I never would have thought my theatre studies would be almost as helpful as an undergrad in home economics. Now, before any of my theatre peeps get offended, let me just say I ain’t belittling theatre. No way. It just so happens that my studies in theatre have proven most helpful in being a SAHW&M in a single-income family. Here are my Top 10 Theatrical Tips for Homemaking (inspired by Listverse); maybe they will inspire you, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing!
1. Entertain a child with what entertains you. This is obvious to some, but honestly I go by the children’s theater rule-of-thumb: if the kids are being quiet, it really is a good show. I use this mindset to gauge how much I like/dislike a program or activity I’m doing with my kids. If I can’t enter into the fun with them, even by trying, and they aren’t really glued to it either, I let it go… even if it’s supposedly good/made for kids. No thanks, I’ll teach my toddler how to bake. The neat thing is, my child often returns the favor, and shows me how to enjoy what he enjoys.
2. A stage trick: Talking softly. If I talk loudly over a rowdy group of kids, they’ll just get louder too. The quieter I get, the quieter they’ll get so they can hear me. It works with my toddler all the time. Now if I can only remember to do it…
3. When being loud is necessary: project properly, so you don’t ruin your voice. All those years of voice lessons and voice-for-the-actor really have come in handy in regard to being in touch with my voice. I rarely hurt my voice. In fact, if I do hurt my voice, it is an immediate reminder to calm down and take a few deep breaths. A quick tip for anyone who has a hurting voice right now: Start humming and yawn while you do it, up and down your voice register. Go sit outside for a minute. Drink some pineapple juice or chamomile tea, and say a prayer for a bit. Let God show you how He sees you. You’d be surprised at how this helps!
4. Know what refreshes you, and do it! Speaking of voice/music lessons: I love singing to my kids and over my kitchen sink while doing dishes…. worshiping, singing harmony to songs…. The idea here is doing something fun for yourself. I’m not talking about shopping or listening to music, although those are very important! I’m talking about slowing down and finding life in a personal way. This might change with the seasons! Many people push through hard times without finding something to enjoy around them.
5. Don’t overdo it. Now, here’s another given: as a theatre person, Halloween is a cinch. That goes for Christmas and Easter… heck, Chick-Fil-A day too. Now, the problem is that I can easily demand too much from myself in that area, as a result. So, skip it once in a while (we skipped Halloween this year)! It finally really depends on how much time/energy I have. Proud-a-me. Anyone hear me on that one? Can I get an ‘Amen!’
6. Teach yourself how to sew. It’s easy! Put a needle and thread together and mend something. You will save yourself so much money! I can dye and sew from being in theatre — and half the time I can even just slap something together with a homemade design or pattern. Don’t be afraid to try! You’d be surprised at how the creative juices start flowing. It ‘s not always durable or perfect, but it’ll usually work for now. And it always means we can make that shirt last a little longer.
7. Use Carpenter’s glue. I learned in theatre that glue is what really holds sets together. Screws just hold things in place until the glue sets. So whether you’re making a craft or putting together stuff from Ikea — if you use Carpenter’s glue to reinforce the joints, your work will last a lot longer.
8. It is possible to do really great work on a dime or less. In theatre it’s called a “gypsy run” — doing a show with the bare necessities: black clothes for costumes, chairs for sets, and a single light on the stage (or whatever you’ve got). It comes in handy with a small budget. I do get tired of this at times, but can usually find the occasional recharge I need from some small idea/need I come across. Sometimes I watch the DIY network while visiting my MIL, but other times I find a spark lighting if I will just sit there and brainstorm: what will work? What will work? And if all else fails, try Goodwill.
9. How to do a lot on a little sleep. It is no secret that theatre people often work all hours to get a show ready. I know, I know… many college folks and other folks do this too. But how many of them do it with FUN and an occasional Diva moment?! HAHA! Give yourself that flair you want to feel special. Dress up for the day, or sing songs while you work or play with your kids. Don’t just trudge through. And remember, it’s not the hours you put in your work, it’s the work you put in your hours. Play hard!
10. Allow for a measure of self-acceptance when opening night comes. There is something about that final-moment-before-the-curtain-goes-up that brings a certain glimmer of excitement to the air, even if things have been stressful — and is something to look forward to. I find myself the most determined, and the most forgiving of myself, the closer I get to being finished. It’s as though a little fairy-dust has been tossed into the air.. or is it the dust of heavenly grace? Perhaps it is on the stage I learned that particular art of encouraging myself and others the harder things get or the closer we are to being done. Then, it’s just “letting go and going with what you’ve been able to get together.” Either way, I love having that spirit about me as I work at home. Sometimes, it allows me to just plop down and relax, when all else says I should freak out and scramble.
The End! So let me sum up… surely others in similar shoes must learn the same skills, whether they tap, twirl or just shuffle along in their fuzzy bunny slippers. I just happen to love how my theatre background has been what came in handy for me, in this particular role (pun intended)! Funny, since I ended up studying theatre, but not going into theatre full-time. God knew, huh? He is so good. 🙂
Thanks for reading, Friends.