With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I have been thinking a lot about mothering and families, especially as it relates to my daughter and the relationship we have. There is much talk these days about work/life balance for families. This is especially true for mothers. We are asked or ask it of ourselves, to balance so many competing interests in our lives. We balance being wives and mothers with our work outside the home. We balance creating the kind of home life we desire with our friendships and hobbies. And all of it comes with increasing stress to be wonder moms/women.
I am a huge fan of Pinterest and I love event planning. I have boards upon boards, upon boards on Pinterest. And I love to refer to the most creative ideas and make every birthday and holiday a special time for my family, especially my daughter. She is young for such a short period of time and I want our experiences together to be authentic and substantive so she will remember them always.
It can be exhausting to balance all of the competing forces in my life but I have been exceedingly lucky because this special place that I work has afforded me the opportunity to have my daughter at work with me a great deal of the time. My daughter was born in February of 2006 and that summer I directed Shane Peacock’s The Art of Silent Killing. I was able to have Maude Rose and her babysitters at the theatre with me during rehearsals so that I was not forced to sacrifice precious time in her early life in pursuit of my work and my art.
Modern families sacrifice so much to live their lives in this fast paced world. With both parents working, many miss out on important milestones. We want the best for our children so we put them in many activities in an attempt to give them skills and interests which will hopefully carry them into adulthood and set them on a path of fulfilment and happiness. But all of this scheduling and working is not without its stresses and challenges. And it is exacerbated in the arts where rehearsal periods are generally six days per week, performances usually run eight each week. And so many artists have to travel to work. This means being away from their homes and families for long periods.
Given the community-based nature of our theatre, my daughter has been acting in plays at 4th Line since she was four years old. This summer she will have the chance to be in both shows as a community volunteer actor. And this means that I will get to spend time with her while I pursue my artistic dreams. I have always believed that it is important for my daughter to see me as more than just her mother, an extension of her. I believe she needs to see me going after my artist work, to see me as a strong and independent woman who can lead people and whose dreams are being actualized. And working at 4th Line has allowed me to be that person for her with her deeply involved.
This got me thinking of all the mothers and families who have been involved with the theatre over the years. Many parents have acted with us so that they and their children have the experience of being together at the theatre. I also think of all the parents who have driven their children to the theatre and back over many years so that their children’s dreams of being on stage can come true. I can think of a least one family who have been volunteering together in one shape or form for over 21 years (yay Spasovs!). And they are only one example of the countless families who have been involved at the theatre over the years and have contributed to making it the unique place it is today.
I know that motherhood and family means many different things to people. And so this weekend, if you are celebrating Mother’s Day, I hope you and your family can take the time to enjoy each other in an authentic and substantive way. I know that my family will be striving to do exactly this, together.
Managing Artistic Director