Mama’s gotta let go

I started a post on egalitarianism in parenting and I hated it. Perhaps we’ll revisit that some other time.

I’m an actress.  Have I mentioned that here?  Well I am.  Musical theatre is my thing.  I have a degree in it even.  As degrees go, it’s pretty useless and I’ll be paying off the loans I took to get it until Curly himself is in college, but still.  Our city has a thriving professional, semi professional, and amateur theatre scene.  I was part of it once.  We went to shows all the time. The last show I did ended in March of 2008.  I willingly chose to give up on performing for a while to become a mother.  Theatre isn’t going anywhere, I told myself.  The roles I can play will change, but there will always be shows to do.  Motherhood, on the other hand, seemed like a limited time offer.  But at the same time that a part of me is fulfilled, another part of me is empty.

I listen to showtunes in the car and I sing my heart out.  I watch Glee and silly movie musicals.  I stalk the F@cebook updates of my theatre friends, trying to stay in the loop of who’s playing what and where.  We went to a show a few weeks ago and had the grandparents watch Curly. But more and more I feel like an outsider.  Performing is so much a part of who I am.  But there just isn’t room for it in my life right now.  So I have to tend that ember, let it smolder, not allow it to go out or burst into flame.

I’m not ungrateful.  I am lucky and I appreciate that every single day.  I wouldn’t miss the time I have with Curly for the world.  Perhaps, if performing were my livelihood (nice work, if you can get it!) I think it would be different.  I’d have time with him outside of rehearsals and performances.  But in addition to working a 9-5?  It’s just not worth it to me to do shows now.  But when a certain song comes on?  Or when a friend posts about a great part they’ve got?  Or when the kids on the TV sing and dance and come together?  Whew, I miss it.

7 responses to “Mama’s gotta let go

  1. It can be so tough to reconcile motherhood with the other parts of ourselves because motherhood is so all consuming. But, it won’t always be. And, hopefully, your love of theater will be something that you can one day share with your son and you will love it in a whole new way.

  2. You’re right — it’s a delicate balancing act to retain your art while you’re not actively doing it. But you will – and soon you will find a way to work in the rehearsals and performances .. after all, what fills you up will fill up Miles, too.

  3. I can relate— I have an MFA in Creative Writing and haven’t written a single poem or story in ages. I hope that it’s not just “something I used to do”…

    I should write a scene for you to act out and then we’d both be ok. 🙂

    Did you ever take any classes with Heather McDonald? Totally awesome. I took a playwrighting (is that right?) class with her as an undergraduate.

  4. If you could just mesh the two of us together you’d have the happiest and most content woman on the planet! I wish I could share my professional happiness with you and get a little of the baby love in return.

    Kidding aside…I know how hard it can be to have something you love that much just be on indefinite hold. I know it won’t always be that way but I’m sure in the interim it sure is hard. What about after Miles turns 1 trying to do one show a year? That’s only like a 6-10 week commitment, less than 20% of a total year and the reward would be great. Just a thought.

  5. Theater is a love you never forget. Don’t worry. She will still be there for you when you are ready to go back. I’d volunteer to help with the babysitting if I was closer.

    You know what I miss the most about theater? Other than using the skills I have a degree in to actually create something, that is. I miss the smell. That odd combination of sawdust, paint, hot lights, and slightly melted plastic that every theater I’ve ever been in smells like. Sigh….I miss it too.

  6. Ah, this post hits close to home even though I’m not yet parenting. I’m a fiction writer, and I worry all the time about how my artistic life, creative output, etc will be affected by the baby. Obviously writing can be a stay-at-home activity, but I have a feeling it’ll be hard to climb into that intensely focused cave while also caring for a wee one. Not to mention my fears that my under-employed self will have to get on some better employment unless a book deal magically falls into my lap. Yet I know some amazing artist/writer moms who make it work, so I have hope. Some delay is inevitable but you’ll find ways to get back in it and feed your creative inner child as much as your external one.

  7. Aw Nutella, that’s got to hurt even if you are in the midst of pure motherhood bliss. The struggle to be a mom, a professional, a wife and still hold on to the essence of who we are takes so much balancing and yet, something always has to give. My hope is that once Miles is a little bigger you will be able to get back to your passion, maybe even find a way to work him into it too. Until then though, its okay to mourn the loss of that part of your life. Just keep the embers burning so that when the time is right, you can stoke it back to life. xoxo

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