Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Confessions of a "Stage Mother"

Wikipedia defines a stage mother as...

"a mother of a child actor. The mother will often drive her child to auditions, make sure he or she is on the set on time, etc. The term sometimes has a negative connotation, suggesting that the individual is prone to obnoxiously demand special treatment for her child, or suggesting that the individual has placed inappropriate pressure on her child to succeed. Some believe that a stage mom is vicariously living out her own dreams through her child."

This stage mother is exhausted.

Last week, after finding child care for Jay and Fifi, I dove downtown with Lola for a "Go-See." This is where dozens of children and mothers wait around to audition for a job and meet the client face on.

I sat in the waiting room surrounded by dozens of 4 year old girls dolled up for a party and mothers in suits and stilettos. I was in jeans, tank, and cute wedge heels and Lola in a summer smock. Amidst perfection, I became a little self conscious and quickly spat on my hand, wiped Lola's chin, straightened her hair, and tried to iron out her smock with my hands.

You can spot a new stage mother by how nervous she is and the anxious tone of voice she uses with her child. While the mothers conversed with one another and compared stats, I played hide and seek in the waiting room with Lola. We have been modeling for over four years. I could care less if Lola was booked or not. I know that if she was chosen I would have an incredible amount of perspiring work ahead of me and had to find a sitter for the other two.

Lola entered the set skipping and smiling.

We never heard from our agent. The weekend went by and I thanked God we didn't get booked because I still had not gone grocery shopping, or renewed my expired drivers license, or even started to shop for our European vacation taking place in 14 days.

Phew. I had two kids in camp this week and was ready to relax a little.

Monday AFTERNOON, as I waited for Jay's camp to let out, my cell phone rang. She was chosen. "Is Lola available to shoot tomorrow?"

"What? Tomorrow, as in less than 24 hours tomorrow?" I cried to my agent. "I need to find a sitter. I need.... ohmyfreakinggoshican'tgeteverythingdoneontime are you serious?"

"Yes. So is she available?" The agent explained. I turned around and asked Lola is she felt like modeling and of course she was up for it, she loves the attention.

"Yes. I guess. What time is the shoot and what is it for?" I banged my head against the steering wheel. Trying to think of who could babysit in such short notice.

"It is for a catalog. She will be holding an item and perhaps it will on the web or perhaps in the catalog. They do not know the time yet. I am working on the details and contract right now and will email them to you as soon as I know."

At 6pm, I got an email, asking to bring along winter dresses. Oh dear God. It's July. And. I have no winter clothes that fit Lola. The kiddos were nearing that magical hour of the day where meltdowns are frequent. I grabbed the phone and started to call all of my girlfriends.

"Can you pick up Jay from camp?"

"Can you babysit Fifi all day long?"

"What did Anna wear last Christmas season? Do you have anything that is dressy, simple, and classy in the colors of red, green, white, or silver?"

"Actually, can you come HERE and babysit Fifi at home, she will nap better?"

"Hi. What did Kate wear three Christmas seasons ago when she was a size 5?"

"Are you sure you can pick up Jay. I will write a note."

My kids are screaming, I am shouting into the phone, running around trying to locate tights and hair bows, making a final list of what I need to purchase when I finally get the kids in bed for the night.

Two blessed souls dropped off last year's Christmas clothes. When the kids were finally in bed, I ran off to find winter shoes and perhaps one more dress. Babies 'R Us had Halloween costumes, but no sign of Christmas dresses. Old Navy was getting rid of all their summer dresses. Talbots Kids closed 10 minutes before 9pm. Last stop, my Target.

Target had a red corduroy jumper, winter tights, and black ballet flats. Bless you Target. They also had mini ice cream sandwiches, baby shower cards, and Windex. Oh yea, and a cute new shade of lip gloss.

This mother is tired.

