Balancing Music and Family
NOTE: This post was originally published at All My Little Gems. When we asked Sharla what she thought we should blog about, her answer was actually a rather common question: “How do you do it? How do you balance music and family”?
That question may be retracted if you saw my house in its current state. My laundry pile is practically breeding. My 1-year-old baby still has 3-6 month clothes in her drawers. My daughter is heading to school wearing the same hairstyle as she did yesterday. My 3 year old son has syrup on his face. There is a massive amount of hand prints on our stainless steel dishwasher. (OK, that one I leave on purpose. I’m sorry, but they’re slightly adorable.)
And I am currently in my sweatshirt and yoga pants. We may or may not have PBJ for lunch.
AND dinner. Don’t put it past me--it’s happened before. So maybe our answer to that question should be “Not very well.”
But I think that’s normal mommyhood. We all have moments in our lives when our plates are filled with more than our kiddos’ demands.
The truth is we have had to find a way to balance family and music. Although the three of us are on essentially the same “Mercy River journey”, our coping skills are all very different. As a group, we have a set of rules we follow; we stick to 3 performances a month, we take our kids to every possible thing we can, (rehearsals, firesides, concerts), etc. But then we each have our own set of rules.
My personal numero uno rule- my marriage comes first. Always.
First off, I need to share a piece of info with you.
Marriage is a lot of work.
What do you mean you already knew that?
A few years ago, I noticed my marriage wasn’t where I wanted it to be. School, work, kids, callings, and yes, Mercy River, were all very present in our lives and all of a sudden I discovered that my husband and I had been practically reduced to roommates. We decided we needed to refocus our priorities. I wanted to find ways I could make my husband feel loved, but he’s not one to open up about his feelings, (aka he’s a guy). I thought I would do some experimenting. I read that fabulous “Love Language” book, and started my own analysis to see if I could find HIS love language. And much to my surprise, I realized quality time was his thing. So now, we have a regular date night each week. And we’re religious about it-we don’t skip our dates. I’m RARELY gone more than 2 nights a week, and even that is pretty sporadic. We play board games every Sunday night when the kiddos are in bed. I’ve even learned to sit through a golf game or an episode of “Gold Rush”. (Granted, he usually rubs my feet while doing so. It makes it less painful.)
In return he has been my biggest support with Mercy River. He encourages me to rehearse, he loves coming to our concerts, and he talks about our group to a point where it can be a bit embarrassing. He is a fantastic dad, and gets excited to spend one-on-one time with the kids while I’m away.
Marriage is not easy. Keeping it at the forefront of my priorities isn’t easy. But I’ve seen so many blessings from working hard at it, and it’s allowed me to be a part of Mercy River without destroying my family. Mercy River is not forever. My marriage is.