The Rules of Being a Stage Mom


There are rules to this gig of Stage Mom. I’m a babe in the woods, learning as I go.


For starters, Actors rehearse. Athletes practice. Ne’er shall the two be confused nor interchanged, except when I get it wrong. The only thing worse than when I accidentally call Tyler’s rehearsal a “practice” is when I accidentally call Tucker’s uniform his “baseball costume.” You can probably hear the eyerolling from where you sit.

However, I excel at Ushering.


Peter requires props for his role as Stage Dad. He ordered a trident for his role as usher, and I believe he envisioned showing people to their seats with grand flourish looking something like this.


But the measurements were unclear on Amazon. And instead, he ushered with a flourish more like this.


There are many things I am welcome to attend, but rehearsals are not a place where I am welcome. Tyler rehearsed all lines and melodies in the privacy of his bedroom – with the door closed – thank you very much. I did get to help one day, when he needed a little assistance in learning how to twirl a girl. That nearly melted me, but I kept my cool as he spun me across the dining room in my shining moment as a sparkling mermaid. But otherwise, no peeking. “Mom, it will be time for you to see when it is time for you to see. It’s not time for you to watch yet.”

This boundary pays off significantly in one very precious moment: on Opening Night.

After the cast takes their bows and then they rush into the lobby to meet their adoring fans, my son and I have eyes only for each other. He must find me, and he knows I must find him.  It is mutual, reciprocal, and emotional, this moment we have both been waiting for.

2229FE2C-C139-449A-AA1D-5500B96309D8 I like to think this will be true when he gets his Tony Awards.

After banning me from all previews, one viewing of the show will not be enough for me. I come to every single performance, unabashedly and unapologetically.EC89A018-9B1E-4316-8503-42CCBFB75338 AE785845-B162-4351-9FC1-60A04F88BDA1

He sings, and I cry. Under the Sea. Kiss the Girl. These are My Undoing.



“Mom, now that you’ve seen the show, you should try to watch other kids.”
“Sorry, pal. No promises.”
“Mom, there is so much to see in this show. Try to see it from someone else’s perspective, too.”
“No. Their moms can watch them.”

Little actresses swoon and throw themselves at the feet of a young man who can sing.  This has led us to many conversations about the roles of leading ladies, supporting actresses, and gentlemen who must always be gentlemen.

Finally, my brother came. This is not a rule, but it was basically everything we all needed.E595E0E1-4056-4BE1-9CC7-14AD377C2D80 B6A6C748-5BF1-4236-A801-73802F5D78E6896FE8D4-03B9-4C37-B8CF-B2BB06ECAE35 C0D8DD85-A2FC-4E21-B334-7A183E34C791

Well done, sea creatures, one and all.

Now strike the set.

That’s a wrap.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. I am the stage mom to a professional actor. She’s been acting since eighth grade, and now, in her tenth year of professional acting my eyes still are always on her when she is on stage. I used to get nervous when watching her, but now I just enjoy that she is using her BFA and getting to do what she is so passionate about with regularity and success and pay checks! Best wishes to Tyler! And, you are a great stage mom!

  2. What an amazing performance. My granddaughters and I were mesmerized.
    My focus too was on Tyler. He did an OUTSTANDING job.
    Loved this post about him not letting you see him rehearse and then finally you got to see not one, BUT ALL, of his performances. Then your eyes meet – what a special moment. How beautiful!
    Love you precious friend!
    Give those boys a big hug!

  3. LOVE so much about this and shared it with the theater group Zoe is in. Congrats to Tyler (and you). What’s the next show? 😉

  4. ha ha I meant tyler

  5. I have driven a thousand miles to see my grandsons preform in plays and on the field. There could have been no one else on the stage or in the game. I’ve cheered, cried, praised and been totally amazed that they have any part of my genetic makeup, it won’t get any better, Trish, so enjoy the show..Both of your sons are a sheer joy!

  6. P.S. Forgot to say that those “kids” went around to several churches to do the production free. Think it touched lives.

  7. I was a theater mom, too. Mostly high school, and then Scott moved to St. Joseph, MO and joined the board of the old theater there. We were able to see him in a few productions. Hope he can get back to it some day. Most proud of when he and some other “kids” wrote an Easter play, including music like Ray Boltz’s “Watch the Lamb.” Stunned when my handsome son played a deformed, bent over guy, but when he gazed at the cross he slowly stood up straight and became the beautiful person he is. I think I made a better theater mom than a sports mom. Miss it.

  8. Right on about this Tricia! A mother will never be able to watch the other people as long as her kid is on stage!!! It is just an unwritten rule for mothers! Such a special time for Tucker!

  9. I have two teenage daughters who are musical theatre majors at a performing arts school. I relate to every single word of this article. Thanks for writing it!

  10. Aw. Love this. I can’t wait for my turn. I also have two boys. My kiddos are a luttle younger now. We currently are working through Dad tried to take me to hip hip class and I wouldn’t get out of the car (kids throw you curve balls).
    But we will get there eventually. I have faith. Our 9 year old will bloom when it’s time.
    Trisha, Thank for feeding my soul just when I need it.

  11. So, then, like, he was Sebastian? He was obviously the male lead. Kudos!

    I’ve never heard Jerry laugh out loud and long as he did when I showed him the contrast between Peter’s tridents–envisioned and actual. And Peter’s expression! Priceless. Thank you for the much-needed comic relief in our lives.

    And Tricia, you’re a–brunette! Do you feel different, persona-wise? (You couldn’t feel more out-going than you already were. Wink face)

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