That would be me

That would be me

Friday, September 17, 2010

When work and real life collide – guilt flies

This is the second show I have done this year in which I play a terrible mother. Is the world trying to tell me something? Hate to disappoint you. I already knew.

I have 5 kids. Two sets. 21, 20 & 18. 4 & 2.

I was really young when I had the First Batch. I did the best I could under the circumstances but by virtue of being so young and raising them mostly on my own, I made a lot of mistakes. I had the best of intentions (fortunately) and did not make the mistakes SOME young moms make. I did not spend my time partying or resenting the kids or things like that. I just think I had grander expectations of what we all were capable of handling. I worked all the time, went to college and ran a theatre company while trying to raise the kids. I thought I was showing them that hard work was important. I seem to have taught them that they "can't" live up to my standards.

And so they do nothing at all. Which makes me feel like a huge failure.

So now that I am being cast as all of the "bad" mothers, it brings all of those feelings of failure right to the front. I know that I am not an alcoholic and that I didn't abandon my kids but I can't help feeling my personal sense of failure as I am trying to explore the failings of my characters.

I have never felt so "method" in my life.

And I look at my little ones and think about the choices I am making now – mostly different choices than I made with the First Batch - and I worry that THESE choices are going to cause some of the same harm THOSE choices made. In other words, I am still screwing up.

One of the best things about being an actor (as far as I am concerned) is that it forces one to evaluate one's behavior pretty much constantly. The "why" of character development is my favorite aspect and the "why" of Sami usually goes hand in hand. I am consistently fascinated by why we do what we do so these characters are forcing me to look at my life and ask WHY am I doing what I do.

And in the end – with luck – I will be making more good choices than bad ones. Then I will be able to get to know these women without feeling like I am one of them.

Maybe then I will start being cast as GOOD mothers but not GRAND mothers . . . I don't think am not old enough for THAT yet.    


  1. You are nowhere near old enough to be a grandmother! And in spite of everything you are a good mother. Perhaps you should be a bit easier on yourself. Everyone screws up and still most of our children grow up to be strong, capable and functional adults. Hang on - the oldest ones are still young. They'll figure it out! Love you!!!

  2. You know we have so much of that in common. When you have them young you're in the position of still establishing yourself: idendity and financially. When you have them when you're older it seems you can focus more on developing this in them. I'm trying to back pedal with the oldest who is 16, but have come to the conclusion that he just may have a simplier life, and that's okay.
    And don't worry, we all feel like that. Most of us only from time to time. You even more as you are forced to stare it in the face. This constant evaluation makes you a better actor, mother and person!
    Lots of luv +D

  3. Hey there, Fellow Mom/Actor!
    No, the cosmos is NOT telling you that you're a bad mother just because directors seem to want to cast you that way. It's just saying that good mothers are boring and don't make good fodder for theatre. Bad mothers are more interesting, dramatically speaking.

    And as far as being a "failure" as a mom? I screwed up constantly (and still do), but you've met my number one son Tim. He has turned out wonderfully in spite of it all. So will yours.

  4. ...also, stories are based on conflict, and stories that involve mothers almost always (I would say 90% of those stories, and that's a low estimate) involve bad mothers. It's not that YOU are a bad mother, so much as that's the vast majority of "mother" roles out there.