Self Care Sunday Series
With guest blogger Sara Richardson-a truly phenomenal teacher, musician, singer, creative crafter and wonderful Mummy.
Mummy Have You Got a Jig?
Mae: “Mummy, have you got a jig tonight?”
My 6-year-old daughters language skills are unbelievable, I am constantly amazed at her vocabulary, but there are certain words, that when she gets them wrong, I can’t bring myself to correct and ‘jig’ instead of ‘gig’ is one of them. I have performed as part of a band at pubs and functions for 15 years. It is the best feeling in the world, knowing that I am a part of something that can frame a person’s evening or event, I help to create memories. When I perform, for those few hours I am not mum, wife, auntie or teacher. I am not thinking about the lessons I need to plan or the deadline I need to meet, though I must admit I have been known to think about what I am having for dinner the next day, not for any organised mum reason, my life is generally ruled by my stomach.
Self-care for me occurs in a number of different ways, the biggest of which being music. I spent much of my teens and twenties down playing just how big an impact music has on my life. I sang most weeks in my music class at school, I was in every school show, I wrote songs to get over break ups, I have been in bands and performed in pubs since I was 16, yet it was just a hobby, not anything that should be a priority. I was quick to accept that I couldn’t take music A level, I was looking at maths and accountancy degrees (I ended up eventually doing a music degree after some years off), I was quick to accept a teacher training position as a maths teacher and I was absolutely going to stop spending my weekends gigging once I had my daughter, however this hobby that was never a serious career prospect kept edging its way back into my life.
I played my “last gig” when I was 5 months pregnant. I remember it clearly; it was a beautiful wedding in an old converted church building. I love performing at weddings! You have the obvious reasons such as having the privilege of performing a couples first dance or knowing that you have been a part of the most important day of their lives. There are also the hidden perks, you know you are onto a winner if the wedding has a hog roast and I remember one wedding they had brought flip flops for the guests and let us go home with the pairs that had not been taken. I had been part of an 11-piece function band since 2008 and they were so supportive when I told them I was pregnant in 2014 and that I felt it necessary to stop performing so that I could be there for my family. At the end of the night the band presented me with beautiful flowers and a card. They always joked that I would be back and I was insistent that this was it, I was going to be a mum, I had to be there for a whole other human and for me to do that effectively I needed to be at home.
My daughter is amazing, though I must admit I struggled when she was tiny. She was an incredibly hungry baby and extremely bright, this meant that she cried a lot and I didn’t always know what to do! When we were home alone, I filled our days with every activity that I could think of, I needed to keep my mind busy and I needed to feel as though I was doing a good job. Then when she was 6 months old, I had a call from my old band, they needed someone to stand in, one of the other singers wasn’t available and I knew the set. I spoke to my husband, explained that it was a one off and did the gig. Once I got over the fact that I had nothing to wear, I had the best time it was like I never left, for those three hours I was just me, it was like I had my identity back! The feeling of not knowing what to do to calm my daughter, the desperate need to fill every second of my day, gone. The band laughed and joked and repeatedly mentioned that I could come back, but I couldn’t…could I? How could I be a good mum and wife if I was gigging all weekend? Though surely taking time for myself and ensuring I am the best version of my myself would make me a better mum? All I knew, was that I desperately wanted to sing again and that surprised me and made me feel incredibly guilty. Now I could go into the incredible effects that singing has on mental health, there is scientific research showing how one has a positive effect on the other, but in reality, that wasn’t why I wanted to sing. I wanted to sing because it made me whole, music is the biggest part of me. I was a singer before I met my husband, before I met my step-son and before I had my daughter and to think that I could just suppress that part of me wasn’t realistic or reasonable.
After a quick discussion with my husband, mainly because he was in no way surprised, I went back to the band. Since that point, I have become head of music at my school, gigged in two other bands and most recently started as a singing teacher. I finally recognised that music was a central part of my life, rather than just a hobby that I might fit in if I have the time. What effect has this had on my family? My daughter loves playing with my microphone and is complete performer, my nephew comes and dances at my gigs, my husband calls me his rock star wifey, I have sung at all of my family members weddings and I am happy, I feel fulfilled. Not the negative impact that I initially predicted.
I remember the last gig I had before lockdown. It was a birthday party at a golf course, there should have been guests travelling from a number of different countries, the party was only attended by 50% of the guests invited. Lockdown meant no gigs, no shows, no choir, how could I make lockdown musical? I created a virtual choir for my school and singing tutorials, I taught singing lessons on zoom and made lockdown videos with my band. Self-care to me is finding that one thing that makes you you and prioritising it, embracing that thing doesn’t make you selfish, it doesn’t take you away from your responsibilities, in fact it will help to make you the best possible version of yourself enabling you to better carry out your responsibilities. Singing is my self-care and embracing that has made me a better person.
Mae: “Mummy, have you got a jig tonight?”
Me: “Yes baby girl mummy has a jig”
Mae: “Have fun mummy, but maybe you should wear a longer dress”
Me: *rolls my eyes*
Sara also makes memory bears and is super creative. Links to her businesses (more to come over coming months):
Memory bears and craft
Sara is currently in is LP Wedding Band
Over the next few weeks Abundance TEC will be featuring guest bloggers on our website and social media platforms to support Self-Care Sunday.
The aim is to raise awareness as to why self-care is so important and to highlight a variety of ways you can implement self-care into your everyday routine to support positive mental health and well-being.These inspiring business owners and bloggers will be providing their own version of what self-care means to them and why they do what they do to look after themselves.
Thank you to the wonderful, super-talented Sara for sharing her self-care tips, journey and passion for music this week.
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