Some of you may be aware that I’m a fan of traditionalism in marriage, and that I can be a little old-fashioned at times. After reading my friend Chavi’s guest post, I realized that even though I do think that the traditional model has a lot of merit, I don’t fit quite so neatly into the mold.
Why not, you may ask? Well, I keep a busy schedule of performances, as well as various other activities. For instance, just between last night and today I have four engagements outside of the house. Count ’em – four. While that’s more than usual, I am typically pretty booked. My husband and I were laughing about the ridiculous schedule I keep. He said to me,
“When people ask me what you do, I tell them you’re a homemaker, but that’s not entirely true.”
Right. I’m not actually making home all that much these days (and boy, does it show!). It’s not that I don’t like being at home. I do. I like puttering around the house. I also like it when the house is clean and I can find things like my cars keys (it’s a good thing I have a spare set), and I can see things like my floors (I know they’re somewhere down there).
I’m trying to find the sweet spot between my home and outside life. Since, thank G-d, I’ve been getting more opportunities to play (paying!) gigs, I’ve had to think about what that means for my family. What are the sacrifices that I have to make when I take the gig? It’s not just the actual performance time (for which I may or may not need a babysitter, depending on my husband’s schedule), but also the practice time.
Practicing’s tricky, since Little Man keeps me on a tight leash musically. He doesn’t let me play any songs that don’t meet his approval. Rachmaninoff? Out of the question. Row, row your boat? That’s more up his alley.
So, since I can’t really practice much during the day, that means it has to be squeezed in during the evening, after Little Man is asleep, and when the baby doesn’t need me. Happens to be that that is also usually when I pick up the house, do dishes, oh, and relax. I’m currently trying to find a way to utilitze my time as efficiently as possible, since I don’t think it’s good to let entropy take over every time I have a performance (did I mention I can’t see my floors?).
You see, as much as I need the outside stimulation, and to use my musical abilities, I also need to make my house a welcoming, organized and sane place. I want my children to see that it’s possible to contribute to the community and still maintain a functional household. That family and home life come first, but that it’s also important to use the unique skill set that is specific to each person.
And that reminds me of a post on Chavi’s blog, about how there is no right way to be a wife and a mother, because we all have our own distinct personalities.
For some, that could mean having a job outside the house, or for others, it could be staying home. It could be regularly hosting guests for Shabbos, or arranging postpartum meals. It could be running a summer camp, or giving swimming lessons. When our children see us contributing in whatever way is the most suited for us, they see what it’s like to use the abilities G-d gave us to the fullest.
Using my ability to perform makes me happy, and that makes my husband happy, which helps our marriage, which helps our parenting. I am immensely grateful of his exceptional support of my non-traditional homemaking style. Now I really need to go actually make some home…!