Portrait of a Working Mother
Patricia Richardson, Jill Taylor on "Home Improvement"
Like her charanter on "Home Improvement," Patricia Richardson is a working mother of three, juggling the demands of home and family and career. Like Jill Taylor, Patricia is married to a TV performer: her husband, Ray Baker, co-stars on the comedy series "Down Home." And, like Jill, Patricia is re-discovering what it's like to go back to work full-time after having kids.
"It's pretty tough," she says. "That's something that I'm finding out about. I have a 6-year-old son, and I really started back to work more intensively when he was about two-and-a-half, when I did 'Eisenhower & Lutz.' That was hard, but at least he was in some kind of nursery school or kindergarten most of the time. This is much different for me now, because I've got these 8-month-old twin babies, and they need a lot of attention."
Fortunately, Patricia says, Disney has been extremely accommodating of her and the twins, Roxanne and Joseph. The studio provided her with a dressing room spacious enough for double cribs and two sets of baby paraphernalia, and made a driver available to her to make it easy for the babies to come with her to work.
In addition, the taping schedule for "Home Improvement" calls for three weeks on and one week off, which gives Patricia some extra breathing room to spend time with her family.
During the work day, Patricia divides her time between the stage and her dressing room, where a baby-sitter tends the twins. "Every minute I can, I try to be with them," she says. "Whenever I'm not absolutely needed on stage, the director has been very kind in saying, 'Ok, go.' So I literally sprint from the stage upstairs, even if it's only for five minutes. A lot of the time the twins are sleeping, so I feel like I don't miss too much that way."
When she knows she'll be staying late on the set, she often will send the twins home with the baby-sitter in the afternoon, so that the babies have time to spend with her husband and older son. All in all, it's a good arrangement, compared to how many working mothers have to juggle their schedules.
Says Patricia, "It's hard, but I would feel weird complaining about it, because there are a lot of women who have to leave their small children early in the morining and don't see them until five. I get to bring them to work with me, I have them in the dressing room, I get to come up frequently during the day, I have lunch with them, we ride to and from work together, so, it's actually a lot easier than what most women would have to deal with."
Thanks to Touchstone Television for providing the information.