Parents

17 Ways Being An Actor Prepared Me for Motherhood

07/07/2017 10:20am ET | Updated July 7, 2017
Megan Manzi

They say nothing truly prepares you for motherhood—not the hundreds of hours you clocked babysitting or the stacks of parenting books you read while pregnant. But the years I spent hustling as an actor in New York and Los Angeles gave me an unlikely education in what it takes to nail this role of a lifetime. So fellow actors, listen up. Here’s why your acting career is the best prep for motherhood!

1. We’re used to people saying no

Whether it’s a big casting director or a toddler with a big attitude. We’re pretty unfazed by rejections—especially when they’re coming from little people with inflated egos.

2. We’re used to emotional breakdowns

Ever been in an acting class? The memories, the tears, the grown-up toddler-like tantrums...no expression of emotion is too much for us to handle.

3. We are trained to look beyond someone’s words

My scene partner may be saying one thing, but his sexy body language is telling me another. My kiddo may be saying one more book, but her eye rubbing is telling me we’re d-o-n-e.

4. We’re fluent in Gibberish

Whether it’s a baby’s babbles or the jibber-jabber of an improv game, that silly gobbledygook is music to our ears.

5. Nudity is part of the job

We are pros at backstage quick changes and coed costume fittings. So if in a sleep deprived state we inadvertently get topless to breastfeed our newborn, and our father-in-law just happens to be sitting stunned across from us, no biggie.

6. Memorization comes naturally to us

Doesn’t matter if it’s Shakespeare, a bad indie, or a favorite board book, we got every line down pat. Bam.

7. We are master storytellers

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear” is riveting when each animal has a different voice, accent and Stanislavski-inspired motivation.

8. Entertaining people is in our DNA

We’ll never shy away from singing and dancing and occasionally making fools of ourselves. And we can make believe the most crazy situations with complete and utter conviction. It’s our gift for the greater good.

9. We’re used to unsolicited advice

Whether it’s from a great aunt (“You should just get on one of those vampire shows”) or from a greater-than-thou mom (“You should just get her on a tight sleep schedule"), we are conditioned to give a polite nod and say, “Good idea,” without ever giving that crazy talk a second thought.

10. We’re used to answering, “What do you do all day?”

The average Joe doesn’t get the amount of work it takes to keep an acting career afloat or a small child alive on a day to day basis. We’re familiar with their blissful ignorance and take no offense at this often asked question.

11. We don’t bat an eye at intense food preferences

Our actress friends have tried gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, calorie-free diets and lived to tell the tale. Our toddlers have survived on goldfish crackers alone for days at time. We know that what one needs for sustenance is highly subjective.

12. We’re accustomed to constant snack temptation

Whether it’s the midnight brownies from Craft services or our kids’ leftover macaroni and cheese, the struggle is real.

13. Our cars are already filled to the brim with costumes and props

Getting from a callback in Santa Monica to a shoot in Studio City during rush hour takes the same amount of detailed prep and efficiency as keeping a two-year-old from having a meltdown in his car seat between errands.

14. We never take vacation

There’s no paid time off or sick days to be had. And if we miraculously did book a trip out of town, we know it would inevitably get postponed due to a last minute booking or case of Hand, Foot and Mouth.

15. We get that sometimes you have to play second fiddle to the star

Actors and moms both know when it’s our job to play the supporting role and let a certain someone take center stage.

16. We are often underpaid and underappreciated

The hours are insane and the pay is embarrassing. But we know there are no small parts and that the show must go on.

17. We have faith in the long term reward

Acting and motherhood are both passion projects. You pay your dues early on and the grind isn’t easy. But we know that in the end, our hard work will pay off...and our kids will always be our biggest fans!

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This piece was originally published by Megan Manzi on Mommy Nearest. Megan Manzi is a mom, early childhood education teacher and kid at heart. She has created play-based children’s curriculum for over 10 years with the YMCA, LAUSD, SoCal Moms, Babystep TV and more. All this knowledge went out the window when she became a mom herself two years ago. Follow her adventures in make believe at Megan Manzi.

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