It was 6 days after the delivery of my first daughter when I got the call from my agent. “Any chance you could come into the studio”. After 48 hours of labour and hardly any sleep, I had a new found appreciation of my capabilities to say the least, so I replied with a “yes that should be fine” and off I went. With slippers on, a brand new baby in tow and my husband by my side, on I soldiered.
Blog in 30 seconds
* You can marry motherhood and your career as voice artist with a healthy dose of grit, determination and good health.
*If we can appreciate that our time as mothers is defined in minutes, not hours, we can amaze ourselves with what we can achieve if we are intentional with our time.
*We need to make a decision about HOW we will do this. Freelance? Be represented by an agency or manager? Home studio? Pay to play sites? Then move forward with how to achieve it.
My time had come
Although I question my sanity on that day (5 years later I still question my sanity daily, so there’s a pattern)
I realise now that that day was monumental for me. When my first daughter was born, I was a decade into my career as a voice artist and knowingly setting myself up for this time. A time when I could fly by the seat of my pants and juggle motherhood with my work. Yes, it would be clunky at times to juggle things like feeding and baby’s naps with studio deadlines and scripts but I knew I could do it. Part of that confidence rested in having an awesome team of people cheering me on. My husband was a common fixture in the studio; nursing, burping and changing the baby as needed as well as my beautiful parents. Then there’s the incredible recording studios who welcomed nursing mothers with open arms and provided the space needed for mothers to mum in comfort.
I am 5 years into the dance between being a voice artist and mother and I want to share the ways I have found it achievable for me. Yes, it has meant upskilling. Yes, it has meant seeking mentors to help along the way. Yes, it has and still does require determination, good health and a good dose of grit on most days. However, it is 100% doable, and I hope you will learn like I did, that it is a thrilling journey and one you can fit around your family.
My one hope for penning this piece is that you may find a few tips on your path as a voice artist and mother.
Work it mama
Let’s start by talking about training. One thing us mothers are is time poor. There is no getting around it or denying it. The days of spending hours perfecting our craft are gone. For now anyway. So herein lies the opportunity to hone your skills when it comes to minutes. Yes minutes. This is where we use all our years of building techniques and simply keep them polished and well oiled. For example, pre-children maybe you had 30 minutes to train your voice daily and now you find yourself with 5. 10 minutes is a luxury. Make-Those-Minutes-Count-Mama. Just because you don’t have the time you used to doesn’t mean you leave it “till the kids get older”. It just means you have 5 minutes to slay your training. I love to use children’s books and read to my girls while I train my voice. It’s a win win.
So there’s your training sorted. Now onto how to do your work while juggling the kiddos.
Continuing my work as a voice artist was more appealing than some work in the performing arts. As a passionate breast feeder, I was reluctant to pursue work that had me out doing a show 8 times a week and late at night. The very nature of recording worked well. In for a job, out again within the hour usually. Perhaps start by asking yourself; what work am I getting and does it, or will it support the way I want to mother? Does it align with my values?
How to do it?
After working with a mentor, her suggestions of a home studio frightened me at first. How would I do that? The costs? I’m not an engineer! But I really took it step by step and learnt what I needed to bit by bit. I don’t have the most expensive or glamorous set up, but I don’t need that and I am so proud of the quality of work I can produce. And having regular private clients is fabulous and gratifying. You can also audition for pay to play sites. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for some tips or ask an industry friend with a home studio set up. Another thing to consider is whether you will be represented by an agency or manager, or be a freelancer. As a freelancer I would recommend familiarising yourself with your union’s rates so you don’t under quote your work.
Get on your way today…
I hope this article gave you an insight into the world of juggling motherhood with being a voice artist. Above everything else, have a clear plan. If you have all the information collated, you can choose with your values in mind, the best path for you. If continuing your work as a voice artist is the path of choice, then you can refer back to this post when you need it. Although, not the easiest of paths, the journey of combining motherhood with the voice over world sure has it’s perks and there is nothing cuter than seeing your little ones trying on headphones and “being mum”.
With so much respect always,