Today we are thrilled to host on our blog the lovely lady Rivki Silver .
She blogs on her own blog LifeintheMarriedLane.com. She has spent most of her life immersed in the study and instruction of music, but for the past seven years has been learning about marriage and motherhood. She writes about relationships, parenthood, music and religion, as seen through the lens of an Orthodox Jewish woman. Her writing can be found on Aish.com, PartnersinTorah.org, WhattoExpect.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter (@rivkisilver), or in the kitchen, trying to get her four kids to eat something 😉
So here is her interesting story:
Many, many years ago, I was a music major. I would enter a practice room with some books, shut the door and stay in there, uninterrupted, for hours. After I would emerge from this meditative experience, I would exist in a sort of musical haze for some time afterward, still thinking about whatever Beethoven sonata or Brahms intermezzo I was working on at the time. If there was a piece I wanted to learn, all I had to do was go into that room and learn it!
These days, that doesn’t happen. I am a mother, you see. A mother of four small children. I am responsible for keeping the house running, which, even with weekly help, is an all-consuming endeavor. I like running my house. I like making sure there’s clothing to be worn and food to be eaten.
But I also like spending hours and hours on music, and, my friends, that is just not so simple. I’m sure you can imagine what happens when I sit down at the piano, or with my clarinet: all the children run over and want to “help!” And, because I love them, and never, ever want them to have negative associations with music, I let them play along with me.
I would rather have them love music than be able to practice it myself. No, scratch that, I’d rather have BOTH!
Over the years, I’ve come to see that the more I practice, the less of a novelty it becomes, and so the less the kids want to sit on my lap while I’m playing. I’ve also come to notice that I have a difficult time prioritizing practicing when there are just so many other things crying for my attention. That includes spacing out on Facebook, for the record. Unless I have a performance which is imminent, I rarely sit down to practice.
And that’s a shame, because I am more relaxed, more fulfilled, more present when I devote time to music. The music feeds my neshama, and that is just as important as the food I (try to) feed my kids.
Many of us have talents or hobbies, or even just plain old interests, from LBK (Life Before Kids), and these facets of our former lives are easily sidelined. It takes effort sometimes to make time for things as basic as a shower and a haircut, so how much more so something that nurtures our souls!
Some ways I’ve been able to find time for myself is organizing a babysitting swap with another mother. She’ll watch all our kids one Wednesday morning, I’ll watch them all the next week, etc. Another way is to be very disciplined about free time and to make sure I’m spending some time on creative things instead of just wasting it on Facebook. Another is to have my husband watch the kids while I practice.
No matter what the soul-nourishing activity may be, it’s important to make time for it. Yes, I know there are already a lot of things we need to “make time for.” It can be daunting. I barely ever exercise, for instance, even though I am well aware of all the good it will do me. But even if it’s just once a month, that’s a start. When we nourish ourselves spiritually with whatever our specific talents or interests are, we are better for it.