Sling Diaries- Ambition
9 years ago, with 2 large suitcases and little else to my name, I moved to New York City. I was a girl with a big dream and I couldn’t wait to dive into the craze of the city, feeling so excited and giddy from my intense drive, passion, and faith that I’d succeed. Man did I have a dream, one that I’d never strayed from since childhood, one that shaped so many choices in my life, and one that I was brimming with love for.
I feel weird writing about it here. It actually makes me a bit emotional, because writing about the career that I wanted for so many years, that I’m not really living 9 years later, makes a part of me feel like I have failed. By typing the words on this public space I feel like I’m documenting that I’m not the same person that I used to be, the girl who wanting nothing and I mean nothing in the world more than a successful acting career. I was ambitious. I worked hard. I waited tables. I was rejected, but I kept my head up high, went to the next audition, and was on top of my game. I felt good at it. Nothing gave me the thrill of performing on stage, I craved it. The lights, the audience, the way my chest swelled as I walked out in front of a swarm of people.
4 years in, I packed my bags and moved to Vermont for the summer, off to do two plays at a wonderful theatre. I was single, but at peace with my life. I couldn’t wait to have that summer alone- to focus on the shows, maybe start running, and just breathe the clean, quiet, mountain air. It turns out, I met the guy who was playing my leading man in the show and everything suddenly changed. (Funny how it always works out that way huh?) We fell in love quickly, and I felt a shift happening in my life. You see, deep down, buried underneath the dreams that I worked so hard for during my first 4 years in the city, was another one. A goal that I actually hoped for just as much or more as my others, but it was stashed away, saved for later.
I wanted a family. So much so that I thought about it daily. I wanted to be a wife and to have a baby so badly that my heart felt like it may burst when thinking of loving something so much. It was easy to push to the back of my mind, knowing I couldn’t really work hard for this one, I had to just let it happen. Now there was Andy, my guy, and that wisp of a dream started becoming an actual possibility. We got engaged, married and before celebrating our first anniversary I got pregnant with Hugo. I felt really conflicted telling the world about this change. It seemed that by publicly announcing this wonderful thing that I was also making it clear how much my life’s course would alter. I knew in my heart that I couldn’t possibly give my first love the same hard work and focus the moment I started growing a new life.
I’ve said it before, but being a mother is truly my dream job. Sometimes I feel silly admitting that. Being an educated, modern woman, I wonder if this makes me old fashioned or silly. This doesn’t mean I don’t love getting to work on my blog, or still go to auditions. And I know that I’ll get back on the stage someday, maybe when life is a little more manageable. But right now- my life is so rich and so full just taking care of my baby. I feel more fulfilled than I ever imagined.
I used to be a very small fish in the huge ocean of a huge city, every day making a tiny impact on a variety of people. Now- I spend 90% of my time making a difference to the life of one small boy. It’s not glamourous. I don’t get to be in the spotlight or feel the glory of entertaining a large crowd. Instead I entertain my very (very) small audience of one. But as I write this with tears in my eyes, overwhelmed by the truth in it, I can say from the bottom of my heart that it is so much more fulfilling. Yes there are days when I miss bits of pieces of my old life, but I know that in the whole span of my time on earth, the years when I get to work at taking care of my babies will be short and will go by in an instant. I choose to make this my goal, and to work hard at being a great wife and mother. Sometimes I feel like the ambitious me is a thing of the past, replaced by someone new, but I know that can’t be true…this job is harder than any I’ve had any by far the most wonderful.
This post marks my third entry as part of the Sakura Bloom Sling Diaries. I am wearing Hugo in the Shabd Shibori Squares Sling which was provided to me as part of this project. Photos by Nadia Quinn
What a beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you for sharing the many joys (and challenges) of embracing motherhood
Thanks Jane, your comment means a lot.
Thank you for sharing your profoundly beautiful thoughts! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…..I’ve done many things in my life but raising two wonderful children is what I’m most proud of and happy about. Mothering is the most rewarding and fulfilling relationship ever! It will only get better for you with each passing moment, and those moments will fly by so enjoy every one!
It really is. Thanks Vickie :)
I can’t think of a woman more suited to this job, the hardest and most rewarding one you will ever have. <3 (And every time I see you wearing Hugo in a sling, I miss my babywearing days… my kids, at 8 and 10, are way too big for that now!)
