By Meghana Mudiyam
My motto for how I was going to approach work as a new mom was, “different, not less than.” However, I was wrong. If anything, it’s better! I’m a better artist (nothing like a child to keep you playful and present), better professional (why, hello, time management skills I never knew I had), and better collaborator (if you can be empathetic through a toddler melting down for GIVING him the toy he just asked for, you can handle any team). I wish I could go back and tell myself this at the early stages of my pregnancy because, at the time, an unpleasant experience had me almost convinced otherwise.
A manager I was planning to sign with rescinded her offer when I mentioned my husband and I were trying for a baby, calling my desire to be a mother a “red flag.” I was devastated. When I became pregnant, besides the strangest craving for cheese, the feeling I felt most strongly was fear. I was deeply afraid about the implications for my career. Thankfully, other women in the industry were incredibly supportive and encouraging. I found countless examples of women who were rocking both their careers and their roles as moms, which showed me that it was absolutely possible. Sadly, though, even amongst them, stories of unsupportive teams, perceptions, and structures were common. Directly or indirectly, the story being told far too often was that being a parent was career limiting. It’s time for a new story.
As we all know, knowledge and community are powerful antidotes to fear and misinformation, and one of the best things we can do is start a conversation that empowers parents and parents-to-be. I am so grateful that WIF was interested in working with me to make this conversation a reality, and while there is more to talk about than can be covered in one evening, I believe this is a really important first step.
Being a parent does change everything, and I would be remiss to sugarcoat the fact that being a working mom can be hard. Really, really hard. But it’s true what they say—the most rewarding things often are, and my baby is one of the greatest gifts in my life. While everyone’s situation is unique and there are a number of factors to consider in deciding to start a family, whether or not one can still have a thriving career should NOT be one of them.
Join WIF on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 for an informative and validating session on how to survive and thrive as a parent in the entertainment industry. We’ll be joined by a panel that includes showrunner Erin Cardillo and actor/Moms In Film leader Jennica Schwartzman to discuss how to manage your career while taking care of your family.
About Meghana Mudiyam
Meghana Mudiyam is an actress, writer, and serial fish-out-of-water. Originally from Huntington Beach, she moved to Bangalore, India to begin her acting career, where she was the lead of several Kannada-language films. While in India, she observed firsthand how changing global dynamics were impacting local markets, and interest in learning more brought her back to the U.S. At the Lauder Institute and the Wharton School, Mudiyam earned a dual Master’s in international studies and business administration, her thesis comparing the drivers of domestic and international success of Indian, French, and Spanish films. Now based in L.A., Mudiyam is back to her first loves of acting and writing. Her diverse experiences have shown her how beautifully and similarly messy and hilarious we can all be at our core, and she loves exploring that theme in her work. Mudiyam also serves on the National Asian Pacific American Media Committee for SAG-AFTRA.