What feels like a lifetime ago, I attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and got an a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)—a really expensive arts degree in Theater. When I tell people this now I usually get one of two responses. Either 1) Wow- you studied acting?! (I’m not always sure how to take that one) or 2) Wow- that’s amazing! It’s a really good school.
Yes, it is a really good school. And really freaking expensive. For a BFA. In theater. And no, I’m not an actor. But I don’t regret my time at NYU or my degree because it was an important part of my life, it set me on a career path (though very different than the one I intended), and shaped who I am now, blah, blah, blah.
In all seriousness, that really expensive arts degree was money well-spent (thanks mom and dad…and the government for loaning me the rest). Through that very expensive education, I learned a whole lot of stuff that helps me be an awesome mom.
Here are the top 10 ways my expensive arts degree prepared me for parenting:
- I can make my kids laugh. I know many parents can do this, but I was trained to make up all sorts of entertaining things on the spot. I can act like an animal one minute, do a funny voice the next, and then bust out into a tap routine. There’s no shortage of laughter around here.
- I’m not afraid to act like a fool. Everything I described above? All that has been done in public in addition to at home. When I think back to all of the ridiculous things I did as part of “my training” there is very little that makes me uncomfortable when it comes to being silly. And I’m sure it will embarrass my kids one day, but isn’t that what parents do?
- I can sing(ish). I guess this one is subjective and I won’t be getting a record deal anytime soon, but I can hold a tune on those lullabies and all of the pop songs we listen to in the car. I am also really good at making up lyrics to the tunes you know and love.
- I can act like I care. Parents—you get the importance of this. I know kids are wonderful and have amazing things to share and say, but my almost 4-year-old has been talking since a very young age. A lot of what he says I actually want to listen to. But then there are the times where I can’t talk about popsicles anymore. So thank you expensive acting degree—my son is convinced I am listening.
- The power to think quickly. All of those improv classes prepared me well for parenthood. Whether it’s quick answers, thinking on my feet about how to solve a problem, or just going with the flow of what my kiddo is in the mood for, I don’t get stuck thinking—I can jump into action.
- I know famous people. Oh yeah, Tisch cranked out some awesome actors and artists and some of them have even been successful. It doesn’t work so well right now when my kids are young, but one day I’ll have street cred when I say “I went to college with that person.”
- I can do great voices and accents that both delight and freak my kids out. Thank you to the speech and dialects classes for this one. I am awesome at reading stories, I’ll bust out with a southern accent while we’re having breakfast or “talk British” just because I feel like it. Sometimes my oldest loves it and other times he screams at me “Just talk normal!”
- I’m awesome at dance parties. No, not at the club, at the dance parties we have at home. I’m like the mom version of that “Evolution of Dance” guy. I have so many different genres trapped in this body just waiting for the music to start. If you see me driving IRL, we’re probably having a dance party in the car too (see #3 about being okay acting like a fool).
- I value make believe and playing. I once wanted a career based entirely on this concept and I think it gets lost too easily with kids and families. We make sure to do lots of playing around here. I love to see my son pretend and use his imagination. He knows how to play, use his imagination and entertain himself and I’m proud of that.
- I don’t take myself too seriously. Life is serious enough and parenthood will make you feel amazing and then terrible in a matter of moments. If we’re too hard on ourselves or take ourselves too seriously, we run the risk of not enjoying the wild ride that is parenthood. So, I’m not afraid to laugh at myself and my ridiculousness.
Well there you have it- what my expensive arts degree really taught me. So parents, don’t be worried if one day your child wants to pursue an expensive degree in the arts—it will likely help them develop into a well-rounded person (and a fantastic parent).