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The Balancing Act: My life as a Mom and Performing Artist

Music, career, singing,
Balancing Act Family and Music

I was not sure what I wanted to write about in this post. My Mom passed in 2022. I was lucky to spend her last Mother's Day with her. I think she knew she was dying but tried to keep it from me as much as possible. I am trying not to spiral in this post, so more than likely, I will keep this somewhat short. My Mom was an amazing woman. I knew she loved music. She was an opera singer and very talented. She was accepted to one of the most famous conservatories in New York City but could not attend due to finances. She continued to sing in recital but back then, race played such a major factor. She went on to attend Bennett University in North Carolina, an HBCU to receive her education. When she decided to marry, she realized she had to give up her aspiration for a music career.

Two years after her death, I am still unpacking boxes of memorabilia from a life well lived. In some shape or form, her love and passion for music was in every single box. It became clear, her music kept her through the ups and downs of life. Much as what music does for me. To this day, I am not sure if having a career as a performing artist and family can ever be really "balanced". I know many performing artists that focused on their careers and pushed off having a family until later, or not at all. If you are in the performing arts and you are a Mom, just know that although you can have it all, you might not be able to do it all...well at the same time.

Personal Story

I recall the exhilarating highs of a standing ovation after a stellar performance juxtaposed with the tender joy of hearing her my daughter's laughter fill the room. The late-night rehearsals and early morning school runs were exhausting, but for me, each moment spent on stage and at home became my only focus. After three years of marriage, my husband literally left. I got home from work and his keys, clothes, everything was gone. Through all of it, there was music. My mom told me to just focus on praying for clarity, my daughter, and simply keeping a roof over our heads. I continued to sing in recital over the years and took my daughter with me on auditions. One year I thought about moving back to NYC. I remember taking my daughter with me to the audition and I just wanted to see how she would do. She did not like the noise, the dirt, any of it. At that point I knew my focus was going to be giving her as much stability as I could, while trying to balance a singing career and full-time job in an effort to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table....and making sure she continued to be able to access every opportunity available to her. I worked hard trying to balance all of it so I could send her to very good schools (2 public schools which we loved, and the rest were private schools). My family gave that to me, wanted my daughter to have the same opportunities (if not more) that I had growing up.

Challenges and Triumphs

The journey of an artist-mom (and single parent) is not without its share of challenges. From scheduling conflicts to the constant battle with mom guilt, I faced the hurdles head-on. However, it's in overcoming these obstacles that I discovered my true strength. The triumph of balancing a performing arts career while still being present for bedtime stories is a victory like no other, proving that with passion and perseverance, anything is possible.

Advice for Aspiring Artist-Moms

To all the aspiring artist-moms out there, know that you are not alone. Finding balance may seem daunting but remember that it's okay to ask for help. You also have to remember that it goes in phases. The ups, the downs, everything. Build a support system of fellow artist-moms who understand the juggling act you're performing. Embrace the chaos and cherish the moments of stillness. Most importantly, never compromise on your dreams – they are what fuel your spirit and light up your world.

Whether you're treading the boards of a theater stage or dancing to the rhythm of life, the art of balancing as a mom in the performing arts is a delicate yet rewarding endeavor. So, to all the artist-moms out there, keep shining brightly on and off the stage – you are an inspiration to us all!

Let's raise our virtual glasses to these incredible women who embody the essence of creativity, resilience, and love. Cheers to the artist-moms who remind us that the greatest performances are not only seen under the spotlight but also in the quiet moments of everyday life.

So, to all the artist-moms reading this, keep dancing, keep singing, and keep shining – the world is your stage, and your story is worth telling!

Thank you to my friends at Thrive Market for sponsoring this blog post. Visit Thrive Market and use the code Bri Cooper Mezzo at check out and get 30% off your order plus a free gift.


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