’d bake cookies, we’d go for a walk, we’d come back.”
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:03:41] Well that’s new! We didn’t see stuff like that in our day!
Phil Roy: [00:03:43] I had never heard so many stories just like that one. And now, you see, there’s the possibility of a second child and I really think I’d like to do something like that.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:03:57] Oh my God, to put your career on hold and get involved.
Phil Roy: For real. Yes.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:04:01] Oh my God! But you started working again. You didn’t take a year off.
Phil Roy: No. Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:04:05] So how has the experience been, to perform shows away from home? You have time to yourself because of your work. But do you find it difficult to work away from home, not sleep in your own bed?
Phil Roy: [00:04:14] I do. Very difficult.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: Really, eh?
Phil Roy: [00:04:15] And I’ll be leaving for 5 days tomorrow. I’ll be performing a few shows on the North Shore.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:04:23] Is it the first time you’ll be away for so long?
Phil Roy: [00:04:24] No, I went to Gaspésie, then Saguenay. But it’s the last long stretch for this tour. I look at it positively because I’m happy to perform, but not so positively because I don’t really want to be away from home. That’s hard on me, you know? It’s tough to be away but what’s tougher is knowing I’m leaving Virginie and Billie alone. Not that I’m their saviour, not at all, it’s just that...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:04:54] You’re a team.
Phil Roy: [00:04:55] Yeah. That’s exactly it. That’s what I think. I feel like someone who can’t go into work, or a pro athlete who has to watch his teammates from the stands and who knows his team needs him, but he just can’t help. That’s the exact feeling.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:05:12] There are repercussions when you leave. Now that dads are more involved, their absence is felt more. For sure.
Phil Roy: [00:05:18] Yes, definitely. And we’re lucky because we have two families that are very present. For example, on Thursdays my mother will show up, just to give us a hand at night.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: She’ll be with you, OK.
Phil Roy: [00:05:31] Yes. She’ll be with Virg and Billie, and she’ll play with Billie. If Virg needs anything, my mother is there.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:05:37] Another helpful thing, I imagine. Does your daughter go to daycare?
Phil Roy: Yes!
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: That must have been quite the game changer.
Phil Roy: [00:05:44] Yes, it really was. Totally. And sometimes, you feel a little guilty... On Sunday night, sometimes you think...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:05:51] Daycare tomorrow.
Phil Roy: [00:05:52] I’m not sad for daycare tomorrow. I mean, I’d be lying if I said that there isn’t a part of me that’s here and thinks that all’s well because I know she safe there.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:06:09] It’s all right to admit that.
Phil Roy: [00:06:11] Yes, yes exactly. Always. And especially, being with other children....let me tell you Anne-Éli, my daughter has advanced five-fold since she started daycare. Because last week she came home and she was going “bl-bl-bl-bl”. It’s crazy.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:06:32] You didn’t teach her that!
Phil Roy: [00:06:33] I was wondering how she was able to do that. Then when I got to the daycare this morning, I saw a little boy named Oscar going “bl-bl-bl-bl”. Billie sees him and goes “bl-bl-bl-bl” Then I understood where she learned to do that. They have a way of communicating with each other. They communicate without a language. And they pick up stuff from one another, teach one another. There’s a form of communication that exists there that I find really amazing.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:07:00] I never experienced that because I never went to daycare when I was young.
Phil Roy: Really?
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: Yes, I stayed home with my mother.
Phil Roy: [00:07:05] That’s why you can’t go “bl-bl-bl-bl”.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:07:06] Never experienced that in my life.
Phil Roy: That’s it, isn’t it? Yes, yes.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: But now that you’re doing it, I feel like doing it too by mimicking you.
Phil Roy: Right. I understand.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:07:15] It’s like a big daycare here. But was it hard the first time? Was it like in the movies a bit? Yes?
Phil Roy: [00:07:18] Yeah. Yeah, totally.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:07:19] You cried? Really?
