Kristen

Mom to Henry

Musician

Length of maternity leave: 4 weeks

Childcare: Self and family


What did you struggle with most about returning to work after having your kids?


After having my son, I started a transition from being a full-time music teacher to more a freelance musician. I took four weeks off before heading back to my church job. That first day back, I think I called my husband a dozen times, just wanting to see what they were doing, if my son noticed I was gone or anything.



What do you find difficult about being a working parent?


On top of working, I’m the primary caregiver for my son during the week. I teach lessons in my home studio, take jobs he’s able to come to, or work when my husband is home or when my mom can help out. Other than my regular commitments on Sundays, my work schedule is ever-changing. The most challenging part of being a working parent is navigating a calendar that is different from week to week but still providing consistency and normalcy for our little guy.


What do you enjoy about being a working parent?


I love that I get to share my passion with my son. I love that he is exposed to music daily and is mesmerized by different instruments and voices and genres of music. We were actually in a musical together a few months ago. (He played a baby...)





After being back at work for some time, have your views about career and family changed?


A MILLION PERCENT YES. I have always hustled. As a musician, you really have to. My Mom, a musician as well, always told me to “take every gig because you’ll never know when the next one is coming” and I lived that life for decades. Always saying yes led to spreading myself too thin and not leaving any time for myself. I believed that I WAS my career and if I wasn’t working, then, well, I couldn’t function. Meeting my husband helped me start to turn the tides on my warped views on over-hustle and how to reprioritize my life. Having Henry made it abundantly clear that my job was important but it didn’t define me. I say no to jobs that are too far, don’t pay enough, or aren’t musically fulfilling. I’m grateful that work is abundant enough to say no and that I have someone who reminds me every day that the hustle isn’t everything.



Knowing what you know now, what’s one thing you wish you could go back in time and tell yourself as you were preparing to return to work or getting ramped up in your role?


I wish I had more faith in the process! I said yes to a few jobs that were really far from my house or didn’t pay that well and if I just trusted my gut and said no, better jobs would’ve (and DID) present themselves later.


What did you choose for childcare, and how has it been for your family?


I am the main childcare! For the majority of my jobs, my son can come. My husband watches him every Sunday and takes care of bedtimes whenever I have gigs at night.


Pros: Hen gets to see his mama in action being a boss, major exposure to music, he’s comfortable with loud noises, large groups of people, and stage lights. I get tons of snuggles and QT whenever I can get them in.


Cons: I’m pretty much ALWAYS on as Mom. It’s rare that I get to just focus on what I’m playing/singing because I’m wearing Hen or he’s laying on a blanket near me or he’s being passed around to different moms I know. Also, when he gets cranked up, I sometimes feel guilty for having him “working” instead of at the park or at home playing.





Anything else you'd like to share?


I LOVE my little boy. I’ve become a better musician, singer, teacher, and human because of Henry. I am beyond grateful that I have the ability to make a living and still be the primary caregiver for my son. It requires insane juggling and I’m not perfect at it but, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


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