Mother vs Comic

How does Pride and Prejudice start? “It is universally acknowledged that a young woman is in want of a good man of considerable fortune…” – or something like that. I could google it, but I’m sure Simon will do that anyway (pretend there’s a winky emoticon here). Well, I think it is also universally acknowledged that being a comic is bloody difficult. More so being a mother. Try being both.

In honour of Mother’s Day (it’s tomorrow, buy yer Mom some bubble bath, pronto), I thought I’d share a glimpse of what it’s like to be a mom and stand up comic. To my knowledge, there are only a handful of us out there. Off the top of my head, I can think of only a dozen or so working regularly in Canada. Obviously, I don’t have intimate knowledge of the whole bleedin’ country, but took who I know and added a few. Clearly, Sally Field’s cinematic oeuvre “Punch Line” did nothing to further the cause.

Now, I know that being a comic isn’t a hard as being, say, a surgeon or school teacher. There are many professions that require tons of education, skill and perseverance, but stand up has its own set of challenges. The unsocial hours, the travel, the writing, the just getting up there and laying yourself open to a group of 10-200 strangers, usually semi or full out drunk ones, trying to entertain and make them laugh. It can be emotionally, as well as physically draining.

But being a mom is waaaay trickier. The pregnancy is arduous, the delivery a bitch, breastfeeding, lack of sleep, sick kids, discipline, education, scheduling, the constant fear you’re screwing up – all tough on a good day.

I’m lucky in many ways. I have a wonderful husband who (mostly) understands and supports me in my pursuit of a career in stand up. He works very hard and is the breadwinner, but also participates in every aspect of family life. My kids are also great; though not without their challenges (i.e. my daughter has a pretty severe learning disability with which we struggle every day). All, in all, however – I have it pretty good.

Fortunately, comedy, for the most part, happens at night – so I can be there for the kids all day then head out after dinner and homework to do my thing. As a result, however, I’m dog-tired. Thank god for the invention of naps. But out-of-towners? Doable, yet require organization of mammoth proportions. Touring? Haven’t done it yet, but hope to soon. How? Haven’t a clue. But I do know it’ll be down to me to cover every minute detail of its planning and execution vis-à-vis the kids, the dog, the household yadda, yadda.

This week is a good example of how crazy my life is. Assume, if you will, that the days have been filled with the school run, the kids, extra-curricular kid-type stuff, minimum 90 mins of supervised homework, shopping, bill paying, cooking etc. Throw into the mix the (adorable yet incontinent) puppy we just added to the family, plus the garage sale we are having this weekend (my idea, I’m an idiot). Then there were the shows, last night’s photo shoot for new head shots, the writing (not much this week, except for this masterwork)… well, you get the picture.

I sometimes wonder if I’m being selfish by doing comedy. Is my desire to succeed affecting the well-being of my family? I like to think that I do a pretty good job balancing it all. My husband and I perhaps don’t get enough “couple” time, but we try. My kids are loved excessively, well fed, nurtured and are mighty cool little people in their own right. And I feel proud that my kids will grow up seeing me passionately following my dreams and that they should too, no matter what those dreams may be.

So happy Mothers Day to all who qualify. My plans for Sunday? Nothing…for as long as I can get away with it. Monday will come quickly enough.

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