[From the Trenches] Anatomy of a Great Day
Much has been said about work/life balance, but what on earth does that look like for a mama actor on a daily basis? As a mom and artist, my days vary a lot. I’m lucky enough to be a full-time actor/mom, which means I don’t need to have a non-acting day job in order for my family to survive. Some days are all mom, some days are all actor, most days are somewhere in between.
Here is what my Tuesday looked like in all of it’s messy, balanced(ish) glory:
Wake up. Water, coffee, 5-minute meditation. Waking up before the kids is a must in order for me to have a good morning. That’s just my particular brand of cranky.
Kids wake up. Big Boy and Curly Girl snuggle and read a book before the morning routine of breakfast, packing lunch, and telling BB five hundred times to put his shoes on.
Drive Big Boy to school.
Fellow parent arrives to take care of Curly Girl while I volunteer in Big Boy’s classroom.
Volunteer in Big Boy’s classroom. BB sits on my lap and wants to show me all of his work, my heart is full of joy.
Return home. Curly Girl is napping. Use the time to finish getting ready–makeup, wardrobe, double check sides, enter location into Waze, log mileage, etc.
Sitter arrives to watch CG. I leave for audition.
Part 1 of my glorious alone time AKA “the drive”. I love this time so much. I listen to my sides, music or podcast. The key is that it’s whatever I feel like listening to.
Audition room antics + accompanying play, excitement, surrender.
Drive Time, Part 2.
Arrive home, hubs is already there. Family time. Dinner is made, BB does his chores, CG tears apart the house. We eat dinner outside and tell each other our roses and thorns from our day. Bedtime prep–hubs and I divide and conquer–one of us does BB bedtime while the other does CG bedtime and then cleans the kitchen.
Ahhhh. Connect with partner. Reflect. This was a fully-lived day. Partly because of the rare minute-by-minute breakdown of the day into mama time, actor time, and family time, but also because of how I’ve learned to experience each of those chunks of time.
I’ve learned that “making the most of each minute” doesn’t mean multi-tasking until I want to stab my eye out. It means going deep into what each moment holds–emotionally, sensorially. I slow down and open my heart to invite in the waves of joy that I feel when I watch Curly Girl discover a stick and swirl in the texture of her own delight. I open to the shards of guilt that prick my heart as I leave her with a babysitter yet again. I surrender to the rush of excitement in doing my job in the audition room, and to the utter release of relaxing on the grass as my son teaches us how to play Charlie Over the Ocean.
Each up and each down, each rose and each thorn, is meant to be felt. It’s the whole point of having feelings in the first place.
That’s how I achieve balance, by pushing none of it away, by whispering to each feeling, each experience, each moment: “Come closer. Let me know you.”
What about you? What does a great day look like in your world, mama actor? Leave a comment below or in the fancy new Mama Actor Facebook Group!
From the Trenches is a segment in which I share of stories, insights, and lessons straight from the audition rooms of Los Angeles to give you an honest, behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the life of one working mama actor.