Every Mama Has Her Juggling Act

life juggleI’d like to say that all our moments are sweet and easy like my last post.  But not really.  How boring would that be?

In our family, we’ve got the full range of light and dark, happy and sad, and everything in between. Overall, I’m realizing that regardless of our emotions, an overarching theme in our home involves a fairly intense amount of multi-tasking.

We’re managing three businesses:  our backyard recording studio, Hideout Studios; my husband’s interior design business, Cravotta Studios; and my consulting business, Bolder Communications. And I’m working to maintain this Attachment Mama blog and produce the Sweet Songs Children’s Album due to release in 9 weeks.

We’re attempting all this while desiring to be highly conscious in the way we care for our two little angels, ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2.

My consulting business has been mostly on-the-side since motherhood began for me a little over three years ago, with minimal project work here and there — until two weeks ago. My new freelance work is turning out to be between 20 and 25 hours/week, but I’m choosing to have our baby-sitter for 30 hours/week so I have time to get organized and focused each day — the latter of which has been extremely challenging for me. I discovered that being with baby and toddler most hours of the day I live in a perpetual state of ADD that is hard for me to shake loose.

Holy moses….all I can say is I’m experiencing a new level of tired.

I’m generally one of those people that truly loves to have a lot going on. I feel more alive, more purposeful…more connected to the world around me. And all the balls that I toss in the air float up and down and around and energy is pumping and I feel connected to the Divine and life is good and then somebody throws in a few clubs. I think, “OK- Bring it! A new challenge!”  I’m thrown off my game a bit, but I keep tossing everything around. Then somebody throws in a few flaming torches.

And then I get into a bit of high-stress downward spiraling…wondering how I got into this act when I don’t even know how to juggle.

Who is this crazy “somebody” who’s throwing all these fire balls into my arms anyway?  Darn it all — it’s me.

I chose to explore my creative spirit through this blog and through the making of a children’s album. During the Great Recession.

I’ve lined up articles on the Sweet Songs album in multiple local magazines for the month of May.  I’m reaching out to a number of people locally and nationally to consider financially sponsoring the completion of the record — businesses and individuals.  And I “should” (hate that word) be devoting any extra time I have outside of mothering to making money for our family.

But I’m unwilling to quit Attachment Mama or Sweet Songs.

So here I am. Plugging away at midnight.

As I question who I think I am, I’m reminded of a scene with my Grandmother a year — maybe less — before she died.

Wherever she is now – may she know that I love her.  This scene happened seven years ago when I was single and still living in Boulder, Colorado.  I had just bravely participated in my first women’s singer-songwriter event at a coffee shop called Penny Lane.  A friend video taped my performance and I brought it to my grandparents’ house to share it with them since they were both too frail to attend.

We popped in the old-school VHS and began to watch it together — me, my Mom and my Grandma and Grandpa. About thirty seconds into my first song, my grandmother said, “Who does that girl think she is? Look at her! She thinks she’s so great and she sounds just awful.”

My Mom tried to cut her off before the words fully pierced my insecure, wanting-family-approval heart.

“Mom, that’s Monica singing!” she said loudly.

But it was too late. I heard it all loud and clear. And strangely enough, no matter what we said to try and convince her that it was me on the television screen, she just kept saying over and over again, “I don’t know who she thinks she is….”

Of course I knew that some kind of senility had taken over in that moment, but I remained humiliated.

Recently, I shared this story with my sweet Austin friend Libby and am still moved by her response.

She said, “Was your Grandmother fully expressed in her life?”

I had to say that I honestly didn’t know.  She was well-educated with a Masters Degree in Nutrition. She cooked and baked and collected things and studied the Bible and taught and traveled the world…….and maybe she always wanted to sing. I don’t know.

“Well,” she said, “it would appear that she wasn’t.”

So maybe six months from now I will look back on this chapter of The Big Tired and feel like it wasn’t so hard and that keeping the fire of self-expression lit was worth it all.

In my current state of mind, I’m not going to advocate for developing two creative interests at the same time while raising your babies. But I highly recommend gifting yourself with exploring something you’ve always wanted to do if you haven’t yet already. It may not seem like it when you start, but ultimately your free-flowing self-expression is a beautiful gift to your children too.

And if you’ve given birth — you know in your hearts Mamas — you can do anything.

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4 Responses to “Every Mama Has Her Juggling Act”

  1. chelsea says:

    Totally inspirational–I love your voice, mama!!

  2. Dawn says:

    You are an inspiration to me, Monica! Even though you’re far away, there has always been a little something in me that wants to make you proud. And ditto Chelsea – I LOVE YOUR VOICE!! Keep smiling and doing, chuck! Love you.

  3. amy says:

    Libby is right. It is typically those who have “played by the rules” that ridicule those who take chances, isn’t it?

    I can’t wait to hear Sweet Songs. 🙂

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