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Boy, did I ever bite off more than I can chew.

I had been going along, managing this indie performing career with my husband. This meant we did all the booking, promotion, tour advancement, recording/CD distribution, web-site/online business, correspondence… all this in addition to keeping up and developing our performance chops. I also insisted (and still do), that we must offer some sort of free musical instruction–like a Tune of the Month Podcast–for our friends and fellow musicians out there who have been so supportive.

Sure, this was a lot of work to do–and to coordinate with a shred of grace. We mostly got the work done. We sometimes did it without being antagonistic and stressy at each other.

Then we had a baby, adding all the joys and responsibilities that come with a kid. We struggled with  how to share baby tasks equally, toughest during those first epic breastfeeding months. And we did our best to keep up with the music admin workload at home. After a few months (we had planned a break and had also planned gigs after our unpaid “ma/paternity leave,”), we went back on the road with Nigel.

Side note to all the cloth diaper heroes out there: we DID week-long tours with cloth diapers until very recently. Cloth diapers are awesome and are easy at home (especially if you get a sprayer that attaches to your toilet and spray the dirties off in a bucket before adding to your pile of dirties). But cloth diapers are a lot tougher and bulkier on the road than disposables–in hindsight, I would have rocked disposables when travelling. It’s less to carry and worry about.…

While we continued our performance careers and nurtured our tiny son, I tried to stay in touch with friends and family. I tried to keep up with blog posts and social media (since at this point Facebook had become just another item on the To-Do list). I began working on a kid music project with my friend Ryan, to be unveiled in the future! I tried to stay active on the Board of BCMFest–Boston’s local Celtic Music winter fest that is a FANTASTIC early January offering for stir-crazy, music-loving parents. I tried to look decent. My husband and I actually kept our house reasonably tidy.

Side note to all the people who told me to completely forget about housework when we have a baby: Yes, yes, I understand that “a baby doesn’t care if the house is dirty.” But I feel crazy and awful when my home smells horrible and there is dust, clutter, and chaos all around. Are there times I could have napped instead of cleaning the kitchen and sorting the mail? Yes! Did my cleaning efforts make me feel a bit fresher and “in control” of my life and time? Yes! If we had had a paid ma/paternity leave situation, I would have hired someone to help with housework. But we didn’t, and we did our own cleaning. And it was ok. The garden, on the other hand, is another story.

There was so much on my plate. I can’t even remember it all. And now here I am. Nigel is nearly 11 months old. The good news is I have really enjoyed spending time with him and moving through the world with him, even with the work/household stressers. The other good news is that my husband Matt and I have, I think, found a pretty neat parenting balance.

Still, I’m looking ahead to the next 11 months; and I do think I need to make a few adjustments. In general, I need to take it down a notch… though it IS more fun to say notch it up a scotch… with less and EASIER travel, fewer commitments, fewer things in the house to clean/maintain (which means setting aside some time to edit and streamline the house).

Of course, gradual and small changes are often enduring ones. This is tough for an impatient gal like me. But the journey of a thousand miles (or FEWER thousand-mile journeys, in my case) begin with a few small steps. Here I go:

  1. Matt and I have started tending to our 2012 calendar, making some hard decisions about how to best chisel our touring schedule (leaner, meaner, yess!). 
  2. My girlfriend Clare helped me revamp my wardrobe: out with the old, the maternity, and the ugly. And in with a few good pieces that all go together. How very French of me! 
  3. I hired an acquaintance to weed my garden while I was on the road this summer! Worth every penny!!
  4. I have time set aside (in late Summer) to do a Spring Clean of my home and office.

Who says late Summer isn’t the perfect time to cleanse the palate? There are so many things that are fresh and in season. Oh, but wait. Tonight I’ll stick with just a FEW things on my plate!

Leap, Little Frog

a musician's musings on nesting, being creative, traveling, and parenting