Sooooo, I might be a little obsessed with podcasts. If I’m doing anything that doesn’t require 100% brain power — folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, picking up the playroom — there’s a pretty good chance I’m listening to a podcast at the same time. I’ve written about my favorites before, but this post is about my very own.
As you may have guessed from the title, I have 2 of them! The first is Guitars & Granola Bars, a podcast for women balancing a passion-fueled career with being a mom, and the other is Listen & Learn Music (original, right?), on which I share my original songs and adaptations.
I’m so excited to be launching Season 2 of the GGB podcast after being on hiatus since January. I produced 48 episodes in the first season, and I needed that break to decide which direction I wanted to take the podcast. I’m definitely changing things up in Season 2, but I think it will be a welcome change.
And as for the L&L podcast, this is something that’s been brewing for a while but I didn’t have the time or energy to act on until now. It’s geared directly towards children and their grown-ups; basically I share a few words about a song and then play it right there in the episode. Short and sweet.
Both of the podcasts are available completely free in the iTunes store (GGB | L&L), and I’ll be posting here when new episodes go live. I’m pretty excited to be putting new content out into the world on a regular basis after what has been a pretty long dry spell. Thanks for reading, listening, and sharing your feedback with me!
Happy June! Not only is this my favorite month of the year, but it’s also my favorite week: my birthday is in just a few days :) Even though it means I’m turning another year older, I’m still looking forward to celebrating with the people I love the most.
But first I want to celebrate with YOU! I went back and forth on the best way to do that, in between prepping for a very full summer of classes and summer camps at the studio. And then I decided to do something I’ve never done before.
As I was prepping for our summer programs, I started thinking about where we were at this time last year. Our early childhood class, Listen & Learn for Little Ones, had come a long way since the previous summer, and we were filling up 2 sections of it with no problem. And now, in a few weeks, we will be offering 6 sections of that class along with a plethora of other classes and camps. It’s pretty amazing when I let that sink in.
My course on early childhood programs — Create, Market, Make Music! — is full of advice and strategies for building your own successful program from the ground up. And while all of the information is still very applicable and valuable, I have more to share now after coming so far since I created the course.
So as a birthday week bonus, I’m offering 1-hour Skype consultations to the first 10 people who sign up for my course (which is good for 3 CMTE credits, by the way) this week. That’s $75 for the course, CMTE credits, and an hour with me to pick my brain, ask questions, and learn how we grew our early childhood program exponentially in under a year.
I may be a little crazy offering this, but it’s my birthday week and I’m feeling generous :) After you enroll in the course, you’ll receive immediate access to the course and an email from me to schedule our consultation. I’m really excited to share with you what I’ve learned and put into practice!
Nothing can prepare you for motherhood, and the way it completely overhauls life as you know it. But they should tell you that nothing can prepare you for a second child, no matter how experienced you think you are. And “they” didn’t tell me, so I’m telling you just in case you find yourself in that place down the road.
After Mia was born and we brought her home from the hospital, I was ready to get back to real life. None of this hazy newborn hibernation for us, no sir! Of course we took it easy and mostly stayed home those first few weeks, but I had a very active almost-two-year-old and a business getting ready to undergo a huge transition.
So I was thrilled that things pretty much went my way in the early months. The hormones didn’t hit me nearly as hard as they had after Parker’s birth, and I felt like myself pretty quickly. Breastfeeding was a total breeze. Mia was a sweet and adaptable baby.
I was getting a bit more sleep this time, too, and even found plenty of time to work (mostly in the wee morning hours after nursing Mia back to sleep). I figured out how to survive and keep two tiny children alive by myself for entire days at a time. I took the summer “off” as a “maternity leave” — and while I didn’t see clients or students, I put in more hours than I can count on the business and my own personal projects. I didn’t miss a single week of my podcast. Sure, I hadn’t had a full night of uninterrupted sleep since before Mia was born, but I wasn’t going to let my exhaustion get in the way of productivity.
It was all working beautifully, until it wasn’t. All of those things I had been sweeping under the rug — lack of sleep, wacky hormones, absence of time to myself — hit me like a ton of bricks in December. I remember having an anxiety attack on a Tuesday afternoon, shortly before it was time to go to work. I was standing in the middle of the family room, holding Mia, feeling completely paralyzed about how I was going to get through the rest of the day, let alone the coming weeks and months. I honestly had no idea.
That was scary, but I’m glad it happened. I needed a slap in the face from reality to remind me that I’m human, and that it was time to start acting like it. I took a break from all the “extra” stuff (writing blog posts, the podcast, involvement in organizations) and made no apologies. I did the bare minimum.
When I think back on those first six months of Mia’s life, I feel mostly happy but also a tiny bit regretful. Although I spent nearly every waking hour (and there were LOTS of them because sleeping is NOT her strong suit) with her, my mind was elsewhere more than it should have been. I know that comes with the territory of also having a toddler and running a business, but I probably could have done it better. But, you know, hindsight and everything.
I didn’t set any goals for the New Year other than to simplify, streamline, and put self-care first. We spent a week on a Disney cruise, completely cut off from work/email/technology/life on land altogether, which did wonders for my psyche. When we got home, I was ready to start easing back in…but in a healthy way, this time.