Phil Roy: [00:07:21] I did. Really. I’m a person who’s very much in touch with his emotions and I’m not embarrassed by that.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:07:28] That’s very modern parent of you. I like that. Modern man, in touch with his emotions, it’s nice. The first time you were separated must have been stressful and difficult, no?
Phil Roy: [00:07:35] We were walking to the daycare and I suddenly started sobbing. I usually get these like, five-second episodes. That’s how it goes when I get emotional and there are no tears. Kids grow up fast.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:07:57] Really, eh?
Phil Roy: [00:07:58] And now, my daughter’s been walking for about a month now, and this morning... She realizes she’s walking and the pride in a child’s face, it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. The expression says “I’m so happy and proud and full of joy”, my body stiffens like this. And the smile, it’s such an excited smile. As adults, we don’t smile like that very often anymore.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:08:20] We no longer feel those emotions.
Phil Roy: [00:08:25] After a great meeting, or receiving good news, or an accomplishment, we no longer just go yeah!!! You know, express happiness.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:08:39] Epiphany mode. It’s true. Must be nice to relive that.
Phil Roy: [00:08:44] It is. I experience it daily...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:08:45] You get to see someone experiencing something for the very first time.
Phil Roy: [00:08:48] It’s really something.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:08:49] What did you find most difficult?
Phil Roy: [00:08:51] I’m an anxious person in general, and I get anxious often. It’s often in anticipation of what’s to come. It’s always a negative anticipation.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:09:03] OK.
Phil Roy: [00:09:04] I may be alone one weekend, Virginie has gone to the cottage for example, and I'll be a solo dad for two nights. On weekends, I don’t experience anxiety. I may experience stress, or panic over what’s going on. But never anxiety. On Mondays though, I'll have anxiety.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:09:24] Monday in anticipation of the week.
Phil Roy: [00:09:25] Yes, I’ll be thinking I hope everything goes well, I hope I’ll be feeling good. Now I have to check my schedule, and I tell myself to conserve my energy because it’s a useful tool. What will we do? And what if it rains? Na-na-na. So I often have anxiety. When I watch movies or in relationships...I can’t watch Xavier Dolan movies anymore, for example.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: Why not?
Phil Roy: [00:09:49] Because the relationship with the characters and Xavier, with their parents, it’s…
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: Difficult.
Phil Roy: Poor parent who just wants to love, you know? I say that because when I watch movies in which the relationships with kids and parents is confrontational, when they argue or I hear a kid say “I don’t love you, you never loved me”, and stuff like that, I’m like ouch.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:10:14] I’d call it “I killed my mother”...it’s hard.
Phil Roy: Yes, exactly. That’s it.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: Does it make you think that you might experience that with Billie?
Phil Roy: [00:10:20] Yes, of course. A lot.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:10:20] You’re worried it might turn out like that?
Phil Roy: Yes. And sometimes I think I better not let this happen, I hope I realize it’s happening before it gets to that point. And I hope that in my communications, in my life as a couple, in my family, with everything I want to initiate, I hope we’ll...But after that, it’s not something I can control, and it’s things that could happen. Know what I mean?
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:10:47] No but at the same time, I find we live in a society that expects parents to be perfect. Feels like everything is in the parents’ court and we’re bombarded with information. Did you do this? Did you do that? You have to do so and so. It’s hard not be affected by that kind of pressure.
Phil Roy: Really is.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: And that can feed the beast you were talking about. Do you feel that pressure, of being a model parent? From other parents or people in general?
Phil Roy: [00:11:09] No, not from people in general. But there are times I may do it to myself. I mean it’s rare that on social media or on the radio or other media that I will say something like “oh yeah, such and such happened with my daughter and I gave her this or that.” Let’s say she was teething and I gave her Tempra, for example.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:11:30] You’ll get a load of messages if you do that saying that you shouldn’t give the kid Tempra.
