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Dreaming Big: Pursuing Musical Theater as a Full-Time Mom

Updated: 5 days ago


Broadway musical theater stage

Balancing Dreams and Responsibilities


Have you ever felt a tug on your heart, a calling to pursue a passion that seems impossible amidst your daily responsibilities?


🙋‍♀️ Hi, that's me. As someone with many passions, areas of interest, and things that bring me joy, I'm always dreaming big while also trying to stay grounded in my current reality.


As a new mom with a deep love for musical theater, I find myself at a crossroads. I'm a full-time mom during the day and see my Intuitive Eating and YNAB Budget clients at night. Full schedule, busy life.


And yet... I live in NYC and have the opportunity to pursue one of my lifelong dreams - performing musical theater professionally.


I've been dancing for as long as I can remember and it's always been a dream of mine to perform in NYC. I did some professional work years ago in Colorado, but the thought of pursuing theater out here feels next level.

Musical theater performance, dancers on stage
Performing in Joseph at BDT Stage in 2017

This post started as a journal entry exploring all the what-ifs, doubts, fears, and desires I have about performing. I decided to share it with you in case any nuggets in here inspire you to dream big and pursue something that originally seemed like "How the heck could that ever possibly happen?" to "I want to entertain this idea."


 

Contemplating a Return to Musical Theater


As my son has entered the toddler stage and gotten more independent, so have I. I've been able to take more dance classes and leave every one of them thinking "I want to do this forever. I want this to be my job. I want this!"


But, of course, as soon as I have those thoughts, an onslaught of other thoughts arises:


  • How can I afford all of the training and gear required to get audition-ready?

  • Do I even stand a chance talent-wise?

  • Is it logistically feasible with my responsibilities as a full-time mom?

  • Can my body handle doing 5-8 shows a week?

  • Do I genuinely want this, or is it just my ego wanting to prove something?


These questions quickly lead to feelings of overwhelm and uncertainty, because there are so many unknowns. I have a big-picture dream, but I don't have a fully formulated idea of what it would look like or what is required to get there.


At first, this level of uncertainty was causing me to feel frozen and stuck in inaction. Doubt, fear, and confusion are compelling reasons to avoid pursuing a dream. Yet, this dream tugs at my heart, urging me to at least consider the possibility.


If I insist on figuring out all the logistics before taking any steps, I will never actually start. There’s no way to know the logistics of something that hasn’t happened yet. I can't predict audition schedules that haven’t been announced or foresee every potential challenge.


Trying to iron out all the logistics of an imaginary scenario is a recipe for inaction. It’s an impossible puzzle to solve, and focusing on it too much will keep me stuck.


 

Taking Action: Small Steps Toward Big Dreams


So, if the dream feels big, daunting, and abstract, what do I do?


Instead of getting bogged down by the unknowns, I’ve decided to focus on the tangible steps I can take now. I don’t need to know all the specifics of a particular outcome, such as how many nights a week my shows would be or whether we’d need childcare for rehearsals.


First, I made a list of all the possible action steps or ‘things that need to happen’ I could think of in a document. Then I prioritized them, broke them down into smaller action items, and chose a few to focus on for now.


Here are my current action steps:


  • Take at least one dance class a week

  • Do one ballet barre a week at home

  • Start taking voice lessons

  • Get up to speed on the current norms re: headshots, resume, and dance reel

  • Begin filming dance reel content

  • Get acting coaching for my audition songs


As I've been writing this blog post these action steps continue to change because I am moving through them and able to dive into the next thing on the list. But this is an example of how specific they are rather than just thinking of "start auditioning!" as my main to-do.


 


Microscope providing perspective of lake

Vision vs. Outcome


When thinking about this potential path I want to explore, I find it helpful to think in terms of “vision” vs. “outcome.”


A vision captures the essence of what I’m looking for—broad strokes like performing in a paid capacity in a musical in NYC or a nearby town.


An outcome feels more specific, like a goal to perform on Broadway or get cast in a particular musical.

There is a time and place for having specific goals and eventually, this specificity will be necessary to my success.


But for now, I'm working with dreams that aren't flushed out yet. I don't even know what all my options are or what's logistically possible for me, but I know I want to take productive action.


For dreams that feel vague, it can be helpful to stop trying to predict the exact outcome you want and instead try to focus on the broader vision.


I don’t know enough about what I want to be invested in a particular outcome, which frees me to follow my intuition and not miss opportunities because I was too focused on one goal to see another passing me by.


 

Let the dancing begin!


A month ago I was walking out of my dance classes grieving the life I would never have. It seemed CRAZY to consider that there was still a way I could perform in NYC due to the caliber of talent here, my lapse in performing credits, and the fact that my family counts on me for childcare and income.


Any time I did allow myself to toy with the idea of pursuing performing I instantly felt paralyzed by overwhelm.


By making some of the mental shifts mentioned here - taking things one step at a time, not trying to predict and plan for logistics that haven't happened yet, breaking down the process into manageable steps, and focusing on my heart's vision and desire rather than a particular outcome - I feel much more at ease and excited by the idea of auditioning and performing!


If there's something on your heart that's calling to you, I hope you allow yourself to dream, to vision, and to imagine it even if you can't see how it's logistically possible. Perhaps you can journal about it and then publish it on the web as inspiration to others. 😊

 

Want to stay in the know and find out how this journey progresses? 👇



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