It is way past my bedtime and I need to:
1. Pack one child for camp.
2. Clean and prepare the house for a good friend to come over and babysit. Thank you.
3. Pack Lola's modeling bag with clothes, bows, shoes, and tights and enough snacks and activity to keep a four year old girl happy for a full day shoot.
4. Set the alarm to shower sans kiddos and find something clean to wear.

Is it all worth it?

Kind of. It really is pretty awesome to walk pass a billboard and see your child. Every time we pass by the paint section at Home Depot we wave to Lola's ad. If you happen to find a birthday card with the picture of a cute blond girl picking her nose, let me know. If you happen to be shopping for insurance and get paperwork from an Insurance company illustrating a fake family of four with a ridiculously cute boy, let me know. The clients rarely let us in on what makes it to print.

I usually lie to friends and say that we save all of the money "for college." I will be honest with you. We use the money. We use it on all of their enrichment programs. We have one income and it would not be possible for us to afford private swim lessons, tennis, ballet, ice skating, piano, gymnastics, fancy horse camps and outdoor adventure camps.

And besides. Lola came home from horse camp in love yesterday and decided that she wanted to have a blond girl horse to ride to school everyday. Oh vey.

Is it all worth it? Yes. My kids have a wonderful life. I agree with Wikipedia, I am "vicariously living out my own dreams through my child." When I was Lola's age I spent the summer living in Austria with my parents in a halfway house/hostel, waiting for our green cards to allow us to immigrate to America.

I dreamed of riding horses. My daughter does.

86classy comments:

Maureen said...

Wow... you are amazing. To be able to pull all that off with no notice; I would have thrown up my hands and said "forget it". But then, I wouldn't have the memories and experiences you are providing. I hope everything goes well, and that one day I will see her in an ad too!

LaskiGal said...

You are making it happen for them . . . what wonderful opportunities and memories you are creating.

Congrats to Lola! May your dreams come true :)

I'm betting they already have.

(and YAY for Target . . . jealous I don't have one)

Amy said...

Ironic that I'm sitting here eating a mini ice cream sandwich right now...
Girl, you're crazy! I don't know how you do that, but hats off to you! No way could I pull it together that quickly. It's hard enough to find a matching pair of shoes to run up to the gas station.

lattemommy said...

There I was, reading along, being excited for you and Lola about her audition, being anxious for you trying to get everything done, admiring your ability to take the time to (smell the roses) peruse the lip gloss...

and then you go and make me cry at the end. Sheesh. You have nerve.

Congratulations on doing what we all hope to do as parents: providing a better life for your children than you had yourself.

Mr Lady said...

Badass, OhMommy. And don't let ANYONE (I AM LOOKING *RIGHT AT YOU* NAYSAYERS, so don't bother) tell you otherwise.

You are making it happen, and they have FUN doing it. I know, I met you, I held your hand, you are sooooo not a stage mom.

Send the link this XMas when the ad is up.

VDog said...

HO-LEE crizznap, woman! WOW!

Good on ya.

Heather said...

I love that they are so excited about it and that you ask them. They will have some awesome memories of doing it and all the activities that you do with the proceeds. Go you!!

Natalie said...

If I thought my son would be up to it, I would totally let him model. Every time I pass the kiosk in the mall and they try to get me to let him "do a commercial", I have to hold myself back. I know those operations are a scam, but a part of me wishes they weren't.

He's too shy at this point even if I wanted to seriously consider it and it would be absolutely no fun for him, but you'll never catch me judging you on what you are doing.

Good for you for using that money wisely. I think what you are doing is just as beneficial as saving the money for college (not that a college degree isn't important). As long as your daughter is OK with it, I see no harm in it whatsoever.

Cecily R said...

I grew up in the theater. I saw stage moms. Scary ones. You aren't that. I will never see you as a scary stage mom.

You are giving your kids opportunities until they choose not to take them anymore.

And they ride horses because of it.

Good for you.

JCK said...

