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Juggling 3 Kids and 13 Dialects

How do I do it, and what is it I do when I do do it?       Erika Bailey

Here are the creative endeavors I’m undertaking at this point in my life: teaching voice and speech to actors in an MFA program, coaching dialects for professional theatre productions, attaining tenure, flirting with the idea of acting again, being married, and parenting three kids under the age of three years.  Each of these projects seems to conflict with the others at times.  But in the end, though I often am not quite sure what I did during the day, I go to bed feeling pretty alive and challenged and lucky. 

Here’s a typical day for me.  Or not a totally typical day; there is no typical.

6:30 Nicolas (16 months old) wakes up and starts a crying.  

6:50 I admit that he’s not going to go back to sleep and get up.  We head downstairs and have breakfast and say hi to husband/dad on his way to work.

(yes, that is a Christmas tree in the background in February. Still haven’t managed to clear that out yet)

7:45 Fausto/husband leaves and Caroline and Theo (2.75 years old each) get up.  French toast for Breakfast. 


9:15 shovel driveway (it snowed the day before).

9:45 take a shower

10:00 realize washing machine is leaking water all over the pantry floor.  Stop laundry, call husband.  Decide to investigate further later.  Mop water up with clean towels, which I leave in a wet heap on the pantry floor. 




10:15 pile all kids and Emily into car and drive to work in our ‘kid car’.  Kids and Emily head to play group after dropping me off.

10:30 in my office assessing my to do list.  Primarily working on redoing the footnotes for an article on Rhetoric that I’m submitting to the Voice and Speech Review. 

12:00 lunch with Fausto who works 5 minutes from my office.  Excellent, quiet, non-exhausted, non-kid time.  I drop Fausto off at his office in the ‘grown up’ car. 


2:00  teach 3rd year voice.  We’re doing a project on southern dialects that’s involved lots of phonetic transcriptions which I’ve been loving.

4:00 back to office for a bit

5:00 pick Fausto up and head home. 

5:20 Emily leaves and it’s playtime with the kids. 

6:00 dinner for kids

6:45 head up stairs for toothbrushing, pajamas, potty time, stories.

7:30 I leave bedtime which Fausto will finish, get a quick snack, and drive to the World War I museum where our department in a joint production with the Kansas City Actors Theatre is rehearsing Oh What a Lovely War.

In this production the following dialects are employed: Standard British, Cockney, German, French, Irish, Lancaster, Scottish, Russian, Serbo-Croation, Austo-Hungarian, Australian, American, Swiss.  And sometimes several varieties of each.  My job at this point in rehearsals (last days before tech) is to listen to the actors run scenes and take notes on how they could strengthen their rendition of each of these 13 dialects.  An aural juggling act but a fun one. 

11:00 Leave rehearsal and head home.  Fausto’s awake.  Yay!  We have a glass of wine and are in bed by midnight. 

What will tomorrow hold? 

So how do I do it?  How do I balance everything?  A pre-requisite for my life is a very useful husband!  A nanny is also an amazing thing.  I love my job, which makes all of this possible.  I love working with students on creating characters and defining the worlds of the plays they’re in, helping them increase their ability to communicate with nuance and passion.  I have incredibly flexible and supportive colleagues.  And of course, I’m in love with the kids.  So my life is an abundance of riches, exhausting many times but never, never boring. 

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Reader Comments (1)

Seems like nannies play an important role to your parenting. Having a nanny at home is really amazing since they let you do your work without thinking about your kids. You just need to make sure that they are trustworthy through conducting nanny background check.

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