According to recent press, there is nothing I love more than an extra dirty martini made with Tito’s and plenty of olives. But there is…
I love my child more than anything else in the world.
I know! It surprised me too. (My husband comes in a distant third.) I love showing my daughter that you can follow your dreams at any age. And I love comedy. But I don’t love being alone in a hotel room late at night because I accidentally booked a week and half of shows without time to see my daughter in between. That was painful. And I’ve never done it again.
People always ask me if it’s hard to pursue comedy with a kid.
Don’t I wish I’d done it when I was single, childless, etc.?
Sure, but then I wouldn’t be who I am today. My daughter makes me better. She’s my soft spot. (I have only one.) And I wouldn’t give her up for the world.
But it’s a constant struggle trying to balance time for her, time for comedy, time for my husband, and, the most coveted thing of all, time alone for myself. I feel constant guilt when I’m with her but not paying enough attention… or not putting down the phone because a booker is talking to me and if I don’t answer right away, he might book someone else.
A lot of it is self-imposed, but a lot of it is real. Comedy is a cutthroat business, consisting of a lot of urgency. I have to make every second count because I’m not a 20-year-old with no day job… or a day job that involves the service industry, not that there’s anything wrong with that. My job doesn’t allow me to hang out at all hours of the night smoking pot and drinking myself into oblivion. I save that for Thanksgiving. (What? I like to make sure that I use every family holiday to annoy my mom to the fullest.)
I have responsibilities in the morning. A law job, a mom job, a making sure our house gets renovated from when it was destroyed in Hurricane Irma job, a writing job for comedy. I’ve got to finish my sitcom, my screenplay, my thousands of unfinished Words With Friends games, and my motivation journals because I was too busy actually doing things to spend any time planning.
One thing that’s surprisingly helped me?
But not normal meditation. Meditation with the Oculus Go. (No, I’m not being paid to mention this.) It’s a virtual reality device with meditation apps that can visually transport you to Hawaii or even the moon so you can be fully immersed in your experience. I find that I’m most present there, and I can often take that feeling with me to play princesses with my daughter for the hundredth time. Or to use a few precious minutes playing “chase” in CVS, also known as “Mommy, you can’t get me!”
This way, when I need groceries or cough medicine, I am able to both play with my daughter and get shit done. Efficiency. But this leaves little time for my husband, my friends, or my therapist, who is apparently jealous of my super great life.
It’s a rewarding life but a lonely life. And it’s the reason people often gain 12 pounds on the road from drowning their sorrows in beer and chicken wings – sometimes literally the only thing available to comedians at the clubs.
What’s my point?
Momming is hard. Working is hard. Following your dream is hard. If it wasn’t, everyone would do it. But the constant questioning? Am I doing what’s right for my daughter? Should I be at home more? Does she resent me for being gone? Am I a terrible mother for being gone? Should I just leave and let my husband raise her?
Okay, the answer to that last question is obviously no because then she would eat nothing but bologna sandwiches and chocolate for the rest of her life, go to yard sales (my husband is a redneck), and spend most of her youth at Disney instead of learning.
I can’t help feeling I’m an anomaly in an industry meant for single people with nothing to lose. Does that make my story better? No, it’s just different. And often unrelatable. Most comedians don’t like kids. Some have them by accident and still don’t like them. (Of course, that may just be because most comics are single men in their twenties who live in their mother’s basements.)
But the comics I can relate to? The ones who have children and know what it’s like to balance everything? How do we balance? Well, so far, I haven’t found the solution but I am looking into cloning myself…