I have heard from so many music moms who struggle to justify pursuing their music once they have kids. They know they must continue being mom, but, sadly, are much less sure about the music part.
Most of the negativity surrounding these mothers’ musical aspirations comes from the Debbie Downers and naysayers of society who hold women to unfair and unrealistic expectations. They demand that us moms conform to the rigid creative restraints and boundaries designed by society way before we existed.
If you’re a frustrated music mom who has dealt with this way of thinking, you are not alone. And if you have completely ditched your music or just put it off to the side, or you are considering doing either, please continue reading this post. I wrote it for you.
Before I dive into the three reasons why you should keep doing your music, let me restate what I’ve said a thousand times before: your responsibilities as a mother should always come first.
Your family should always be at the top of your list of priorities. Always. Everything is secondary to them, and yes, that includes your music. No matter what form your music currently takes, and regardless of how you define musical success, your music simply cannot be something that detracts from your role as mom.
My goal with this post is not to devalue motherhood. Nor is it to take away from the significance of family.
Instead, I want to remind women that while a mother truly is the most amazing thing you could ever be, it is not the only amazing thing you can be.
On that note, I feel like I need to remind you of something important, something you might already know, but is so easy to ignore:
Your music is a part of you.
It is not something you put on and take off, like that killer pair of jeans you love putting on but hate taking off (and sometimes vice versa). Your music is deeply embedded in you. It’s in your heart. It’s in your soul.
Think about it: throughout your childhood, adolescence, and whatever amount of adulthood you have under your belt, you’ve known you had the music in you.
Whether it was writing songs, playing instruments, jotting down lyrics, making beats, or recording other people’s music, you knew all along that music was a part of you. A big part. It was, and still is, in your DNA.
Having kids and adapting to your role as a mother changes you in many ways, but it does not make your natural talents, dreams, and passions suddenly go away.
With music being such an essential part of your being, it is imperative that you continue to embrace and develop it. Here are three reasons why you should never, ever ditch your music – despite what the cynics say.
REASON #1. CREATIVE WOMEN IN TODAY’S SOCIETY (ESPECIALLY MOTHERS!) ARE CONSTANTLY TOLD WE CAN’T, SO WE NEED GALS LIKE YOU TO PROVE WE CAN.
I bring up reason #1 with the assumption that you care about improving our situation as women because, well, I know you do.
We all know that nowadays women have more difficulty expressing our creativity than our male counterparts. It takes so much effort just for us to be taken seriously and viewed as equals – and that’s just the women who don’t have kids. As for those of us who do have children? Ugh.
Women need to see folks like you succeed.
We need to see what can happen when a mother tells society that its unfair expectations will not keep her from doing what she loves.
We need to see the joy and satisfaction that come from a woman living a life in which she gets to enjoy both who she loves and what she loves.
After all, why can’t we have both? Why should men be the only ones who spend time each week doing the things they cherish and then come home to the people they cherish? They shouldn’t.
Music moms like us have a golden opportunity to change society’s perception of what we are capable of.
When we prove that the love shared between us and our families is as strong as a family with more traditional roles, we win.
When we prove that a different family routine is not a negative family routine, we win.
When we prove that a mother who takes her music seriously doesn’t have to compromise her role as the loving, nurturing bedrock of her family, we win.
We all win.
But it all starts with us not giving up on our music (or any other creative endeavors we value) simply because it doesn’t fit the mold of traditional motherhood.
REASON #2. EMBRACING YOUR CREATIVE SIDE MAKES YOU A MORE FULFILLED PERSON, WHICH MAKES YOU A BETTER MOTHER.
Fully embracing your creative instincts helps you feel more fulfilled. Instead of wallowing in frustration (or anxiety, or depression) because you’re suppressing your natural talents and interests, you’ll feel more relaxed, more accomplished, and more fulfilled. This will make all parts of your life easier and more enjoyable, including motherhood.
I’ve known some gals who immediately ditched their musical aspirations once their kids arrived. No more songwriting. No more recording. No more live shows.
I can’t help but think that most of these women made these changes solely because they felt obligated to. They felt pressure to make sacrifices for their kids, and, well, this must include removing things like music, art, and literature. You know, all the unimportant parts of life we can obviously live without.
Keep in mind that many of these women were not striving for rock n’ roll stardom. They never dreamt of spending countless hours away from their family promoting their newest album. They never had visions of flying across the globe on fancy jets while FaceTiming their sad, lonely kids who missed them like crazy – just so they could perform for thirty minutes at all the major music festivals in the world.
No, the only thing many of these women wanted was to write songs of their own. Maybe even a full album’s worth. Perhaps they simply wanted to get better at their chosen instrument by practicing on their own for a few hours each week. Or maybe they looked forward to playing the occasional open mic at the local coffeehouse. But, unfortunately, they didn’t do any of those things.
Sadly, these moms ended up resenting their kids because they subconsciously blamed them for stealing the joy that comes from doing what they love. Keeping your creativity alive and well will eliminate any chance of this happening to you.
In short, if you are at heart a musician and you want to feel fulfilled, you need to make room in your life for your music. Doing so will benefit everyone around you, including your biggest fans of all: your kids.
REASON #3. PURSUING YOUR PASSIONS AND FIGHTING UNFAIR GENDER EXPECTATIONS MAKES YOU A POSITIVE ROLE MODEL FOR YOUR KIDS.
As parents, one of the main things we try to teach our kids is how to live right. A big part of that involves showing them how to live the right kind of life physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Simply walking away from your music in a way that leaves you miserable and resentful is not the right way for you to live. You don’t want to be that type of example for your kids. They deserve better. And so do you.
We love to tell our kids that they should pursue their passions. We feel like parenting rock stars when we encourage them to make good use of their talents. We teach them the value of working hard at something in order to improve at it. Discover what you love to do in life, we tell them, and then find a way to do it over and over again.
Yet creative moms often neglect their own passions and talents out of a sense of duty to their family. Even if their intentions are good, they’ll still end up teaching their kids the wrong lesson. Just imagine having to have this conversation:
Kid: “Mom, why don’t you write songs and play open mics like you used to?”
Mother: “Well, honey, I just can’t right now.”
Kid: “Why not? Julian’s dad does, and I know you’re a better singer than he is! If he can do it, why can’t you?”
Mother: “Julian’s dad is, umm, well, he’s a dad. He’s a dad, and I’m a mom, so it’s different. I need to be here for you.”
That’s quite a heavy weight to put on a child’s shoulders, eh? Even if you worded it as delicately as possible, your child would still end up feeling as though he or she is keeping you from something you enjoy. That type of guilt could produce negative consequences that last well beyond childhood.
Now I know that conversation seems a bit farfetched, right? None of you would actually give an answer like “he’s a dad and I’m a mom” to explain why you can’t do your music. But honestly, when you think of the forces that keep moms like us from pursuing music and other forms of creativity, doesn’t it pretty much boil down to that?
Even if we live in a world that treats us that way, don’t we want to show our kids that we are 100% willing to fight against it? Don’t we want to prove to them that it’s better to rock the boat than to give in to those who try to force us to be someone other than who we really are?
One of the best qualities we can find in a person is genuineness. Being who you really are. Being who you’ve always been. It’s called being real, and at a time when filters and fake usernames rule the day, being real is more valued than ever before.
So be real. Be yourself. Embrace your creative side. Make time in your life for your music. With the proper balance, planning, and resources, you really can have all the things that are important to you.
If you’ve wanted to be a music mom, now is the time.
You’ve already proven that you have the mom part down.
Now show everyone the music.