Phil Roy: [00:11:33] That’s right because everyone has an opinion on the matter... But I know that these people don’t want to put pressure on you, they just want to share their own experience. But sometimes I think yes, you may be sharing your experience, but you’re the 15th person to do so and I didn’t ask anyone for their opinion.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:11:47] But usually, unsolicited advice is a little upsetting.
Phil Roy: [00:11:49] Yes we have to remember that most people don’t have bad intentions, and sometimes they just can’t communicate it properly. So I don’t let it get to me and, no, I don’t feel it. But the other day we were out for a walk. Billie started crying a little because it was hot, because we went indoors, and we thought we were just passing through quickly but we ended up waiting. So another mother passed by with her daughter and said “ah, you see, another little baby who doesn’t like walking. Reminds me of you.” I felt like saying “no, it’s not that she doesn’t like walking, it’s just that she’s tired, she’s hot, she’s hungry, it’s almost nap time”...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:12:28] You were defending her.
Phil Roy: [00:12:29] You misread my...All I did was...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:12:32] What’s happening right now is not what usually happens, Miss.
Phil Roy: [00:12:37] Yeah that’s it. We had just walked for 45 minutes, everything was OK, she really didn’t want to sit in her stroller...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:12:41] But it was just bad timing that you ran into the mother. It’s not the norm.
Phil Roy: [00:12:48] I have videos, look, she’s walking! Right. But you see, I wanted to defend her. But then I just told myself she’s just saying that, she’s not attacking my baby, you know?
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:12:57] No, she was just using you as an example.
Phil Roy: [00:12:59] Yeah, she wanted to make a point to her daughter about something. No, I don’t feel pressured into being perfect, not at all. But I often have to say “no miss, that’s not it”, you know? And I would never say... But one day I will tell Billie that too.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:13:12] So you don’t stay up at nights to read blogs on parenting, “don’t do this or that”.
Phil Roy: [00:13:17] No.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: But a lot of people do. Yes, yes.
Phil Roy: Yeah, I know. But I know if I do that, I’ll be sinking into a parallel universe of constant reassessment. So no. All I know is that I don’t know everything about life, and I know that I wish to learn and grow. I know that.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:13:34] You’re humble that way.
Phil Roy: [00:13:35] Yeah, with many things in my life. Above all, I can’t be so scared of something and think I know what it is. Being a parent can be frightening. And in my case, I’m still scared of being a parent.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:13:51] It must be.
Phil Roy: [00:13:51] So...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:13:52] What is the scariest part for you?
Phil Roy: [00:13:55] That everything changes, all the time. And, you know, there’s no secret recipe. No instruction manual, you know? You realize that good timing doesn’t exist. That everything goes by real fast, and that I’d like to go back in time sometimes to make things right. But it’s too late.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:14:13] To accept that everything slips through your fingers.
Phil Roy: [00:14:16] Yeah. And the next time something happens, will I be better equipped to handle it? You know, like the difference between the sound of crying when they’re teething, how will I be able to help versus the sound of crying because they didn’t get what they want. Crying because you’re disappointed with yourself...crocodile tears? How will I manage all that? That’s a lot of questions.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:14:39] A lot of unknowns.
Phil Roy: [00:14:40] A lot of unknowns and I try not to lose myself in trying to find answers to everything because it’s impossible. And that, for me, as someone with anxiety, and I imagine even for those who don’t have anxiety, it’s scary. You know, to tell yourself all’s well today...will it also be OK tomorrow? And how will I adapt? If I start thinking about that....
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:15:04] Sometimes, we just want to pause time. Freeze everything, for just a little while, please. You have to accept that no, tomorrow is another day.
Phil Roy: [00:15:11] But maybe the fact that I find it so scary causes me to be a lot more in the present moment. Because otherwise, I would leave. Sometimes I cry because everything went well. It’s not that I’m relieved, I’m just...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:15:27] Life is good.
Phil Roy: [00:15:28] Yes, exactly! I don’t know. Is it pride, relief? But it’s that phrase. Life is good. What a morning!
