Cast Spotlight: Stephanie Jankowski, Co-Director

by stephaniejankowski on April 7, 2016

Hey you guys, let’s pretend I’m not the one writing this, OK? Referring to myself in the third-person is just weird…


English teacher by trade, smack talker by nature, Stephanie Jankowski subscribes to the mantra: life is too short, laugh! A mother of three, her blog WhenCrazyMeetsExhaustion is full of hilariously sassy musings on being a woman, mother, and educator.

Photo courtesy of Ashley Mikula Photography

Photo courtesy of Ashley Mikula Photography

Stephanie is a co-director of Pittsburgh’s Listen to Your Mother show and freelance writer for We Are Teachers, and is published in the bestselling humor anthologies I Just Want to Be Alone, The Big Book of Parenting Tweets, & The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets. She also makes a mean ham barbecue, but unless you’re a ‘Yinzer,’ that probably means nothing to you.


Q: Who IS Stephanie Jankowski?

A: A chronically exhausted gal just trying to do better every day.


Q: How did you discover Listen to Your Mother?

A: A few years ago, I happened upon LTYM online and binge-watched a bunch of cities’ shows. Overwhelmed with naive enthusiasm, I cold-emailed creator Ann Imig to profess my undying love for her vision, begging to be a part of it. She was all, “Yeah, there’s this whole application process so…” But she said it in a way that didn’t make me feel like a moron. Fast forward a year to when my good pal Amanda performed in the DC cast; after her fantastic experience, she approached me about applying to bring the show to Pittsburgh. Unbeknownst to us, our friend Jen’s application had just been approved, and when she contacted me and Amanda about working together, we knew it was meant to be. And ohmygoodness do we love this show!


Photo courtesy of last year's cast member, Ilene Marshall Photography

Photo courtesy of last year’s cast member, Ilene Marshall Photography

Q: Why do you write?

A: Growing up, my Mom and I always wrote each other notes. Sometimes they were of the, “Have a good day” variety; other times they were in-depth conversations with nary a word spoken between us. My teenage angst was expressed in poetry with which I wallpapered my bedroom, and later, writing served as free therapy. Now I do it because it’s mine, ALL MINE TAKE THAT KIDS! There is power in writing: power to heal, to open, to connect–and that’s why I write.


Q: What is the craziest thing you remember your Mother saying to you?

A: This may ruffle a few feathers, but oh well: when I was about 15, we were talking about relationships which inevitably turned to the topic of sex. I admitted I was confused by the idea of waiting until marriage to sleep with a person, citing “What if it’s awful and you’re stuck with it forever?” as my obviously enlightened rationale. To my surprise, my Mom offered: “Would you ever buy a pair of shoes without trying them on?” So there was that. *makes sign of the cross*



Q: If you were mayor of Pittsburgh for a day, what law would you enact/do away with/change, and why?

A: I would put friendship benches in every school yard and elderly care home. Anytime someone needs companionship but can’t find the words to ask for it, all he/she has to do is plop down on the bench and wait for a friend. A little kindness can make a big difference. Unless some a-hole ruins my idea and starts pimping out the benches… Then it’s back to the drawing board.


*Waves to Mom* Happy Birthday, Mom! Now get your dang ticket to the show; we’ve talked about this–it may sell out and you’re not getting in just because you’re my Mom. Have one of the kids teach you how to order online. Love you!


Steph’s May 6th performance aims to let parents know its perfectly natural to want to run away some days. Snag your tickets today to guarantee a seat on her crazy train!

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