So, as you already know, I’m releasing a new record in January, and I’m out of my mind with excitement over it. Really, I think you’re going to love it.
I have another big event in the making that won’t be ready till May. On May 18th, my 40th birthday, my fourth child is due to be born. This is old news to people who have seen me lately. But I wanted to officially announce it since I got to hear the heartbeat the other day. There’s really a baby in there!
When baby #3 was on the way, I did a Q and A here, and even though some of these might be repeats, I’m going to run through a couple of these again for anyone who is new.
#1. Q: Have you changed your mind at all about letting people touch, rub, or pat your belly? A: No, not in any way, shape or form. I’m still very much against this. Stranger or friend, try not to touch my belly. In return, I won’t touch yours or comment on what an adorable, gigantic dinner there must be inside.
#2. Q: Holy cow, you’re almost 40. For heaven’s sake, is this the last one? A: This is pretty personal, and maybe not even anyone’s business. You can never say never, but I have a feeling this baby will complete our family. It just feels right. Also, having a baby at 40 is kind of a butt kicker.
#3. Q: Will you think it is thoughtful if I tell you that you don’t look like you feel well today? A: I might be able to tell that you mean well, but it will also make me believe that I look like garbage. And I might. I might wish you hadn’t told me. But I’ll also know you probably care. How’s that for a girly answer?
#4. Q: Will it help you feel more informed and careful about your nutritional habits if I tell you that I was not even as huge as you are at this phase of pregnancy? A: No, I will just think you are a jerk.
#5. Q: Is there anything at all that I would normally feel uncomfortable saying to a normal non pregnant person that is now fair game for me to say to you now that you are pregnant? A: Maybe, but probably not. I can’t really think of one thing.
#6. Q: Isn’t it crazy of you to release an album four months before you have a baby? A: Probably. But lately I have realized that as a singer-songwriter, I do things differently than a lot of other people like me. I just have to. I’ve decided that instead of twisting my life and my loved ones lives around what the textbook career should look like, I’m instead going to try to twist the businessey stuff to fit around the beautiful life I already love and don’t want to mess up.
I’ve talked about this a little before. People ask me about this sometimes, especially since the title of this blog is now “The Stay-At-Home-Songwriter”. Maybe I should talk a little more about what this means.
As always, I need to start by saying, I am not trying to tell you or anyone else how it all should be done. This is just what feels right to me.
Before I got married and had children, I had this view in my mind that my dream, my music dream, reigned supreme above all other dreams. That someday if I should let some man into my life, he’d have to know that my dream would never go away, and that it would always come first. That I’d expect him to help me with it and make sacrifices. Looking back, I was only partly wrong about some things. My dream has truly never gone away. I’m glad I made that clear to every man I invited into my life. I ended up with the very best one. My husband has most certainly made some very loving and selfless sacrifices to help me. But what I did not think about or count on when I had these ideas, is that my dream would never be the only holy dream in this world or even in my house. As an almost 30 year old single woman, I had become so focused on my own life, (rightly so; I love that I had time to find and understand myself; that’s a topic for another day) that I hadn’t considered for a very long time that when you really love people, you help them with their dreams. And that means I don’t just sit and watch everyone sacrifice for me. I sacrifice, too, for them. I’ve been to music showcases and seminars where superstar keynote speakers tell you in a matter-of-fact voice that having a family is a serious obstacle to success and fame as a musician. They’re right. Many life coaches preach sermons of sacred selfishness. The stars align in your career when all you care about is your dream. When you remove all people who distract you in any way from it, no matter how much you think you might love each other. When you command all things to point inward to you. And, again, they’re right. But here’s where I think these gurus are missing it and getting it wrong. Even though they’re very skilled at telling me how to be a successful superstar, they don’t understand enough about me to be able to tell me how to be a truly successful and happy human. This is different for many people. But for me, such a gigantic piece of being happy and successful is Love. And for me, the very biggest place that Love comes from is my family. To live in a home with people who love each other. And we all have dreams.
So, that means I have choices to make. The music business favors the young and hot. There is a very limited time to become a superstar. Childbearing also favors the young. You can’t wait till the end of your career if you want to be a mother. Time runs out. The music business learning curve and the mom learning curve crash into each other. And it all takes time.
My children have lives and hearts and dreams. Psychologists may prove that my daughter doesn’t need me to go to her concert. She just needs “someone” to go. But someday when her friends act mean or she doesn’t win the prize, I want her to know that I’m the one she can run to. Maybe that means I need to be there for the concert now.
Some moms don’t even have these choices. I feel blessed.
Some moms have the same choices as I do and they choose differently. Some children go with it and thrive. Some husbands do, too. They still do well. Some kids live with grandma while mom is on the road. Some families live together on a bus. I think families are happy and thrive when you are listening to each other and taking cues from each other about what you all can and can’t do. I believe this is really important for kids. They want to have a choice. It is not impossible to be a superstar and have a happy family. I’ve seen it done. I cheer wildly for this.
For us, here’s how it works. My husband is on the road a lot and I hold down the fort at home quite a bit. I do a lot of songwriting from home, and I do a lot of local shows. My kids are blessed with older cousins and wonderful neighbors who are sweet and amazing babysitters. And when my husband is home, he’s really home, day and night. We both cook, we both kiss the bruises, we all laugh together and love to be together. Sometimes if there’s a really amazing songwriting conference or a huge gig that is away from home, and it is when my husband is in town, I take the gig. A few days is the most I go, with the ages my kids are right now. And it’s been a long time since I’ve done that. I say no a lot. A LOT. That’s just us. There are times when I spend several long days in a row at the recording studio. There’s been a lot of that lately with the new record. We’ve made good calendars and we’ve made it happen, and it has worked.
My family is very supportive. I’m blessed to have a husband who is in the same business. The tricky part of that is that we often have to work at the same time. The fun part is that we understand a lot about each other’s work. Joe helps me out a lot by helping me record demos at home, and helping me with a bunch of other brilliant ideas. I try to be there for him too, to understand his dreams and be there to support him in all the things he has going on. Sure, it’s tricky right now with tiny kids. We can’t always go to our shows all together. But it’s still our life. All of my kids have grown up with microphones. They’ve all ridden on road cases in daddy’s shop. When we turn on the radio, they ask me if the person singing is our friend. Sometimes it is!
I guess that’s kind of a slice of my life. Does the messiness of it all make it less likely that I’ll become a worldwide superstar? Yes. Life is full of choices. They never get completely easy, but they get easier and easier when I cut it way down to the things that mean the most to me. Each person has to ask these questions for themselves, and we all may come up with different answers. I’ve just told you about mine. I make music because it is a dream that still never goes away. I’ve reached a point in my life where music is not a dream I chase. It is a dream I live. My family life is also a beautiful dream I live. I’ve decided that instead of leaving my family dream to chase a music dream, I will stay in both dreams and invite you in. If you are within the sound of my voice, come, take a seat. The fun and beauty of the music that comes from all of this will be here, for anyone who wants to drop by.
I continue to be so excited about my new record, and hopeful that you can help me spread the word when the time comes.
I’m also thrilled about baby #4. I hope he or she enjoys the crazy, beautiful world we have at our house.
I’ll keep you all posted on both.
For every decision I make in my life, I have had to listen to some important voices. Little children’s voices. My parents’ voices. Joe’s voice. My own inner voice. Maybe the most important voice of all is the voice I talk about in this song. It never leads me wrong.
Still Small Voice