Life Lately

Rachel Rambach - Life Lately (May 2016)

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).


You Are Exactly Where You Need To Be

You Are Exactly Where You Need To Be

As a mom and business owner, I am constantly struggling with the tug-of-war between my family and work. I’m not talking about setting my priorities, because without question, my husband and children come first above everything else. I’m talking about the day-to-day stuff.

The “I could send this email really quick while Parker eats his breakfast” stuff. The “I should really put Mia in her crib rather than hold her a little longer while she sleeps so I can go record that song” stuff. Because there’s always stuff to be done, but never enough hours in the day.


{Mama Moment} One More Week

One more week of maternity leave

The longest shortest time, indeed. When I think back to the end of May when Mia was born, it seems like just yesterday; this summer flew by in the blink of an eye. But some days felt absolutely interminable, especially at the beginning when I was just getting the hang of caring for a newborn and a toddler at the same time.

But I knew from previous experience how precious and fleeting this time is, so I tried hard to soak it all up — I think I took more pictures in these last three months than I have my entire life. I’m already getting nostalgic about this summer, spent at home with my sweet babies and knee deep in diapers.

Working during maternity leave

Although I was technically on maternity leave, I didn’t hang up my music therapist/teacher/business owner hats all together: I taught two early childhood classes, a few lessons here and there, didn’t miss a week of producing my podcast (even the week Mia was born!)…oh, and my business partner and I renovated a new music therapy and teaching facility.

It was a busy summer that required a lot of juggling, but honestly I think it helped keep the baby blues away. I didn’t feel like I lost track of who I was aside from a mom the way I did when Parker was born, which was a huge relief. I have to say that it has been a much smoother ride the second time around.

Maternity leave

I’m hoping that the ride continues to be just as smooth as I dive back into full-time work a week from today. I’ll write more about my schedule and how work days will look later, but right now I’m going to get back to savoring what is left of my maternity leave. The longest shortest week ever, to be sure.

{Mama Moment} Wanna Build a Snowman?

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

I can tell you that Parker’s answer to this question was a resounding YES. He’s been talking about Frosty nonstop since he made his debut in our home at Christmas time, so seeing him in the flesh — er, snow? — was a pretty huge highlight in Parker’s young life.

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

But Frosty isn’t the only snowman in town these days, thanks to Frozen. We weren’t sure if he would name his snowman Frosty or Olaf, since the latter has been getting a lot of airtime around here lately. Frosty ended up winning out, but his love for Olaf is still strong.

In fact, this song is edging out the almighty “Frosty the Snowman” (which up until now has held the title of the most-sung song at our house).

As we touched down on the runway after a quick Florida vacation yesterday, Parker looked out the window of the plane and exclaimed, “Snow!” He loved the beach and all, but apparently it just can’t compete with the white stuff. He’s in luck, because right now there are 8 inches of it in our backyard.

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?

This mama, however, is over it and ready for spring! We’re going to have to find some new songs to celebrate the sunshine, flowers, and birds singing…any suggestions?

{Mama Moment} Joining in the Fun

Mama Moment - Gretchen Chardos Benner

The following is a guest post by Gretchen Chardos Benner, MSW, MT-BC. Gretchen is the owner of Piedmont Music Therapy, whose mission is to engage, empower and accompany individuals to reach their goals grounded in the frameworks of music therapy and social work.

My children remind me of the best ways to get a job done while having fun and learning a lot in the process. Let’s take my recent guitar project as an example. Having my private practice’s office within my home grants opportunities for my children to learn more about the field of music therapy. Replacing the six strings on my work guitar was a long overdue task.

My children’s precious involvement made the routine task more of an accomplishment when it was restrung and tuned. My son (17 months) and daughter (3 1/2 years) transformed a work project into a time of bonding. We counted the strings, pegs and our fingers. We talked about what Mommy does with music therapy at a school or hospital and other children I teach through private music lessons. We compared strings with my primary instrument, the viola, and wove them in with some of their favorite requests, Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes, Wheels On The Bus and family creations about our dog.

As my children grow and develop, their curiosities and personalities help remind me to include them more often with kid­-friendly projects related to work. They enjoy learning and exploring newly purchased instruments, improvising or working through compositions for clients. We have more time spent with each other while identifying colors, sharing, and being respectful with others’ properties.

Music therapy is the field that I initially joined as a student in 2003 at Duquesne University. A year later my path crossed with my future husband because of our neighboring music instrument storage lockers and experiences through Spiritan Campus Ministries. With our current musical interests and pursuits, there is often music in our home.

I’m enthused that our children have been able to learn about my work by joining in the fun of counting inventory such as egg shakers or sorting visual aides. Our children have opportunities to learn about buzzing their lips to play their “trumpets” (recorders and harmonicas), preparing posters with song lyrics for active music engagement interventions or organizing the materials used for my business.

I am grateful for my children’s curiosities and eagerness to join the fun of preparing items for work and packing instruments for group contracts. They joyfully remind me to be proud to be their working momma.

Are you a music therapist with a “mama moment” to share? If so, please submit your story, along with a photo and short bio, via email