Photo by Justin Hackworth.
I am a singer and songwriter by profession. I am also a mother (which should be a profession). Someone on my Facebook page recently requested that I blog about how I balance these two roles. And although I'd love to tell you all just how "balanced" I am, I'm not sure I've ever achieved that level of zen in real life. But what I can do is tell you how I'm really just making it all up and writing my own story as I go along.
Stories are something I'm good at. I've made up a lot in my lifetime about my limitations and weaknesses. There was a time when I thought that after I had kids, that would be the end of my ability to pursue a career or further my education. Where did that story come from? There was also the time when I bought into a story that being in the entertainment business would make me a bad mother. Or how about the ones I've made up when I've been pregnant? No one will want to watch Jabba the Hutt sing songs about hearts with scars and little girls with great, big plans. Thankfully, I've had some amazing mentors who have pointed out my story-making abilities and how they've proven to hold me hostage. Why not make up stories where life is working for me, not against me? I began to write a story where babies didn't mean that my own personal dreams were over. But, a story that spelled out a plan where my children would be by my side as companions on my musical journey. A story where I would wrap them up, and carry them to my college classes in a sling if I had to. A story where they would toddle around during sound checks and eat the finger foods in the green room during concerts. A story where people would find my big, round, pregnant belly endearing rather than offensive up on stage. I have found that when I write stories that resonate with truth and lay them at God's feet that he always carves a path for me to accomplish them. Does it all look perfect? No. Have I made mistakes? Yes. Have there been times when I've been self absorbed and lost my center? Heavens, yes.
So, if I had to sum up just exactly how I do both motherhood and music, I would tell you that I do a reasonable amount of it with my kids in tow. Yes, I write songs while I'm cleaning, driving or rocking a baby to sleep. I do paperwork while my toddler dumps everything out of a drawer and onto the floor. I let the camera crew hold my baby during shots and then I soothe him in between if he gets fussy. At times it can be exhausting and as my career has grown, I've also recognized the need for help. I have some amazing young ladies who come and help me with cleaning, answering emails, running errands and watching the kids when I need solitude. My husband has also adapted in amazing ways to what our life looks like with me as a recording artist. I'm not superhuman and I can't pretend like I do everything on my own. I think the main thing to emphasize to you (and repeatedly to myself) is that your story doesn't have to look perfect. In fact, it can't. The beauty of it is, you get to write your own.
Wrangling baby Griffin in between shots.
Backstage with my boys at the release concert for "Anchor." Photo by Justin Hackworth.
Performing with the Teton Chamber Orchestra at six months along. Photos by Krista Maurer.
Filming the music video for "Eyes" at nine months along.
Griffin was born exactly one week later.