One of the things I love about my job is that I get to be both creative AND handy. One day, I can be working with fabrics and painting gorgeous backdrops, and the next day, I can be cutting wood and hammering things together. You acquire some really diverse skills in this job and I really enjoy it. I started as crew in theater way back in high school. I went to university at a school known for its theater program and had an amazing time. My job is a significant part of who I am and I am actually proud of that. I love what I do.
However, as soon as my husband and I got married, people started asking me if I was going to quit my job. Sure, there’s travel involved in what I do, and that could impact our married life, but that’s not why they were asking. They were asking because my husband makes more than I do. They also wanted to know when we were going to start having kids. While I know some women who have done that—and I love and respect them for their choices—it’s not part of our plan. We weren’t even thinking of having kids for a few more years.
I talked to some of the people I work with and it seems this is fairly common. Fertility isn’t exactly something that gets better with age for women, and so there is a ticking clock. Of course, your best child-bearing years are also the years you will get the lead roles. So the female performers, especially, seem to feel pressure in this regard. You can only work for so long when you’re pregnant, or you’d need roles where you could be noticeably pregnant. There aren’t many of those. Then you would have to take time off and hope that you could land roles afterward. Assuming you could afford the childcare. Sure, sometimes the men step up and do the child raising but that’s still on the rare side. And some of the women I spoke with did have kids, and some of those had taken breaks until the kids were in school full time before coming back. But they talked about constantly feeling torn between having to be a mom—packing just the right lunches, going to all the events and sports and activities their kids were required to be in, and all those random off days and early dismissals to keep up with—and doing the job that they loved.
I don’t know about you but I don’t know what I would do without my job. Financially things would be super tight but I am not sure I could cope without being able to build, paint, and see my visions come to life onstage. It fulfills me in a way nothing else has (I’m not saying that being a mom isn’t fulfilling. I just haven’t experienced it). I am not ready to give it up and I shouldn’t be expected to just because I am a woman.
Neither should you.