People say that there’s no other job like being a parent, and they’re right. However, there is one profession that I found has a few similarities and I was shocked when I realized it.
It all started when my mother, my daughter and I went shopping at a department store with shopping carts. (It just helps to lessen the opportunity for my babe to go running). So there we were between the yoga mats and the blouses when my daughter picked up a toy from one of the stands in the aisle that held miscellaneous items.
Determined that I wasn’t going to raise a brat, I put my foot down and said: “No, put it down.” That’s when my daughter put her foot down and started to scream and cry. While my mother also tried to calm her down, I tried one of the oldest tricks in the book: pointing and saying: “Look over there!” The moment she turned her head, I grabbed the item and quickly put it back.
I was expecting to hear her screaming and crying some more; but when I turned back to her, she was laughing. So hard.
Now, I’m not saying I’m an expert, I haven’t done any open mics since college, but there is a slight correlation between parenting and being a comedian.
First, the start is very rocky. For anyone who has followed the early trials of some popular comedians/comediennes, you know that their paths were littered with no’s, false starts and poverty. That’s how parenting is. You might have started off thinking about how amazing you were going to rise to each and every challenge; but when those daydreams become a reality, it can be very overwhelming. Most things are never as initially great as we imagine them to be, especially when you start. Jokes that you thought were going to kill lead to you getting heckled, and parenting tips that you memorized were greeted with tantrums and the feeling of failure.
Second, it teaches you how to handle negative energy and turn it into something positive. While you’re handling the throws of heckling or tantrums, as you continue to mature in your chosen field you learn how to harness that energy. You need to look no further than Dave Chappelle’s brilliant turn around on the rude audience member who threw that banana peel at him on stage.
The most important thing in both fields is to not get overwhelmed with the energy that’s thrown at you, but redirect it to make things flow in the direction you want.
Third, it’s a very underrated field. Yes, we have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and there are some comedians/comediennes that make millions, but there tends to be people who overlook the hard work that comes with each position.
I once saw an interview that Phylicia Rashad gave that made her initially choose the field of comedy over drama. Her college professor expressed to her that while drama focuses on emotion, comedy focuses on intellect.
You have to be, perceptive, and turn normal mundane things into something that is effectively poignant to be good at comedy.
In the same vein, parenting is a lot more than physically and financially providing for your child. Its being there emotionally, giving each moment your all. It’s a lot more than what some people think.
Fourth, variation is going to get you far. If you look at some of your favorite comedians they have a strong comedic voice or expertise, but it’s their ability to add variations to their repertoire that leads to enduring success. Though Jerry Seinfeld was comfortable with writing his own jokes and performing alone on stage, it was when he teamed up with Larry David and wrote a pilot that turned him from a successful comedian to a media mogul.
It’s the same with parenting. I realized that I couldn’t tackle all of my daughter’s behaviors in the exact same manner. I realized that by utilizing different approaches have helped me to engage her in ways that I didn’t realize would be successful.
Success comes from being open to changes and successfully going with the ebbs and flows of life and refusing to be capsized by the current.
Finally, hard work will pay off. Jerry Seinfeld wouldn’t be where he is now if he gave up. Neither would Kevin Hart, all of the Wayans, Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Mo’Nique, and any other prominent figure in comedy.
That’s the same with parenting. The end result is a direct correlation of how hard you work. Raising a well-adjusted child means no shortcuts, and being as fully engaged as you can be with your child.
So at the end, it’s up to you if your name is flashing in lights, or you’re still performing in front of a brick wall. Either way, your results are your own doing, so make sure that each move you make is better than the other.