Archive for the 'Parents In The Arts' Category

The latest…

May 16, 2011

The Artist’s tools:  Post It Notes and a dry erase marker.

Baby M creating art...The Artist displays her works.

We pulled Baby M out of day care.

Among other things, Baby M was given junk food if she didn’t eat her lunch.  When Baby M was a tiny infant she was pretty much potty trained.  Now we need to retrain her to potty train.

My husband and I were not crazy about the daycare.  They meant well but they weren’t really able to care for all of the kids.  The caretakers “read” books by blasting a CD on a radio and turning pages on the books while talking on their phones.

The final straw was when I had a conversation with one of Baby M’s primary caretakers:

Me:  How have you been?

Caretaker:  Oh, I’m great!  I just went partying last night!  Had a great time!

My heart sank.  This caretaker thought she was my friend and she was confiding, in a sense, that she was cool and hip.  This daycare thing wasn’t really her gig.

Of course I had to go on auditions and have meetings but at what price?  To have a diabetic kid who isn’t potty trained till she’s 15???

I decided that when summer hit I would take Baby M out of daycare and have a mother’s helper for a few hours at my home.

It hasn’t been entirely easy.  My mommying skills are a bit rusty.  Baby M requires a LOT of attention and engagement.  I have to relearn where all the cool spots are for her during the day (story time, which playground’s sandbox is cool, dance class etc…)  I still don’t talk to a lot of moms and it’s easy to feel a bit isolated.

That said, I’m grateful for this opportunity where I can spend time with my daughter. My career, while not perfect, allows me down time where I can change my entire schedule.  (Actually it should be the same for all vocations.  Shouldn’t all parents get to spend more quality time with their children?  Not matter what their occupation is?)

Baby M and I have a special bond and she is very attached to me.  I feel she is a vibrant yet sensitive soul and hence my reason for wanting to stay with her.  As long as I can be with her and provide a warm, happy home (code for me not going batsh*t crazy), I’ll keep the arrangement.

That’s all parenthood is:  it’s arranging your life the best you can to serve your family the best you can.

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7 Tips Overcome Sleep Deprivation & Wonkiness…

May 10, 2011

We flew back from California on the red eye this Sunday and my sleep has been a bit screwy.

I had a hard time falling asleep.  Baby M stayed insisted I take the mattress off of her crib and put it on the floor so she could sleep on it.  (She pointed to the matress screaming “OFF OFF!”)  Around 10:00 she probably rolled off of it and began crying.  I scooped her up and put her back in our bed (I KNOW, IT’S A MISTAKE)

I have a web series to produce, a cranky actor to deal, a crisis with a key member of my team…and what the heck is for dinner?

Since I’ve been hit with many many sleepless nights, I decided I had to come up with some rules of how to deal with it or I shall lose my mind.  I’ve found that “giving up” and “losing my mind” doesn’t really help anyone.  Neither does bucking up and just steam rolling through.  There has to be a happy medium.

1.  Acknowledge that changes with your kid’s schedule is bound to screw things up.  Plan for it.  I knew Baby M’s schedule would be a wreck when I came back.  Mentally I prepped myself for it.  I didn’t plan any rehearsals or meetings for this week.  The goal was to make sure Baby M has a consistent week of Mom time.  This is better for all of us.

2.  When in a major major pinch, there is Thomas The Train, Elmo etc.  I’ve taken Baby M out of daycare because I want to spend more time with her.  It’s a bit of a transition because I spend more time with her.  On nights I have no sleep, I must get SOME rest.  There is time to plop on the couch and rest while Baby M watches some TV.  This is NOT ideal, but sometimes absolutely necessary.

3.  Exercise.  I always feel a lot better when I either walk, run or do weights.  A new yoga studio has opened up in my hood and I’ve committed myself to do yoga everyday.  

4.  Meditate  A perfect way to combat the mind junk and stress.  Sometimes you can even fall asleep when you meditate.  This means you are probably very tired.

5.  Create an evening ritual.  I don’t really have an evening ritual but I’ve decided to reinstate one.  In a way it’s telling yourself that you are to be taken care of and resting your mind and soul are vital.  Ritual is defined as: an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite.  For all my joking and smart assery, I don’t believe it’s far fetched to treat yourself in a reverent way.
Here is my [re-established] ritual:

Plan next day
Meditate
Shower
Writing Gratitudes

6.  DO NOT LOOK AT THE COMPUTER AT NIGHT.  This was my mistake last night.  I probably could have gone to sleep a lot earlier. 

7.  Be gentle to oneself.  Instead of saying what you SHOULD be doing or how you SHOULD be sleeping, just be curious and kind to yourself as you would a friend.  No need to self castigate.  In fact, a warm bath, aromatherapy and a nice pair of pajamas might make sleep more fun.

Sleep is one of the best anti-aging and anti-depressant remedies.  It’s one of the most important things for our mental and physical health.  Unfortunately as parents, it’s seen more of a luxury.  It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity and it’s important to remember that in order to be a good wife, husband, mother, father, doctor, steamfitter, taxi driver, politician, etc you have to take care of yourself.  And if that means hanging out on the couch for a little bit to catch some Z’s…so be it.

Extreme self care – starting NOW

March 2, 2011

I’m tired of being tired.  I’ve been exhausted for the past two years and four months.

Yesterday we had a reading of our web series that my writing partner and I are developing.  It’s very exciting because we have great actors reading and a potential director that I am gaga for.  But before the reading my thought was: “All I want to do is sleep!”.

