For one thing, some kids might not appreciate the acting profession unless his or her parent is in a film that can be watched at Movie Tavern. But what if you’re mostly in theater? And what if most of THAT is child-inappropriate or borderline disturbing — what if you play a scary person your child will fear, or what if you die on stage or cry on stage or lie on stage? In an ideal world, a realtor-mom or an accounts-receivable-mom would not be risking this sort of trauma on Bring Your Child to Work Day.
Maybe a better question is — am I proud enough of what I do not to be daunted by my kids’ opinion?
When my friend Lisa was getting back to work when her daughter was about four years old, she was in a play where she had to curse a fair amount. She asked the stage manager if he could turn down the volume in the dressing room monitor whenever a certain scene would inevitably crop up and threaten to bulldoze little Tierney with a Jon Deere tractor of profanity. I loved the image of a preschooler napping on a green room couch as the ASM discreetly turned the little black nob so she wouldn’t hear her mother littering the stage with F-bombs. While lighting matches, naked. (This is how I’m picturing it, yet I have no idea what that scene entailed.
Mostly, I’ve just had to shield my own kids from shows when I have to kiss other men. They don’t see a whole lot of those juicy roles, and I think my husband would also like to take a rain check and drink whiskey alone. After a while, it must seem weird to kids that their mother is doing all of these things they are not allowed to see, which makes me think of how mafia parents handle it. “No, Charity, you can’t come with mommy today; I’ve got to bury a body just off the turnpike.”
I suppose all parents want their children to at least take a passing interest in their job, and I think this is because we want the people we love the most to understand and celebrate the thing we love to do the most. Maybe if I didn’t love acting so much, I wouldn’t care what the kids thought, but I do. And I do. It’s all just a big love fest, really. And there’s a part of me that wants them to absolve me of the guilt I feel when I have to miss soccer games and field trips.
Lisa recalls fondly the time Tierney (in her 20s at this point) overheard a director gushing about her parents to some friends. (Lisa’s husband Kim is also an actor.) She had leaned into the conversation in what must have been a very jaunty and charming way, and said, “My name is Tierney Titus, and my parents ARE amazing.”
(Hashtag goals. Hope abounds!)
At any rate, I think my kids are proud of what I do for now — when they think about it. Which can’t possibly be very often, and this is just as well. I’m certainly proud of THEM whenever I see them standing in the lobby after a performance, crumpled programs in hand, waiting with smiles to see their mommy — before asking what’s for dinner and can they have the candy at the concessions counter and when can we go home, and...etc. etc.