It wears you down. It wears you out. But you stick with it, fully aware that not doing it is not an option. It’s part of who you are, and you need to do it.
What exactly is this labor of love? Well, if you’re a music mom, it’s your motherhood and your musicianship. That’s right: you are the rare bird that is 100% committed to two seemingly opposite – yet at times equally trying – roles.
Before you say something like “Yikes! I’ve never thought of it that way!” and begin freaking out about all that’s on your plate, let me make clear my intentions: I want to encourage you to 1) notice the similarities between being a mother and being a musician and 2) fully embrace the two roles with the knowledge that being a music mom is the best way to succeed at either role.
In short, I strongly believe there are many ways your motherhood and your musicianship can compliment each other, and doing one makes you better at the other.
The reality is that being both a mother and a musician is not as different as you might think. Sure, bedtime and showtime are quite different in terms of volume and energy – or at least they should be.
But there are several aspects of a music mom’s two favorite activities that mirror each other. The cool part is that recognizing these similarities and then embracing your roles will make you an absolute rockstar at both.
Ready to be inspired? Me too. Here are the ways that being a musician and being a mom are similar:
Moms and musicians both need LOTS AND LOTS OF CREATIVITY.
As you know, parenting does not come with a “how-to” manual. Despite your best efforts to learn from all the moms and dads who have come before you, once you have your own child, you’re pretty much on your own.
And because there is no foolproof plan for raising kids, you often find yourself figuring things out on your own. This requires a certain amount of spontaneity and creative thinking. It’s amazing how moms can sometimes turn an unexpected, negative, and potentially disastrous situation into a fun, positive, and memorable experience.
Likewise, being a musician exercises the same parts of your brain that produce the abstract thinking necessary to handle those stomach-turning, stress-inducing parenting endeavors. There is no blueprint for how to handle many of the moments you’ll encounter as a musician.
Composing a brand new tune for a songwriting contest? No blueprint.
Promoting a new song or album on an internet that is completely filled to the brim with more new albums, artists, and songs than you could ever count? No blueprint.
Collaborating for the first time with a group of unfamiliar musicians who are a bit more, umm, “eccentric” than you expected? Definitely no blueprint.
But you survive, and sometimes even thrive in, these situations.
Why? Because your creative instincts allow you to. They’re among the greatest gifts you could ever have as a musician. And as a mom.
Wear them like a badge of honor.
Moms and musicians both FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE.
Whether you’re trying to move on from that disaster of a gig in which your guitar strings broke and your voice gave out, or you’re trying to forget the exhausting and overly spirited argument you just had with your teen, you’re going to need lots and lots of perspective to maintain a positive attitude as a musician and as a mother.
This perspective will get you through the countless moments you feel like a failure. As a parent, you really don’t have a choice. There’s another human being depending on you to move on from your bad moments.
So you do, knowing full well that your performance as a mom is not graded by one, two, or even a thousand uh-ohs and oopses. Nope. Your final grade as a mom will be determined by the kind, caring, and empathetic adult you help build. And deep in your heart of hearts, despite your many mess-ups, you know you’re doing a helluva job.
Similarly, one bad note, one lousy rehearsal, or one very forgettable gig does not define you as a musician. You’ve poured too much time and energy into your music to be destroyed by one or two failures – or even by twenty.
You care too much to be deterred by a critic’s negative review, or by a less-than-stellar crowd for a gig you’ve spent months promoting. Does it hurt? Of course.
But deep down, you know this: those negative moments are a part of this here music thing. If the biggest names in music history, the iconic singers, musicians, and bands who inspired you to first pick up an instrument or belt out a tune, if they had those bad moments, so can you.
You know this, and that’s why you continue pursuing your music, in whatever way and to whatever extent you do.
The big picture is your best friend, both as a musician and as a mom. Thank God for the big picture. Thank God for perspective.
Moms and musicians both shed their share of BLOOD, SWEAT, and TEARS.
The best things in life are worth fighting for. And sweating for. And crying for. If you’re a music mom, you’re gonna do all three, both for your kids and for your music. Plan on it.
Parenting is, by its very nature, an attempt to survive the consequences of making yourself completely vulnerable in oh so many ways.
As a parent, you must endure the physical exhaustion that comes from making sure a completely helpless being survives multiple stages of life.
You must endure the emotional agony that results from selflessly loving and caring for a person who means more to you than any other person or thing on this planet.
And in the end, there is no guarantee that all your love, caring, and concern will be given back to you. But you give it anyway. Day after day, year after year.
Likewise, as a musician, you spend countless hours practicing your craft, collaborating with other musicians, and promoting yourself and your music.
You pour your heart into it, and sometimes even your soul.
You ride a never-ending pendulum of emotion, going from extreme confidence in you and your craft one day to downright disbelief in what you’re doing the next.
Let’s recap what we’ve covered so far. Your motherhood and your musicianship are similar in that they both require a crazy amount of creativity, an ability to focus on the big picture, and the shedding of blood, sweat, and tears. Recognizing this common ground between the two roles is the first step in becoming the best music mom you can be.
The next step? Make sure that you fully dive into each role as you take it on. Remember: we’re not aiming for being all things at all times. That’s a surefire way to spread yourself too thin and do a less than stellar job at both roles.
Instead, being a music mom is all about time management and giving both roles all you’ve got, as I described earlier this year in this post.
Being a music mom is definitely challenging, but I can’t think of anything that is more exciting and fulfilling than raising kind and thoughtful humans while also exploring and expressing my creative instincts through my music.
When I think of it that way, I have to ask: why would anyone not want all the magic, mystery, and madness that comes from being a music mom?