Of course, self-employed musicians in the States don’t get a single day of paid maternity leave. But even those employed by others often get only 3 months of paid maternity leave (sometimes much less). Yay on Canada for offering ONE YEAR of paid maternity (or paternity?) leave. What a way to honor human beings!
After having baby Nigel, I took as much time off as finances would allow, which ended up being about 5 weeks off from teaching. And 9 weeks off from performing, easing gently back into things. By 12 weeks (nearly two weeks ago) I was basically back to my former workload.
My pocketbook is grateful to be working. But I felt a bit anxious and worried that I might be short-changing my son by having to tuck away for sound checks, performances, rehearsals. And I have NOT enjoyed the periods of separation from him on the times that it has been more sensible to leave him with our caregiver, even though I love and trust her completely.
I lamented to my friend Alison that I wished both my husband and I could take more time off to get our bearings on being new parents, and to tend to our son completely. Also a self-employed musician (and mother of two), Alison instantly reassured me saying, “it’s a lot of schlepping, a lot of hard work, and exhausting. But going back to work when a kid is still tiny is infinitely worth it, because it’s so good for you.”
OK, I’m going to roll with this. Yes, taking a baby with me to gigs or sometimes leaving him with a sitter means I am constantly carrying stuff. And, yes, it is challenging to tend to my family’s needs pre-show and then get up on stage and give a good, centered performance (more on that in a future blog post).
But being able to make a living doing my creative work with my family in tow whenever I can is good for me. And what is good for me is good for my family. Enough grousing and croaking about having to hit the road already… it’s time to enjoy forthcoming adventures as a trio!