Why I'm NOT Getting My Kid An Agent
Two weeks ago, I got the email I've been waiting for basically since Raegan was born.
Every time I've gotten professional photos done - and even a few times when I've just gotten some really good pictures of my own - I've sent them to various Orange County agencies. Of course everyone thinks their child is a living angel, but I figured that with the blue eyes and curly hair my kid would DEFINITELY get call backs. Right?!
Not right. I've never heard anything back from any of the agencies - until last week.
When I was a child I had an agent and went to various auditions. The only thing I ever booked was a Disney commercial, but I remember it being the coolest experience. Being on set, seeing the backdrops and props, all the hustle and bustle, meeting other child actors and dressing up cute. It was so much fun! I stopped auditioning shortly thereafter, because it was too much work to drive to L.A. and sit in a warehouse for hours. Also - let's be honest - I wasn't booking much despite being pretty cute and having a very outgoing personality.
So, when I received the email from the agency for Raegan, I was ecstatic. Even if we didn't get many jobs, it's such a fun experience. I couldn't wait for our meeting.
The night before our meeting, I was laying in bed with Rae talking, and I told her we had a meeting in the morning with some people that wanted to put her on TV. She promptly told me she didn't want to be on TV. I figured she wasn't understanding, so I clarified.
"They want to take pictures of you so you can be in a magazine! Wouldn't that be cool?" She thought about it for a minute, then shook her head. "No, mama. I only want you to take pictures of me."
I started to try to think of ways to talk her into it, to try to convince her that it would be fun so she would be confident and outgoing at the meeting in the morning. See, my kid is very sensitive, and rather unpredictable. When meeting new people there is a 50% chance she will be comfortable and friendly, and a 50% chance she will refuse to look anyone in the eye or say hello. My mind raced as I tried to think of the best bribe there ever was - after all this was a one-time chance. If she was shy our opportunity would be blown. I thought of candy, cake pops, a new toy... and then, I realized that I wanted this experience for her, but maybe she didn't want or need this experience for herself.
I asked her one last time, hoping out of selfishness she would change her mind, "Are you sure? It could be really fun to be on TV or in a magazine."
"No, I don't want to."
And you know what I did? I let it go.
Having an agent, going to auditions and meeting new people was fun for me as a child. I was naturally outgoing and had no stage fright what-so-ever. Also, as I've mentioned before in another post, I'm a gemini. I go with the flow and don't stress over little things and love to communicate with others. I struggle with relating to people who are shy, over-thinkers, or introverts. And wouldn't you know it - my kid is all three of those things.
I wanted this experience for her, but she made it clear she doesn't want it for herself. Yes, she's only 3. No, she doesn't always know what's best for her or what she wants. But this? This, she knew she did not want to do. And that's okay.
At first, I wondered if I should have taken her anyway. If I should have pushed her outside her comfort zone, if I was missing an opportunity to teach her to try new things. But there will be other times to teach that. Perhaps when she starts a new dance class, or swim lessons. Things I know she will actually enjoy, even if the first lesson is tough. Meeting new people and being asked to show off in front of the camera? She will not enjoy that. And she told me straight up that she wouldn't.
I think sometimes as moms, we are faced with so much pressure to take advantage of every lesson, every opportunity, every experience. We see photos on social media all day of all the fun things we COULD and "SHOULD," be taking our kids to do. I think sometimes we forget that our kids are their own beings, and that if we just listen to them for a minute - even when they don't quite know what they're saying - we might find out what things mean the most to them.
Raegan's statement, "No, mama. I only want you to take pictures of me," tells me two things. Number one, she doesn't want strangers taking her photo. Great. Probably a good thing. Second, she values our time together and would rather spend her time taking photos with me than going to some dumb meeting with strangers. The best part is that she doesn't particularly like taking photos with me, that's why most of the photos you'll see of her are candids that I took while she was doing something else. But if she'd rather I take photos of her than the agent - well, she must really not want the agents taking photos of her.
It is inconceivable to me that a child would NOT want to be on TV or in a magazine, because that is an experience I myself loved and would do again in a heartbeat, and like I said earlier, I have a hard time empathizing with those who are more shy than I am. But this - this was the most undeniable, obvious sign I've ever gotten that I was making a choice in my best interest and not hers.
We didn't go to that meeting, nor did I reschedule. You won't be seeing my kid in a magazine or on TV anytime soon. But, that's ok, because we'll have memories of the time we spent together instead.
Thank you to @snaps.with.sally for these amazing photos and for having the patience of a saint and managing to get a few good pictures of my camera shy baby.