Jamie Aderski had a baby in 2016 and hasn’t stopped talking about it since. Like most new moms, New York-based comedian Aderski felt lied to about the experience of having a baby. She wrote her show Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood, playing at Caveat on April 23, out of frustration at all the things nobody told her about the experience. (OK, and a lot of insomnia.)
With colorful anecdotes (when’s the last time you heard “induced” in public?) and a lot of real talk, Aderski lays out what having a baby and being a mom is really like — but also what it isn’t. “I was really scared that I would disappear,” she confides. “It’s important for me to let other women know that you can have this crazy creative life and not be a millionaire in this city and thrive and create and survive.”
If you do decide to jump off that cliff, as she puts it, she wants you to know it’s not all sacrifice and compromise. We asked Aderski about the exciting new skills and personal growth she’s experienced while growing up along with her son.
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See the world in a new way
For a creative person, everything has the potential to spark a creative idea. But what if we’re all looking too hard for experiences that take us out of our normal lives to feel inspired? While the world might be new to your baby, it’s also a chance for you to, as the old saying goes, stop and smell the roses. “It’s fun to see things through his eyes for the first time,” she says. “It excites you; everything to him is joyful. It reminds you of that feeling of childhood.”
Remember how uncomplicated life really is
The world is complicated, relationships are messy, things keep happening — we’ve all been through a lot and drag around the emotional baggage of it. There’s very little we can look at and not associate it with something else. But watching her son eat made Aderski realize something: “We all love food, but he enjoys every bit of it; he doesn’t think about oh, I shouldn’t eat this, I should only eat this much — he knows exactly how to satisfy himself to the point that he’s content.” Try checking your preconceived notions at the door and letting life come to you!
Uncover new reserves of compassion
Like in New York City is hard. We’re all pushing against each other, as Aderski puts it, and even little things like navigating the subway stairs can be the last thing that leaves you sobbing on the platform. Everyone needs a little help sometimes, but having a baby makes you aware of it in a whole new way and more likely to do something about it. “You feel compelled to care for other people in a way I’ve never experienced,” she says. “Having a kid in the city shows you that people are for the most part are really good, and if you choose to see that, that’s what you’re gonna see.”
Meet tons of new people
Even before her son has reached playdate age, Aderski is already finding herself socializing more than when she wasn’t a mom. “I wouldn’t normally strike up a conversation or go to a Meetup-kind of situation if I didn’t have my son,” she says, and yet as we spoke she was preparing to host her mommy group for wine and conversation (about whether they should have second babies). Her circle has widened from the usual creative crowd to include “women I never would’ve met otherwise,” all bonded by their shared experience.
Learn to take life a little more easy
“I’ve always been a very Type A person and I can’t be with him anymore,” says Aderski. She’s learning to let things go and just be able to live in the moment fully, “which is what a good improviser or an actor does — and I’ve trained for that but I don’t know that I ever really lived it until now.” Planning for a baby requires more planning and responsibility than she’s ever had to summon before, but it also demands flexibility because babies have their own ideas. “And I’m OK with that!”
Find a new source of self-worth
Career-minded people tend to seek their self-worth and validation in their work — which everyone realizes is futile eventually. Having a baby speeds up that process exponentially. “I’ve done a lot of things in my life I’m proud of and a lot of things I’m not proud of like everybody, but I’ve never had this sense of accomplishment,” Aderski says. Watching her son become a “sweet, loving, interesting” person, it’s hard not to feel “like you were on Survivor and you won.”