How one mom’s newfound approach to life—discovered during pregnancy—allowed her to pursue a music career while raising a daughter in Brooklyn.
During the elementary- and middle-school years, I came upon one of the most profound gifts to the working parent: the larger community of working families. My daughter had great friends, and those friends had great parents who “got it.”
I recall an afternoon, hanging out with friends two blocks over in Brooklyn, when the stress-inducing beeper went off. Mommy was called to the studio. “Sweetie, we gotta go in to town,” I told my daughter. Her response? “Mommy, how about I stay with Barbara?” Barbara was her best friend Julia’s mommy. I teared up. My kid had figured it out. Rethink in the moment: Be flexible. Look for other ways to ride with it. Help, and be helped. Spot the people who are also rethinking every day. Love their kids as they love yours.
On a late fall afternoon, walking from the subway to pick up my daughter from science club, I wrote the chorus to a new song in my head. She was 10 then, fully her own person, but she always hoped Mommy would be the one to pick her up. That afternoon I felt the surge of creativity that I knew was borne out of necessity. The old model: I need hours to do my best work, and my sitter to provide me with those indulgent hours. The rethink: Seize the moment! Flip the switch! Get on with it! It’s the advice I got from my cousin, a mathematician, who would work just one step of a proof while her infant daughter napped.
Moving into high school years, one might expect that I was “cut loose” from daily hands-on parenting. Few teenage girls want their mother in the trenches with them: “Get outta my face, Mom!” But my girl? Magically, she wanted me right there with her, at least most of the time. Time to rethink again. Just keep yourself in the game, keep expanding your skills, get ready (no, it’s not too late!) for the time when you will fully step away, and have that undivided time again.
As a working parent, I learned a lesson that I’ve come to understand is essential for a happy life in general—and it’s a lesson my daughter fully acknowledges she’s learned in our journey together: Be flexible, be ingenious, be ready to rethink. My daughter and I are grateful every day for the relationship that was borne from this fluidity.