Oh, MY. That whirlwind I just read about is you! And YOU are fabulous. Stage Mother and all around mother, Girl you have it going on!

Hope the shoot goes as smoothly as you pulled everything together!

I went back and looked at the modeling post. Much cuteness there!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

If your kids love it then it's worth it. The movie business is the same way. They take care of every little thing else first, and do the casting last. As in, the day before usually.

Break a leg!!

Mom Of 3 said...

What a great mom you are! TO pull that all together is something special. I hope we will get to see her in her ad. Keep us posted!

carrie said...

The part about going into Target and finding those other items you needed is so my life (without the stage mom stuff, although I admit, I would not turn it down).

I seriously do not know how you do it. You must drink a lot of coffee! ;)

kim-d said...

Oh my! I feel the same way as lattemommy...definitely brought a tear to my eye! And, in my opinion, you are so NOT a "stage mother." You are the mother that every child should be fortunate enough to have; you know your children. You know their personalities, and you treat them as individuals, and I think you excel at what you do! Well, and maybe with a little help from Target ;)!

Fortunate you, fortunate children, fortunate us...for getting to "know" you and your children!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I had considered doing this for my boys when I just had two and they were accepted to an agency, but there was just something not in me that you definitely have- I admire it! And I think it's wonderful that you see the hard work involved as well as the benefits you all reap, too. How exciting!

Steph

Indy said...

And you found time to blog? I would have been drinking after trying to find a winter outfit in July. Or smoking.

THopgood said...

How on Earth do you do it all?....I'm in awe!

Robyn said...

You're fantastic! As long as Lola's having fun, who cares what anyone else thinks? I would've LOVED to have you as a mother! My mom turned down modeling jobs for me because she didn't want to "schlep all the way to NYC all the time." Could've had a nice little nest egg...

mommynotes said...

Wow! What a schedule. I love Target they always have what you need even in the middle of July. I think I would have pulled my hair out if I had gotten that call and then the email.

I had people tell me both my girls should get into modeling but I guess I just never made the effort.

I bet it is neat to see your beautiful children on magazines and ads.

Good luck today!

Jessica said...

We have spent a LOT of time in the Home Depot paint section recently trying to make-up for 2 years of complaining about wall colors. My husband and I comment on the cutie-patootie in the Glidden ad! It is the look of mischief in her eyes!

Allison Says said...

What a great post! Very touching ending.

Congrats to Lola! I hope you'll let us know where (if they tell you!) she ends up :) And I hope it all goes smoothly today!

Gotta love Tar-Jay by the way. It's amazing how you can always find something suitable there!

Keri said...

and that last statement is the exact driving reason behind my mommy-ism! I am and will Scrimp , scratch, and craft my way to horseback riding and ballet classes just for that little smile on my baby's face.
Good job OHMommy!

Lisa said...

"I dreamed of riding horses. My Daughter does".....

That made me tear up. Isn't that what parenting is all about? Helping our kids live all of their dreams, and watching them unfold right in front of us.

I may just have to head to Home Depot today. Oh....and please let us know if we need to have the "Things Remembered" catalog sent our way!

Kel said...

Wow, sounds like something out of a book (your childhood that is). You are a very strong woman. Congrats to Lola on her shoot ... how exciting!!
~K

LceeL said...

That last statement. You could have not posted anything other than that - because that said it all. I hope, that somewhere along the way, you take some time for yourself - and ride.

Tracey said...

AAAAcccckk!!!!! The lack of notice would kill it for me. Hope it goes well and that everything runs smoothly.

Crystal D said...

You know what, as long as they are having fun then you are doing the right thing. She is learning all kinds of things from these shoots in the process. You'll know if that changes because it isn't really all about you. Nothing you do is all about you, we all know that!!

Jennifer said...

congrats to Lola and You!! :)

that is great. I hadn't seen the pictures of the kids modeling gigs before... but I knew they were cuties from your pictures. VERY impressive!! :)

I hope you get everything done you need to do w/ camp and kids and vacation and modeling and such. :)

xoxoxo

Happy Days said...

