Before I was married and had kids and large responsibilities, I could focus all of my efforts on myself. What did I want to do? If I wanted to travel, I’d book a flight for my next available weekend. If I wanted to be social, I’d call up some friends and go out. If I wanted to shop, I’d go to the mall. If I wanted to read, I’d do it. You get the idea. I’m sure you know the feeling – I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted because the only person I had to be responsible for was myself. Obviously when a husband and kids enter the picture life and responsibilities grow and change.
This is not news to anyone, myself included. I knew going into marriage and motherhood that my life was about to dramatically change, and I love it. Family time is the best part of my life. But here’s my question – how do you balance being a wife and being a mom with still being YOU?
Some people may be thinking, “But you’re still you! The fundamental elements of your personality didn’t change.” Right, that’s true, but there are certain elements of “me” that take a backseat when being a mom and a wife. One of them is my love for performing. Since being married, I’ve been in one show. (To compare, I would normally try to do 2-3 shows a year as my schedule allowed. I’ve been married now for over 2 years.) I played Nancy in Oliver, and it was especially great because I got to share the stage with Z.
Doing shows gives me such joy as a human being. There’s something incredibly life giving and therapeutic about live theatre. I love diving into a character and, for a few hours each day, living and literally walking in someone else’s shoes. The beauty of creating a world unlike your current reality with people who have a similar vision is incredible. The culture of theatre is refreshing and wonderful. I don’t think I have found something (outside of my family) that brings me such happiness.
Which brings me to this…I was recently cast as Magnolia in a production of Show Boat. I’ve only had one rehearsal so far, but it was amazing stepping foot into a theatre for rehearsal again. The first notes I got to sing, the beginnings of character development, making choices as an actor, feeling free to make mistakes and fall on my face because I know I’m surrounded by loving people who will pick me back up… All of that positive energy came back to me during my first rehearsal this weekend. I felt energized in a way I haven’t felt in awhile. My body and spirit felt free to create, emote, and I used a part of my brain that has been getting rusty from underuse.
But, as with anything, it’s taking me away from time spent with my family, and especially my baby. That’s where I struggle. I want to do this show with every fiber of my being, but I want to be able to do it without feeling like I should be spending the time I’m at rehearsals with my family. Now, rehearsals aren’t every day, and, honestly, most of the rehearsal time takes place after the kids have gone to sleep, but that still doesn’t mean that the mom guilt doesn’t creep in.
What do you busy mommies do? Bridgette always says that you have to be the best person you can be in order to be the best mom you can, and I agree with her, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t question if I’m doing it right. I so fiercely love my family, but I also love performing. Both are life giving, and both are important to me. I know I’m doing both right now, and I’m making it work, but how do you do it without feeling like you’re sacrificing either yourself and your wellbeing or precious time spent with your family?