Thursday, March 08, 2007

Let it slide

It's funny how you just let things slide when you become a mother. Eating proper meals. Keeping the house clean. Exercising regularly. It took me a long time - longer than it really should have based on those "new-mom tips" I was gobbling up like candy when I was pregnant - to realize that this is okay. Carrying a few extra pounds, carpets that look like a crumb-minefield, and ordering takeout for the third time in a week are small prices to pay for quality time with your family. What's been plaguing me lately is this - when is it not okay? When have I let things slide too far?

When I found out I was pregnant, I was in a production of Five Women Wearing the Same Dress. I should have known that I was pregnant because my skin broke out and I was tired all the time, but I was in hell week of the show, and those symptoms could be explained away. Stupid stage makeup. Stupid all-day rehearsals. So I used lots of foundation and drank boatloads of Awake tea. It took bursting out of an ugly prom dress costume that was made for me and getting drunk on two small glasses of wine on opening night for me to realize it. (I'm slow.) Since then, I haven't done a show. At first, it was because the next set of shows would go up in October when I would be visibly pregnant. I didn't think anyone would cast me, and I was worried that I would be too tired even if I was cast. Then the Boy was born and I was too tired. Then I didn't know how to do rehearsals when I was breastfeeding and the Boy wouldn't take the bottle. Then I was back at work and I was too tired. Then I thought I could handle a show, but how could I go to rehearsal at night and on weekends when I barely saw the Boy enough as it was? Then I thought it would be okay to do a show if it was really important to me or my development as an actor. When I weighed the shows out there, very few made the cut. Of the few that did, I didn't get the part. Stupid directors. So, all told, I haven't done a show since I was in my first few weeks of pregnancy. The Boy just turned two. That's a long time.

It would be okay to let it slide, if it wasn't something that was so important to me. But it is. It's part of who I am. Or who I was. I don't know who I am sometimes. And I'm torn between trying to be the best mom I can be, and doing things that make me happy. So far the mom side has been the clear winner. But, as Bub and Pie so eloquently put it, I am entitled to do things that make me happy, not just because it will make me a better mom, but because I am a person and am entitled to the Pursuit of Happyness. (Did anyone see that movie? Whole lot of Pursuit, not very much Happyness..).

So on Tuesday, I had an appointment to get my headshots done. Let me tell you, I have been quaking in my boots ever since I made that appointment. This guy has shot people like Rex Harrington (drool) and that Ginger Snaps girl (what's her name again?). I'm no 20-something with perky boobs and a rock hard ass. What do I wear? I have no clothes that fit. How do I look? Well, my skin is wretchedly dry and I haven't gotten rid of the muffin-top. I still have the thunder thighs, but they're bigger now. Boobs are non-existent. How am I going to pull this off? It got off to a rocky start:

Photographer: So, do you do theatre or film and tv?
Nomo thinking frantically: Nothing. Nothing! Nothing, I do nothing. What should I say here? I got nothing.
Nomo speaking out loud: Um, mostly theatre.

Photographer: Who are you with?
Nomo thinking frantically: Who am I with? What could that possibly mean?? Mr Earth? The Boy? Is he seeing dead people?? OH! Now I get it.
Nomo speaking out loud: I don't have an agent right now, but I'm hoping your pictures will get me one...

Yes, I advise telling the truth in all situations. It's just that sometimes, when I'm caught off-guard, my mind does not always follow the path of truth and light. And sometimes the lies are easier than the long explanation required to tell the truth. (You know you should have just lied when you see their eyes start to glaze over while you're talking). I don't care if I have an agent, I just want to act again sometime. I don't want to be the person I was before becoming a mom - I've changed in a thousand infinitesimal ways and I'm so much better than I was before. But I don't want to lose the things that made old Nomo a good, interesting person too. I don't know whether I'll actually let myself do shows, or I'll end up feeling too guilty again. I hope I don't. It's important to me. But I feel like I should be one of those moms who put everything on hold while their kids are growing up, so I don't miss the golden moments. It would kill me to miss those moments. Is it really all or nothing??


metro mama said...

There has to be a way to have both. There HAS to.

Kyla said...

I don't think it is all or nothing. I think it is WONDERFUL for you to do shows again. Balance is good and healthy. Sometimes the guilt alarm needs to be turned off for a bit. Choosing to do shows here or there will not make you miss the golden moments. I think you can do it. I think you should.

Mimi said...

I hope it's not all or nothing. I'm starting to think again about travelling for work: conferences, research ... not like before (often, and for long periods), but not like now (nothing at all). But I don't know how to do it. I guess we just have to try it, right?

kgirl said...

rex harrington? really?

anyway, i think as moms we have to go for this and that - not this or that. so go for it, and good luck!

NotSoSage said...

Oh, Joe and I have talked about this a lot. He wants to gig, tour and record, but he also wants to be present. I hope that once I'm in school I might be able to do a practicum or two in a remote area and eventually end up doing MSF tours now and then. That will take us away from Mme L, and that will suck, but it'll also help us follow our dreams and avoid any potential resentment over the compromises we've made AND teach her to follow her dreams, herself. Does that make sense?

Beck said...

It's hard. I've never found the balance between my life and my kids, but there must BE one.
And on a different note, I didn't know you were an actress! How did I miss that?

PeanutButtersMum said...

If you find the answer to your own question, will you please forward it to me? PLEASE??!!

Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

It does not need to be all or nothing. We just need to shift our expectations. It's difficult to find that balance, but it does exist.

At least, that's my perspective!

cinnamon gurl said...

Great post. I am going through the exact same thing... well ok not exact, I don't act, but similar stuggles.

I got no answers for you though. Except that it would likely be a wonderful experience for your son to go your next opening night and see his mom on stage. I think that's a cool thing.

I think I saw Rex Harrington on Divine Design the other day. I think he got his bathroom redone.

Mad Hatter said...

Dear Lord, I have never been more happy to be a librarian. We are expected to get pudgy and slouchy--the cardigans fit better that way. If I had to get head shots done, I would surely die. I admire your bravery.

bubandpie said...

Since becoming a mother, I've had a couple of brief periods of working full-time and being very busy - and it has always felt do-able because it's short term: I couldn't give myself over to a job that demanding if it were all or even most of the time, but for 6 or 8 weeks, I can do it - and then I have long stretches when I'm at home all or most of the time. It's a strange way to live, but really good in a lot of ways.

Mamalooper said...

So still wrestling with this too - the cliched "balance", whatever that ends up meaning. And added to that - things that I was passionate about before Monkeygirl, I am either less so or passionate about them in a different way.

Before the girl I was immersed in jazz piano (for fun) - now I am slowly working my way back to music again and seeing what interests me.

Intending to work through the new Julia Cameron book and see what comes of that.

Sandra said...

I struggle with balance every single day.

And Rex Harrington .. yummy.

And even more important (to me 'cause I am that self-absorbed it seemed) ... I just learned you were out on Friday and I missed the chance to meet you! I am soooooo disappointed. Next time I hope :)