M.O.M Maria Canals-Barrera Works Her Magic On and Off The Screen

We are more than thrilled to talk to our first Celeb M.O.M Maria Canals-Barrera.  She is a Mom of two girls, Bridget and Maddie, a Wife, and a successful Actress who is mainly recognized in most of our homes with kids, as the mom from Wizzards of Waverly Place on The Disney Channel.
Meet Maria Canals-Barrera

Congratulations on the success of Wizzards of Waverly Place! It is a great family friendly show and my oldest just turned 5 and it is one of his (our) favorite shows to watch.

You are a mom on and off the screen, so, let us M.O.Ms hear how you are managing it all.

M.O.M Katie ~There is a struggle many moms have, whether to stay home or go back to corp life/work after having a baby, I think Bridget (your oldest) was a toddler when Wizzards first aired so, was this a hard decision for you and how did you manage that?

Maria ~ I believe my oldest daughter, Bridget, was four and my youngest, Madeleine, was two when Wizards first started airing. To answer your question, the decision to go back to work is not an easy one for a lot of moms, I'm sure. My situation as an actress is interesting and with Wizards, it has been a major blessing. Here is why...

It is a small miracle for a pilot to get "picked up" (and for the show to eventually become a major hit and even win an Emmy is very rare) so my returning to work was a must! Besides, I was obligated to do so by my contract! LOL

I have a wonderful husband, David Barrera (also an actor) who is a VERY hands on dad and we had a babysitter who would fill in the gaps when David had a film or T.V. part he had to shoot. Plus, I brought my girls to the set, whenever I needed to! Wizard rehearsals and shooting schedule have always been great because we rehearse for only a few hours a day. Also, because it's a sitcom with minors, there is a limit of (only a few hours) that we're allowed to shoot on tape nights. It's been an ideal project for a mom of young children like myself!

M.O.M Katie~ What do you think about being a M.O.M (Master of Multitasking)? Are you a planner/scheduler? What’s a typical day for you & your girls like?

Maria~ I love the feeling of accomplishment one gets from multitasking. And what mother out there doesn't multitask? Cooking, while helping one child with homework, while drawing the bath for the other, for example! However, I believe it's important to prioritize, and give the important things undivided attention. To really be in the moment... listening and meeting their needs. i.e., when their feelings have been hurt and they need to express themselves and get it all out before "moving on." Sometimes as moms we're in such a hurry to "make it all better" we rush this time and "distract" them when they really just need to heard so they can express themselves and get all their emotions out. My husband knew the importance of this early on and helped me to be conscious of it. I am so grateful he did. Otherwise, they would "stuff" their feelings and I would never want that. 
I am a loose planner. I have to be open to changes in our schedules because that's the nature of our business. This, of course, effects our children.

A typical day is the following:
Wake up to the I phone alarm and get everybody else up! Make MY coffee and my husband's, then the girls coffees (hot Ovaltine) then get ready for school, the sitter arrives and helps make breakfast and pack lunches, eat breakfast, walk them to school, I go to Wizards when we're shooting and David to his auditions/call- backs, shoots, meeetings (he also produces so he's a busy guy, as well) and then one or both of us almost always gets to pick them up from school.  We love being able to do that (I am done at Wizards rehearsals by 2:30) and love picking them up! The girls have some after school activities like Chess Club and Spanish class. They play in the backyard and do homework BEFORE any T.V. shows. They ride their bikes before or while I prepare dinner or we go out to eat. Bath, read and cuddle before bed. It sounds so routine, but I find deep joy in all of it. Now that it's summer we're going to the beach, the museum, the park, and the library almost everyday! And the playdates of course are increasing! We're grilling more as well. Cooking together is always fun! 

M.O.M Katie ~ Did you find being a mom on WOWP guided you as a Mom at home with parenting ‘issues’ or struggles? Any interesting ‘mom tips’ you learned on set that you apply at home? 

Maria~ I am being prepared on Wizards for those harrowing days of raising teens that fellow parents warn me about. It's "practice", as it were, for what's ahead. The boy/girl stuff and other dating issues, the teenage angst and natural rebelliousness that accompanies it. I don't know that it will come wrapped in as much humor as it does on T.V.!

M.O.M Katie~ Looks like a busy summer, we have all new episodes from Wizzards starting up in July, Camp Rock 2 premiering in September and you are currently filming ‘Larry Crowne’ with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. Can you tell us a little about this new movie and with school coming to an end, what does that mean for the kids? Do they join you onset? 
Maria~ The movie I just wrapped, "Larry Crowne" with Tom Hanks directing and starring along with Julia Roberts is about a middle aged man (Hanks) who gets fired from his job and has to attend Community College. I play Lala Piñedo, a shy classmate of Larry's who emulates their professor (Roberts) and by the end grows more confident. Larry is surrounded by an eclectic group of people who are better off having known him and as it turns out, so is he.  It was a lot of fun on set. There were days I couldn't stop laughing. It was a career highlight to be directed by Tom Hanks. The film was co-written by Hanks, too, along with Nia Vardalos. It is so funny! My character, Lala, is very different from Theresa on Wizards! I love that...can't wait to hear what the fans think! 

M.O.M Katie~Thank you so much for your time and feedback. I know all of our M.O.Ms will apply and learn from your experiences so far and will relate, it doesn’t matter the industry or career, we are all in the same boat as a M.O.M 

Maria~ Have a great summer and thank you!

We can expect to see new episodes of The Disney’s hit show Wizzards of Waverly Place on Friday July 23rd and Friday July 30th and start the school year off with hitting the theatre’s in September to catch Camp Rock 2.

We are excited to continue following Maria’s journey being a successful M.O.M and be sure to be on the look out for hew new feature film comedy ‘Larry Crowne’.

so stay tuned….. follow on twitter : @maria_cb

*****Giving Back & Supporting World Vision******
We asked Maria for charity that she supports and that we could honor during the month she is our Celeb M.O.M.  World Vision is one that she and her family are passionate about and close to her heart.

Kt Steppers is donating 10% of all proceeds from their stepper orders during the month of July!  It is a great cause for support, so if you want to help as well, share with us how will support World Vision during July.  Please spread the word on this wonderful organization and make them Your July Cause!  (www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/give/ways-to-give )

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