When Lauren was 4 years old, she was having a playdate with her friend Matthew when she came running up to me, in tears. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She said, “Matthew and I are playing house. And he told me I can’t go to work! He said I have to stay home with our kids.”
When Sam got the part in the Addams Family, our entire family sat down with the tour dates and locations and the grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. picked which weeks they would like to be Sam’s guardian. We have the entire schedule planned through the end of the tour, and it has given me the opportunity to come home several times. So, the extended family ended up with Florida, San Antonio, New York and Philadelphia, and I ended up in Dayton, OH (not that there’s anything wrong with that….).
Whenever we go to a new city on the tour, even if it’s for just one night, we are given a City Sheet by our Company Manager. It has all of the information about the city we are in. It gives local grocery store and restaurant locations, hospitals and doctors, and all of the city’s highlights and things to do. Usually we stay downtown, right near the theatre so we can all walk there and back. Some cities do not have much to do and not a lot of restaurants in walking distance, and I’ve learned to love hotel food and room service ($30 cheeseburger? Bring it on.) But, for the next two weeks, the cast and crew and my in-laws are in Ft. Lauderdale. Staying in an incredible all-inclusive resort. On Ft Lauderdale Beach. On it. And there are rented cars to take everyone to and from the theatre each day. Things to do on the Ft Lauderdale City Sheets? Parasailing, glass bottom boat tours and parasailing. Not as exciting as the Dollar Store in Erie, PA. or the delicious Wendy’s in downtown Rochester, I know. But, I am feeling a little jealous of all the pictures I keep seeing of the cast on the beach and I’m wondering how they can possibly enjoy it without me.
Sam & Lauren had the opportunity to do several theatre productions with the wonderful 11 year old daughter of Kurt Warner. Kurt and Brenda have 7 children together, including a son with special needs. Their daughter Jada is an amazing girl. She is polite and sweet and kind to everyone. The Warner family is very involved in charities around the world, including the Make A Wish Foundation (and Kurt has a new tv show about giving people second chances starting this week). I will never forget sitting with Brenda one night at a parent meeting for a show Jada and Sam were in. She said that her twin daughters had an open house at their school the same night as the meeting, and she had to choose which event to go to, because Kurt was coaching their son’s football game that night. She said she chose the theatre meeting, and her nanny took the twins to the open house. She looked at me and said she was sure everyone at the school would be judging her for not being there. “I can’t win, Allyson. No matter what I do, I can’t be in more than one place at a time. And I’m constantly being judged and criticized for it.”
I think that any parent who has more than one child, or who has a job, or who has any other outside interests or hobbies or involvement in charities, can understand this. I know this too well. Parents cannot work part time. Even if they do work part time, they are working full time as a parent. Your child can get sick or there will be a special event at school on one of the two days you work. You don’t want to call in sick, but you don’t want to miss the Mother’s Day lunch and have your child be the only one without a Mother there. You have to choose between children if there is more than one game or play that night. We can’t be everywhere all the time, even if we want to be.
Running a business, or working two days in a field that requires constant knowledge of changing laws or rules, and being a great mom, is impossible. Since I’ve been away from work for 3 months, I’m sure Sheriff Joe has changed all of the DUI laws in Arizona. Not that they could get any tougher, but I’m sure he will keep trying.
I would love to be with Sam, on the beach, on a paddle board (even though I’m sure I would be wearing my mom bathing suit thinking about how much cooler Jennifer Aniston looks doing this.) But I get to be with Lauren at her cheer competition this weekend. And I can be at Aidan’s school family BBQ on Friday. But, I will miss their Art Walk in two weeks, and, most likely, I’ll miss Aidan’s preschool graduation. But I’ll be home for his 5th birthday. And then I’ll miss seeing parts of the Deep South with Sam.
So, Lauren, I’m glad that your 4 year old self wants to be both a mom and to have a career. But it ain’t easy. And even if you get lucky enough to have a job or to pursue a passion that is “part time”, remember: that is the most misleading phrase ever. You need to tell Matthew this now, so that he can be prepared when you come crying to him that you wish you could just stay home.