Managing parenting and performing

By Nicole Veenstra

Christine Ebersole and her husband, Bill Moloney, discuss how they split their time between parenting and work.

The tables were turned on March 6 when Rider’s School of Education was given a lesson on how to manage one’s time while juggling a successful career and parenthood as part of the school’s 100-year anniversary.

The event, “The New Normal,” featured a discussion with Christine Ebersole and her husband Bill Moloney, who spoke to an audience in the Yvonne Theater about how their work schedules have affected the structure of their family. Ebersole and Moloney have been married for 25 years and are parents to three adopted children from around the world: Elijah, Mae Mae and Aron.

“We wanted to have a family and tried having children for the first five years of our marriage,” Ebersole said. “Initially my value as a mother was in the ability to have kids, but then I had a moment of clarity and I thought, ‘I want to be a mother, so however that happens I’m going to pursue it.’”

Besides being a wife and mother of three, Ebersole is a two-time Tony Award winner who has starred in Broadway productions such as Grey Gardens and 42nd Street. She also appeared in the films Amadeus and Tootsie, among others, and was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1981-82. Most recently, she can be seen on the TBS show Sullivan and Son. Moloney is an abstract artist and musician who met Ebersole while working as the musical director for CBS’s show The Cavanaughs.

During the discussion, led by Assistant Superintendent of Ewing Public Schools Dr. Danita Ishibashi, Associate Professor of performing arts Miriam Mills and senior music theater major Caroline Kane, the couple credited its lasting relationship to understanding each other and how hectic work schedules can be. During Ebersole’s Broadway run, she performed in eight shows a week and saw her children for approximately 20 minutes a day, on average, while Moloney played the role of stay-at-home dad.

“We are both lifelong artists,” Moloney said. “I understood and appreciated her talent. She couldn’t hide it under a bush; she needed to give away all her gifts and share it with others.”

Ebersole has been in show business since the 1970s, but her insight on how to split time between a career and family is still relevant to students today.

“Not a lot of people in the business discuss their personal lives,” freshman musical theater major Sarah Catherine Carter said. “Especially someone so successful.”

Sophomore theater major Ethan Levy felt similarly to Carter.

“What they had to say tonight was really interesting, especially about juggling a family and career,” Levy said. “It’s something that’s on our minds since eventually it’s going to happen.”

Although Ebersole feels bad about the lack of time she spent with her children during her decade-long run on Broadway, she believes it’s important to live life without remorse.

“You really can’t have any regrets because they don’t change anything,” she said. “I’m grateful to have the job I have. I love it and the people I work with, but it comes at a price. What I do on a daily basis is have a consciousness about my life and my relationships.”

Regardless of the profession one ends up in, Ebersole and Moloney offered a bit of advice to make each working day more enjoyable.

“Do what you love the most,” Moloney said. “If everyone can do what excites them most, you’ll find you’re operating to a higher degree.”

Ebersole agreed with her husband and said loving her profession is what got her through even the roughest times.

“Broadway was a lot of hard work, but when you’re out there with an audience, it’s really magical,” she said. “When you’re passionate about what you do, it makes it easier. You need to have passion and take rejection because even that gives you an opportunity to look inward.”

Contact this writer at veenstran@theridernews.com

Printed in the 3/8/13 edition

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