Being a mom is like having superpowers; It’s only right to drape that cape across moms’ shoulders when performing heroic feats for their loved ones every day. But, picture this; imagine being a superhero and a superstar at the same time. That’s what the mom-actresses of the megahit play Hamilton can rightfully say can since they delight audiences on stage and take care of their families at home. With performances that can sometimes span up to eight times a week, these women know all about making all sides of their lives work in perfect harmony, much like the immaculate vocals they delight play-goers with at the long-running show. But, like the characters they depict, they understand how to navigate the drama that can come along with both roles.
Aubin Wise, Jennie Harney-Fleming, Shonica Gooden, Chloë Campbell, and Rebecca Covington Webber all sat down with Essence and pulled the curtain back on balancing motherhood and musicianship as women of Hamilton.
When asked how they handle it all, the answer was clear for Aubin Wise, who plays Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds in Hamilton on Broadway.
“A set schedule!” The mother-of-one explained, “this is a must for me and my family to stick to what works for us daily–routine, routine, routine.” Wise also says that although she enjoys balancing both essential roles, she believes a woman shouldn’t have to choose between the two when designing the life she envisions for herself.
“There is absolutely no reason you should “pick” between being a mother and a working actor,” Wise said. “Becoming a mother is all the more reason to do what you do to tell your story and truth through a different, more elaborate, and exciting lens.”
Jennie Harney Flemming, who understudies the three Schuyler sisters on Broadway, agrees that working mothers should remember to be as understanding with themselves as they are with everyone else around them. “Being a mom is so all-consuming that it’s very easy to lose yourself in the never-ending to-do lists and stress,” she said. “It’s so important to reclaim space for yourself! Going back to work meant I was giving myself permission to step back into my performance power so I, as an individual, can flourish and thrive. Fill your cup so you can pour it back into others. It’s been essential for my mental health to keep that space for myself.”
As easy as they make it look, they acknowledge significant challenges to working in the entertainment industry while being a mother. After returning to the stage following maternity leave, Harney Fleming said the mom guilt was real.
“Returning to the industry may not look or feel like you expect,” she explained. “You’re not the same person that you were before kids, and raising little ones takes a real toll on the mind, heart & body. So, give yourself some grace!”
Shonica Gooden agrees, an ensemble actress with the production, agrees that although women are capable of doing anything, it can only happen with the support of their community.
“Balance is something I’m still finding, and every few months the balance changes,” she shared. “I have to give credit to my incredible husband Jared Williams, and our village for helping me thrive with this working mother balancing act. I’m so blessed to have a husband who takes fatherhood seriously and respects my passions and dreams. I’m so blessed to have a circle of friends and relatives that not only love on our baby as if he’s their own but they also pour into me spiritually when I’m empty.”
Rebecca Covington Webber can also attest to the importance of remembering to lean into the support a community can provide because motherhood is not always a one-woman show.
“It’s tough, for sure,” she said. “But it’s a daily journey. As soon as you figure one part of the journey out, it all changes, but it’s beautiful. It takes a lot of figuring myself out to be able to be more
present as a wife, mother, and artist. One day it’s fighting to get to the gym, another day it’s fighting for time to get to Whole Foods, another day it’s supporting my husband so he can take care of himself as well.”
Chloë Campbell, an ensemble actress that joined the cast in 2016 says that the sacrifices on both ends are worth living the life she dreamed for herself.
“Living out my dreams is a true privilege and having a child on top of that is beyond my dreams,” Campbell, the UK-born actress shared. “I never thought I’d be able to be a working mum on Broadway. It’s not easy to make it all work. You feel like you’re missing out on something in both worlds. I get to show my daughter that I could make it happen and she can achieve her dreams too.”
Much like Campbell, Wise feels that despite the challenges, she agrees she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I get the chance to show my little one what I do,” Wise said. “He’s never seen anything like this before in his life. To witness his excitement fills my soul and reminds me of why I decided to become a mother in the first place.”
Want to see these lovely ladies in action? Visit HamiltonMusical.com to learn more about how to attend a performance in New York City or on tour in a city near you.