Not all performing artist professionals have kids, and that’s cool! But some do. What does that experience look like for such an unpredictable lifestyle? That’s the question I want to explore. So, in honor of mother’s day, I’ve started a series called “What She Looks Like” that profiles performing artist professionals who balance work and motherhood! I’ve asked a few of the performing arts professionals/moms I know to share a brief profile of their stories.
The first amazing lady is Jenna Woods, a professional stage manager in NYC who I’ve worked with numerous times and know her extraordinary work and have followed her pregnancy journey via Facebook. Here’s a sneak peak into her world! Check out her thoughts on what she thinks people should know and how spreadsheets come into play.
Name: Jenna Woods
Profession: Stage Manager
Status: Due any second
WHAT SURPRISED YOU
In the first two trimesters, I was surprised that more people didn’t visually notice I was pregnant. I felt like my shape was completely different, but no one noticed my tiny bump as much as I did! It was almost a little disappointing not to have the conversation starter when I was so excited about the news. On the flip side, there were certain times when I didn’t want anyone to notice, mainly in rehearsal where I didn’t want to be a distraction.
WHAT EXCITED YOU
I was and am excited to talk to other moms in the theater industry about how they cope with their pregnancy and baby care. Our schedules are widely different from the “normal” American family, and often creative solutions need to be found to deal with evening baby care, where to pump, etc.
I am also excited to take a break from work in order to start a new “project” with my new baby. In many ways getting myself and my husband ready for baby’s arrival is much like prepping an event where I plan as much as I can, and then use that information to roll with the punches when the big day arrives!
WHAT CHALLENGED YOU
It wasn’t until my third trimester that I felt less physically able than usual, but when it hit it was frustrating. I’m used to being a very active and able person, so slowing down and asking others for help is a challenge. Now that I’m in week 34 and much bigger, I find that others offer help before I ask, so that makes it a little easier. But getting off my feet at work in particular is something I have to consciously keep reminding myself to do.
WHAT YOU LOOK FORWARD TO
I look forward to meeting our little one and finding a “new normal” in our family. My husband is a stagehand and also works freelance with strange hours. Balancing our new responsibilities with our jobs will be interesting and likely a constant conversation, but I’m looking forward to making it work. We both love our careers and the freedom it gives us to plan days off or vacation time together, so making it work is worth it.
WHAT YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW
There is too much made out of “baby brain” regarding pregnant women. I haven’t had many problems at all with memory bumps or confusion, but many non-pregnant people expect that from me and it undermines my authority as a stage manager.
YOUR FAVORITE MOMMY-ARTIST STORY
I have several other stage manager friends who are pregnant at the same time as myself, and it’s been so fun to share stories and experiences. Also true to our stage manager natures, we’ve been sharing great mommy organizing tips and spreadsheets with info on baby projects!
This interview was originally posted on April 22, 2016 on AuditioningMom.com and is published exclusively here with permission. If you would like to submit your story for What She Looks Like as a mother and artist in the performing arts – working, seeking work, or stepped away – submit an interview through the form here!
Jenna Woods is also the PAAL Chief Rep in New York City.
“In many ways getting myself and my husband ready for baby’s arrival is much like prepping an event where I plan as much as I can, and then use that information to roll with the punches when the big day arrives!”
– Jenna Woods, NY Stage Manager
“There is too much made out of “baby brain” regarding pregnant women. I haven’t had many problems at all with memory bumps or confusion, but many non-pregnant people expect that from me and it undermines my authority as a stage manager.”
– Jenna Woods, NY Stage Manager
How are you treating your resident pregnant professional? What’s your favorite quote?
More profiles coming soon!
If you are or you know a performing artist professional and mom who wants to share thoughts, answer these questions and shoot them to us at this submission form!