Hollywood: Don’t you forget about me
by Jill Effron
Six years ago I was pushing a stroller (baby inside, of course) through the Grove, when I ran into a producer from a show I used to work on. She congratulated me on my new baby and then said, “So, I guess you’re just a mom now,” smiled, then walked away before I had the chance to say, “I didn’t lose my funny bone when she came out, thanks!” In fact, I became more productive and more creative after having my daughter. But it didn’t matter, she only saw the girl behind the stroller, not the girl behind the desk.
Last week, as I sat in the tiny waiting area of my daughter’s ballet class, it dawned on me that I was living my own version of The Breakfast Club. However, instead of a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal, I sat amongst a former commercial actress, a former studio lawyer, and a former publicist. What a powerful room this once was. Yet, here we are… years, pounds, and dark circles under our eyes later, with mini UGG boots and water bottles in our laps, sharing tales of our Hollywood past, while our little protégés learn their ballet routine. Each story ended with a sigh and a knowing nod, “Those were the days.”
Are we upset with the life we chose of chauffeuring kids to various activities? No. Do we wish in some way we could dabble in our past and still be completely present for our kids? Absolutely! (Thank you Hollywood Journal for letting me dabble!) But we also know that at some point we will regain a solid six hours in our day when we can pick up where we left off. We sit and concoct our perfect life/work/family balance scenario. All in all, we don’t want to be forgotten or ignored. We don’t want all the hard work and long hours that we put in to be for nothing just because we popped out some kiddos. Which is why we talk about our past as much as we do.
The ghosts of Hollywood past are present everywhere in my life, not just in the waiting room at ballet. Whether it’s bumping into an actress friend at Target whose show just ended, and is amazed at the stay at home mom lifestyle… and Target. Or spying a former screenwriter, sitting in a corner at Starbucks, knocking out her next spec, while her kids are at school. The common theme with all of us is that just because we took a mommy hiatus, doesn’t mean we want to be ignored or have forgotten our craft. It doesn’t mean that we have lost any and all abilities to act, be funny, write, litigate or promote talent.
So, when you see us pushing strollers, herding cats—er, kids, or looking a bit tired because a child thought 5am was a good time to start their day, please note it’s these experiences that have made us stronger, funnier, and have given us the desire to recapture our past and make it our present. (Anyone else feel the need to triumphantly pump his or her fist in the air right now?)Tags: Film and TV business, Hollywood, Jill Effron, Mommy hiatus, Work-life balance