I fell in love with theater at a young age. Growing up, I participated in school plays and church plays. I got involved with the theater program at our local community center and spent my summers performing shows. I studied Theater in college, and after college I worked as an actor for one year in Pennsylvania and then moved to Chicago to further pursue my dreams.
Up until I became pregnant, I was active as a member of a theater company, consistently worked as a paid extra in TV and film, did commercials, worked at a medical school as a standardized patient, taught theater classes for children, and did some directing. When I became pregnant, things slowed down a bit. I was sick during my pregnancy and had no energy. I did direct one show at the start of my pregnancy, but it involved a lot of breaks during rehearsals and running to the bathroom mid-performances so I could throw up. Thanks “morning” sickness.
After my son was born, I took some time off to focus on and care for him. I was able to continue teaching classes since they were only one night a week but that was all I did for quite some time. Slowly I began going on commercial auditions my agent would set up for me, but I was not going on any theater auditions.
Then my husband was deployed overseas for eight months, leaving me as a single parent. I had a 6-month-old baby and no family around. That meant I could not work as an extra in TV/film due to the very early and/or very late call/end times. Fortunately, I was able to continue teaching classes one night a week due to some fantastic friends who would come over and babysit, and I was also able to go on any auditions my agent got for me, but again, theater was not possible. It was too hard to find a babysitter for those late night rehearsals and all the performances.
It felt like my dream was dying. I was very ready to give up on my dreams and let them fall by the wayside.
After my husband returned from his deployment, I was able to audition and perform once again. It was wonderful! I very much loved (and still do love!) teaching classes, but I felt like a part of me was missing when I wasn’t performing.
Change was coming …
Fast forward three years and add baby number two. Things began to change …
My husband and I decided it would be possible for me stay at home with our children and no longer work full-time. This was a transition I was more than ready for! As I spent each day with my boys, I grew to hate the thought of leaving them for very long. My husband would ask me frequently if I was planning on attending any upcoming auditions, and I would always answer no. I still loved the theater and was still teaching classes, I just realized I didn’t want to spend that much time away from my boys when they were so young. My strong desire to be a part of the theater world didn’t go away, but I knew my involvement in it was about to change.
It was a hard transition to make. I won’t lie. My whole life I had dreamed of being an actor. It was all I ever wanted. But, now that I was a mom, I realized things needed to change.
Yes, you can be an actor and a mom at the same time. Of course!
But, I began to realize that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to be mom first and an actor second. But, like I said, I still had this need inside of me to be in the theater world (Once it’s in your blood, you can’t get it out!).
So, I continued teaching theater classes for children and did some directing for smaller productions that only required one rehearsal a week. My thirst for being involved in theater was being quenched, and I was able to be there for my boys at the same time.
Fast forward a few more years …
Now that my boys are older, I’m able to be away from them longer and pursue more teaching and directing opportunities than I had before. In fact, I helped direct two different productions this past school year, and I also taught classes one night a week. And when the acting bug hits (as it does!), I fly to birthday parties and festivals, storytelling as Blossom, The Flower Fairy. And it has all been perfect!
At one point, I thought I couldn’t have it all. I didn’t think I could be involved in theater and be a full-time mom. I felt like my dreams were slipping away and I couldn’t get them back. But then I realized something. I realized that just because things change, it doesn’t mean you should give up. You may have to alter your dreams to fit your current reality, but you can still pursue them, and you should!
Keep pursuing those dreams, mamma!