Just over a week ago, I was honored to co-produce the 5th season of Listen To Your Mother Boulder. I was a cast member in LTYM Denver 2013, and LTYM Boulder 2015, but this was my second year producing the show with my fantastic co-pilot Ellen Nordberg.
Producing a show is exhilarating, rewarding, magical, and also . . . it’s a LOT. A lot of behind-the-scenes scrambling, stress, chaos, and did I mention the paper? Notes, notebooks, to-do lists, spreadsheets (OK, not technically paper, but you get the idea). But there’s nothing quite like seeing all your hard work, emails, phone calls, and organizational successes and failures come together to culminate in the show.
This year’s show was no different. The show itself was absolute perfection, if I may say so (I mean, after all, we had an absolutely incredible cast of 11 women and 1 man!), but the hours leading up to it were filled with SNAFUs of all kinds—some vaguely predictable and others, not so much. I’ll spare you the details, but at the end of the evening, I realized several things:
- I hadn’t eaten since 3:00 pm, which was roughly six hours plus. Unheard of for me.
- I didn’t even have time to take the requisite pre-show program selfie.
- I hadn’t checked my makeup since it was done, nor had I touched up my hair: I was just too damn busy.
I spent a large portion of the two hours before the show running around shoeless (my fabulous red shoes were seriously gorgeous but not particularly functional) helping with various tasks, tracking people down, and looking for things I misplaced (like my damn shoes, more than once). By the time I was onstage as emcee, I realized I was finally breathing and the show was actually happening.
And as I said, it was wonderful. Our cast was so talented, so generous, so brave, so eloquent and poised. Watching it all come together really is a spectacular treat.
But as I relayed the events of the evening to various friends and family in the following days, I realized that I was still really hung up on the craziness of the pre-show hours, of the silly dramas and imperfections. I was recounting the chaos to a mom friend who had attended the show and she said that everything was perfect, that nobody would have had any idea we felt flustered or stressed prior to the show.
“Well, that’s a relief to know,” I replied.
“But really, it’s kind of perfect, isn’t it?” my friend added. “I mean, doesn’t that just sum up motherhood exactly? It’s really very fitting.”
To be honest, my mind was kind of blown. How had this freaking perfect metaphor for the show not occurred to me before?? Of course, it was EXACTLY like motherhood. Everything may be going to shit, we may be un-showered and our laundry has been piled up for days and days, we’re exhausted, we forgot to turn in that permission slip again, but our kids seriously have no idea. They’re happy. They love us.
Motherhood often looks smooth and effortless on the surface (particularly on Fakebook) but we all know we are paddling like hell under the surface. We are tuned into our every failure, hung up on the hassles of our daily lives, frustrated that everything feels so goddamn hard. But our kids don’t know. And neither does anybody else.
Because most of the time, like our big show, everything comes together the way it needs to, perfectly imperfect. The mess, chaos, misplaced items, failure to adhere to schedule, and yes, even the hair disasters don’t really matter to anyone but us.
So I’ve decided that Listen To Your Mother (psst, go see a show this weekend if you can!) really IS the perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day with all its annoyances, disasters, hassles, unmet expectations, and messy, messy love. I think we can all agree that, whatever we expect from Mother’s Day, things rarely go exactly according to plan. Whether our homemade breakfast in bed is cold (or even totally disgusting), whether the flowers are wilted (or non-existent), whether the day is full of whining kids or even deep, deep grief, it’s never perfect.
I got a great reminder this year to accept the behind-the-scenes imperfections, to lie back into the flow as best I can, and to celebrate Mother’s Day in a real, authentic way.
And now, for the gift that keeps on giving, year, after year: my original song, The Mother’s Day Blues, recorded four years ago. I may not be changing any diapers these days, but the rest is pretty much still true . . . enjoy! xoxoxo
And get yourSELF a Mother’s Day gift this year: to read more real, perfectly imperfect stories of motherhood, order yourself or a mama you know (or both!) a copy of So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real About Motherhood. (Super cheap on sale as a Kindle copy, too!)