This article originally appeared in The Working Actor section of Backstage.com
I waited a long time before I had my baby. I kept telling myself, “I’ll wait until I get a series regular role and have an on-set nanny.” Or, “I’ll wait until I sell my first feature. Then I’ll be able to afford to stay at home.” Every time the subject came up, I found a reason to put parenting off. My career came first. The only problem was, my career wasn’t happening as fast as my fertility was declining (aka old mom). Nature gives no Fs if you go out for pilot season or if you finally book a guest star that could be your big break. So I decided to stop fearing the unknown as an actor who wanted to be a mom and start living my life. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. If I could go back in time, here’s what I’d tell my preparent actor self:
It’s not as expensive as you think.
Stop worrying about money. Sure, if you want to keep up with the Kardashians you are going to shell out a pretty penny. But realistically, babies aren’t that expensive. They need diapers and formula, if needed. Everything else in the beginning is gravy. Don’t put that extra pressure on yourself because your kid will make her own fabulous.
You will have help.
Be grateful for your friends because they will save your butt when auditions pop up. Don’t be afraid to ask them to come along to the audition with you and watch your little one. And always, always be gracious and offer to pay, or buy them lunch if you can. Make a list of babysitters, talk to friends with kids, and get a plan in place for when that last-minute call to go work on the latest Apatow project comes in.
You are not alone.
Everyone in this business is human, and a lot of these humans are also parents. Stop thinking you’ll never work again if you have a baby. You will. And you will have even better insights on roles involving parenting, teaching, and cleaning up poop (those come up, right?). Plus, your baby will be a great postaudition distraction so you don’t wonder why you didn’t get a callback for Lunch Lady No. 4.
Your creative juices will flow.
Get ready to be bowled over with baby creativity. There’s a reason everyone (almost) who has a kid suddenly also has a blog. Ahem. You’ll want to tell the world what you’ve learned, how cute your kid is, and share your experiences like never before. Think of all the writing, funny videos, and memes that will be inspired by your little mini-me!
You will not have time to do anything at first.
You might not write the next Tina Fey series or David O. Russell screenplay at first because you will be tired. Very tired. And that’s OK. There is light at the end of the tunnel! Enjoy your smushy baby time, watch “Game of Thrones,” and go to Mommy and Me now, because soon you will be back in the Hollywood grind of workshops, classes, co-star auditions, and begging your agent to call you back. This town will always be here, so stop waiting for the perfect situation to become a parent and start living your life!
Brooker is an actor, Emmy Award–winning writer, and host of the popular podcast “Motherhood in Hollywood.”