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Behind the Scenes of a Stage Mom. (And, how to be ONE!)

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

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I became a stage mom on June 7, 1992.   It was my daughter’s first solo.  Ironically, she was just in kindergarten.

Even when she was a tot, I beamed when Chrissy hit the high notes.  As a matter of fact, because of her,  I led my first standing ovation.  I wasn’t sure why it made me cry.  But, it did.

And, I’m still shedding tears.

In any case, I haven’t stopped being a stage mom.  Community Theater.  High school shows.  Callbacks for Broadway.  A Broadway tour. Idol competitions.  And, then some more.

Admittedly, the tears aren’t just about joy.  Disappointment. Concern. Anger. Pride.  Arguably, they blend together.

All things considered, I’m not sure if there really is a perfect stage mom. In fact, maybe ‘perfect stage mom’ is an oxymoron.  That’s because so many people assume the stage mom is a pushy woman just living through their children.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Believe me I know.  After more than twenty years, I’ve had a fair bit of practice.  At any rate, maybe you can learn from my experience.

Want to be the Perfect Stage Mom?

Here’s some ideas for getting you on the right path as a stage mom:

Butt Out of the Process

No doubt, it sounds harsh.  However, your side meetings with casting directors at any level could hurt your child.  Presumably, you think your child needs an advocate.  Be that as it may, directors know talent.  Ultimately, f your kid has what they are looking for, they’ll get the part.

First and foremost, a casting director’s goal is a good show.  Your child might not fit their vision.  Consequently, if you try to push the issue, your kid might be excluded from future roles.  Only, NOBODY likes an overbearing mom.  NOBODY.

Be a Good Shoulder to Cry On

Show biz is full of disappointments.  Regrettably, you need to be ready for them.

I remember when my daughter first auditioned for a Broadway show.  I sat and prayed in the church across from Port Authority in NYC.

All things considered, I worried how an insecure teenager would deal with rejection.  Of course, it could have been bad.

By and large, I got lucky.  Chrissy didn’t get cast, but was referred to another Broadway audition.  Months later, she had an agent.   In addition, the summer she was about to start college, Chrissy was on a National Tour.

There have been many times since that day she didn’t get a callback.  It’s life.

Stage Moms are Always Busy

Sacrifice without Expectations

You believe your kid is talented?  Sign them up for lessons.  Voice.  Dance. Acting.

The works.

It’s like figuring your child doesn’t need nursery school.  By the time they hit kindergarten, they are behind.  Trust me.  They need to hone their craft.  No matter how talented they are.

Count on spending some cash.  Your kid will also need endless rides.  You may be expected to buy costumes for silly recitals.

Time. Patience. More Disappointment. Frustration. Increased Pride.  You’ll feel it all.

You can even count on some more tears.

Stage Moms Need to be Patient

And then there will be the days your child doesn’t want to practice.  They’d rather be at the high school football game.

You’ll want to threaten to stop the lessons.  Your investment won’t seem worthwhile.

Be understanding. 

Stage moms aren’t pushy with just the outside world.  They are also demanding parents.

Pick your battles.  If your child is deemed for stardom, it will happen.  Without your nagging.

Don’t have immediate expectations for your sacrifices.  Results aren’t always visible.  Your kid may not realize all you’ve done until years later.

Resist the Temptation to Brag too Much

Did I really say that?  How can I possibly tell you to stop bragging?

Find Your Own Place

Resist the Temptation to be a Show-Off

Frankly, bragging too much can be obnoxious.

A stage mom who boasts a lot can make problems.  Your child will be embarrassed.  People may even quietly laugh at you.  Some may openly express their disinterest.

It’s a cruel world out there.  You and your husband may be the only ones who care about the reviews.  Accept that not everyone feels your sense of pride.

I am not telling you to refrain from sharing your child’s talents.  Chrissy still touches audiences.  I just step back and let others TELL ME.

Okay, maybe I’m still doing a bit of bragging.  But, I think I’ve gotten better.

Don’t Live Vicariously through Your Child

Do you know the story of of Broadway’s GypsyTalk about the ultimate stage mother.  Rose couldn’t make it in the business.  But, she pushed her daughters.  It didn’t matter that one became a stripper.  She lacked talent.

It’s a sad story.

You may have wanted to hit the big stage.  Maybe your parents didn’t believe in you.  Perhaps you decided to start a family instead.  Are you remembering your own show biz career?

Stop living in the past. 

Encourage your child’s dreams.  Forget about what could have been.  Or, what was.   Sign up for community theater auditions if it still bothers you.

I’m not suggesting that you should throw away your own ambitions.  Just know that you’re not in competition with your child.  You also can’t expect more than they can give.

Be there for your child.  NOT YOU.

You can make it as Stage Mom

I’ve shared my confessions as a stage mom.  Chrissy’s still performing.  She’s even moved on to directing shows.

Twenty something years later, I still have tears in my eyes.  EACH AND EVERY TIME.

It’s a thing that stage mothers never lose.  I think it’s made me a better person.

Accept the challenge to be an ideal stage mom.  Ever feel the need to brag about your child?

I get it.

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