I decided to go to  Zen Palate near Times Square.  I don’t eat meat and or poultry and I am a huge fan of Asian vegetarian cuisine.  I ordered wonton soup and the delicious broth reminded me of the meditation place I used to go to.  The recipe must be very similar to the Chinese vegetarian cuisine prepared their by the older Taiwanese ladies because it brought me back.

It reminded me of the meditation practice that I learned there.  Meditation always allows me to calm my mind and be more present.

It reminded me that I needed to relax and take care of myself. How can I show up to auditions let alone perform when I’m exhausted and about to fall asleep all the time?

Currently I am:
Not sleeping well
-Not exercising
-Not meditating
-Scattered and doing too many things
-Putting massage appointments off
-Text and or use my computer till 11:00 or later

I need to:
-Exercise – Call the dang Tae Kwon Do place and bite the bullet – TODAY
-Sleep – TOMORROW
-Make an appointment for a massage – TODAY
-Focus on ONE project – Drop the graphic novel, drop other random businesses – SIMPLIFY
-Make appointment with acupuncturist downstairs – TODAY
-Guard myself from draining/toxic people – RIGHT NOW
-Go to the meditation temple – THIS SATURDAY
-Self imposed ban with the computer/phone at 5:30 PM

I will make it a conscious effort to care for myself more.  It’s vital not just for myself but for those I love.  Is it really living if I’m grumpy and tired all the time?  It’s just getting by.  It’s doing the bare minimum and just existing.  I’ve been using being a parent as an excuse for too long.  I’m excited to get back to being healthy and am determined to be more like my old self.

Happy 9 Months Birthday!

July 3, 2009
Toothless wide eyed grinnery

Toothless wide eyed grinnery

Baby M:

You are nine months old today.  I spend a lot of time complaining about motherhood and you may read this and be like, “MOM, geez!”

While I am not cut out for motherhood (I’m not and will never be a Betty Homemaker) you are a joy in my life that exceeds the drudgery of being a mostly working at home mother.  I was not really expecting to ever really be a mother, much less be totally in love with my kid…but I do.  Yes it is hard work, but you are so worth it.

You are moving around a LOT.  You are curious about every oject that is in front of you.  You are starting to stand up if you have something to hold on to.  You love to throw your whole body weight while you’re on the bed so I don’t put you on the bed anymore.

You are quite feisty and outspoken.  You know exactly what you want and you go after it with gusto.  Whether it’s eliciting a smile from a stranger on the train or a bottle of sanitizer, you reach for it and usually get what you want.

Right now you love to read books and turning the pages.

You are very expressive and smile with your whole face.  That’s the same expression that I used to do when I was an infant.

You get REALLY sweaty and that worries  me (though your dad scolds me for worrying).

My only hope with you is that when you are an adult, you can say to people:  “Yea, growing up was pretty uneventful, I come from a normal, happy family.  I love my mom and dad.  They’re my best friends.”

You are a joy in my and your dad’s life.  We love you very much.

Happy nine month birthday 😀

Mom In The Arts Interview #1

November 14, 2008

My first interview is from my dear friend, Momma M who is a professional opera singer.  (I am very impressed by how she kept gigging up to her seventh month of pregnancy!!)

Q:  What is one of your favorite moments of your career?  Any other highlights?
A:  One of my favorite moments was during a performance of Rossini’s “Otello”.  I was singing Desdemona, and she has a Willow Song in the opera.  It was probably the most “in the groove” I’ve ever been, and I knew I was connecting to the music, the text and the audience.  There have been other times like that, and those are all real highlights, to be sure, but I think that one was possibly the most pronounced and memorable.

Q:  Did you always know you wanted to be a mom?
A:  Yes, I believe I did.  I’ve thought about it for about as long as I can remember.

Q:  Were you nervous about how becoming a mom would affect your career?
A:  Definitely.  Mostly, for me, I was concerned about how the hormones would change my voice.  Many singers have said that it changed their voice for the better, making it richer and fuller, so I’m hoping for that!!  Also, my career involves a lot of travel, so I’m concerned about how I will balance that with giving the little one stability.

Q:  How did you occupy your time during your pregnancy?
A:  I continued to work during my pregnancy, up until about the seventh month.  I had gigs up until that time, so that was helpful.  After that, my husband and I did a lot of traveling to visit relatives and friends and have some “together” time because we knew that would all be curtailed for a while after the baby was born.

Q:   Is becoming a mom been what you thought it would be?

A:  Yes and no.  I knew I would fall in love with my baby, and that has definitely happened.  I think I didn’t know the extent to which I would become super-protective and second guess myself in trying to give him the very best care!!  I would look at other mothers being obsessive and think “oh, I won’t be like that” and I TOTALLY am!!

Q:  Any role models or mentors you look up to?
A:  My husband’s siblings are really wonderful parents, and I’ve been so impressed with them and how they’ve managed to balance work and taking care of their children and splitting parenting duties.  And there are other singers who have managed to balance their careers and be devoted parents at the same time – now that I’ve just begun trying that, they have become superheros in my estimation!

Q:  How do you inspire yourself?
A:  Living in New York City is a big inspiration in itself – there is so much going on.  Live performances really inspire me, and there is so much to choose from here.  Even now, with an infant, there are live performances in churches and other settings where I feel like I can take my baby, and hop out if I need to if he starts fussing.  It’s great!

Q:  Any advice for other moms or parents in the arts?
A:  Get help if you are feeling overwhelmed.  I had no problem before giving birth feeling like it would be okay to have help from time to time if I needed some extra time to myself to practice or study my art.  Now that I have the child, I admit, I’m feeling guilty for wanting/needing that.  My husband has been amazing at convincing me that not only is that okay, but it will ultimately help our baby too, because I will be in a better place emotionally.