Thanks Carrie. That’s just a reminder I need to cherish these days- I know he will be a big kid before I know it.
Lol! Just have to add that my kids are 47 and 37 now so there were no slings (that I knew of) when they were infants. Instead, I just picked them up and carried them, long past the time when they could walk, just because I never wanted to let go of them and hold them close. Times change! (Thankfully I got past that.)
Holding our babies is the most wonderful thing ever. I use the stroller sometimes too of course, but when I’ve had a day when I just need to connect to Hugo, or I feel he needs that extra contact- I am so grateful to just have him in my arms. I give you major props for managing that without a carrier! :)
My baby is 12 years old now but I still hold him. And if I could wrap him up in a sling and wear him across my belly I totally would! Alas, he’s nearly my height now so that’s difficult to attempt. Enjoy these years, they fly.
Jennifer that give me hope that my days holding Hugo aren’t going to be over any time soon :)
Audra…I could write this post myself. And the truth is NOTHING else compares. Yesterday the boys gave Gabe their Father’s Day cards and homemade presents and he had tears in his eyes and soaked up the moment, hugging them and loving them…. And as I watched I thought to myself, here Gabe is about to have his Broadway debut as a director…a “big deal”, and YET , THIS moment was 100000 times more important and beautiful. I love you as a friend, as an artist/baker/crafter…but a mom most of all. Your deep down instincts about all of this are spot on and being a mother is only going to enrich your life as an actor if you go back to it…or rather, WHEN you go back to it….its all good. You are living the dream Audra! LOVE LOVE LOVE
Thank you Tricia! I love you too. Thanks for being such a great Mom for me to look up to. I miss you!
Audra!! This is such a beautiful post! I move everything you said. Bring a Mom is such an incredible job, not always easy but always worth it!!
Thanks Kate. I know you must understand how I feel about this :)
Audra, thank you for sharing such an honest and touching story. I applaud you for expressing that full-time motherhood is an acceptable and worthwhile goal. There shouldn’t be any embarrassment or feeling of inadequacy in the choice. As you have discovered, there is nothing better. Nothing as fulfilling. Nothing as life-altering. And nothing as important. Kudos to you.
Thank you Jeanette. Your comment means so much :)
Beautifully written, Audra, thanks for being so open about this. I’ve struggled big time with the idea of transitioning from my career which I’ve worked so hard for and the huge new challenge of motherhood which I also want soon. I’m learning not only that my career will be there for me when I’m back, and that everything changes, but that’s a good thing! I found your post really honest and reassuring. Just the solidarity I needed at this crossroad. Thank you x
Yasmeen I have no doubt that you will deal with the transition beautifully. It is definitely a hard one, but I think you’ll know in the moment what is right for you and how to balance your life :)
Thanks for sharing your heartfelt thoughts. I identify with so many of them! (:
Miss you friend!
Oh Audra, how beautifully introspective! It is nice to get a glimpse of who YOU are! I love that you compare your past and present audience. Little Hugo is so blessed to have you as a mommy! I worked full time at a Children’s hospital until my last of 3 kids was about 2 yrs. Over 200 were laid off. It was hard at first but it was the best gift I could have ever given myself or my kids. So I applaud you and give you a standing ovation for being an incredible mom, wife, and baker! You inspire me and I have some delicious recipes because of you! You are just too cute with all those “slings”, wish they were avail when my kids were little!
Thank you so much Thea! And you’re right- you gave your kids such an amazing gift. I know there will be time to pursue all sorts of things in my lifetime…for now I feel pretty content!
Your honesty about your life goals was so refreshing to read. Sometimes life turns out differently than you originally planned. Loved reading how much you are enjoying motherhood it truly is one of the most important jobs :)
Audra–this could literally be my story. I moved to NYC for my big acting dream. I worked and lived and struggled. And I realized that I have always had one dream that was even bigger than that one…to have a family, to be a mom. And now I feel like a bit of a failure as I’ve left the city and abandoned any real realization of the acting dream so that I can fully realize my dream for a family.
So…yeah. I get it.
Also there’s no universe where I’ll be as great of a mom as you but I can hope :P
Hi Audra, I love your sling diary stories. They make me so happy. Although I’m too young to be able to empathize with being a mom, I can definitely say that your stories just makes me miss my own mom so much. This post has inspired me to call her right now!!! Thank you for putting a little smile on one daughter’s face. I can’t wait to read more :)