Finding my balance as a Working Mom

Malia… a day in my life

I still can’t believe that I am sitting here. As I play my cello, I see the bright stage light reflecting off the page in front of me. I feel a connection with my fellow musicians who are playing with me that is indescribable. We are communicating through music, through feelings and thoughts, words are not needed. We come from different places, speak different languages, our ages range from students to retired teachers, yet when we play music together we are all connecting as one. I look up and I see my best friend, my hero and my love, whom I admire since I met him, as he cues all of us and guides us through the last piece of our performance of the night. Behind him, all I see is complete darkness. It is as if our whole orchestra is flying though space. Nothing exists at the moment except our music.

And then it happens. We’ve just finished our last note, sitting on it for just a little longer, as if we want to give every last bit of our hearts and leave it on stage, send it out to the audience. On the last cue of our incredible conductor, we finally let go of that final note and for the first time I look up beyond the stage as the lights become bright again and I see faces of the audience appear, hear the clapping and see the appreciative looks glancing back at us. We’ve finish the concert as usual, get up, take a bow, some speeches, flowers, and picture taking.

As the audience begins to trickle out of the theater, I begin to gather my things, still feeling the incredible high from the music still playing on and on inside of my head as if it was on re-play. My hands are cleaning my instrument and collecting my music sheets, but my thoughts are racing fast speed through the entire performance as my thinking mind woke up again.

All of the sudden someone pushes some flowers into my arms, which smell so lovely by the way, and then I feel a very tight yet gentle squeezing of two arms around my legs and another pair of arms around my waist. “Don’t move”, I think. One wrong move now with my legs tight together like this, cello in one hand, flowers in the other, and two bundles of pure hyper excitement attached to me. One wrong move and we all go down. First, put the flowers and cello down and then I am finally free to open up my arms, sit down on that stage and receive the most rewarding and loving hugs from two young girls who have  been waiting in the audience through the entire performance to come up and say hello to their mom.

Instantly my role has changed from performer to mom. My previous thoughts of performance have now been replaced with loving thoughts of my girls and how proud I am of how they appreciate what daddy and I are doing with our music. Once I start the thinking mom train, it does not stop. I am on a roll now. The show is so not over my dear friends!

Next on the program:
  • get the huge mommy bag out I keep backstage with toothbrushes and PJ’s for the kids
  • go to the backstage bathroom to brush their teeth and change since they will fall asleep in the car before we get home
  • make sure they drink enough water
  • brush their hair
  • find husband who is still busy talking to his fan club and at the same time manage that all instruments and music are cleaned up before everyone leaves
  • find the girls’ grandparents who have been sitting with the girls in the audience
  • take the whole family, music cases, music sheets and scores, and the pile of bags we have hanging on us to our car.

We look a bit less glamorous now than just half an hour ago. I am still in high heels and a sparkly black dress, but with all the bags and children hanging more or less off us we look like we overdressed while heading to the airport.

You probably think something along the lines of: “welcome back to reality”. Well that is what I first thought too. But over time I realized that there is not one reality. Everything I just described is my reality. I may bounce back and forth between different ways of living my life. But it is my life. It is my reality.

I made my love for music my education and my work.

On my journey of finding music I have found true love.

With my husband we have two wonderful girls.

We are working parents, we are musicians, we are a family.

Yes, at times it gets quite crazy and there are moments when I stop in the middle of something and ask myself “what am I doing?” or “how is this going to work out?”. But it always works out. Somehow it does and I am learning to let go of my over thinking mind a bit more and take each task step by step.

I came to the conclusion that yes, it is possible to find inner peace while balancing on a balance beam juggling fancy wine glasses through the air – or perhaps children’s backpacks, wet towels, a few instrument cases and ice cream for everyone in my case.

I get a lot of help through the daily yoga I do, the mentors I have found in my life, and with trying to keep the humor going.

I found that when it gets the most crazy, sometimes all I need is a release button and let go of my thoughts you are not supposed to have as a mom, a wife or a school teacher. I found that I can safely share those thoughts with my sister who lives across the other side of the globe. She gets my sarcasm and humor and even contributes her own similar thoughts. That makes me feel like I am still on the right track.

Peace, Malia

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About the Author

Malia

Malia decided to combine her love for music, good food and warm weather and made Thailand her home. There, she tries her best to balance family life and her full time job as an elementary music educator. She is married to a very talented musician and together they have two amazing girls. No matter how busy life gets, Malia always makes time for yoga and refreshing chats with her sister on the other side of the globe to keep things grounded - or lifted, depending on what is needed at that moment.

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