Words and melodies have, for the most part, eluded me over the past 6 weeks. The best I could muster was an adaptation of Maggie Rogers’ “Give A Little” for bells, which I used in my livestream classes recently, but otherwise…nothing.
And then last Friday, our governor announced that all schools in Illinois are closed for the remainder of the school year. Even though I was 100% expecting this news, it hit me hard. I still haven’t told my kids, who are only 4 and 6…young enough to be content at home, but old enough to love and miss their school, teachers, and friends. Needless to say, the rollercoaster my emotions have been on plunged downward.
That night, I sat down with my guitar, and all these lyrics came pouring out, along with a melody to go with them. “It’s Okay Not To Be Okay” was the result, and I want to share it with you if you need a reminder of this message as much as I do.
This is how I spent a good portion of last weekend: in a hospital gown, with my giant 36.5-week pregnant belly strapped to monitors. It wasn’t pretty, friends.
That’s what happens when self-care goes out the window. You find yourself in the hospital due to severe dehydration, mystery fevers, and painful contractions.
I’m extremely grateful and relieved to tell you that both the baby and I are just fine now; she was never in danger, although her heart rate was elevated due to my state for much of that hospital stay. She’s still inside my giant belly, happily growing and hopefully waiting at least another week or two before making her grand entrance into the world.
I’ve spent much of the past 9 months not feeling well — in the beginning, of course, it was just good old fashioned 1st trimester morning sickness. But these past several months have been rough, too. I’ve had cold after cold with a couple sinus infections and other maladies thrown in, all topped off by the events of this past weekend.
I’ve also pushed myself harder than I probably should have over these past 9 months. The beginning of my pregnancy coincided with the complete restructuring of my business and moving my private practice outside of my house, both of which came with big challenges.
Right in the middle of my pregnancy, we packed up our entire house, sold it, and moved into our dream house just a few blocks away.
And now, just a few weeks from my due date, I’m in the middle of even more (super exciting) business changes, running a Songwriting Challenge, producing a weekly podcast, and marketing my new songbook. These are all positive things, but stressful none the less.
Oh, and did I mention that I have a toddler under the age of 2? :)
So really, there’s no question as to how I ended up in the hospital. As careful as I’ve tried to be throughout this pregnancy, it hasn’t been enough. Self-care is a practice that will remain at the forefront from here on out, even if that just means stepping away from my work more often, going to bed earlier, and getting as much physical rest as I can.
What are some ways you take care of yourself? Ideas are welcome as I enter the final countdown.
The concept of “cleaning up” was introduced to my son Parker when he was a little over a year old. At the end of Funshop, the weekly mommy & me playgroup we attend, they play the classic “Clean Up” song (courtesy of Barney, the big purple dinosaur) and everyone tackles their assigned area.
Lucky for me, Parker loved cleaning up — mostly because he loved the song so much. I used this to my advantage at home; every time I started singing the song, he would join in and start picking up whatever mess needed to be picked up.
I decided to change things up a bit a few weeks ago, and instead of singing the same old tune, I played my “clean up” song for Parker. He immediately was on board with it, and started cleaning up the mess at hand. Success! Now he requests “Mama’s phone?” every time I ask him to clean up, meaning he wants me to play my song.
It comes in especially handy when he plays with his kitchen, because there’s a verse all about cleaning up your dishes :) When I wrote this song 6 years ago, I had no idea that one day I would be putting it into practice with my own child.
It feels like just yesterday, a whole summer of maternity leave stretched in of me. Parker was born one week after the end of my spring session, so I’ve had an incredible 10 weeks to do very little else than enjoy my sweet baby boy. And now — cue the sad trombone — there are only 2 weeks left.
But before you start to feel too sorry for me, I have to say that when I do go back to work, I have it pretty good. I’ll be home with Parker from the time he wakes up until 3 pm, when I’ll make the “commute” to my home studio (just a few rooms away). While I’m with students, my mom and mother-in-law will take turns coming over to stay with the baby until my husband gets home from work, and then I’ll be finished no later than 8 pm each night.
Even though I get to spend most of the day with Parker, and I don’t have to leave the house to go to work, those 5 hours away from him will still be tough at first. I’m pretty sure all moms feel this way at the end of maternity leave; I’m just glad that I have a job I love and is worth the time apart.
Overall, I’m really excited for September 3rd…but I’m not counting down the days just yet. Tomorrow we head to Florida so that Parker can meet his great-grandma. A few days of family time in the sand and sun is the perfect way to wind down what has been a beautiful summer.
Since leaving the school setting and going into private practice full-time, I’ve been fortunate when it comes to staying healthy. Last January, I set out to record and post a new song every Monday, and my good health (along with some crazy determination) has allowed me to do this successfully — until today.
As you know, I’m in Hawaii this week with my husband. So the Friday before we left, I sat down and wrote the song that I planned to post today. Unfortunately, that very day I was hit by a pretty nasty cold bug that left me without a voice suitable for recording. It could have been worse (like full-fledged laryngitis) but trust me, no one would have wanted to listen to that song had I gone through with the recording.
I’ve stuck with my “new song every week” goal for 11 months, and though this cold may have set me back a little, I’m bound and determined to give you (and my clients) 52 songs before January 1! So next week you’ll be seeing two new songs to make up for this tuneless Monday.
As for the status on my voice? The air here in Maui sure has done a body good, and I am feeling MUCH better than I did upon arrival. Have an amazing week and do your best to stay healthy!