The Actor’s Fund Educating New and Soon-to-be Moms

 


 

Becoming a parent presents a whole host of previously unknown concerns, and health care is one of the big ones. It’s so vital that I know several working actress moms who consider working background during slow times in order to work enough days to qualify for SAG health care.

 

Luckily, the amazing folks at The Actor’s Fund is hosting a series of workshops for new moms and pregnant women. The first workshop is on April 25, 2017, and will cover topics such as:

  • Choosing providers that best suit your needs (e.g. obstetricians, pediatricians, etc.)
  • Finding health insurance networks that cover those providers
  • Understanding your rights and protections during pregnancy and as a new mom

 

Check out the workshop info here!

 

 

‘How do you do it?’: 3 pillars of mama-actor success

How do you do it?

 


 

I’ve had a lot of people approach me recently to ask, “How do you do it?”

 

After fumbling some half-assed answer on two separate occasions, much to the dismay of the poor women seeking support, I sat down to craft a more thoughtful answer. I grabbed my kid’s crayons and construction paper and whipped up a slightly sad-looking but accurate infographic chart drawing thing (it’s stunning, I know)…

 

image

 

I thought my lifelines would be things like date nights, health insurance, and a great bottle of wine, but what ended up emerging was more foundational (though date nights, wine and health insurance are nice too).

 

Here are the pillars of my life that have allowed me to have clarity and vitality around my work and career and family. I realized that I have a pretty great life, and if this helps a new mama out there raise herself out of the ashes of Butt Paste and puke, I will have done my job here.

Pillar #1: Tribe

When I polled the mama actors in our TMA Facebook group about the one piece of advice they would give to a young actress who wants to be a mom someday, the unanimous response was, “Choose the right partner”. This is absolutely, bottom-line, vital. Like, even more fundamental than the three pillars I’m discussing here.

 

But beyond that one person who will make or break your parenting experience, a dynamic, well-rounded tribe is essential.

 

Inner tribe

Your inner tribe is like your inner, inner circle of soul-love. Your partner + kids + close family & soul sisters. I hope I don’t have to tell you why the inner tribe is important.

 

Outer tribe

Your outer tribe is made of all the people that you bring into your life that simply help shit work better. They may not be soul sisters, but they will watch your kids when you have a last minute audition. They may not have held your hair while you puked in college, but they will help you tape an audition or give you advice about your agent. You might pay them in exchange for their services and that is 100% okay.

 

Here is a partial list of my outer tribe: my babysitting co-op, my career coach, my neighbors, my agents, my theatre company, The Mama Actor Facebook group, my accountability partner, my Women in Film mentoring circle, the casting directors who know me, the Starbucks guy who knows I like a splash of heavy whipping cream in my coffee. In short, the vast network of connection that weaves together the threads of my life.

 

Part two of creating your outer tribe is knowing that you know them. Here’s what I mean: We take for granted the vast network of people that undergirds and enriches our human experience on this planet. Recognizing the breadth of my outer tribe makes me feel supported and connected and set up for success. This awareness in turn lowers my anxiety, fuels my ambition, and frees my creativity. See? Know who they are, and then know that you know.

 

Pillar #2: Purpose & Vision

Technically vision and purpose are two different things, but I didn’t have room on the green construction paper for another pillar so I combined them. I see my purpose as the thread that connects all the parts of my life, the thing that runs underneath everything I do. Most people trace their purpose back to a deep and early formative experience or condition, and this has been true for me as well.

 

As a multi-racial girl growing up in the time and place that I did, the feeling of belonging was something I struggled with deeply and continuously. For me it went beyond the sense of isolation that most kids experience at some point or another. It was a biological certainty that my DNA meant that I would never belong anywhere, not even with my own parents. This feeling of fundamental disconnection forged the core of my purpose: to increase true belonging, acceptance, and community in the world, and to decrease isolation, conformity, and separation. This purpose guides how I raise my children, how I operate in the entertainment industry, how I engage in my community.

 

While my purpose won’t change anytime soon, my living vision is more fluid and changing. It’s basically a document that describes my vision for all areas of my life–career, creativity, family, marriage, spirituality. It’s a specific, 5 sense picture of how I want to experience life moment to moment, day to day, across the various domains of my life.

 

What’s really behind the living vision is a sense of agency. A feeling that I can make my life whatever I want it to be, so why not design it on purpose? It makes me feel powerfully creative and in charge. Like the boss lady of my own life.

