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An Open Letter to my Daughters From a Theater Mom

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I have not been able to post for a while as my life was wonderfully interrupted with a theatrical production. I thought I would be able to write this while the production was going on, but I am not that organized. Being in a show seems to take up over 90% of my brain and most other parts of my life go by the wayside. This post serves as an apology to my kids for the way our household gets turned upside-down, inside-out, completely discombobulated, etc. while I am in a show.  As much as I love performing, there are reasons why I only do this a couple of times per year. Because I am already deficient in my physical organizational skills, this upheaval in our life seems to set me back tenfold every single time. I set up a house-cleaning system, then BAM! I’m in a show, and chaos ensues! This coupled with driving my children to an after-school activity which runs 7 days per week turns my brain to mush. So here goes…..

A Letter to My Daughters

Dear daughters,

This serves as a pre-apology and warning for every production I will do henceforth (that is Shakespearean talk for “in the future”). I want you to be aware of strange things I will do while I am rehearsing for a production, especially when I am involved with a musical.  I love you dearly and wouldn’t trade my motherly life for anything. But, sometimes a mom just needs to do her own thing. And, performing in the theater is my adult emotional outlet.

I am making the vow that I will only perform in two large productions per year with an occasional short-term singing gig. I figured out that this is what works best for our family and won’t drive daddy too crazy.  I realize that it would be easier on all of us if I gave up this side gig of mine, but I want you to grow up knowing that it is okay to have outside interests that you can pursue aside from your family.

When I am onstage, I am challenged in a different way than I am when I navigate our family’s schedule or decide what we will eat for dinner. Learning music, lines, and choreography keeps my brain active. Jumping into someone else’s life while I take on a role maintains my empathy. And, being on stage gives me an exhilarating feeling that I don’t experience when I drive you from Point A to Point B. Does this make me a bit selfish? Perhaps, but I would want the same for the people I love most, my family. This is why  your father and I do what we can to support your interests even if it means that it might further complicate our family’s schedule.

And, I also want you to know that it is possible to find a man who will support and applaud your efforts in finding creative outlets. I am so fortunate to have married your dad. I know that my being in a production is taxing on the family, but having your dad’s support and knowing that he gets just as excited (or nervous) when I am about to open a show means the world to me. I  want you to know that there are guys out there who will support whatever career or hobby you might be interested in pursuing.

Now that I am done with the mushy parts, here are  things that may happen when I am in a show. Please know I try my best, but I do screw up sometimes and I can act a little crazy. Here is a list of the weird things your mom might do while I am rehearsing or performing in a show as can be attested during this last round:

  1. I may sing in the car while I wait to pick you up from ballet or school. I try to keep the windows closed, but I am a soprano and have received some weird looks from the cars parked next to me. I will also plunk out my parts using the handy piano app on my smart phone while in the waiting room at your ballet studio. Mostly, the other moms ask what I am doing and think it’s neat (or they are being nice and actually think I’m a big weirdo) when I explain it to them.
  2. I might dance in the parking lot at school if it is taking too long for your classes to come out. There isn’t time at rehearsals to perfect our choreography and I like to use every spare second. I usually don’t involve my entire body and might just finger-dance to make sure I know the sequence and the counts.
  3. People may think I am crazy when I silently mouth my dialogue as I sit and wait for you at various places. I really try not to move my lips, but I know that I have slipped a couple of times.
  4. I may show up at the ballet studio with curlers in my hair especially if there is a long stretch of time from the time I take you to ballet and the time I have to do a show. Sometimes I have to head straight to the theater after dad gets to the studio and I don’t have any other time to curl my hair.picture in rollers and makeup
  5. Due to car shuffles, your backpack with all your homework inside may make it to the theater instead of the house. I will remedy the situation by texting your dad to get you to bed early so I can wake you up at the crack of dawn to get your homework done. Luckily, this only happened twice during this last production.
  6. You will wear socks that don’t match because I haven’t had time to fold the laundry. It’s unfortunate that you have to wear a skirt to mass as I realize mismatched socks might be noticeable.
  7. I might show up in some caked-on makeup that is not meant for everyday wear if I pick you up after a performance. I think these might be the times I get the weirdest looks since I don’t wear a trace of makeup normally. I wonder where the other moms think I have been or what kind of job I have.
  8. You will not see me much when I am in the rehearsal process. I take you to ballet and then go to rehearsal. This is what I miss the most when I do these shows….the time with my family.
  9. I will celebrate your birthday on a day that is not actually a birthday. This is another thing I struggle with, but at least this year you were also at your own ballet rehearsal. I try to make up for it with extra treats and decorations. And, not many kids can say that they had a group of professional singers sing “happy birthday” to them at the theater during our all-day tech rehearsal.
  10. You will eat Burger King. Sometimes I don’t have time to cook a healthy meal and we end up eating fast food. I know this doesn’t bother you, but since I try to be health-conscious it does bother me.
  11. If we have spare moments, I will ask you to run lines with me. After all, reading aloud does improve a child’s reading fluency.
  12. The dishes might not always be clean and we will often bring out the plastic ware or you might eat your noodles with a serving fork. But, at least you get to eat.
  13. Your dog will be almost unrecognizable. Taking him to the groomer is the least of my Poor Doggieworries while I am in a show. He might not be able to see due to the excessive hair growth, but I trust that his sense of smell can help him make his way around the house. Actually, some people like to have their Coton’s bangs in their faces and purposely keep it this way.
  14. Finally, the house will become a disaster area. Please don’t Facetime your friends and give a tour of the house when I am in a show.

Thank you, daughters, for supporting me and coming to these productions. I love that you want to see the performances multiple times. I love that you enjoy asking questions about the shows and how you say you enjoyed the second time even more than the first time. I love that you want to listen to the music from the show. The fact that you and your dad get just as excited as I do means everything to me.

With all my love,

Your crazy theater mom

Glad to Be Back to Blogging

I’m hoping to start making weekly blog posts again with more helpful and educational information dealing with all things related to motherhood. Readers, thanks for being patient with me during my recent break.

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