I’ve been to my share of “young mom” commercial auditions in the past year, but have yet to book one. I’m in that weird age group where I'm slightly too young looking to be considered a “yogurt-loving-mom” but still too old to be an “attractive hot model.” My agent sends me on the “mom” auditions because I’d rather get lucky at a Pampers audition than have to dance in front of a room full Rockstar Energy Drink CEOs all named “Ryder” while wearing a bikini at a “pool party.”
Yesterday I had an audition to play a “cool ex-hipster kind of mom” for a commercial. If I were an actual mom I guess that’s how I would describe myself. I’m really bad at dressing like how moms do in commercials, so I just wore jeans and one of my many white tank tops. That’s what ex-hipster moms normally wear, right? I have no idea.
When I got to the audition I signed in and sat next to women who clearly knew what the casting director was looking for. I was already screwed because of my wardrobe and I probably shouldn't have worn so much mascara. This was an Internet commercial, so the pay wasn't great, but every job counts when you have no idea how soon your next booking will be. I’d be lying if I said I didn't put more effort into the national commercials (I’d be so broke if it weren't for that car commercial I was in last year), but at least I brushed my hair for this one.
Sets of 1-year-old twins were in the waiting room screaming at each other. It’s always the times when you see a crying baby that make you never want to have children, and the times when they’re being cute that make you want one. This made me loathe children and question my own existence as a woman on this planet. My motherly instinct turned into the “flight” part of the fight or flight response, but I had already signed in so there was no turning back.
A mother was holding her 5-year-old son's hand while she signed him in -- well, "dragging" him was more accurate. The kid clearly didn't want to be there. How'd I know? Well, he was screaming, "I don't want to do this, mommy!" It's so sad seeing parents drag their kids to auditions. It really bums me out.
Normally kids audition by themselves, but when my name was called and I walked into the room, the mother of 2 twin boys followed behind. Oh, no, I have to audition with them, this is going to be a total disaster. The kids only understood Spanish, too.
For the audition, I had to sit in a chair in front of the 2 boys and pretend like I was driving them. I had to ask them what sounds different animals made. Their mother said, "They know cow and dog." OK, great, it seems impossible for this to go downhill at all.
I put on my best "mom" face and starting asking the boys what noise a cow makes. I turned around and they both had their hands in their mouths, drooling everywhere.
"OK, great, what sound does a doggie make?"
Silence. More drooling.
The mom was trying to get them to make barking noises while my smile went from "total confidence" to "I think my period just started." My uncomfortableness was as translucent as my inappropriate white tank top. My face was getting warm. I started to sweat. Another girl who was auditioning after me was also in the room watching. I wanted nothing to do with this anymore, and I couldn't just stand up and leave.
"Let's do that again and just pretend like they're responding to you." The casting director said.
No. Let's not do that again. I'm clearly in distress and on the verge of an anxiety attack. I started to breathe slow and tried again.
"What sound does a doggie make?" I said in my terrible, obviously trying-too-hard mom voice.
"Meeeeeeeow?" One of the twins said.
"Well, close, that's actually a cat," I said.
The casting director chimed in again, "Just pretend like they barked."
"Oh, wow, yeah, great job guys!" I'm a horrible actress.
"Thank you, got it." The casting director said without looking at me.
I walked out of that room and into my car in record time. I sat for a few seconds before I started my car, saying to myself, "Melissa, get it together. Stop being so negative and relax."
I seriously questioned whether I should become a mother or not. Having one child sounds crazy, but what if I get pregnant with twins? Do I have to keep both of them? Am I a horrible person for even asking that? Do I just give one to my sister? These are the thoughts of a 30-year-old woman.
I do know one thing for sure -- I would never make my children audition for commercials.