Families in the Entertainment Industry

Families in the Entertainment IndustryIn June, 2011 Vanity Fair polled its readers and asked them the following question: If you were a married Hollywood actor and away from home months at a time, do you think your marriage would survive? Just over half of all responders said “probably not.”

But those people were just guessing. What about those of us who don’t have a hypothetical marriage to a Hollywood actor but a real relationship with one of the hundreds of other people who make those films possible? You know, the directors, the make-up artists, the gaffers, etc: all of those people have relationships too. And they also spend a lot of time away from home for their job.

For those of us who are in a relationship with someone in one of these professions, we face a unique challenge. In some ways, our situation is comparable to that of military wives whose husbands can be called up for active duty regardless of what you have planned. While we don’t have to worry about our partners being killed in a war zone, we do have to hold down the fort until they get back from those exotic locations or the studio sets across town.

And we all know what happens next.

Your partner gets the chance to work on a movie but will probably not be home in time to see the birth of your child. He may subsequently end up missing birthdays, recitals, school plays, and other important functions. You have to make things up to the children single-handedly.

Then you have to deal with all of the other parenting issues alone, too: the parent teacher conferences, the trips to the ER, the bouts of flu, the sleepovers, the homework, the sibling rivalry.

You may be wondering what will happen to that planned family vacation. After all, you made the reservations months ago. But if work calls, those plans are scrapped and you have to fight the travel agent to get a full refund without anyone else’s help.

Plus, you are suddenly responsible not just for taking the kids to school, driving car pool,  keeping the place presentable, and the feeding those hungry mouths. You’re also responsible for all of the home maintenance, too.

And you know what happens the moment he leaves or you drop him off at the airport?

The washer stops working. The impossible to reach light fixture needs a new bulb. The toilet gets clogged and makes a huge mess in the bathroom. The dishwasher starts making a strange noise. You get the idea.

On top of that, you’ll probably have at least one flat tire or other car emergency while he’s away. Chances are good your car will be full of kids at the time it breaks down on the side of the road.

Basically, everything that could go wrong while he’s doing his work away from home will go wrong.

Then at the end of the day when you decide to turn on the television to relax with your favorite show, you realize your husband didn’t have time to show you how to operate the new remotes for the upgraded entertainment center (the most important part of the house for anyone in the business) so you don’t even have the benefits of other people’s problems to take your mind off your own.

So What To Do?

If all this sounds familiar, I have some suggestions.

  1. First and foremost, you need to take care of yourself. This means prioritizing: I will go to an exercise class instead of the carwash and the cleaners. Bedtimes need to be strictly enforced, and none of this climbing into bed with Mom while Dad’s away. You need your sleep.
  2. I strongly recommend getting some help with the kids and/or the house, not just for sharing the chores but also for the company. Haven’t you noticed that even the most frustrating events are less so when you have someone else to share them with? What could be cause for tears is often turned into laughter merely by the presence of another person.
  3. Have some adventures yourself, with or without the kids. A trip to the mall, which your spouse despises, can be fun for everyone. Time to pay attention to all those school fairs you see advertised, or load everyone into the car and head for the beach. That bike path isn’t just for bikes: you can push a stroller and roller skate at the same time.
  4. Much of how you feel about this period of time will be dictated by your attitude. You can be resentful, envious, angry, or you can look at this as an opportunity to add some joy into your day-to-day life, to have fun, to shake up the routine and be spontaneous.

Good luck! Let me know how I can help… I specialize in helping Families in the Entertainment Industry

Make an Appointment