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:15:40] Things are going my way.
Phil Roy: [00:15:41] What a morning! I feel like we really had a great time because we bonded. And, as a dad, I don’t know if it’s because I have a daughter, but when I’m alone with Billie, I have a very direct parent-child relationship. It’s not diluted, or shared. It’s crazy! As soon as Virginie arrives, when mom comes home, I know that my job is to step aside.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:16:15] You withdraw right away. Yes.
Phil Roy: [00:16:17] Sometimes I feel bad for her, when I tell myself that I know she’s number one. Do you want to be number one? Did you have a bad day? Do you have energy? Are you so tired that you wouldn’t mind being number two today?
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:16:32] Yeah.
Phil Roy: [00:16:33] That’s very difficult.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:16:38] The powerlessness.
Phil Roy: [00:16:39] Yeah, exactly. Feeling powerless seeing Virg walk in exhausted. And I know my girlfriend, and I love her, and I will be there for her, you know. And sometimes I feel like Billie doesn’t want me to hold her.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: No, she wants mommy.
Phil Roy: She only wants her. But I’d be curious to see...talk to a mother that...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:17:02] Well that provides a perfect opportunity to introduce our next guest... Let’s welcome Léane Labrèche-Dor.
Phil Roy: You’re kidding!
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: Absolutely not!
Phil Roy: That’s great!
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: But her baby is 2 years old, so she will surely have a lot of...
Phil Roy: [00:17:14] Plenty of tips.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: Yeah.
Phil Roy: How many words, eh? The type list.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:17:17] We know Léane, it’s right up her alley.
Phil Roy: [00:17:19] That’s how she is. That’s really how she is!
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:17:21] Léane Labrèche-Dor.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: Hi!
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: So happy you could join us! We see her acting in movies, on the stage, in television, and especially...
Phil Roy: [00:17:30] I really like that! Hi Léane, ha ha ha!
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:17:30] It’s funny that the last time we were together, the three of us, we were probably drunk in a brasserie.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:17:38] I doubt it.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: Speak for yourselves.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: Something which never happens to you anymore because you don’t have the time.
Phil Roy: That’s right.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:17:45] Absolutely right.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:17:46] But we’re here to talk about you, Léane, and your role as a mother, right?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: A huge role.
Phil Roy: You’re a mother.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: Yes.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: You have a son who’s nearly 2 years old
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:17:55] Yes! Lots of wisdom, a lot of hindsight.
Phil Roy: Yeah, that’s it. I see.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: I learned a lot during the second year.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:17:56] Yeah. I can hear it in your voice. Sorry, but I feel like there’s something that will be assumed here.
Phil Roy: [00:18:05] Yes the foundations are solid.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:18:08] So how did you take the news when you first learned that you were pregnant, given that you’re an actress? What was the experience like?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:18:13] It’s something I always wanted in my life. And I would have liked to have a baby earlier, much earlier, you know? But I never met the right guy, not until I turned 28.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:18:30] There are other variables too.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:18:31] Yeah, until sooner or later... And I would not have had the courage at age 26, nor the means to think I can do it alone! Impossible.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:18:36] It’s possible now!
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:18:38] Yes, but I had a miscarriage the first time I was pregnant. So the second time, I was happy to hear the news, but...you said you were anxious, and that’s it, I was very anxious, and I didn’t know... It’s like I didn’t allow myself to feel the pleasure of the news before... Well, until I gave birth. Until I finally realized that it was really happening!
