Posted in Keeping your sanity, Parenting, Working Parent

Relying on Balance

Some days are such a struggle. Today is one of those days. I’ve settled on a date for an unaccompanied recital, so I start to feel the crunch (I hate that!), and it seems like my children’s behavior is worse, instantly. I really wrestle with wanting to play and have fun non-stop with my children over their summer break, but I also have the need and desire to work on my flute playing. While orchestra is out over the summer, this feels like my only chance to either focus on technical issues I want to improve or concentrate on flute repertoire and prepare a recital. My children, however, get restless, start going a little crazy, then their behavior spirals downward, and I feel like I’ve lost control of everything. It’s such an inner conflict for me some days: I love them so much and want to give them an incredible childhood, but I can’t let my flute playing go to waste either; I constantly want to improve.  My natural tendency for impatience often gets the better of me, and I want both things at the same time, and I want it done NOW.  I think balance is the solution here. Two more hours of practice, then play time, yes? The house chores can wait.

Posted in Keeping your sanity, Working Parent

“We All Need Somebody to Lean On”

I have discovered over the last few years how important it is to have a strong support system in life. As much as I like to think that I am Super Woman, and as much as I like for others to think that I am Super Woman, the truth is that I’m not….well, not entirely. I do manage a house, a husband, three children, a small-but-ongoing performing career, students, and all the cooking, but these things don’t happen on their own. Yes, most of the time I am on my own. My husband often works long days, especially during the academic year, and I do prefer to be the one teaching my children and managing the bulk of our affairs here. However, I’m only human, and like any other person, I have bad days. I have days when, for some random reason, it all feels too hard or too overwhelming. The last few days are an excellent example. I had missed out on 3-4 nights of sleep because I was trying to manage my allergies with Claritin-D (the D part is a ridiculous amount of sudafed), and it was simply keeping me awake at night. By day 5, when our kitchen sink had decided to leak, I was overwhelmed. I called my in-laws to take the children overnight so I could deal with our water emergency. Stuff like this has happened several times, and I couldn’t do it without this strong support. My parents still work outside the home, but they are still another source of strong support. We can go over and hang out at their house and sort of “get away,” our kids can play in their big backyard, and it’s always a good time. I need that.

No matter what you do in life or who you are, it’s so important to have that strong support structure. It’s worth taking the time to develop strong friendships, family relationships, faith-based relationships, and so on. Yes, we are all busy, but we are also humans — imperfect humans with basic needs of love and support. I feel like I am a better mother, wife, and musician because I have these relationships to hang on to when times get a little rough or even when times are great, which is so much more fun to celebrate with others! Maybe I’m not Super Woman, but I am certainly at my best with the love and support of my friends and family (even my friends on the other side of the ocean)! I need you all, and we all need each other.