Five (and a Half) Ways that Theatre Prepared Me for Motherhood
Article by Kristen Schweizer
July 26, 2018
Someone recently told me that the hardest part about being a mom is ‘wasting’ our college educations. It’s stuck with me, but I have decided that I disagree. Getting a theatre degree prepared me for motherhood in irreplaceable ways. Here are five (and a half):
- My infant wants me to watch him flip a light switch on-and-off for seventeen minutes? That’s fine. Do you know how many experimental, one-man shows I’ve derived meaning from?
- You know who never gets a bow? The props mistress. The lighting designer. The fight choreographer. But without them, the show would not be as strong. We all know that moms are important, but they are also written-off in many arenas. Theatre taught me that lack of attention does not mean a lack of impact.
- Did I mention that I earned that degree at a party school? I have no qualms about cleaning bodily fluids and/or food off of a sleeping person and then tucking them in.
- Who needs dignity? If I can flop at improvised jokes in front of an audience, you better believe I am not frantically embarrassed when he starts crying in public and that I’m ready to join him in a dance party anywhere. Also, funny voices while reading a children’s book? Psh, I. Got. That. On. Lock.
- You know who expect to work hard? Theatre people. No one accidentally chooses the industry. We chose it because we love it and that means constantly choosing to overcome setbacks and discouraging people and taking side-gigs to make ends meet. Theatre people are brave and interesting and create a strong community of hard-working professionals that I am proud to know. I was ready for the long, odd hours of motherhood thanks to the expectations of that amazing, surprising theatre life.
0.5 Theatre promotes empathy for others and for myself. I have not wasted time in studying the most human of art forms.
I feel nothing but gratitude. Gratitude for the professors and mentors who taught me so much, and appreciative of how it has shaped me as a woman. I am thankful to be in the audience, applauding so many deserving local artists.
I also feel excitement. It is a thrill to pass-along a love for all things beautiful to my child and to you.