Figuring out this whole creative mommyhood thing feels a lot like Sisyphus with his boulder. I find the magic formula, only to have it all roll away from me again.
With the prospect of a baby came the fear of losing myself – of not doing the things I love like writing and acting. The me who doesn’t do these things is not a happy or healthy me. I resent the things in my life that keep me from these things I love, but resenting a child for my own choices is simply not acceptable . That was never an option.
I attended a panel at Reader Con a few years ago where writers talked about writing while parenting. General consensus seemed to be to expect to write off the first two years of a child’s life, creatively.
No, you don’t just stop creating (but don’t expect much from yourself), and yes, it depends greatly on the baby. So my takeaway: curtail expectations.
So I expected very little of myself with a newborn. But the need to create something kept punching its way out. Like the apple crisp I made the week after we got home with her from the hospital. It may have taken me six hours, but I made something, damn it. And writing? Writing was slow, but it happened.
Yet somehow, my brain failed to apply that same expectation to theatre. At first, I thought I’d be able to do a show this summer. She’d be with me for at least some rehearsals, but it would still be me doing a think I love. I did that New Year’s Eve coffee shop reading. I auditioned for the summer show. The director even offered me a role, but by then I knew it just wouldn’t work.
But I’ve found a happy medium: staged readings! A handful of rehearsals, a little blocking, some character work, and performances! (With scripts in hand.) I got the call offering me the role last week. Our read through is Monday, but I’m already ridiculously excited about the story and my character.
Only six rehearsals, but spanning a month and a half. Who wants to bet I’ll be off-book?
Starting a new production always makes me giddy. Being my first with a baby has some trepidation mixed in, while also bringing a not insignificant measure of relief. Relief at being back on a stage (it always feels a bit like homecoming), relief that I can do this now, relief that I don’t have to wait another year.
At least writing-wise, what I can (and how) accomplish keeps changing. This is going to throw another wrench into the equation. At least I’m adaptable!