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:19:03] I understand. It’s true. It’s true. Yes, it’s a little...it won’t be expressed properly, it will come out clumsily. I’m glad you're talking about this type of anxiety rather than the type that’s like “you’re an actress, you’re going to be pregnant for 5 years in this field, call her she’s pregnant.” Did that cross your mind?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:19:20] I mean, even though I really wanted to have a baby, it was still something I was putting off. And sincerely, I’m so fortunate to be working in a field I love. But the job is not my life, you know? Art is part of my life, will always be a part of my life. But if I can’t be an actor anymore, for whatever reason, I’ll make money making coffee, and I’ll be very, very happy. And I’ll continue making art, and writing, and living.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:19:50] Sure, you’re an artist at heart.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:19:53] Yeah that’s it. So for me, a child was not going to be a problem.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [12:19:56 AM] 100%.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:19:58] After that, I heard that comment, much more often than I expected. I got it from a lot of women. It was either their fear of “oh yeah, you’re courageous to do this because if it was me, I’d be scared” or people who went through it and they say ”be careful because it’s a wake-up call”.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:20:18] It really is a wake-up call.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:20:21] And it is. I was pregnant during an infamous period....during COVID.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: I didn’t realize that. During COVID you say?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:20:28] Yeah you can Google it, it’s a thing. And that suited me at times, and less so at other times. Because everything was at a standstill. It wasn’t planned and I swear that I had nothing to do with the pandemic! No, I say that because I’m already seeing some comments...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:20:45] You got to shut those people up right away.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:20:47] Yeah. So it turned out all right, I have to say. And I have honestly never worked so much.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:20:55] That’s right. But what an irony! But it’s great.
Phil Roy: It’s encouraging.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: But it must also be tiring. Did you ever say “I want to take a year off”? Did you want to take some time off but then, you got cornered a bit?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:21:09] Look, since we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into, and my boyfriend is also an actor, both of us are self-employed, so we had this great idea...it’s like communism...on paper it sounds like a beautiful thing, you know?
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:21:25] A great theory, yes. Ideas.
Phil Roy: [00:21:28] What was your idea?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:21:29] We decided that whoever gets a contract first, the other will do nothing for the duration of that job. At least for a full year.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:21:39] We never work at the same time.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:21:40] Right, never at the same time. Then we decided the only exception would be if a creative or artistic opportunity presented itself. If Steven Spielberg called, for example...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:21:50] Sorry, it’s just that my boyfriend works.. We had agreed that...
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:21:53] My boyfriend was working on season 2. So we had agreed on that. So we‘d obviously figure it out, if it was something we just couldn’t pass on, you know? Then in the end, three months...two-and-a-half months after the baby was born, we started shooting a movie together.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:22:10] Lines of Escape.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:22:11] Yeah.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:22:13] You worked on it together.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:22:13] Yeah. So our idea, well, it got flushed down the toilet.
Phil Roy: [00:22:17] Yes, but you were also true to your word. It was an offer you couldn’t refuse.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:22:22] Exactly.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:22:24] In my case, it was something I had... I was in a play, and when we were supposed to make the film, it was just before the pandemic. So when it was postponed, I was already in that kind of spiral. So we said OK. So you, four weeks after your child is born, will be reading and...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:22:41] Ay ay ay.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:22:42] Yeah, ay ay ay.
Phil Roy: [00:22:43] Yeah, as parents, you know? I can speak as a dad, because when I started working again, I felt really bad about leaving Virg.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:22:54] Guilt.
Phil Roy: [00:22:55] I don’t know if you were breastfeeding or not, and I don’t know if...
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:22:58] Up until two weeks ago, Phil, no kidding.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:23:00] Oh!
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:23:01] Yeah, oh.
Phil Roy: [00:23:02] So let’s say there’s a contract coming up. You have a two-month-old, and you want to take the job. But on the other hand, your maternal instinct must be raising some doubts. So what do you do? Who talks to whom? Does the actress talk to the mother? Or does the mother talk to the actress? Know what I mean?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:23:23] Becoming a mother was the most confounding thing I’ve ever done in my life. A constant tidal wave of guilt. Constant
Phil Roy: Because of the job?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: Challenged by my...because of everything. Challenged by my will to be honest about what I want, what I need, my desires, my assumed feminism, challenged by this pure love that makes it so nothing else matters except for this child, challenged by all that, and figuring out how to balance it. So all that and hearing comments from people like “you can’t do this, you’re not going to be there for your child, your child needs its mother”, and this and that. So what do I do? And I don’t know if it was the right thing to do, I couldn’t say. I tried to tie it all together as sensibly as possible.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:24:27] So you decided to make the film with, otherwise you would feel...so, how did you manage? You were filming and you were breastfeeding, so how did you do it?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:24:40] Look, we found a gem of a girl that I know from my agency and who studied in the academy.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:24:51] That’s how we say it.
