One of the most popular search terms that leads to my blog (besides sheitels, which is, oddly, my most popular search term) is “how to get things done with a baby.” Lately, I’ve been wondering how to get things done with my three non-babies. And by things I mean the “extra” things like playing music. It’s not really an extra, but between school drop-off and pick-up, an extremely adventurous toddler, and the normal tasks of homemaking, I don’t have a whole lot of time to spare.
Writing has seemed to supplant music as my creative outlet as of late. I love to write, and it’s a great outlet for sorting through things, but music touches a part of my soul that nothing else can really reach. So I miss it. But when I try to practice, this is often what happens:
Also, even though we have a house now (and thus, more space), I’m still nervous that my practicing will wake up the children. It used to be that I couldn’t practice past ten in the evening because I didn’t want to bother the other residents of the apartment complex, but now I’m worried about my kids! A clarinet can get pretty loud sometimes, and the sound of the piano does travel up the stairs, or maybe through the ceiling. Also, at the end of the day I’m often very, very tired.
However, I have a nagging suspicion that I’m using these (totally valid) reasons as an excuse.
When it comes down to it, I always practice best when I have a performance looming. And I haven’t had anything on my schedule since the summer, though there are a few projects percolating, nothing is so urgent as to prompt me to pick up my horn (or sit at the piano bench).
An additional complication is that since my schedule is already so packed, adding another thing onto my to-do list could upset the very delicate balance that I’ve got going on. So I’m reticent to put any additional pressure on myself because things are working fairly well right now. But like I’ve mentioned before, sometimes we have to push ourselves to do things even when they seem hard. And I know that if I don’t keep up my musical discipline, it will be even harder to pull it together when I do have a gig.
These are the thoughts swirling around my head. I can list all the very reasonable reasons why I’m out of the habit of practicing. We moved, then it was the holidays, then we took a trip. Totally understandable that I’m off my game. But I know myself, and I know that I can keep rationalizing this for a looong time. And I don’t really want to, but it’s like the same level of motivation for me as getting out of bed without hitting the snooze alarm at least once. You know?
It’s silly, because the level of pleasure and satisfaction I get when I engage in something musically creative is so off-the-charts. Like, it really is part of my needs, and it must release some endorphins or dopamine or something because I am usually in a fantastic mood when I’m working on something, be it performing or writing or both. But that’s how it is sometimes. Something which is so good for us (cough cough learning Torah cough cough) is the thing we put off the most.
So, fellow busy women, what do you do when you feel yourself procrastinating? I know my posts are usually more of the “this is something I learned about life” genre, but today I’m asking for your input. I have been greatly neglecting my musical abilities, and I would love some suggestions for ways to motivate/organize myself to get back into it.