I've been auditioning like a mad woman for months now. This is the easiest, quickest sentence to write but the act of auditioning with a kid means DAYS of stress. The juggling act of finding childcare...the missed time you needed to study and memorize lines...the inability to show up to an audition 100% ready to perform...the tears, the fatigue, the body issues because you haven't had time to work out in months (ex. no strength, fatigue, tummy pooch) compounded with casting directors who put descriptions in the breakdowns like "fit body...wear a swimsuit". The pressure to make that money so your kid can eat and have adequate childcare...
Months of that left me sitting in the dark last night, hands covering my face as I sobbed my eyes out. Moment of truth: I give 30% to most of everything. Nothing's getting 100%...nothing's even getting close to that.
So now I'm left wondering what in the hell does a feminist mother look like? Are there rules for this shit? Because I feel I'm breaking some invisible, but strong guidelines. I don't know where the expectations come from...seeing women in the world mothering but also appearing on shows I watch. Seeing women prove you can have a career and be a mother... never seeing temper tantrums...never seeing a woman losing her shit when she's hit her breaking point and just can't.
My brand of feminism has always been I get to make whatever choices I want. I should have the same opportunities, but how in the hell do I apply that to mothering in Hollywood? Because I can tell you right now folks in casting offices have judged me with disdain openly. When I say I haven't taken an acting class since my daughter was born... When I answer that my workouts consist of running after a two year old... When I show up to the audition that they clearly said you didn't need to memorize lines for because they'd be written on the board but then they ask why you still couldn't find the time to memorize... BECAUSE I WRESTLED A TODDLER TO PUT ON A BREATHING MASK AND SUCK MEDICINE FROM A NEBULIZER THEN GOT HER BUTT READY FOR BED WHICH TOOK AN HOUR THEN ATE MY COLD DINNER THEN CRIED AND THEN PASSED OUT AT 9 BECAUSE MY KID WAKES AT 6AM MOST MORNINGS (SOMETIMES EARLIER. THAT'S WHY.)
...they look at you like you've just said the dog has eaten your homework and you see their thoughts "Delete this tape. She clearly doesn't want this bad enough. Excuses...excuses."
When I got knocked up I experienced the worst kind of knocked down.
Yesterday I listened to an old podcast of the Friend Zone and they were discussing transparency, asking listeners how much should we should share about our trials and tribulations on social media. My answer: I see nothing wrong with sharing my truths. All the good and the bad so you can see the whole picture. The truth implies balance. You share it all; filtering not a damn thing.
That is why I'm sharing now. Nothing scares me more than when someone approaches me about the commercials they've seen me in or the snapchat story they've watched that shows me freshly showered in and assume I've found some secret to peace and harmony. I'm not the mother I thought I'd be. I'm rarely patient. I cry and snap and scream and roll my eyes and cry a lot. I worship Doctor Google to help me with diagnose shit.
And that's just the mom part of me. In regards to my full time job and my acting pursuits it's even more messy. For every commercial you see me in you should calculate at least four dedicated hours of worry and stress. Am I a terrible mother for leaving my kid? Am I providing enough for my child? Pulling out of the driveway as Mark holds Z while she cries "Mommy! Mommy!" is the worst damn feeling.
Then there's the speed with which I now move when it comes to pursuing my dream. The amount of time it takes to inch a micro centimeter towards tv and film work.... Woooooo! I make sloths impatient.
This is where I am today. There's this pressure I've put on myself at some point. I'm not sure when I created this weird rule I've imposed: a feminist mother can do it all, equally and well. But the rule is about to break me. I need to see more feminist mothers in the struggle sharing the losses and the wins... the oopses and the pelvic thrusts.
Shonda Rhimes came close. Her Dartmouth speech was so incredibly helpful, but it also was a story told by someone who had already made it when the kiddies came. Who out there had kids while at the beginning or middle of the journey?
This isn't a plea for my misery to seek company. I just need to know that this is normal. That it is hard. I want guidelines to help me navigate casting directors with dumb expectations. I need more mama meetings that consist of encouraging and glowing up together. I have helped mamas out with childcare while they audition because I get that stuff. I send pictures of their smiling, happy babies so they know they can focus on their work and suppress some enough of the worry to get through the taping. I need a transparent village. I need a spiritual cleansing... I need something magical to clear all this damn hard stuff out. I need a break. Maybe a clue...or two.
Pretty soon I'll be able to announce a fun project I'm working on for TV. I'm shooting my first demo reel this spring. I had four callbacks last week for commercials. This is the stuff people that tends to stick in people's minds. When I share the successes now you'll know the prices that came with those moments.
I'm doing what I can with what I've got. It doesn't feel like it's enough. I don't know if I'm moving in the right directions. So when you see me in a commercial and you're thinking I'm doing the damn thing know that I am, but I've paid for that moment ... my family's paid for that moment.
It takes a pro-women village...folks who aren't afraid to see and help through it all and not hold that shit against the moms.