As my Cleveland readers know, I’m in a band. We have drums, guitar (acoustic and electric), keyboard, clarinet/sax/flute and three-part harmony (sometimes). We do some covers and some original works. We rock, if I do say so myself. We even have a Facebook page.
We have a large-scale concert coming up (think 300-400 people), and it has been dominating my (our) life (lives). We’ve been rehearsing twice a week and practicing a ton on our own. It’s going to be a-MAZ-ing. In addition to performing as we usually do, we’re also incorporating a women’s choir (we got a great response to that – thanks ladies!! Can’t wait to see you perform!), a couple of guest artists and we even ran a songwriting contest (we’re deciding the winner THIS Wednesday…ooo the anticipation). It is a big deal.
Why am I telling you all this (besides that I think it’s really cool)? Because not too long ago, I was listening to a mother complain about how her daughter was very talented musically, but because she was frum, she was “stifled” and was “never going to be able to express herself.” (Being frum, she’s not going to perform on Shabbos, and being a girl, she’s not going to sing in front of men) Usually not one to say anything in these situations, I piped up and mentioned that I was also very musical. She said,
“You must feel so frustrated.”
“No, not so much,” I countered. “I just had to find the opportunities to use my abilities in this context.”
“But she doesn’t have any opportunities” she counter-countered
“Then she should make them for herself.” I finished.
Yes, I’m never going to perform on SNL (um, I probably wasn’t going to do that ever, anyways), or play a Friday-night gig, but I can work with what I’ve got. And so can a lot of other women, like my friends Shoshana, Moran, and Chanale and Shaindel Antelis, for instance.
Having performed for mixed audiences in my pre-frum days, I must say I love playing for only women. A room entirely full of ladies is a completely different experience, and has a much warmer feel. I feel like I can let my hair down (not that I do that, either!).
When you think about it, frum foodies are limited by kashrus, frum fashionistas are limited by tznius, and so we’ve all created our own little worlds of fancy kosher cookbooks and Project Frumway. Vive la difference!
Frumkeit notwithstanding, being a mommy has also drastically altered what I can and cannot do. For instance, I cannot practice with my toddler in the room. Well, I can when I bribe him with my plastic recorder (yes, the one you learned to play in grade school). When I did that on Friday he very happily ran around the apartment, tooting away, much to the chagrin of my eardrums.
But being a frum mommy has not kept me from collaborating with some seriously talented musicians, and I hope to be able to jam for many, many years. I think that every woman has her own unique skill set which, when nurtured, can enhance her life and the lives of those around her. It’s a matter of finding the right outlet for it, and I think with enough stick-to-it-iveness, anyone can find a way to flourish.
Who are some women you know who have harnessed their abilities in an effective way?
27 thoughts on “I am a rock-star mommy (and you can be one, too)”
That is so impressive what you’re doing with music. Kol hakavod!! And I love your answer to the mother. :)
Thanks! I’m so grateful that I’m able to be involved on this level. If you’re going to be in Cleveland on Feb 27th, it’s gonna be great!
Looking forward to seeing what others have to say on the topic.
Me too. I’m hoping there will be others who will say things. The comments have been feeling rather sparse lately.
Thanks so much! You seem to write about topics I need to hear at the right times. I was just feeling frustrated musically because of my inability to practice (when the baby’s around, she takes over the keys, when she’s sleeping, I’m limited to quieter instruments), lack of new material and under-stimulation. I’m all inspired to do something now. Hope the concert comes out great, and I really wish I could be there!
P.S. Maybe have someone make an audio recording and sell the CDs to pay for the babysitters you may have to hire for future practice/concerts. =)
Oh, if I could recoup the money I’ve spent on babysitters for this group! No, I filed that expense under “mental health,” so I don’t mind footing that bill (mostly don’t mind).
I’m so glad you were inspired! Yay! We should jam over Skype or something. I heard about a program for long-distance collaboration once on NPR – I need to look that up…
Well, not me, but I love this post. Thank you!
What do you mean “not you?” I think homeschooling and prolific blogging definitely counts! In my book, at least.
Wow!! I wish I could be there to see your concert!
Maybe we’ll do a world tour and come to your neck of the woods. :)
I just came across your blog through cookingmanager.com and I like what I see! I look forward to reading your posts! This is a great topic. I sing too (and play a couple of instruments, although not professionally) and the hardest thing for me is on Friday nights when we have company or are with my in-laws, and I cannot sing. To me, that’s part of the joy of Shabbos.
I adjusted to it by holding my own oneg shabbos on Friday night while the men are at shul. I sit on the couch with the kids and sing a whole repertoire of Shabbos songs. That helps to get it out of my system so I don’t feel deprived of my Shabbos zemiros!
Hi Rivki! Welcome, and thanks for the comment! I love how you found a way to express yourself musically on Shabbos. What a great solution! I sometimes sing Kabbalas Shabbos with my boys, but only when I’m not completely exhausted. :)
I popped by your Kosher Cooking for Ordinary People blog – what a nice idea! I’m also looking forward to reading more.
So glad you are able to express your love for music on a regular basis. I used to be a ballet dancer from the time I was a teeny tiny girl until college. For awhile I danced with the Cleveland ballet as a teenager. I have always wanted a dance outlet that would be acceptable halachically, but have yet to find one. If anyone in Israel knows of a great Ballet class for adults, I’d love to hear from you!
I’m going to put you in touch with my friend Shoshana. She would know. Plus, you two should know each other. You just should.
It’s amazing that you are using your talents this way and helping other girls shine!!
Just wondering why you say you cannot practice with your toddler in the room – you make it sound like it’s a religious issue…he’s allowed to hear you sing! Or is it just that you can’t practice with him around because he’ll touch everything? Cuz then I can totally identify with you! Kids that age know how to get into everything!!
Oh, it’s for sure because he gets into everything! If I take out my flute, all he wants is to “play” it, which is very cute, but makes it impossible to get anything done.
Yup-get used to it! Your kids will continue watching you with wide eyes all your life :-) which is a big responsibility! They just wanna be like their parents!
Awesome! that is fantastically cool! And… i am another mommy who has an 8 yr old who is extremely musical and so talented. She moans and groans and says that it is not fair that she can’t sing in front of millions ( did i mention ambitious?) Her nose was very out of joint when I told her she could sing in front of our visiting Rabbi, a few shabboses ago. But – I do always explain to her that there are many women who would love to hear her perform, and there is so much opportunity.
So – where could I hear your music – is there perhaps a video to show her of you guys performing? And when is the concert?
Thanks! Hopefully your daughter will go on to wow all of us ladies! There really is a lot of opportunity if you look for it.
We’re hoping to do a CD, but I’ll ask about if we’re videoing the concert. That would be a nice idea, but I’m not sure if logistically we’re set up to do it. The concert is Feb 27, IY”H. It’s really coming up soon!
so how do we hear a sample of the music??? :)
I wish we had a demo or something, but alas, not yet. The sound quality on the video leaves much to be desired, so I don’t think that’s going to be released ever…I’ll keep you posted!