Proving, day after diaper filled day, that music and motherhood can mix.
Musical Mama Blog
Meg is a is a life of the party sort of person, energetic with a great sense of humor. She’s also an indomitable mom. I once watched her clamber up and down, very pregnant, in a snow covered playground in order to keep up with her young son. She pulls off doing stuff like baking 16 types of cookies in a day and keeping a well ordered house containing 4 rambunctious kids without seeming to break a sweat. And all the while she keeps her razor sharp wit cracking. Meg sings and loves music - she named each of her four kids after a rock song. I thought it might be fun to pick her brain about how she balances creativity and motherhood.
What are some of your early experiences with music?
One of my favorite memories of early childhood is being in Kindergarten and singing in the school talent show. Like the Abba song, my mom also says that I could sing before I could talk. I was always obsessed with the piano. We didn't own one, but every time I went to someone's house who did, I'd ignore them and play for hours. I'm surprised I got invited back to anyone's house, frankly. When I was 13, my father passed away unexpectedly and tragically. To cope with the enormity of that loss, I asked my mom for piano lessons. We still didn't own a piano. I had a toy keyboard, which I would play for hours. Less than 6 months later, I auditioned and was accepted into a performing arts high school for piano. I channeled my grief into music, and it saved me.
How do you balance being expressed and creative with raising 4 kids and all the responsibilities that come with that?
After the kids came along, instruments took a back seat, but thankfully, my voice is portable. I've probably sung more to my kids than the average rock star sings in their entire lives. My kids have grown up with every genre of music that you can think of. Singing has helped my kids with their speech delays, learn math, learn to read – you name it, music has been in their lives. As far as creativity outside of music, I spend a fair amount of time making fun looking cakes. I also love dancing, especially Zumba. My theory is that while singing and dancing won't solve all of life's problems, it doesn't hurt to try.
Any favorite anecdotes about a concert you attended?
One of my favorite memories is going to a Hot Tuna concert that was outdoors and family friendly. My daughter was 4 years old at the time, and I remember the amazed look on her face as she took in the music and the energy of her first live concert. I had just found out that I was pregnant with Jude and I loved that I was introducing him to good music in utero. In fact, that concert is what inspired my son's middle name – Jorma. Also, I recently had the opportunity to go to a karaoke night with my daughter. When she got up and performed Aerosmith's 'Dream On', she brought down the house. Her performance was beautiful and effortless – and one of the best moments of my life. There is nothing greater than watching your child outperform you.
Favorite songs or bands?
It's just as likely for me to listen to Bluegrass as it is to Big Band, or Classic Rock, or Jazz. I love old Honky Tonk and Barrelhouse Blues. But right now, the music that gets the most play is whatever my kids are into. I love that they introduce me to new music, and it gives me some insight into what's going on in their lives. My advice to any new parent would be, 'Never reject your kids' music. You might not love it initially, but listening to what your kids listen to will give you so much understanding of their world.'
Any regrets or hopes about the choices you’ve made around art and creativity?
I have no regrets on the fact that my performances these days are limited to the occasional karaoke night. I love my family, and they bring me such joy. Music hasn't gone away. It's always there, and there may come a day when the kids are older that I may want to perform again. But right now, life is pretty good just the way it is.
What do your kids think of your singing or performing?
My kids are so used to my spontaneous singing and dancing, that it does not phase them at all – they're much more likely to join in, even my teenager. When the kids have friends over, it's not uncommon for the house to be filled with even more music. It's amazing – no matter how enticing electronics are, once I sit down at the piano and start to play, a gaggle of kids suddenly surround me to watch and join in. Shy kids, tough kids, naughty kids, hyper kids, mellow kids – they are all drawn like a magnet to the simply magic of the piano and a favorite song. But yeah, when I'm in the grocery store belting out Aretha, my kids are usually singing backup.
Would you be willing to share the names of your four kids?
Victoria – The Kinks, Hey Jude – The Beatles, Touch of Grey – Grateful Dead, Whatever Happened to Holden Caufield – Green Day.
Interview with a Music Lovin' Mama
January 28, 2016