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Oh, here’s an uncomfortable subject. Ugly, even. Something that even the most evolved and therapized of us are having trouble with facing.

More specifically, professional jealousy. Niche down further and you’ve got “jealousy rooted in the resentment of having no time to devote to your once blossoming career because you had kids and the people you know on TV and on Broadway are all child-free and oh it must be so nice to get a full nights rest because I haven’t slept in almost eight years.”

Have you ever found yourself feeling a pang of jealousy when you see your childfree peers soaring in their careers while you took a break to raise your children?

I have. I do.

But I know I’m not alone. You’re not alone in this, either.

I’ve been there. There are days that I’m still there, but I manage better than I did before. I used to complain out loud to friends but got hit back with “well, that’s what happens when you have kids.” Like, yeah, thanks for the support. I imagine you’ve experienced some of the same.

The jealousy I feel now as a parent is different than what it was when I was an actor. It’s not because of talent, lack thereof, skillset, etc. All of those things I could find a way to handle and do something about. But this jealousy as a parent who used to be an actor teeters on the edge of resentment, and the guilt that comes from that because the resentment is due to not having enough time because I spend all my time now on raising my kids and cleaning my house. It’s a clusterfuck of emotions and it all boils down to “if I only had time.” I just don’t have any time. Or energy. And my face is not as cute because of the bags under my eyes that my kids put there. The confidence I used to have in my appearance is at an all time low, and you know how the biz is. You need your best face and I just don’t have mine right now.

Your dreams and aspirations mixed with the competition that’s out there can turn into poison if you aren’t able to manage your professional jealousy. As a former singer-actor turned parent, it’s not uncommon to feel left behind in the dust and diapers while your child-free colleagues find the success you still dream of.

It is important to remember that jealousy is a natural emotion, and you must acknowledge its existence in order to grow from it and not only navigate these feelings of envy, but also find fulfillment in your role as a parent and as a performing artist, working or not.

Here are some strategies for managing professional jealousy that worked for me.

Understanding the WHY

Understanding the source of jealousy is the first step in managing it. Professional jealousy among performance artists often arises from comparing achievements and appearances. It’s normal to feel a pang in your chest when friends succeed without you, especially if you attribute it to their child-free lifestyle. You might find yourself thinking, “If I didn’t have kids, I’d have more time to pursue acting and maybe be on TV too.”

Acknowledge that your jealousy stems from unfulfilled desires and dreams. It’s common to feel guilty about neglecting them, given the time and energy you once devoted. Allow yourself to fully experience the pain and ugliness of jealousy without self-judgment. Take this as an opportunity for personal growth. Remember, jealousy doesn’t define you, but how you respond to it does. Reflect on the root causes of your jealousy. Is it because you feel you’ve failed yourself? Do you feel out of practice or left behind? By identifying the origin of these emotions, you can effectively address them.

Acceptance and Focus

Having confronted the green-eyed monster and recognized its impact on your self-worth, it’s time to move towards acceptance. Understand that the successes of friends and colleagues are beyond your control. Each person is on their unique path, and comparing yourself will only lead to misery, frustration, and resentment. Instead, focus on your own achievements. Reflect on the goals you’ve accomplished in your career and beyond. Remember, starting a family is also something to take pride in. Managing a household and supporting your loved ones are daily triumphs. Parenting brings a different kind of fulfillment, equally beautiful and rewarding. Embrace the multifaceted nature of your life’s accomplishments.

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is a potent antidote to jealousy. By practicing gratitude, you shift your focus from your peers’ achievements to your own accomplishments. Dedicate a few moments each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for in your life and career. Pay attention to your creative journey and acknowledge all the lessons you’ve learned along the way. Gratitude also cultivates an abundance mentality. Keep in mind that there are abundant opportunities awaiting you, even as your children grow and become more independent. In fact, there are opportunities available to you right now (consider exploring activities for actors during hiatus) if you seek them out. Utilize this time to channel your energy towards personal growth. Let gratitude guide you on a path of fulfillment.

Reignite Your Passion

Your lifelong awareness that acting is more than just a profession—it’s your calling—remains alive within you. The flame of your talent and passion continues to burn, so how can you reconnect with that soulful part of yourself while navigating parenthood? Discover moments to nurture your talent while engaging with your children. The Places Please Box offers a delightful subscription service that fosters children’s lives through the magic of storytelling. You can read my review of it here. (Full disclosure, I am an affiliate, and if you choose to subscribe through the provided link, I will receive compensation. However, if you prefer not to use an affiliate link, you can directly purchase the service on their website here). Even if time is scarce, there are ways to keep your passion alive! For instance, refer to my previous article, “25 Things Non-Working Actors Can Do,” which provides valuable resources, some of which only require 15-20 minutes of your time.