Phil Roy: [00:24:52] An actor, yes. So you finally went there?
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:24:54] The dramatic art academy. Yes.
Phil Roy: She was asking herself if she would go.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: You were tired. Didn’t get much sleep.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:25:03] Yeah. A girl who had previously studied in childcare, so I was like “Oh my God, what a miracle!” I owe her so much. She joined us every day on the set. And I negotiated. There are no agreements for mothers in the artist’s union. And I was voracious at times, pushing hard, because plenty of actresses would have said “shut your mouth, because you’re going to be the actress making noise, and this and that, and you won’t get hired again.” And I understand, but at the same time...you know, not getting work again, or my child dies in a heatwave or something, you know? There were many other areas where I didn’t know what they were thinking. There’s no drinking water in the trailer, you know? And I asked “perfect, but can I have a bottle?” And they said no because there was one on the set already. I said “yes, but you don’t want my child to be on the set because there are a lot of people, COVID.” So that’s when...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: So now you need drinking water in the trailer.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:26:00] Right, so I was going in with my 1.5 litres of water and gna-gna-gnan. And there were so many silly things like that we were inventing as we went along. I was sleeping like 45 minutes a night for 6 weeks. Yes.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:26:12] Ouf… But I wanna go back to guilt, because it’s a word I get hung up on a lot. We talked about it already. I feel like there’s a double standard among women, because we wanna be super woman on one hand, and a perfect parent on the other. So if you’re a perfectionist, I don’t think you’ll be pulling off both.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:26:29] Because we’re in 2023, we’re not supposed to stop living our lives, we’re supposed to be in an equal relationship with the father. The dad is supposed to be very involved. And.... And it’s perfect because dads are more involved. They want to be. The will is there, but there is no structure for it in the system.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:26:54] Nothing to support their will.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:26:55] There’s nothing. So in the end I often end up realizing that I’m a mother at home who works 60 hours a week, and I don’t know what’s going on. And I’m lucky to have found a spot in a daycare, which is never easy. That has nothing to do with my boyfriend being involved. He’s involved, he’s there, he does all that he can.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:27:15] But it’s set up in a way that it always falls on your shoulders in the end.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:27:18] Yes and I think that the famous mental load that I didn’t think existed, which I thought was some bit of a mother with a red balloon in some blog doing...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:27:29] Oh yeah? Didn’t you feel there was a mental load in life?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:27:31] I didn’t think it existed. I thought it was a false representation... I thought OK, it’s like in movies where the mother is pushed to her limit, who’s not perfect, and it hit me like a violent punch in the face, she exists. She’s there. I didn’t used to take out my recycling for up to 12 weeks. I’ve spent entire winters in a sort of sealed veranda, piling up recycling bags. And now I bought a plastic board that I can write on and erase.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:28:11] The tasks and things... Can't forget this thing or else I’ll get bogged down.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:28:15] I bought that. That’s how I am now, tiresome. And these are the things that go through a mother’s mind.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:28:24] With no effort.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:28:25] No effort at first. Then the mental load, everyone will say yeah, for sure, the mother’s got it. The real power, a mother’s super power, is to be able to identify it and say “hey Phil, can you handle this file?” But the way...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:28:40] At least that, yeah, delegate.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:28:42] Yeah, that’s it. But the way my brain works is “by the time I ask, wait for the answer telling me whether or not I can do something or other, I have the time to do two loads, make eight calls, and I'll take care of the file anyway.” It happens naturally, you know?
