Posts Tagged ‘Acting’

What My Son’s Swim Class Taught me about Acting and Parenting!

I was very committed to getting my 4yr old to swim this summer. I loved swimming as a kid and would train with my swim club before or after school several times a week.   I signed my son up for a 2 week intensive swim class.  He had spent time in pools before but hadn’t really taken to it – I knew this summer would be different!

At the first class he wouldn’t even get in the pool.  At the second class he managed to get in the pool but hung onto the side in abject terror.  By the end of two weeks there was some progress.  He was in the water begrudgingly and even doing the occasional skill with the lifeguards, but he was far from comfortable and terrified of getting his hair wet.

It was so frustrating for me watching the other kids in the class making huge strides – jumping in, swimming, and going under water all with pure joy and exuberance.   Then I realized parenting is just like acting.  You research, make choices and form a plan but when “action” is called you throw it all away and just live in the moment. You have no idea what your scene partner will throw at you or where the scene will go.  You release control and go for the ride.  It’s “magic time” as Jack Lemmon used to say.

I was refusing to listen and be in the moment with my son.  I was holding tight to my plan and refusing to let go!  There was no point pushing for the results I wanted.  I needed to let go off my expectations and trust him.  He will swim when he is ready.  Comparing my son to other kids is a trap that can happen in my acting career too – “compare and despair.”  It reminded me of this fantastic article by Dallas Travers.

My son will not be swimming this year and I’m totally fine with it.  He is cautious kid who takes a while to warm up to things. He observes, gets the lay of the land (or the lay of the pool as the case may be) before jumping in. All I can do is continue to expose him to water and when he is ready he will jump in – literally and figuratively.

As I continue my parenting and acting journeys however, I have a feeling I will need to remind myself of both these lessons!

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5 Ways Being an Actor Makes Me a Better Mom!

I’ve produced my own films, had recurring roles on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, shot two episodes of Law and Order and numerous Indies but my toughest role…Mom! Being a mom is awesome, well…most days, but like any great role not withoutits learning curve and challenges.  I’m the first to admit there are plenty of areas of motherhood I still need to work on …Patience immediately comes to mind!  But today I choose to celebrate why I’m an awesome mom – specifically five ways being an actor helps me in my parenting journey.

 1. My appreciation for characters and costumes. It is Halloween everyday in our house!  My son loves dressing up and spends the majority of his time in character – totally cool, I get it!  Currently his two favorite inventions are Mike the Handyman and Officer Breadsack.  (Although his PreK teacher did forbid him to wear his costumes to school – it was too distracting for the other kids.)

2. I’m trained in play!  My son and I are walking down the street and without warning I’m assigned the role of a mother bird that needs to fly away from the dragon. I’m suddenly thrust into an improv and I follow the rules, YES AND….

3. I love stories and storytelling.  I don’t know exactly when my mother stopped reading bedtime stories to me but it was years after friends had stopped the ritual and I swore her to secrecy.  I have such fond memories of begging her to read one more chapter – she would usually relent as she was just as invested in the stories as I was.  My son and I read 3 stories a night, sometimes up to 45mins, and I treasure that time with him.  A hidden benefit – reading stories out loud is also a great opportunity to brush up on those accents and dialects!

4. I adore researching a role.  After the initial transition motherhood felt relatively instinctual.  To simplify it, keep the baby warm, dry and fed.  However, when we entered the world of discipline my instincts started to betray me and phrases would come out of my mouth that shocked me.  I needed help.  I have always loved researching a role and motherhood was no exception.  I found a slew of fantastic books that equipped me with new tools to be the mom I wanted to be. Two of my favorite resources are; How to Talk so Kids will listen, and Listen so Kids will Talk and Raising our Children, Raising Ourselves.

5. NYC – adventure and inspiration.  I love NYC.  There are certainly downsides to raising a kid in NYC but there are so many wonderful benefits too.  My son was talking about collage in his PreK class and the next day I took him to MOMA to see the Matisse exhibit.  (He preferred the Miros and other surrealists who “painted a picture that had nighttime and daytime in the same painting!”)

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