Professional Voiceover Actress, Mom, Chef, What Day is it?
In my previous life as a History teacher, one of my student’s mom’s wrote a book called I Don’t Know How She Does It. This is the story of the modern women, trying to balance it all: work, home life, friends- and do it all well. That’s the thing for me, I’ve blogged before about being a perfectionist, and there is not an on/off switch for that either. When that book came out, I was a newly wed with a young husband and a puppy. I myself had boundless energy. Now, as a full time professional voiceover talent, a working mom, a wife- I now find myself trying to do it all. Momtrepreneur seems to some it all up. I am so proud of both the family that I have built and of the business that I have built, but how can one be both so proud and so tired at once? Work. Kids. Cooking. Laundry. So many countless tasks. Every. Single. Day. The words that come to mind: coffee, please?
What I can Count On
As a working mom, the consistency of my daily routine helps. Both as a mom and as a voice over actress, there are certain aspects of my day to day life that I can count on. From our morning breakfast and lunch packing routine with my twins to our after school routine and sports, knowing what to expect at a given time of the day is extremely helpful. As I work from home, I am typically the parent to get my children to school and to their activities in the evening. I also cherish that being a solopreneur gives me the opportunity to attend school events like science fairs and poetry readings. My kids seem to be growing up so fast and I cherish every single moment.
Another blessing that I can count on as a working mom is the support of my children. The twins are truly amazing. They have always had chores like making their beds and putting away their laundry. As they have gotten bigger, they have taken on even more around the house. From unloading the dishwasher to walking the dog, they are innately helpful and they do a lot of little things. Those little things all add up. I think I am most proud that the kids are innately helpful and seem to have a sense that we are all in this together. The truth is each and every contribution from them makes a profound difference in the way our family functions and I am quite grateful.
Lastly, my husband makes the balance between work and home life bearable. For years I was with the kids full time and asked little of Harlan besides taking out the trash. When I went back to work as a professional voiceover talent, everything changed. Harlan started helping in every way. From taking care of dinner on nights that I am still working to driving the kids when I am tied up in the studio, Harlan not only stepped up, he did so as if he had nothing else going on. My husband is an attorney and commutes to New York City every day, so it is not exactly like he leads a life of leisure. When I have had to travel for work Harlan takes over completely and runs the show. Knowing that he has my back means everything.
While some parts of my life as a working mom have fallen into place, there are some big challenges to be sure! First, work often comes in at odd hours as I often wok with video production companies and advertising agencies both across the country and internationally. For example, just last week I was in my room watching tv with the twins as we often do before bed. I love spending time with them at night and talking about our day. At 9:15 I got a call from a new client in California who I had auditioned for earlier that day. At the snap of a finger I needed to leave my kids, the coziness was totally interrupted, and off I went to go record a new sizzle reel. I was thrilled to book the work, but leaving my kids tugged at my heart.
This often happens when I try to take a vacation too. As a voiceover talent, I always travel with my travel rig. Sometimes work comes in when we are out having quality time. Whether the work is for a well-etablished client or a new client it doesn’t much matter, keeping clients happy is a top priority. The problem is, turning off the AC, hi-jacking all the pillows to build my pillow fort, and silencing my family who I have just dragged back to the room is often not appreciated. The exception to this is when it’s a super cool job and they are impressed by the client! Then they are totally fine and seem to mind a little bit less.
Even though I love my voiceover work, and people who talk about sprawl clearly have friends in my industry, being a mom is not actually something I want to turn off or escape from, ever. So, if there is something at the school or if my kids are sick, when it comes down to it, that comes first. Always. And once that choice has been made, everything else falls into place. It is not always so neat or easy, but it does.
What keeps me going
Setting a good example for me kids means a lot to me. Even before I started my studio and began pursuing voiceover, I tried hard to make good choices throughout the day every day. I only get to do this once and I don’t want to screw them up.
Even though I often feel that I am being pulled in a million directions, the truth is that kids are expensive and I want to be able to live a certain life with them. The difference between a hobby and a job is that I am rather aggressively pursuing an income day in and day out. I have a great passion for what I do, and this passion fuels the work, but I do it to earn a living.
I also chose voiceover quite intentionally because of the proximity it gives me. I can be in the booth and the twins can be just outside. Emma can be doing arts and crafts and Jack might be playing foos ball or video games. Or they might be upstairs doing homework. The point is, I am near by and there for them when they need me. I don’t have FOMO of my family and I don’t have the exhaustion of a commute because the studio that I built is right at home. This enables me to better savor my time with the kids. What else can a momtrepreneur ask for?
Laughing at myself
With all the hats I wear, a healthy sense of humor helps a lot. I couldn’t do my job as a professional voice talent if I couldn’t laugh at myself, and I think it is fair to say the same for motherhood too. Late last night, sometime between 2 am and 5:30, I went to the bathroom, as many of us post c-section moms need to do. Last night, however, I glanced in the mirror. My hair made flock of seagulls look tame. My pjs were a mess. Even though I had been sleeping I looked exhausted and drained. It made me think if a silly statue/sculpture my mom had on her night table when I was growing up. My dad had gotten it for her and it had a beleaguered mom with the caption, “Insanity is inherited, you get it from your kids.”