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:28:57] One thing that helps though, and we discussed this with Phil earlier, is daycare. Did it go well with you? You got a spot, you were lucky. That’s something everyone needs because eventually...
Léane Labrèche-Dor: It was a jungle.
Phil Roy: [00:29:06] Yes, what luck.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:29:07] Listen. We had to be real nags. I had to set aside many of my values, let me tell you.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:29:14] For a spot in a daycare?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:29:15] Oh yeah. Some scenes were right out of the UFC playbook. [laughter]
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:29:21] Yeah I get it.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:29:24] Listen, I resorted to every trick I could think of. I passed by every day at the same time, greeted the daycare workers outside while...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:29:33] Seduction?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:29:33] Yes, totally. I’d dress Milo in one of his best-looking outfits, go chat in their yard knowing that’s when the parents normally arrive, and be like “yeah, we just moved into the neighbourhood.” And I was this close to asking my dad to join me.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:29:50] I understand. And it’s essential!
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:29:53] And it went on for a while. And in our minds, we had the idea of not working for a year, and we said it would allow us to start daycare, but we could spend a year with the baby. And I registered for La Place 0-5. If you want to know what you shouldn’t do with your free time, go check out the La Place 0-5 website.
Phil Roy: It’s important to be registered there though. Very important.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:30:19] Because it’s the list.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:30:20] If you wait a little bit, that cute sailor’s outfit that you dressed your son in won’t fit him anymore.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: No.
Phil Roy: No. That's right.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:30:27] And I was naive...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:30:28] I decided it was a sailor’s outfit that you dressed him in to make him cute.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:30:29] It must have been a marine theme because he loves boats. But look, on the daycare questionnaire I said that I wanted my son to start daycare at around 12 months old. So I figured that at 11 months or so, I would get a call telling me that from the two daycares I selected as options, my son has been accepted to one of them.
Phil Roy: You checked two boxes?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: That’s really cute!
Phil Roy: [00:30:53] We checked, like...yes, we’re willing to move to that area.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:30:57] I had no idea what it entailed.
Phil Roy: [00:30:59] I’m not that attached to Rosemont–Petite-Patrie, I can move to Baie-Comeau.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:31:00] I could go to Ontario.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:31:03] But nobody ever told me about that, Phil. So I was like...
Phil Roy: Yeah I understand.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: So I checked two boxes, you know, those close to our house, that were walking distance, and had green space. That was my criteria. And when he was about 10 months or so, someone asked me if I called to follow up. I didn’t know I had to call!
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:31:24] So you didn’t follow up.
Phil Roy: You have to follow up, yeah.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:31:27] I’d have waited.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:31:28] I have to call? So then I was suddenly in panic mode. So I started checking a lot more boxes. And that’s what it took, and the little sailor’s suit...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:31:37] How did the first day go? Was the separation difficult?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:31:40] Oh not at all, I was so happy it started... Because...
Phil Roy: [00:31:43] How old was he?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:31:44] 14 months old. And that guilt persisted, you know? I was happy he was starting, but was it because I thought I’m unloading something? Daycare really is for them though. Not for us. They create human beings. The kids eventually grow tired of seeing the same 2 faces, smelling the same odours, playing with the same 8 toys, you know...
Phil Roy: Bl-bl-bl-bl, that's it.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:32:08] I talked to other mothers. I asked them about their experiences. Some found it tougher than others, but overall...It’s because the steps your kids take show you that daycare is really beneficial for their social development and motor skills.
Phil Roy: [00:32:27] It’s crazy. Even in these areas of interest. As young as us, she started when she was a bit younger. And now she’s 15 months old, and I can tell you that she’s more fascinated by music and musical instruments than...
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:32:44] Horses.
Phil Roy: [00:32:46] Yes, than animals and discovering... In terms of personality, some things come to the surface. And she has a social network there. Right.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:32:56] But it broadens the spectrum in so many areas.