The six months that followed have been so, so much better. Not easier, but better. I still spend almost every waking hour with Mia (and she STILL isn’t sleeping through the night) save for the few hours I see clients and students 4 days a week, and Parker is home with us on Mondays and Fridays. I completely lost my early morning work sessions, since Parker decided that 5:45 am is the perfect wakeup time, but I’ve gotten smarter about prioritizing and making better use of the little time I do have to work.
I’m no longer trying to be superhuman, and I’m much better at asking for help when I need it. Having two kids is humbling in that way. I still don’t like admitting I need help, but I grit my teeth and do it anyway. Never before would I have texted my friend Angie and asked her to wrangle my baby, along with her own two, while I teach music class because no one else was available to watch her. Again, humility.
I have an amazing support network: my husband (who does everything he can to make my life manageable), my parents (especially my mom, who does more for us and the kids than I could ever list here), my in-laws (I am indebted to my mother-in-law for all of her help in the evening hours when I’m still at work), beautiful friends (especially Crystal, who is an endless fount of parenting advice, gorgeous photography, delicious food, and texts at all hours of the day) several wonderful babysitters, and a saint of a business partner.
Running a business is hard enough, let alone when you’re doing it with a mom of two young kids. There aren’t enough Starbucks gift cards in the world to repay Katey for the times she has stepped in to cover classes, take care of administrative tasks, bring me caffeine, and be a shoulder to cry on when I’m even more sleep-deprived than usual. This year we moved well beyond “business partners” and became “work wives” as we often joke :)
Mia’s first year is complete, and it truly took a village to get here. This summer will look a little different than last: I’ll be more relaxed (no more midnight painting parties at the new studio), Mia will be mobile, and then in August, she’ll be joining her brother at school 3 days a week. And while I feel a twinge of guilt for looking forward to that, I know having dedicated hours to work will make me a better mom. Then I can truly unplug and enjoy Mondays, Fridays and weekends with my babies.
Yes, it has been the longest and hardest of my life so far, but like the title states, it has also been the shortest and best-est: Mia completed our family in the most perfect way imaginable (at least, we’re mostly sure it’s complete), and she’s grown from a tiny baby to a tiny almost-toddler in the blink of an eye.
It’s not often that I’m listed in the same sentence as Laurie Berkner, Dan Zanes, Charity Kahn, Music Together, and many other household names in the field of children’s music and education. So I’m taking this opportunity to shout from the rooftops about this free speaker series, for which that IS the case.
I’m assuming that since you’re reading this, you understand the importance of music, and that learning and music go hand in hand. It is also known that the biggest predictor of longterm life success and happiness is not “IQ” but actually “EQ” — emotional intelligence. So what does music have to do with emotional intelligence?
My friend Jenna is exploring just that in her free online event, “Your Musical Child”. She is diving deep into the waters of music in education as a tool for expanding and increasing social and emotional growth and understanding.
Jenna is speaking to over 21 experts in the area of children’s music about the importance of using music for this purpose. The experts range from music educators and professors, to songwriters, performers, and well known organizations who promote music and early learning for children.
I am happy to share that I am one of those featured experts, and I’m thrilled to be representing music therapy amongst so many other music professionals.
Jenna and I have a great conversation about the power of music therapy and how I help children grow both socially and emotionally. I also talk about the mission of Music Therapy Connections, and explain the reasoning behind the services we offer to families.
This online event is completely free. When you sign up, you will receive an email with the link to each 30-minute interview, along with information about each expert and a link to their free gifts. My free gift is Songs for Social & Emotional Growth, which includes mp3, lyrics and chords for 6 original songs.
This topic is so important now more than ever as we grapple with how to best serve our young people, who are growing up in an increasingly digital age, and how we can keep the essential communal aspect of playing and singing together intact as our world changes.
I hope you enjoy my interview and all of the others with experts across the country speaking about how music heals and helps us thrive. Click here to learn more and register for free.
Time has never flown by faster than it has these past few months. I can barely keep up with my day-to-day responsibilities, because the hours just seem to slip away. It might have something to do with the fact that I’m gearing up for our studio’s spring recital and a new session of early childhood classes, managing a full student/client load, and running a business…all while living that #momlife (which includes very little sleep, thanks to a certain baby girl).
Oh, and did I mention that my husband opened his own insurance agency a month ago? He’s been working 10 hour days and often goes back to the office after the kids are in bed. It’s actually pretty cool to have a two business owner household, especially now that Zach “gets” it in a way he didn’t before. That said, running two businesses AND raising two tiny kids is no joke.
But despite everything we have going on, I feel surprisingly stress-free most days. I have our recent Phoenix trip to thank for my relatively calm state of mind, because although it was exhausting “vacationing” with a baby and a toddler, it was also really nice to soak up the sun and spend quality time with my family.
Life is so much fun right now, between my two cutie heads at home and all the cutie heads I see at MTC (and yes, that does include my awesome team members). I love the work I’m doing now more than ever, and I’m super excited about what the future holds on all fronts — starting with a full night’s sleep.