Allison Jones found out she was pregnant with her son the day her husband, Wally, was offered the job of president at Casa Mañana, Fort Worth’s historic theater. So in January 2009, the then-expectant mom traded Raleigh, North Carolina, for Cowtown. Sure, it’s rough being away from friends and family, but the stay-at-home mom can’t imagine raising her almost 3-year-old Wyatt anywhere else.
Who was the pre-Wyatt Allison? I worked for ConAgra Foods. I used to joke that I controlled the world’s supply of Slim Jims. I worked remotely from here when we moved until Wyatt was born, and then I quit.
Was being a stay-at-home mom always in the cards? I knew that if we had a child, I would not work; we would make sacrifices. I can’t believe I used to get so worked up about corporate stuff. I try to be present with Wyatt as much as I can; this time isn’t going to come back.
Does Wyatt get to see his dad before curtain call? We live less than a mile from the theater, so we pop in for lunch a lot. Wyatt’s fun thing is to run around the stage. We also try to have dinner together every night.
I take it theater is a big part of your family’s life. We have taken Wyatt to Pinocchio and also Charlotte’s Web. When the animals came out [during Charlotte’s Web], Wyatt yelled, “Hi, pig!” We go to rehearsal a lot so it doesn’t matter if he screams out. We also listen to music all of the time. Show tunes are on all of the time in our house. We kind of feel like Wyatt will be exposed to theater almost by osmosis, so we focus on other things too.
So when you aren’t at Casa Mañana, where do you and Wyatt like to go during the day? We really like story time at the downtown library. We take a Mommy and Me art class at Van Grow and a Spanish class. It’s amazing the things he absorbs. His favorite place is the zoo. He likes the lion, which he calls “Daddy Roar,” the most. We also walk around downtown a lot. I get so frustrated at parents who always tell their kids to hurry up – you have to remember they’ve never seen this stuff before. It was a big day for us the other day, because I let Wyatt get out of the cart at Target and just walk around. Every moment is a teachable moment.
What does your free time look like? I’m one of those people who doesn’t really need “me” time. I had plenty of that [before Wyatt was born]. I go to Dallas every six weeks to get my hair cut, so I make a day of it. But if Wally said I had to get out of the house for the afternoon, I would probably go to Dallas to shop. My Christmas present from Wally was a weekend at a spa in Dallas. I got a massage as soon as I got there and then went straight to bed; I slept until 9:30 the next morning! The next day I had all of these cool things planned to do, but when I got to the mall I realized that’s what I wanted to do: shop without someone being right next to me.
How do you and your husband do date night? We try to get a sitter whenever we don’t have something theater-related. We like to go to Eddie V’s or Del Frisco’s and eat dinner at the bar and just talk like we don’t have a care in the world.
You’re more than 1,200 miles from Raleigh and even farther from your family in Virginia. Do you get to see each other often? Our parents come out a lot, which is really nice. My parents surprised me by coming out our first Thanksgiving here, since it was going to be my first holiday away from them all. We travel back several times a year. This summer we’re going to the beach [in North Carolina] for two weeks.
What do you miss the most about the East Coast? I miss being able to get places within a six-hour timeframe. Before it was three hours to the beach and three hours to the mountains. Texas is so big; if you drive for six hours you can still be in Texas.
Does Wyatt own a pair of cowboy boots yet? He got his first pair of cowboy boots at the Stock Show.
If someone gave you $100, how would you spend it? On my son. I’d probably buy books — anything with animals. We’re big Dr. Seuss fans. Right now he’s really into Horton Hears a Who.
Do you have any food splurges? I love pizza, and my child is now the same way. Pie Five is good with Wyatt, because the pizza is ready in five minutes. I really like Fireside Pies. I’m a big pepperoni, sausage, peppers and onion kind of girl. I’ve also become a big Tex-Mex fan.
You don’t look like you eat a lot of pizza. How do you stay so fit? I see people running in Fort Worth, and I’m so jealous of their dedication. I need a class. I like to go to Smart Barre on Camp Bowie. It’s a Pilates- and ballet-based workout. But really, it’s just from chasing around a 3-year-old.