It all sounds so exciting! You Go Girl Ohmommy! I can't wait to see the results. It sounds like so much fun to me!

Nap Warden said...

Well good luck to you...I don't have it in me. Sounds like a lot of work!

Kim said...

Target rules.

And I am so excited for Lola!!! That is big time and I cannot wait to see her ad for the holidays!!

I give you so much credit for enriching your kids life so much.. bravo .. it is awesome.. all of it!

Kimmylyn

Rachel said...

Hope the day goes smoothly. You are amazing. Hats off to you!!
You are providing them with work experience and allowing them to see what hard work can provide. Good for you. I know when they all get older you'll also have a fabulous plan for saving money and teaching them about it because you are just that awesome.
We love Things Remembered :-)
Smooches.

Marmarbug said...

Girl I am impressed!! You seemed to pull it off. I would have had a melt down and been babbling and walking into walls.
And you know what, I think it is AWESOME that they model. I would love to get Bean involved. He is such a ham he would probably love it.
And I think it is great that you all use the money for things for them now. Your right. We want the very best for our children and will find a way to do it. Hats off to you girl!

Kelly said...

YAY for Lola. What a grand opportunity for your children. You're a great mom for working so hard to help your children have these chances in life. It's not easy being the planner, organizer, chauffer, etc for all of this. You'll be wiped out at the end of the day but feel very happy about it. Let us know how it goes!

Don Mills Diva said...

Good for you.
I work in the industry and I have a million nightmare stories about child actors but it sounds as if you have the right attitude. I love that you use the money to enrich the family rather.

renatamic said...

stage mom...no. loving, caring mom...yes! think about all you (and your awesome neighbors/friends/etc) did to make that one thing happen for lola?? you are truly a selfless person. hope to be like you one day!!

p.s. baby shower cards?????

Burgh Baby said...

I have to admit, I'm slightly shocked nobody had the Christmas dresses out. I mean, it is July. Retailers seem to think we need to start now with the ornaments, why not the clothes?

Yay! for Lola!

♥♥♥ A- Licious ♥♥♥ said...

wow....

WOW!

i missed your posts! you are so amazing mama...you go!

i want to grow up and be just like you! (wink)

so happy i am back and can catch up on all my blog-a-licious bloggers!

you always always make me smile (and leave me out of breath from your writing...lol)

HUGS n LOVE!

a-licious

Marcy - The Glamorous Life! said...

This story has inspired me to write about the same topic with my boys and my past with my own stage mother......of course I will link you my friend!

Ali said...

where were you when i was the only person in a see of haters on backpackingdad's site trying to explain to him that emily's modeling experience was a GOOD one. and that not every child model grows up to be jonbenet or lindsay lohan...
?!?!?! :)

April said...

You've shown me just a taste of what I put my poor parents through! Not modeling, but with my acting. I think they did love it, though. And we had the added benefit of knowing when we could see me on TV :)

Smart A$$ Mom said...

confession? 55% of the reason I can't fulfill Missy B's request and take her to an audition....I can't promise that I would deposit it all in her college fund. Great that your kids are learning the early(and hard) lesson of working for what they want.

Kathryn said...

Oiy is right. I'm exhausted just reading it.

maggie said...

Wow. That last line does it for me.

I also had no idea that they wouldn't just have a wardrobe ready to go to pick out whatever they want instead of making you try to run around finding something. I obviously don't know anything about any of this.

Kash said...

Totally true. I also think it's great you are spending it on formative activities in their formative years. We all have access to colleges when the time comes in many forms scholarships, loans, grants, etc. But you don't get the same subsidized help sending them to extracurricular activities!

DysFUNctional Mom said...

