If you think your holidays are busy, you may want to take a page from Tara Tubridy’s playbook.
Back in September, Tubridy, 37, traded baby teethers for tap shoes when she started rehearsing again for the “Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes.”
It was tough. She was up multiple times during the night to feed her 14-week-old twin girls, Devin and Brynn. Tubridy also had to find a way to reassure her 2-year-old daughter, Ava, about mommy’s return to work — all while keeping the family’s schedule on track and nailing down her dance routine.
Rehearsals involved a 90-minute commute and eight hours on her feet, singing, dancing and kicking. Keeping a smile on her face the entire time was part of the choreography.
“There’s no relaxing anymore,” laughed Tubridy. “It’s just going, going, going! I had a taste of being a working mom with one daughter, but it’s way more complicated now.”
Tubridy will perform in roughly 100 shows this holiday season, executing iconic eye-high kicks and speeding through lightning-fast costume changes (one of which is only 78 seconds).
Six times a week, Tubridy walks out the door from her Long Island home around 8 a.m. to head to Radio City in Manhattan. She usually arrives home around 5:30 p.m. for her second shift —dinner, baths and bedtime. And then it’s a race to prep everything to do it all over again the next day. “Sometimes I don’t even wash my show makeup off until 9 p.m.” Tubridy said.
Originally from Queens, Tubridy has danced her way through the Christmas season while pregnant—twice. During her first pregnancy, she performed through her fifth month. Last year, she found out she was pregnant with twins during the first week of shows, and she continued performing throughout her first trimester. “Christmas in general is a crazy time of year for us,” Tubridy said. “But finding out we were pregnant with twins was a game changer. Being at work was a huge help because it was a great distraction.”
Now the twins are 5 months old and big sister Ava will be 3 years old in January. Ava has been to see her mom on stage every year, but this was the first year Ava actually understood what was happening. Tubridy said, “She sat in the fifth row, right in front of me, and waved the whole time. I’ve been performing for kids for so long—it’s a full-circle moment to see my daughter in the audience.”
So how does Turbidy manage to do all things at once? She gave Know Your Value her top tips for busy working moms.
1. Trust your body
For this mom, exercise wasn’t just a way to lose the baby weight. The Rockettes are athletes; she had to build up the strength and stamina to perform up to four rigorous 90-minute shows a day. Having worked as a Rockette for over a decade before her first pregnancy, Tubridy was familiar with the level of commitment it would take to prepare for the Christmas season.
But this time, she had more of a challenge than usual—she was recovering from weeks of bed rest and a C-section. To get ready, Tubridy did a lot of indoor cycling, and she also did Pilates and yoga at home while the babies napped. “It was the same things I’d do in any off-season, but I took it easier and didn’t push myself,” she said.
In addition to preparing physically, exercise helped Tubridy find some quiet mental space amid the newborn chaos. Fitting in physical activity benefited the whole family—it gave her more energy to care for her twins and run around with her toddler.
She reassured other moms to “trust that you’re going to be okay. Our bodies are designed to do this. You’ll know if something is too much.”
2. Accept help
As a first-time mom, Tubridy wanted to do everything herself. “This time,” she said, “I knew that would impossible. I had to ask for—and accept—help.” She has depended on the support of her husband, local family, a part-time nanny and more to make it all work. She said, “Like any working mom, I wanted to be able to do it all and make everything perfect, but I had to accept help.”
3. Be organized
Every inch of a Rockette’s body matters in terms of choreography during the show—from the tilt of her head to the placement of her toe. Similarly, Tubridy’s days are precisely mapped out, minute by minute. She has a whiteboard calendar with Ava’s school schedule, a childcare calendar that she shares with her mother and nanny and a calendar for her husband’s work events. Tubridy said, “We’re all in constant communication to keep the system working. I have to be super organized and stay on top of it.”
4. Take care of yourself
“Finding time to rest and sleep is my biggest priority, especially with two infants who are still not totally sleeping through the night,” she said.
Turbidy doesn’t have much time to relax or be alone. The dancer and her husband still share a bedroom with the twins. At work, Tubridy shares a dressing room with seven other women. And on the one day a week she doesn’t perform, she takes care of the kids and does laundry.
“I try to get to bed as early as possible, sometimes before 9 p.m., and I even try to catch a nap in between shows in the dressing room or on my commute,” she said.
5. Enlist the mom network at your workplace
This year, seven of the 80 Rockettes are moms, and they have 14 kids between them. Because she had these role models at work, Tubridy knew that continuing to perform after becoming a mom was possible.
Turbidy described the Rockettes as a “sisterhood,” adding the moms in the dance company are especially helpful in sharing tips and making things easier for each other. “I know that Rockettes have [had kids] over and over again,” Tubridy said, “and I’m happy and proud to be physically and mentally capable of doing it, too. Take support from the women around you.”