So many of us ladies try so hard to wear that big “S” on our chests. We try to excel at the day job, raise the family and be a good mom, pursue our dreams, oh and don’t forget.. live up to everyone else’s expectations of what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. Quite simply we have to be everyone’s everything. Keeping the balance is vital but it’s also incredibly challenging.
I’m living this to the extreme right now and I know I’m not alone. In the last year and a half I have become an independent solo artist releasing an EP of original songs entitled “Watch Me Fly”. As all independent artists know it is a neverending challenge to get heard, get noticed, and get money to make your dreams a reality. And if you work another full time job along with that you are really stretching the hours in the day.
In addition to pursuing my musical dreams I spent several years also trying to start a family. As many of you know this came to be in September 2009 when our 10 month old son arrived in our arms from Korea!! (coincidentally this was the same month my EP was released!! )
Sheer joy mixed with complete exhaustion!! Parents know what I’m saying!! Many people assumed that when my child arrived I would quit my musical/artistic pursuits. Along with the overwhelming love and support I received as a new mom I also got my share of disapproving looks and flat out judgements on the decisions I was making. In order to keep the musical wheels moving and keep myself in the “spotlight” (LOL) there is a certain amount of face time I have to put into being a musician. Whether it’s being out and about at events, open mics, etc. or working in the studio, or even maintaining a presence with online groups and creating a fanbase, this all requires that I often spend time away from my son and husband. And since my husband doesn’t work a “regular” 9 to 5 job there are limited hours in which I can make these things happen. We are blessed to have a lot of love and emotional support with our child but at the end of the day it’s just the two of us making this happen. We don’t have a lot of family nearby stopping through to help or babysit while daddy is at work and mommy is singing. We are often two ships that pass at dinnertime. LOL Believe me I know there are single parents out there making this happen on the regular. I bow to you! I don’t know how you all do it!! But at some point as a musician, something will be sacrificed. Whether I am worn out and falling asleep at my day job from being up all night in the studio or writing, or leaving my sick baby with my husband while I hit a venue, or I can’t make that open mic because my husband is working and I have to be home with the sick baby…at some point I have to let go of something. At some point I simply cannot do it all without one of these things suffering.
And I have found that some folks are quick to judge you on that. Hey, I’m a woman. Women know we spend our entire lives being judged. Are we pretty enough, smart enough, too smart, too fat, too skinny. Are we working so much that we are bad mothers neglecting our children and families or are we “go getters” and acheivers because we are busting our asses with our careers? Are we saints because we choose to be a stay at home mom and give up our corporate careers or are we old fashioned in doing so? You know how it is ladies….sometimes we just can’t win. And to be quite honest I stopped trying to explain myself to most folks. It’s a waste of energy. I try to move past these judgements and do what is right for me and my family knowing that we all have a set of circumstances or challenges put in front of us that we have to work through and find balance with.
In 2010 my ability to balance was again tested as I was presented with a few more challenging situations. My husband was hospitalized for congestive heart failure. My day job was relocated from 1 minute away from my son’s daycare to almost an hour away through city traffic. I also found out we’ll be laid off in 6 months. My father was diagnosed with lymphoma and bone marrow cancer. It has been quite a ride in 2010. Most of the time I don’t talk much about super personal things with just anyone. We can all list a million things that happen to us in our lives that rock your world and pull the rug out from under you. My situations aren’t any more special or devastating. We’re all going through something. It’s hard to feel at peace while you are balancing on that tightrope though. Sometimes you feel really alone. We draw from friends and family, we draw from faith, and we rely on sheer inner strength. And no matter how strong you are, when someone comes along and criticizes your parenting or judges your “grind” or dedication as an artist and a musician it can sting. No matter how tough you are….words hurt.
I could abandon music and dedicate every moment to my child but I would be miserable with no music in my world. I can’t imagine that would be good for my son either. I can leave my child every night and hit the streets trying to gain more popularity and sell more CDs. But again that isn’t the right decision for us while my son is adjusting to what is now his third and final home. I don’t expect everyone to understand that. I didn’t know I had to prove my dedication to my music or my love for my son to anyone. But the judgements continue. Unfortunately I can’t change that. It’s life right? When you are making moves and doing something, people talk.
I’m blogging about this today because it’s been on my mind for a while. I know that I’m not the only one struggling to maintain a balance in life between the artistic side and the family side. I know I’m not the first to be criticized and judged for whatever choices I make. So if you are a woman out there making everything happen for everyone and going after your dreams while dodging the judgements…this blog is to say I’m with you honey!! 🙂 If you think I’m insane for trying to do the things that I do….this blog will probably prove you are correct! I never claimed I was sane. And if you are in judgement of me or other women trying to keep the balance…well I’m sure this blog will be just one more thing for you to judge. Do what you do!! But remember that you never know the whole story. You never know what someone is really going through. Try asking instead of judging. If you feel you have all the answers to balancing someone elses life then try helping them with that instead of pointing fingers and criticizing. Just a thought.
At the end of the day you have to live your life with as few regrets as possible doing what YOU feel is the right thing and what works for you and your family. Bask in the blessings, accept and learn from the challenges and disappointments, and continue on your journey.
Much love and light,
**special thanks to the many people holding me up while I try to keep the balance..teetering!