Wednesday, June 4, 2008

An Average Working Mom: Nancy Travis from The Bill Engvall Show

Nancy Travis is the co-star of the TBS original series, The Bill Engvall Show, whose season opener is set for June 12, 2008. Bill Engvall and Travis offer a very humorous look at being a parent in today’s world. Their characters face real life parenting issues, including raising three teenagers, trying to keep the spark alive in their marriage, and balancing work with family. I had the pleasure of speaking with her recently on a call with a group of women from the Silicon Valley Moms Group.

When Travis is not on the set of the show playing stay-at-home mom Susan, she is busy being a mom to her two young sons. Asked how she combines working as an actress and motherhood, Travis says that working in a series is the perfect fit. It allows her a great schedule with going in after the boys have left for school and being there when they get home most days, except the one-day a week that they film the show. She has also been able to do a few parts in recent years that involved small amounts of travel or local filming, such as her recent appearance in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Feeling strongly about keeping the stability of her boys’ routine, she wants them to be comfortably at home with both their parents and their pets, whenever possible.

Like all working mothers, she battles with making career decisions that could adversely affect her family. She has made the personal choice to turn down starring roles that require large time commitments and travel that she may have accepted in the past in exchange for the quality time with her family. Travis seems to have no regrets with her decision though. The Bill Engvall Show seems to be an excellent fit for both Nancy Travis, the actress and Nancy Travis, the mom.

Travis takes her role as Susan very seriously. Although she herself as not chosen to stay at home with her children, she works very hard to ensure that Susan is portrayed as a hard working, intelligent woman whose family is very important to her. She feels a duty to stay at home moms to make sure they are portrayed as true to life as possible and given the credit they deserve for the difficult job they have of raising a family. She also works with writers and show executives to see that the dialogue involving her character is reflective of how a real mother would react in differing situations.

One of the hardest parts of being a mom who happens to be famous is dealing with the every day struggles of being a mom while being under the public's microscope. Just like any other mom, she worries everyone is looking at her and judging her for any incident while out and about. How many of us have never felt the hot stares of fellow grocery shoppers as our little one is throwing himself or herself on the floor, yelling "Nooooooo...." as you drag them from the store. However, an everyday temper tandrum for one of our little ones could end up in a tabloid for Travis'.

Whenever she can sneak in a little “mommy time,” Travis curls up in a corner with a book, and currently belongs to not one, but two book clubs. When her husband (aka Master of TIVO) isn't in control, she and the boys enjoy watching Animal Planet and American Idol. She was happy to see David Cook take the title.

Travis sees motherhood as making mistakes and learning from them. She realizes that things are often not 100% right or 100% wrong and parenting is about figuring out what is right for you and your family.

Travis dreams of one day doing theater in the Berkshires in a century piece. Playing with her boys in the country during the day and performing in the evenings sounds like a perfect work/life balance.

Do not forget to watch the season opener of The Bill Engvall Show on Thursday, June 12 at 9PM EST on TBS.

This is a modified cross-posting with originally post on New Jersey Moms Blog.