I have been noticing that I’m a lot more reserved in the company of other parents. With four kids, we are at a lot of after-school programs: Swimming, Scouts, Dance, Cooking, Drums, French, and the list goes on. At these programs we send off our children to engage in an activity that will (hopefully) make them more rounded individuals, giving them life skills that will aid them in getting a good job, or to just keep them away from the TV for a few hours.

In this time, we, the adults, stand or sit around and inevitably, start talking to each other. 99% of the time we talk about our kids; this alone is a wonderful people watching endeavour. You have the people who brag about their kids – is it because they never succeeded in this area of life? Are they hoping this will make us look more favourably on these wonderful parents with child prodigies? Then there are the parents that are there against their will – do the kids just want it more than them? Did the “ex” sign the child up without consulting their schedule? There are parents that complain about their kids the whole time… I kind of enjoy these parents, seeing that I vent about my kids, publicly, however, with my @antimommy account on Twitter.

As I talk to theses parents, I gauge how much we can talk outside of our main topic of children. I’m interested in finding out what these people do, how they met their spouses, what they like to do as hobbies. I find that when the topic comes to what I do for a living there is some shock. “You get up on stage and make people laugh?” “You audition for roles?” and then most times the conversation ends with “I could never do what you do.” Which, of course, goes against everything I teach at my acting school.

I truly believe anyone can improvise; we do it everyday. The essence of improv and acting is play, and we all did it when we were the same age as our children are now, inside said gym, classroom, or arena. I’m not sure why parents drag their kids (and in some cases, the whole family) around to cater to these 45 minutes of self expression and creativity, of team skills and physical development, and forget that they are made of the same stuff their kids are. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks and in the case of improv, it is re-igniting the skills of creativity and spontaneity that we were all born with. Everyone was a skilled player in the game of “pretend!”

If the conversation finds itself at this point, I turn the attention back to the kids. I mean, can you imagine if they find out that I have an extreme blue sense of humour that can only be deemed Politically Incorrect? Or that I’m currently pitching a TV Show called “Cougars” where women are sleeping with men half their age? Nope. I can’t relate to most parents. I’ll just be here holding the coats.

About the Author

Stephanie Herrera is a comedian, writer, producer, teacher, singer, actor, mother of 4, and shallow philosopher. She runs the Durham Improv & Acting Studio in Oshawa, Canada, is a professor at Durham and Fleming Colleges, and is an award winning performer. 
www.durhamimprov.com / www.stephanieherrera.com / info@durhamimprov.com / (647) 899-3342 
Durham Improv Group and Business pages can be found on Facebook and follow @durhamimprov & @antimommy