 

Pillar #3: Practice

 

The essence of practice boils down to choosing to invest in 2 things: habit over motivation, and growth over perfectionism.

Choose habit over motivation, growth over perfectionism. Click To Tweet

 

I’m so over striving. I was a striver for a long time. I lived with a vague sense of anxiety underlying all of my experiences, the feeling that I should somehow be better or further along. It’s bullshit, mama. It’s the Koolaid of the Ivy League.

 

Practice means movement, perfection means stagnation. Practice means that dissatisfaction & happiness can co-exist, that I can be happily, blissfully, gratefully dissatisfied. The commitment to a practice-based mindset as opposed to a perfection-based mindset allows for contradiction, layers, complexity, humanity. It allows me to love where I am at the same time that I am working to deepen my marriage, develop more patience, and expand my creative expression. It is bigger than striving, bigger than waiting for inspiration, bigger than setting goals and benchmarks.

 

Practice allows. Practice accepts. Practice does not wait to be motivated. Practice is. Practice does. Practice means I can fuck up and succeed at the same time, and I’m all in favor of that.

 


 

I hope that’s a more complete answer to “How do you do it?” than I was able to provide to the poor moms I recently met. What are your foundational pillars that support your ability to thrive? How do you do it, mama? Share in the comments here on the blog or in the TMA Facebook group.

 

 

 

[From the Trenches] Linda Lowy has an elevator y’all!!


 

A few months ago I had to take my children to Linda Lowy’s office. I dreaded it–all 10 of my back up child care goddesses were busy, so I sucked it up and packed the stroller, the diaper bag and a ton of snacks.

 

Even though there are two separate waiting rooms, the office is reeeeaaaal quiet. And my children are, well, not. The toddler kept repeating, “hi” to a poor guy actor was just trying to focus on his work before going into the audition room.

 

Luckily, fellow mama actor and Mother in Hollywood podcaster, Heather Brooker, had an appointment with Linda that day too, and she came early to entertain the toddler with Snapchat filters. Thank you, friend!

 

But the most important thing I discovered that day, is that Linda Lowy’s office has an elevator!

 

Linda Lowy stairs

 

If you’ve been To Lowy/Brace before, you are familiar with that super daunting set of open stairs. But right underneath, past where that bike is, there is an elevator!

 

Here is a close-up of the paper on the post:

 

Linda Lowy elevator sign

 

So for all you brave or desperate mamas who may someday find yourself heading to Linda Lowy’s with your babies, at least now you know you won’t have to backward-drag your stroller up that crazy staircase. Break a leg!

 

From the Trenches is a series of stories, insights, and lessons straight from the audition rooms of Los Angeles to give you an honest, behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day minutae of life as a working mama actor.

The Nasty Women Voting Party

Nasty Women Voting Party

When nasty women get together to drink cocktails and talk politics. Basically my dream evening.


 

When I got my Official Voter Information Guide in the mail a few weeks ago I was staggered by how thick it was–223 pages?? Are you kidding me?

 

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to make it through alone: like much of life, it would require good wine and a group of my favorite nasty women. Here’s how Elizabeth Warren described nasty women,”Nasty women are tough. Nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote. We nasty women are going to march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever.” Yup.

 

Thus was born the Nasty Women Voting Party.

 

Here’s how it worked: Each nasty woman in the group got 1-2 propositions to research and present to the rest of the group. We got together on Friday with our #2 pencils and our voter guides and this delicious Nasty Woman Cocktail, and we shared what we learned. We pooled our collective female genius, filtered the information through our own political preferences, and prepared to vote based on our conviction, knowledge, and compassion.

 

Nasty Woman Cocktail

Nasty Woman Cocktail Service

 

 

The Nasty Woman in action. She was delicious and smooth.

 

 

Susan B Anthony and Jane Addams would be so proud.

 

I am honored, thrilled, and yes, prepared to cast my vote on November 8, 2016–a mere 96 years after the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution gave women the right to vote and 39 years after the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage nationally, which allowed my parents to marry and make me.

 

It’s a little too late to organize your own Nasty Woman Voting Group in time for the election tomorrow, but I hope that the idea behind it, a celebration of female empowerment and friendship and genius, carries us forward into the next dimension of what’s possible for all people around the world.