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Drama Mama: Stacie Martinsen

OCCUPATION: Theater director at Carroll Senior High in Southlake.

PERSONAL STATS: Martinsen, a Dallas native who graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in theater, started her career as an actress and teacher in Los Angeles. After working at the acclaimed Hudson Guild Theatre in L.A. and adding film and television appearances to her résumé (including The Bold and the Beautiful and Walker, Texas Ranger among others), Martinsen returned to Texas and acted in The Bat, The Cat, and the Penguin at Six Flags Over Texas. During this 1993 production, she met her husband, Roald, who played the Penguin. The couple later wed and welcomed their first child, Aksel, who’s now 5 and a half.

CURRENT PROJECTS: The Martinsens co-direct Carroll Senior High’s theater program and both lent their talents to producing Phantom of the Opera last year — a huge undertaking for a high school theater program. Now, the busy mom is prepping for the school’s December production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (all while managing her son’s busy sports and school agenda!).

STRATEGY TO INSTILLING CREATIVITY: I expose Aksel to as many different aspects of life as possible: dancing, soccer, swimming, gymnastics, the Fort Worth Science Museum’s science school (He loves the Hissers and Croakers program), cooking classes, attending our play rehearsals … he’s a busy guy. He already has a passion for trains and tells everyone he’s going to be an engineer — I think he can recite the dialogue in The Polar Express from memory!

IMPORTANT LESSON TO TEACH AKSEL: I think he sees how hard both my husband and I work and I want him to always give 150 percent effort. He also knows how much we love what we do (and we have a great time at work), which I hope is a great example for his future.

RULES TO MOTHER BY: Saying “I love you” a lot; but I also like to say, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!” A student of mine said this once and it stuck with me. Now Aksel repeats it verbatim with me when things aren’t going his way! I also work hard for him to know to say “please” and “thank you.”

MOST MEANINGFUL MOM MOMENT: The most recent one took place at a soccer camp, where Aksel collided with another boy fairly hard. They both fell down; Aksel got up but the other boy was crying and stayed down on the ground. Aksel bent down, offered his hand and said, “I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to run into you.” It gives me great hope when I see him acknowledge someone else’s misfortune and try to help out anyone who is struggling.

FAVORITE FAMILY HANGOUT: Trinity Park Railroad in Fort Worth.

HUSBAND’S BEST DADDY CHARACTERISTIC: He is constantly reading to Aksel and goofing around.

AKSEL’S FAVORITE SAYING: He likes to dramatically use the phrase “Well, actually …” to correct me when I misunderstand the world of a 5-year-old. It makes me laugh every time.

THING YOU WISH YOU HAD DONE BEFORE KIDS: Conquer my fear of spiders because Aksel thinks they are really cool. I fear there will always be a war in my household over this issue!

GREATEST CHALLENGE OF MOTHERHOOD: All moms will sympathize with me when I say that I give all of myself to other people. We all do it! Every once in awhile I have to reel myself back in and remind myself to take some time to balance my own mind, body and spirit. This sometimes involves hot-stone massages [laughs].

KEY TO BALANCING CAREER AND MOTHERHOOD: I try, as best I can, to put our faith first, our family second and my career third. Of course, there are setbacks along the way, but I always put Aksel ahead of my career. It is an ongoing, conscious decision that involves a lot of planning and flexibility (not to mention help from both grandmas!).