Listen To Your Mother

(I know. I know. I shared this on Twitter. I shared this on Facebook. I am in awe of my friend. In. Awe. Also: I have thoughts. I have feelings. I want to respond, at length.)

Kim Z. Dale, fabulous in blue
Kim Z. Dale, fabulous in blue

I have a lot of admiration for my friend Kim. She participated in the Chicago presentation of Listen to Your Mother. Along with being a professional and a mother, she is a playwright. In this verbal essay, she says a lot of things that, in my experience, work-outside-the-home moms hesitate to admit.

I have said this before, but in this context it bears repeating. I don’t just work to earn money. I work so that I leave my house. I work so that I am not at home, spending all my time with my children. I *love* my children, and I love being around them (most of the time). But I also feel like my work life makes me appreciate my home life more.

What Kim has to say is poignant and honest, and oh, when she reaches the end of her piece. Oh. My heart for her. (Aside to Kim: did you know that was going to happen?)

Please go watch it before you finish reading this.

Back? Okay.

I, too, like being good at what I do. It’s one of the (many many) reasons I work. I haven’t been called the nanny’s name (my children are a little older than Kim’s, though), but there have been moments, often in the evening or on a Saturday, where I get a look from them. A mumbled comment when I tell them to clean their room, or that we won’t make it to the pool today because we have to do XYZ. “I wish Miss Nanny were here.” The implication being because Miss Nanny is more fun.

Miss Nanny is, sometimes, often, more fun. I get that, and I envy her that time that she has to be more fun with my children.

But. And but. I, too, am fun. And a parent. I have to do hard things. Set limits. Enforce consequences. Teach responsibility. Give baths and enforce bedtimes. Make sure homework gets done and soccer practice is attended.

Miss Nanny, for all the fabulous work she does do (she has to enforce chores every day, which ain’t easy) isn’t raising my children. She’s taking care of them during the hours that I go earn a paycheck. It’s definitely a trade-off. One that works well for my family.

I’m really happy that Kim got the laughs she got.

Anyway, I also have to say here that I would love to find a way to bring Listen To Your Mother to Pittsburgh. Stay tuned. And in the meantime, check out the other Chicago performances.

Bring tissues.

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8 thoughts on “Listen To Your Mother

  1. Thank you, Dawn. I was afraid to share this story. I was ashamed. I feared that people would think less of me. I’ve been thrilled by all the support and all the women who have said that they relate. I guess this is why mommy bloggers share as much as they do.

    As for the ending…I didn’t tear up in auditions. I cried so much at the first rehearsal that I barely got the words out. I didn’t cry at the second rehearsal. So, no, I had no idea whether I’d cry during the show. Actually I probably would have guessed beforehand that I wouldn’t. I think the supportive laughter from the audience really amplified the emotion, and you saw how it went. I’m just happy I kept enough composure to get the words out.

    • I’m so glad you were so brave. It is brave to say, “I want to work. I want to leave my children in the care of other people.” It’s brave and it’s totally okay. And we need to keep telling our stories and not let the fear of judgement (we will be judged) stop us from telling our stories. Brava, my friend. Brava.

      The audience reactions and your reaction just made it all the more sincere and real and poignant.

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