When my daughter was born, after years of round the clock songwriting sessions, I’d only write with someone if they could work between the hours of 10 and 4. That was my window. And never on a weekend. I had a part time nanny. I wanted to be there for dinner. I wanted to put my baby to bed. I wanted to be there when she woke up. But I also wanted to work. And I thought it was important for my child to see I had a passion.
It wasn't easy fitting into five hours what I used to do leisurely in a day. Or 2. I missed out on a lot of opportunities with night owls but that was a choice I made. Luckily there were some very talented writers who were morning people as well. Guy Roche and I had a few very prolific years together. Everyone became familiar with my "window.”
Admittedly, on occasion, I took advantage of this “window.” If a session was going badly and I had to extract myself I would use the excuse of having to pick up my preschool daughter by 3. If it was going really poorly, by 2.
Now that she's driving I can't do that any more. It would seem peculiar if I had to run to school because she “fell off the seesaw.”
Last week, as I was walking out of the Nail Spa I quite randomly caught the eye of a woman who was there with her daughter. She caught my eye too. Looking back I have to wonder if we recognized something in each other? Turns out it was Lauren Christy. I know this because she messaged me later to ask if ‘that was me’. We will get together soon. And I will ask her: how has it been for you? What thoughts have gone through your mind? Your heart? I’m always interested. As songwriters, we are on call 24/7 for the ebb and flow of creative impulses. As soon as we become mothers, strangely something else takes priority over the one thing that never had to wait.
We’ve been on our own maternal seesaw. The delicate balance of…'catch that idea while it’s ripe' with 'let it go there will be another'. Of course we let it go. We have to have faith there will be more. Soon. Hopefully with better timing. Other songwriter moms in my orbit who I admire like Pam Sheyne, Michelle Lewis, Courtney Harrell, Franne Golde, Erika Nuri, Robin Lerner, Liz Bojanic and the newly annointed Leah Haywood… we share a common thread and have a special relationship because you’d have to be one to know what I mean by that songwriter mom seesaw. No wonder Lauren and I caught each other’s eye.
I still get up every morning and make my daughter the same PBJ she's had for a school lunch every day since preschool. And I presume I will make that PBJ until she goes to college next year. And when she does I will have all the time in the world to work. And I’m sure that every once in a while I will rest my fingers on the keyboard and look out onto the air above my computer screen and wonder: Was I “there” enough? And as soon as I consider that maybe I wasn’t, I will remember how important it is that she knew I woke up every day and had a calling. As well as a burning desire to be a good mother. Such is my seesaw. I’ve been on that ride since the day she was born.