“I was a performer, and when I had kids I realized I wouldn’t realistically be able to keep up the night hours . . . and I found a passion for artist development and ended up managing bands . . . Now that I’m a mother, I’ve evolved into a different place; music is what I have done my whole life and it is in my blood, but I feel just as creative working with artists on their careers as I did when I was the one in the spotlight. It came as a surprise to me that management could even be a creative outlet, but it totally is.”
So here’s the thing: if Rock Moms say anything about women, it’s that it is always important, it is always a priority, to make something of your own. For Wason, “it’s vital to show kids how important it is to be able to do what you love, to create something.” For Van Oostrum “it is so important for a mother to express who they are beyond just Mommy.” For other mothers, creation is French cuisine (Chef Mom), quilting (Stitch Mom), or leather tanning (Hide Mom) — it doesn’t matter, as long as her identity is expressed in the way it wants. The unsung existential crisis of motherhood is her identity beyond mother. Barnett says, “It’s true that many women don’t pursue music (and art in general) because women are often taking care of other people, and not themselves. But it is really a balancing act; there is a time to be selfless and a time to be self-more!”
Rock Moms agree: To get the most out of life’s steak, cut off the fat
Sometimes you have to change the dream itself — and no, that doesn’t mean making an instantly forgettable corner to play guitar in the basement, in the vain hope that someday you’ll think to practice there. Keep creative-instigators close at hand. Figure out what, and sometimes who, you have time for. Hannah Tarkinson says this: “Having children helps me weed out the people/places/things that aren’t working for me . . . it needs to be quality.”
Another thing: whatever you are in the thick of, child-rearing or lyric-writing, be there for those moments. Mix the two when you can, but really concentrating on each when the opportunity presents itself keeps you from resenting or feeling neglectful of either. Tarkinson’s favorite quote on this subject comes from Rock Grandmama and Grammy winner Cindy Bullens: “When you’re out playing music, be in the music, and when you’re with your family, be with your family.” Just enjoy where you are when you can. Sara Cox believes “you are way more present with your life if you’re an artist, it forces you to really accurately portray those moments . . . That’s been my experience; to really buckle down and be real.”
Support is something that is crucial for creativity to thrive: boyfriends, husbands, sisters, friends, family. Any way the kids came into the world, their mothers all got support and all swear it’s vital to their survival and eventual flourishing. Perhaps Tarkinson said it best: “Raising children takes a village . . . nah, it takes a fucking nation.”
Dena Riegel can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.