Motherhood and Showbiz
Where are the Moms?
Being a woman in the entertainment industry is tough. Thankfully because of the #metoo movement, the push to have gender employment at 50/50 by 2020 and the online resources and women’s groups like Ms in The Biz, Women In Film, Women In Animation and so many more allies, it gets better everyday.
While all of these organizations are great for their support of women, in my experience, there is still not a lot in place specifically for ‘Moms in the Biz’. Over the past year I have made a strong effort to get out and network at women’s events and most of the gals I meet are either pre- or post- raising young kids or maybe skipped it entirely. While all the ladies I have met are incredible, part of me was really hoping to connect with mothers who are trying to make their way with young kids in tow. You know, someone who understand schedules that revolve around school pick-up and kids activities and all the challenges that come with balancing so many schedules while working as an actress.
Breaking the Mold
When I was in middle school I auditioned for a community theatre. I was so excited to play one of the leads but my parents were not because that meant they had to drive me to rehearsals for weeks. I was one of four children, so I think all my parents did for many years was drive us around to our activities. “Sweetheart, we can’t wait ‘till you can drive yourself,” was repeated every time they drove me in the snow to rehearsals, waited for two-hours and drove me back. But that’s what we do for our kids right? Totally put all of our own dreams, desires and to-do lists on hold to give our kids joy. But what if I didn’t want to put my own dreams on hold?
Now I’ve got two children, a boy who is 13 and a girl who’s 10, and they are both working actors. I knew there had to be a way to let them explore opportunities while still working towards my goals. It might be a bit slower than I’d wanted but I could stay in the game and still be a good parent.
When you’re a mom of actors they call you a “Momager,” a term I’m not fond of. I don’t like Momtrepreneur either. Entrepreneurs can be parents, it doesn’t need a special name when a mom does it, like it’s a strange adorable occurrence that’s less serious somehow. Momager isn’t a real title anyway. It isn’t like I’d have business cards made up that say: “Erin Neumeyer, Momager. I have the best kids, you should book all of us on your amazing project.” Besides it’s not accurate… I’m a mom and actress with two children who also act... Mom+Actress+Manager = Mactager. Or... MAM. And who doesn’t like being called Ma’am?
Making it Work
Show business is incredibly time consuming. We spend a lot of time in the car going to auditions, classes, writing/producing our own content and acting related activities like prepping for and recording VO or Self-Tape auditions. Then add in the ‘Mom” activities: the drop-off / pick-up at all the activities: School, Sports, Music/Dance, Clubs, Appointments, Playdates, etc… Plus the last minute nature of auditions and the chaos it causes to the regular rejections and the rare win. It can be overwhelming. That’s why when parents approach me for advice, I always warn them that it is an enormous amount of work and it can be hard on the kids.
I never wanted to be a stage mom. I thought they were awful pushy people who were either bowing to every whim their child had, “Well, Junior loves acting so we drove for 4 hours each way to come to this class” or so desperate for success that they were shopping their kids around for bragging rights, “My little princess worked with Beyonce.” Truthfully, most stage parents are really sweet people letting their kids explore acting like other parents let their kid play little league or do decathlon. So…. yes, it’s for the bragging rights.
For me bringing the kids with me into the entertainment industry just made “cents”. If casting wanted a mom with two kids in a commercial and we all booked it, that would be 3x the check! It put me in a special category of real life mom with kids so I would get more auditions too. I remember the day I met with the team who would become our whole family's agent and the one simple question that started it all, “Are you interested in going out together for any REAL FAMILY roles?” I pictured them earning their own college money and said, ‘Sure!” That was it. I was thrilled and decided to be the least pushy or braggadocious stage parent ever.
Here it is more than 12 years since becoming a Mommy-Actress-Manager and while I’m sometimes frustrated at my lack of personal time and always frazzled, I do enjoy working with my kids and I’ve learned a lot!
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m a wealth of information, so if you want to get ahead in the MAM game by learning from our mistakes and lucky finds then subscribe and check back for new articles. While we haven’t been to every class and workshop or to every set in town we have a combined 27 years of tales to tell. Sometimes I’ll include links in the text and definitely at the end of each installment. The final post will be a list of some resources I can personally vouch for - non of which are compensating me in any way.
Blogs: Children In Film, The Momager Lifestyle,
Articles: Should you Manage Your Child’s Acting Career, How to become a child actor, A Guide to Managing Your Child