I've been hearing a lot about how we have to choose.
It all started with a certain someone whom shall remain nameless being asked to leave his band because his band didn't think that he could divide his time between his new family and their musical endeavours.
Sure. Having a family is a full time gig, but you know what? We have an amazing life and I couldn't imagine not sharing that with our beautiful daughter. O.K. I obviously gave away the details there. Let me explain.
Parenthood is harder and more complicated than I ever thought possible. Before I became a mother, I thought I understood what was to be required of me. I knew it would be exhausting, exhilarating, anxiety ridden and beautiful. I knew those words. I didn't understand how those words felt or how hard they would all hit me. I didn't know the limits of my consciousness.
I read somewhere on this endless merry-go-round that we call the internet, that motherhood would face me with challenges worse than I had ever experienced and that I would feel stronger than I ever thought possible. So far for me at least, this is entirely true. I have to find a happy balance between work, rest and play and that is not always easy.
Working and playing, however, are just as important for the mind as resting. I've learned this after starring at the same walls for a few days and wondering when exactly it would be that I sank into the yellow wallpaper, never to return. I am lucky enough to be on maternity leave from what I call my "grown up job", which is both a blessing and (I hate to say it) a curse. Motherhood is a 24 hour/ 7 day a week job. There are no breaks and most of that time you are doing everything one handed whilst the other hand is holding onto a 6.5 kilo bag of jumping beans. Nothing refreshes the mind like focusing attention on other aspects of life that are particularly sociable and enjoyable.
For one, me and my daughter go out to socialise with lovely people. We both have a reason to get dressed in nice clothes in the morning. We go to mum and bub's yoga, to the movies and on little adventures. We visit people. She even came to my choir practice last night and has been the key assistant on my photography shoots. I love that I am instilling in her a pathway for creativity and insight. A pathway where she knows that it is possible to follow her dreams (plural) and know that everything will be ok. That like her mum, she doesn't need to choose one thing over the other. That being a success simply means having a roof over your head, food in your belly and enough money in the bank to buy just what you need.
Luckily, my husband has another band. Out of all the hours in a week, practice only uses 3 of them with a few extra hours every now and again devoted to being a rock star on stage. The rest of the time, he is a devoted father and digger of suburban holes. 3 hours a week in return for a lifetime of good examples for our daughter is nothing. We're a team. We work together, never holding each other back. Never having regrets.
At the least, as a teenager she won't think her dad and I are like... so boring.