You had me tearing up at the end. We all want better for our kids than what we had. I don't fault you at all! You're not forcing her, she enjoys it, and you're danged good at making it all happen at a moment's notice!
I smile imagining her riding her horse to school, her hair flowing in the wind! lol

Rachel said...

Aww -- that last paragraph is one of the best things I've read all week!

Yay for Target! Congrats to Lola -- now I want to head to Home Depot and see her pic!

The 5 Bickies said...

I don't know if I could have gotten it all done! Yay for good friends, for target, and for a Mommy who makes it all fun for her little girl.

I love the end of your post...comparing your childhood to your daughter's. You are amazing!

The 5 Bickies said...

I don't know if I could have gotten it all done! Yay for good friends, for target, and for a Mommy who makes it all fun for her little girl.

I love the end of your post...comparing your childhood to your daughter's. You are amazing!

The 5 Bickies said...

I don't know if I could have gotten it all done! Yay for good friends, for target, and for a Mommy who makes it all fun for her little girl.

I love the end of your post...comparing your childhood to your daughter's. You are amazing!

Ashley said...

Dooooood That is AWESOME...You have to live in a big city, though, right? Are you sure you aren't like my sister or something? I keep finding more and more similarities between us...

-ashley (www.bosssanders.com)

Miss said...

Last line. Made me cry. Damn it. Warn a girl would ya??

kittyconcerto.com said...

Oh man do I (sorta) know what your going thru. My husband and I are both in the biz and our next door neighbors are known as "the Hollywood house" because the mom is the stage manager for all three of her girls who are all working actresses.

What you are doing is incredibly stressful. But you are doing it for them. I love what you are doing with the money btw. Good choice.

Congrats to all of you for making it happen. It's much harder than anyone thinks.

MommyTime said...

That is a fantastic way to spend the money, and the kids will have a lifetime of good memories and enriched childhoods to show for it. Just like the last time you posted about modeling, though, I'm still aghast at the notion that they wouldn't have a little wardrobe of the clothes they want in a size 5 -- seems nuts to me.

People are always telling me that Son should model, but I can't imagine how it is anything but incredibly STRESSFUL for the parents (as this post proves). How on earth do you stay sane?!

Wendi said...

I think I need a nap after reading that.
Whew!
Slow down already.
Loved the last line.
That really says it all.

Tonya said...

that is so cool you do that. I think I have seen that birthday card!

momof3crazykids-Val said...

I can't even imagine how crazy your life is right now. Yeah for Target, my favorite place to be. Been once already this week. I'm sure there will be another one or two or...more

Belle said...

Wow...I'm tired just reading all of that. Funny, I would have thought they provided the wardrobe. Goes to show that I have not experience whatsoever as a stage mom. A helicopter mom...now I'm a professional in that arena.

Helen E.M. Wright said...

You should really tell Target your story. Book your children for the add in advance!!! ;)

Good for you!!! I love that you use the money for 'the extras'!!! You can get loans for University...not so much for camps and lessons!!!

Hailey said...

This is a prime example as to why Target is God's great gift to the world. :-) You are a supermom! Your babies are precious and are so lucky to have a wonderful mommy.

skiplovey said...

yeah that does sound exhausting. A girlfriend of mine has her son modeling and while it does sound fun and exciting? it also sounds like a pain in the tuckus. Frankly I'm too lazy. But you are an awesome mom and I'm sure your kids are pretty glad that they can do all they fun stuff (and they are paying for it themselves, bonus!)

GoteeMan said...

It can be so exhausting to do so much!!! Kudos to you for holding it all together - I would have blown it up for sure!

You are amazing...

J/

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

I think the most important part is that you know THEY are enjoying it. If it was for you and for their enrichment, but they were not enjoying it, then it wouldn't all be worth it, right? I couldn't do it, but your honesty is refreshing.

KEEP BELIEVING

Kellan said...

I don't blame you for being tired - I'm tired just hearing about all you have going on!! Congrats on your little Lola getting the part - very cool.

