I think I hit that metaphorical brick wall today. You know, that thing we all slam into every now and then when we’ve spun around in circles enough times to lose our orientation. BAM! It happened to me. I could barely keep my eyes open after lunch and put both my girls down for a nap about an hour early just so I could lay on my couch and do nothing.
The past few weeks have been a blur of prepping for prom, making bug snacks, playing sidekick to my toddler and Marie Osmond, attending the amaahhhhhzing Mom Summit 2.0 and weddings, wine tastings and making dinner and cleaning house in between. It’s been all good stuff (and I am grateful!) but I’m also ready to hibernate until July.
Did I mention auditions? Oh yeah. I still go to auditions. The big question is: WHY. WHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY?
I’m a busy mom now. (Ha, is there any other kind?) Between taking care of my girls, a husband who thankfully has a stable career and this little living online experiment of mine to keep life fun and fab after babies…. it’s humbling for me to admit that I don’t NEED to work to pay our mortgage. So why am I bothering with going to auditions and trying to get jobs? I’ve had friends of mine ask: Why are you trying to work if you don’t absolutely NEED to?
Is it my ego? Maybe. Am I scared to NOT go, for fear of totally abandoning my pre-baby life? Quite possible. Do I still enjoy the rush? YES. But why? Who needs a ‘rush’ when you’re rushing around all day after toddlers?
I’ve been thinking about this more and more. Most recently, I went to yet another audition (for what seems like a really fun show). I showered. I makeuped (a lot). I slathered the stinky self-tanner all over my bare arms (it makes your arms look more toned… a little fab showbiz tip from me to you). I stood in front of my closet and mulled over and over about what to wear (“Don’t look like a mom” is my most common mantra when selecting audition-wardrobe… I ended up choosing a sleeveless coral top that I’ve worn about a hundred times). I tucked my wiry gray wisps of hair under the hair that isn’t gray and made a mental note to call my stylist once again to schedule a color.
And as I drove in my two-carseats SUV from my suburban home all the way over the hill to my much-missed Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, I thought: Why am I still doing this? while parked in traffic at a stoplight.
And just like magic, at that exact moment, my eyes wandered to my passenger window and I saw this:
D-R-E-A-M. In topiary pots on the side of the road.
And then the tears came (which royally screwed up the amazing home-makeup job that I did just 30 minutes prior).
But the sign told the truth: MOMS. NEED. DREAMS. Especially us moms, in this age. It’s no secret that our generation of women has collectively been brought up to accomplish, reinvent and conquer whatever it is we set out to do in high school, college and the years after (before we had babies). Very few women I know wanted to grow up and ‘be a mom’… there was always something ‘else’ (career-wise) that was supposed to come before or during the family portion of the program. (Not that there’s anything amiss about wanting to grow up and solely be a mom. Believe me, I grew up with – and am still friends with – the few women whose primary goals revolved solely around motherhood. We all know it’s much harder to stay at home than to work.)
But for the rest of us, who thought we’d do something REALLY BIG before we were blessed with kids (and didn’t quite get as far as we imagined in our minds before the babies came), we still need our dreams to exist. We need our dreams to get us through those “Did I fulfill my potential?” moments that we have when we’re arguing about the size of crackers with our toddler. We need our dreams to distract us when it’s time to spend a beautiful day in our babies’ rooms cleaning out their closets to separate the too-small clothes from the just-right clothes (as we wonder why we’re not sitting at an outdoor lunch somewhere drinking a glass of wine). We need our dreams to remind us that “we” are still here (even though our reflection sometimes doesn’t convey it).
When I was a freshman in high school, I went to a leadership conference with about a hundred students and a few incredible teachers. To say that it affected me is an understatement. The words of the vivacious, middle-aged man with a grey beard who was in charge of the event (I still remember his name, Jim Coiner) told all of us kids: “You need to dream for the rest of your life. When you stop having a dream, you stop living.” (Or something along those lines.) He then continued with how dreams and goals change over time, but as long as you have a dream or a goal, you will be happy.
I sometimes wish I could be brazen enough to give up all pre-baby goals and have some kind of faith that I’d be content staying at home Forever And Ever Amen. Maybe I would be happy? I’m just not ready to find out. Not right now. I’m taking that telling topiary on Sunset Blvd to heart: D.R.E.A.M. (It told me good.) No more doubting or trying to suppress the fact that the cat-and-mouse chase of my showbiz industry does still make me happy (despite my eyeliner looking a bit smudgy that day). I will happily put on the same sleeveless, coral top and drive my big momma car to Sunset Blvd when duty calls.
Some dreams will come true, some will not, and some will stalk you, chase you and tackle you down as you run away screaming frantically while waving your arms to shoo them away. But that’s life. And that’s what makes a fabulous life (I think). It doesn’t matter if your dream is to conquer the world or to conquer the laundry. What matters most is that you just have one.
SO WELCOME TO HOLLYWOOD, WHAT’S YOUR DREAM?