Remember, you are a storyteller—an embodiment of emotions and narratives. Embrace this truth wholeheartedly.

Celebrate Your Wins

Witnessing the success of your childfree peers in their careers while you navigate the daily challenges of diapers, school drop-offs, and tantrums can be incredibly challenging. However, instead of dwelling on what could have been, take a moment to reflect on your own achievements. Consider the countless hours you have dedicated to your passion, the sacrifices you have made, and the obstacles you have overcome to pursue your performance dreams.

In addition, acknowledge and appreciate the accomplishments you have made as a parent. The act of raising children is a continuous and monumental achievement in itself. It deserves celebration and recognition. Often, we become fixated on what comes next, and during a career hiatus, the next thing may not be immediately apparent. However, it’s important to recognize how far you have already come. Celebrating your wins doesn’t diminish your future goals; it serves as a reminder of your potential and the incredible things you are capable of.

Embracing and celebrating your accomplishments is about honoring your unique journey and finding joy in each step. Success should not be solely measured by external rewards and applause but by personal growth and the positive impact you have on those around you, particularly your children.

Set Realistic Goals

Establishing realistic and attainable goals is essential for managing professional jealousy, nurturing your career aspirations, and balancing parenthood.

Avoid falling into the comparison trap. A friend of mine’s star is climbing right now and sometimes it hurts to watch because we started at the same time. But her success would have happened anyway because she is who she is – a talented and tenacious performer with a solid work ethic and for as long as I’ve known her, is laser focused on her goals. She knew what she wanted and went after it, and none of those goals included children.

If I sat here comparing my friend’s life with mine, I’d go mad with envy. I know, because I’ve already driven myself crazy. What I had to learn to do is redefine my own measure of success, look back on what I’m most proud of, decide what I would like to achieve both artistically and personally, and focus on my own path. Focus on new goals.

Time is finite, and incorporating additional pursuits into an already packed schedule can be challenging. Break your goals into manageable chunks and celebrate each small step of progress. By concentrating on your own journey instead of others’ achievements, you can channel your energy into more productive endeavors.

Celebrate Others’ Success

During my darkest days, the mere thought of celebrating my friends’ success was the last thing on my mind. In fact, I would even change the channel if I saw a familiar face on TV. It may sound immature, but the pain I felt at that time was simply too much to bear. It served as a painful reminder of my own perceived failure. However, instead of allowing jealousy to consume me, I made a conscious decision to find happiness for my friends.

Admittedly, it took me quite a while to reach this point of acceptance. Eventually, I came to realize that their achievements were not a reflection of my own shortcomings but rather a testament to what is possible for me as well. Moreover, I genuinely cared about my friends, and my negative attitude left me feeling ashamed. Celebrating their victories required less energy than harboring pettiness and jealousy, and it brought about a much better feeling too.

I came to understand that their success did not diminish my own self-worth. It did not mean I should have made different choices or lived my life in an entirely different way. Each person’s journey is unique and deeply personal. It became clear to me that it was important to support my friends, to offer congratulations, and to be there for them during their events (if I could arrange childcare!). Expressing love and genuine happiness for them became a way for me to strengthen our bond and find joy in their accomplishments.

Support and Connection

Creating a support network of fellow actor-parents-on-hiatus who understand the unique challenges you face can have a profound impact on your mental well-being. It’s a way to break free from the sense of isolation and truly feel seen and understood. In turn, you’ll also have the opportunity to provide support to others in the way that you need it.

Sharing your victories, stories, frustrations, and joys with this network can be incredibly liberating and cathartic. It’s a space where you can freely express yourself and find solace in knowing that others have experienced similar situations. Their insight and support can be invaluable as you navigate your own journey.

Surrounding yourself with a community of supportive individuals will provide the inspiration and motivation you need to continue pursuing your dreams, whether they still lie within the entertainment industry or not, all while fulfilling your responsibilities as a parent. By fostering this environment of mutual support, you can transform feelings of professional jealousy into a powerful source of inspiration.


Navigating professional jealousy as a former actor is a transformative journey that leads to personal growth and success. It starts with understanding and acknowledging your emotions, allowing yourself to celebrate the accomplishments of others. Practicing gratitude and setting realistic goals are essential steps towards managing jealousy in the competitive performing arts industry. Cultivating a supportive network of like-minded individuals is also crucial in this process.

Remember, success is not a linear path, and each person’s journey is unique. Embrace your own individuality, have confidence in your talent and dedication, and keep moving forward on your artistic path.