See you later - Kellan

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

YAY for Target. It is such a perfect store. Amen.

ShannanB aka Mommy Bits said...

You are a great mom doing what we all strive to do. Making our children's dreams come true.

Flea said...

Awww! Good for you, using the money for your children's betterment. And good for you not stressing over whether or not she gets a gig. :)

Karen MEG said...

You are a classy mama...I'll have to take this conversation off line with you as I just exposed the boy to a little bit of this...the girlie seems interested as well.

It is a great opportunity for your kids and yourself. GREAT confidence builders, and honestly, the money cannot hurt! I think the boy is ready to go to the next audition, he just has to say the word.

But yeah, I can tell it would be EXHAUSTING!!!

And I think you're setting a new standard for "Stage Mom"...you're making things happen for your kids, and I know they will appreciate your efforts, you'll see.

just jamie said...

Gosh darn I love you.

krissy said...

You make me exhausted. But you make exhauseted look good!!!

Congrats to Lola for getting a job.

Laura said...

How fun! And tiring...

Kudos to you and to Lola!

vic said...

I'm shattered just reading that. How do you manage it?
If the kids love it, I think it's an excellent idea - I'd never do it with the boy though, purely because I think he'd scare the first person to look at him away with his hyperactiveness and complete inability to follow simple instructions (although he'd have done well with the nose picking one!).

Mandy said...

Good for Lola and good for Mommy!!

I am a big believer of giving your kids better than you had it growing up.

Your kiddos will go far in life and all because Mommy aspires for them to do so.

What an awesome Mom!

I am the same way, I want my children to do better for themselves and then have their children do even better than that.

you learn through trial and error and you always have room for improvement.

I am looking forward to the blog that you will write letting us know what Lola got chosen for.

What Lowe's ad??? Post a pic for us.

Mandy said...

I meant Home Depot not Lowes. Ha!!! :0)

Colleen said...

Well, I sure hope the shoot went well! I'll have to look for Lola @ Home Depot - Lord knows we make it there often enough!

Tena said...

I think I may need a nap after reading all of that, how did you manage, must have been your mama powers kicking in to overdrive!

Congratulations Lola!!!

Nissa said...

It's all good as long as SHE enjoys it(and you can fit it in to your crazy chaotic schedule!)

Stage moms are the pushy ones that MAKE their kids do it long after the fun has worn off.
You rock.

rockanddrool said...

i don't know why the last line made me cry but...it did!!
you're a good mommy!!!

April said...

Well my feeling on children modeling (and acting) is that as long as it stays fun for them, more power to them! I would have loved that opportunity as a child! And more power to YOU for choosing to use that money for all the fun things that you can for your children. :-)They will always, always have fond memories of a fun-filled childhood becuz of it!

Crystal D said...

So how the the shoot go? What about horse camp? How is that going? Oh and is Jay enjoying his outdoor adventure time?

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

Target really is the 8th wonder, isn't it?!
I sometimes wonder how our moms lived without it!

Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children said...

I'd have collapsed in a heap on the floor faced with a next day shoot and having to round up sitters and clothes! Good for you for pursuing dreams.

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

I think this is aswesome. I did this once for my daughter, in a room full of 340 children, she was picked as 4 of the finalists. BUT they wanted me to put up $2K for a photo session. We declined and haven't done anything since. How did you get into modeling? Did you have to put up that much $$$ in the beginning?

SF said...

It's cool to read that you're honest about what you do with your kids' earnings.

My children act/model and we do the same with theirs. College is taken care of!

Jaina said...

That sounds really neat. And I think it's great that you use the money to improve their childhoods. It would be one thing if you went out and spent it just on yourself, but I think it's wonderful that you're using it for them, after all, they earned it. I hope you put SOME of it away for college, but I'm glad to hear you let them play with it now. :) I also love that you checked with Lola first if she wanted to do it, that's important.

Christina said...

Hmm ... they were mad about that posting??? What????

 

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