Phil Roy: It really does.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: What would you have liked to hear? Not sure if I can even ask this question.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:33:04] Of course I received a lot of unsolicited advice.
Phil Roy: [00:33:09] Comes with the territory.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: So nothing, in the end?
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:33:13] Nothing. But I wish someone told me about how to register for daycare. I would have had to ask.
Phil Roy: But that’s a good thing.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:33:19] And I wish someone talked to me about the guilt. I wish I was warned that it would be like... Because we do everything with love, and we do it willingly, and I’ll say it again, I had the luxury of making a baby because I wanted a baby. And I had the luxury of making a baby with this particular man. So there were a lot of positive aspects, but nobody told me how hard it would be on my heart, and about my tolerance of myself. Otherwise, that’s pretty much it. Put some money aside. They should have told me that one.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:34:05] Oh yes, savings.
Phil Roy: [00:34:07] I don’t know, I heard so many things. And maybe they shouldn’t have. I know exactly what I want to tell people. What people would have wanted to...
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:34:20] Yeah, exactly. What would you have told them?
Phil Roy: [00:34:22] That it’s the most amazing thing that I’ve ever experienced in my life.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:34:26] If in doubt, go full steam ahead.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:34:28] It’s the best thing ever.
Phil Roy: [00:34:29] Yeah, and you’ll make 1,000 mistakes. Already in just 15 months I have made so many mistakes, but that doesn’t overshadow the joy it brings. So I think I want to talk about the ratio...at which point.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:34:45] No, it’s not even comparable.
Phil Roy: [00:34:47] Yeah. Sometimes you’re tired, exhausted, but it’s like any aspect that could be less enjoyable is erased. All that is less enjoyable, but it’s washed away by a little drop. It can be diluted. It’s so concentrated all this stuff that sometimes I think I would like 1,000 of them.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:35:13] The best thing I heard is it’s not trial and error, it’s always trial and trial.
Phil Roy: [00:35:19] Yeah.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: [00:35:19] I really liked hearing that! I thought it was insightful and relieved some of the pressure...there’s so much pressure. And it’s never a failure, never a mistake, it’s a human being that’s developing and it’s beautiful. Truly beautiful. I think it makes me a better human being, and it gives me plenty of motivation to become even better. For my own sake rather than for others, you know?
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:35:46] I remember an audience member once telling me “your child is born and you start worrying that it will die.” I think I’d feel guilty and would be very, very afraid. And I think about that a lot when I think of having a kid, but I like being guided toward being a better person, learn new things, and bringing back a ratio of fun. Because people say you're lucky, going off on tour, not being home for 5 days. Someone says no, I like being home. I love my daughter. Would you like to pay tribute to someone for their parenting? Does someone come to mind, that you would like to thank?
Phil Roy: [00:36:15] Well, yes, there are plenty of people. I don’t think I can say thanks to anyone but Virginie. Because I think what some girls do, what some mothers do, is pretty impressive. I have an immeasurable love for women, for mothers particularly versus my role as a dad, and it’s the best gift I could have ever hoped for. That's it.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:36:40] That will be the last word. Thank you.
Léane Labrèche-Dor: That was a nice way to end it.
Phil Roy: [00:36:44] But, I tell her so often. So often. Often. Often. Often.
Anne-Élisabeth Bossé: [00:36:48] Now I’m going to cry.
[00:36:52 Baby’s on the way…
1- Put some money aside!
2- Need a daycare? Better apply as soon as possible
3 Don’t forget about life insurance: contact your insurer.
[00:37:02 Get more tips at beneva.ca]
FIN DE TRANSCRIPTION
Anne-Élisabeth is joined by Phil Roy to share his amazing experience of welcoming a baby girl into his life. Léane Labrèche-Dor discusses her journey as a mom...and the wave of guilt parents can feel sometimes. On the menu: laughs, tips and secrets.
Guests: Phil Roy and Léane Labrèche-Dor