This week we have comedian Lia Berman on the blog. Lia Berman originally hails from Boston Massachusetts. When she is not working full time as a finance assistant, she is running an open mic in Chicago, performing regularly around the Chicagoland area, and hosting her weekly podcast The Parental Advisory Podcast.
Could you explain what your creative practice is like?
I am a part-time stand-up comedian. I have run an open mic for seven years, allowing every comedy walk of life to come in and try it out. Some of the most famous comedians out there have been up on my stage. Being a stand-up comedian means a lot of writing and a lot of practice. I usually grab ideas from my personal life (mostly revolving now around my son) and journal about them. After rereading my ideas 5,000 times I start to think of how I want it to sound. That is when I hit up open mics. I am lucky that I run one; I get to practice every week without waiting around until the wee hours of the night for my turn.
What are important motherhood contexts people should know about you that you?
I have a unique story, but I like to share it! My son is 3-and-a-half years old and his name is Jackson. I met his Dad four years ago. We were instantly obsessed with each other and knew we really had something going. Five months into our relationship we found out we were pregnant. Nothing was easy. Our families were skeptical (probably still are) and we were scared. But we knew we were going to want this somewhere down the line. We took a chance on love and boy did we get it! We could not be happier with the family we created. And, although it’s been hard to not have the “norms” other couples had (wedding, planning for a baby, etc.) we love the new narrative we have started.
How has the practice of your creative life changed since motherhood?
A lot had to change. Comedians usually hit up 3-5 open mics a night! There was not way with sleep deprivation and feedings I was even going to be able to go to one. I managed to get to my own open mic every week, but that was it.
I knew I needed an outlet and I needed to create in some way. That is when I reached out to a podcast studio in the city and started The Parental Advisory Podcast. Mostly it came from wanting to be anti-mom-blogs. You know, the ones that make everything look so easy. At the time I did not feel like anything was easy and I wanted to know if anybody else was struggling. I wanted the opposite of a letter board. I wanted…scribbles. Every week, I interview a mom or dad that is balancing kids, work, creativity and the laundry. I want it to be as raw as possible. We have had so many different stories. So many different parenting tactics. It’s been invigorating to learn from others!
What has been most challenging about sustaining a creative life in motherhood?
Sleep. I never ever, ever get enough sleep. But, do any of us?
What’s been the best surprise about having a creative life in motherhood?
Easily the people that I have connected or reconnected with. I love watching other moms come up with great ideas, share their truth, and watch their kids grow. I know it’s oversaid, but it really does “take a village.” Since I am away from my family and don’t have a lot of help, I have relied on the moms I have met and connected with for raw honesty.
What are the particular issues that come up for you as an artist in your field with children?
Honestly, judgement. When you are a comedian you try to make fun of things that are very every day. You make things bigger than they are so you can laugh at them. A lot of times my jokes can come off as brash, but I’m just trying to laugh at the fact that we all don’t know what day it is. Moms can be quick to judge. But the truth is, none of us live in each other’s houses. We need to be supports for each other.
How do you decide what to share about your son and your parenting?
This is really hard. I have deleted a lot of stuff that I have shared. I noticed early in my motherhood journey that there were certain people in my life who were not going to be on board with publicly being honest about trauma, about marriage issues etc.
I have a joke in my comedy centered around having a baby. Without giving the joke away, it basically talks about how I had an epidural after seventeen hours of being in labor… with another fifteen to go. I have had a lot of backlash from that joke. A lot of people interjecting with information on how natural birth is better. Or how could I choose to have an epidermal?
I made a decision that I was going to share. It has not been easy. I still worry about hurting people feelings or triggering, but I also know that by being honest I am helping a lot of people. I just want my podcast, my comedy, my motherhood to be an honest experience where we can all share and lean on each other. However, I do have a joke about how soon it will take for my son to need therapy. I mean, I’m a comedian. Poor Kid.
What’s been the your most important practice to continue having a creative life as a mother?
It’s been a mixture of making sure I keep a consistent exercise schedule in order to clear my mind, and singing really loud. I know that sounds silly, but music and movement are what keep me going.
Are there other mothers in your field who inspire you?
Oh, there are so many! I’m part of a group called the Momedians of Momedy, and each one inspires me in a different way. It’s amazing to watch these moms of all different ages, sizes, and parts of the country come together and always keep it fresh!
I love to follow some great accounts on Instagram! A few of my favorites are @ChasingMcAllisters for gorgeous photos and creative ideas, @dinneranddahlias, for all things domestic and wonderful and @thebesteunji when I just want to laugh at being a mom. oh! and follow @themomediansofmomedy
Follow Lia, hear her jokes, and learn more about her work here:
Website for Open Mic: