How To Be A Passionate Mama

How To Be A Passionate Mama ::

photo credit: BenRo3 via photopin cc

This week I went to see Sting and Paul Simon perform together. Seeing Sting perform live was a long-standing entry on my bucket list.

It was a great show – both artists are incredible and have rich and diverse musical careers individually. It was wonderful to see them each perform each other’s songs and witness their obvious respect for each other and love of music and performing.

But the thing that struck me most about this concert was the band. Behind Sting and Paul Simon were a dozen other musicians, and each of them played several instruments each. They didn’t just dabble in a few instruments, they played each of them well enough to back up Sting and Paul Simon.

And they were having a blast. The violinist played with such intensity that he was shredding his bow. The accordion player was doing a 2nd line shuffle every time I looked at his corner of the stage. One band member switched from cello to electric guitar to recorder and had a special stand so he could play measures on a tenor sax without taking off his guitar. The three (!) percussionists were laughing and egging each other on during one particularly notable rhythm-section solo.

It got me thinking about how long it takes to learn a skill, and how much passion is a motivator, but also how passion is the payoff.

Also on my bucket list are these items: Write a book. Learn to play the cello. Learn to speak Italian.

In my life right now, being the primary caregiver to a 3-year-old and feeling responsible for keeping our home clean and organized and running smoothly, it sometimes feels impossible to reach for those things. How will learning to play the cello support our household? How do I justify the time it will take for me to learn that kind of skill, to put in that kind of practice? What will I, or my family, have to give up to make room for me to pursue those passions?

Watching those musicians, I saw the answer differently than I often do.

It is valuable for me to pursue my passions because when I am living passionately I burn brighter everywhere in my life. I am more alive in my parenting and my mothering and even in my home-keeping. I’m more able to follow my child’s interests where they lead and more willing to support my partner in his own outside-of-our-home interests.

Over and over I run in to this deeply embedded notion that because I choose to stay at home with our child, because I choose to not work in the traditional, office-based way, that I cannot or somehow do not deserve to spend time doing anything else.

I hear this voice saying I don’t have time for hobbies. I don’t have time for naps. When my child is in childcare I must be doing some kind of financially-productive work to earn the privilege of that time off for me. Which makes it not actually time off, just a different kind of work.

Over and over again I attempt to unravel that old idea and reprogram the voice. Because I really don’t believe it.

But it is very persistent.

If you feel guilty taking time for your own passions, you are not alone. If you have trouble turning off your to-do list, you are not alone. Us mamas, we feel like we have to do it all. Raise kids, have a career (or a successful solo business), have a beautiful clean home, have a busy social life.

All of which leaves very little room for us, the real women who are so busy spinning all those plates and wishing we just had time to paint, or read a book, or learn a language. Just because we want to. But that voice tells us we don’t deserve to take the time away from all those other things to spend on ourselves.

But let’s try this: Let us stand together in overcoming that voice that tells us we do not deserve. Because we do.

Mothers deserve to be autonomous, well-rested, passionate and engaged people, too. We deserve the time to learn new skills, pursue our curiosities, even to simply rest.

Not every single thing we do has to be of service to our family. It is enough, really enough, if it is simply of service to you.

Even when you are the primary caregiver. Even when you have young children.

Especially then.

If you could give yourself permission, what would you spend some time on that is just for you?

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9 Responses to How To Be A Passionate Mama

  1. Dana March 4, 2014 at 4:22 am #

    Wow did this post resonate with me…..the guilt gets me every time. But oh so true it is to take that time. I need to work on that….what I would do…..learn spanish, learn how to knit, write a childrens book….so many possibilities 🙂 Must work on! Thx for the great post!

    • Doña March 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

      What a fun list!

    • Kirsten March 9, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

      Knitting would be a great one consider starting as you can start small, leave it in a nice basket near where the family hangs out and do just a bit of it here and again as you find little moments. Plus if you have a friend who can teach you you can schedule a few visits for them to get you rolling and have some nice catch up time too.
      Kirsten recently posted…$1,130 Master Bedroom, Clean, Great Light, Walk to Santa Cruz Harbor and Beach!My Profile

  2. Cathy Krizik February 24, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Hi Dona,

    I miss your writing. I can hear your voice when I read this.

    Oh how true…I don’t have kids and I still hear those voices that tell me I don’t deserve what I want. Isn’t that ridiculous? We human beings from the industrialized northern hemisphere are nuts.

    What would I do? Paint wild abstract color field paintings…read for more than an hour at a time…break out my camera…learn to use a large format camera…have dinner parties…remember how to sleep.

    I thought of you because I just launched a blog a few days ago. There is so much to learn..have to figure out how to get it off wordpress servers and host it somewhere else…do the email list thing….and make time to actually write the damn thing. Would love to hear your experiences/advice.

    Hope you are well,
    Cathy Krizik
    Cathy Krizik recently posted…Fashion police, God styleMy Profile

    • Doña February 25, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

      Oh, wow, your list is so much like mine! Dinner parties! I remember those. We had friends over for the evening last weekend and Stella loved it. A couple of days later she asked when my friends would be visiting again. So I guess I have permission!

  3. Juniper February 21, 2014 at 8:41 am #

    I would draw for fun. Maybe I need to sit down the next time the kiddos do crafts…

    This definitely strikes a chord. I may be just beginning to write again, which is great, but I find it harder to bring art back in because it seems – as you said – that even in creative pursuits it feels like I should be contributing to the family’s bottom line.

    • Doña February 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

      Yes! Art feels so frivolous. Except it is the opposite!

  4. Anne-Marika February 21, 2014 at 6:17 am #

    Oh, Sting and Paul Simon <3 !!!
    I only wish they'd expand their tour to reach northern Europe.
    And what a beautiful post this is. It is so true.
    I would be glad to receive some me-time. Alone time. Time when I'm not engaged to anyone or anything. But you're right – it's so hard to make that decision and take responsibility for yourself, although it would be eel needed. I'm learning 🙂
    Anne-Marika recently posted…January wrapped upMy Profile

    • Doña February 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

      Oh, I so hear you on wanting alone time. I’m working on building more of that into my life and it has been incredibly rejuvenating to me! I’m even writing a post about it. Stay tuned!

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