Amy Wilson doesn't have to leave her house to find fodder for her light-hearted play about motherhood. The mother of three children under age 6 sees the good, bad and utterly chaotic every day.
Wilson, 38, is the creator and performer of Mother Load, an off-Broadway play that mixes comedy and true confessions of being a mom. From prenatal yoga to preschool applications, she urges parents to keep things in perspective and enjoy the ride, however bumpy it can be.
The one-person show comes to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center for three performances next week. Critics have called it "a one-woman laugh and cry fest that will absolve you of any mommy guilt.''
Wilson has appeared in several TV shows, including Norm, Daddio and Felicity. She studied theater at Yale University and writes a monthly column for Babytalk magazine.
Tbt* spoke with Wilson from her home in New York City, where she lives with her husband and kids Connor, 6, Seamus, 4 1/2, and Maggie, 1 1/2.
Is everything in the show based on your own experiences?
It's all stuff that happened to me, but it's all stuff that seems universal. I'm really surprised how often people ask after the shows, "Do you have kids? Because so much of this is true." It's all true. You couldn't make this stuff up.
What seems to stress moms out most these days?
There's so much to worry about. You have to pick and choose what you're going to worry about. It's hard to know. You can't win. And now, with the swine flu, this morning at my son's school they met us at the door with Purell to sanitize our hands. And then we got up to our classrooms and the teachers sanitized our hands, again. Part of you is like, This is nutso. Yet if you don't take it seriously, then who knows what could happen?
What's your version of a super mom?
In the show I talk about something called sancti-mommies, which I didn't make up. They're the ones who are like, "That's interesting you give your kid Goldfish, because they have artificial coloring.'' They're the people who are trying to do everything perfectly for their kid. Guess what? Even if you do get it right one day, who cares? Nobody cares that your kid had a macrobiotic lunch.
Are you a better mom because of the show?
Absolutely. At the end of the show I realize you have to stop, because the more you start worrying about "is the milk organic" and "did they have their three educational stories today," the less you're just being with them. My kids want me to get down on the floor and play Hungry Hungry Hippos with them. And if I'm running around trying to make their lives perfect, I'm not doing that.
What's the message you want people to take from your show?
I know that I want to be able to look back at these times with my kids and say those were the happiest days of my life. Not the most stressful. Not the hardest. The happiest. I don't know if I'm going to be able to say that, but I'm trying.