“My mommy’s a rock star”

My son Ethan (9) is the most awesome kid I could have ever asked for. He’s very mellow, goes with the flow, and is always looking on the bright side. I don’t know WHERE he gets it from, but he’s a Godsend.

This blog isn’t about how awesome my son is. This blog is about the above statement. “My mommy’s a rock star.”

No, I’m not a rock star, I know. But in his eyes I am. My ex-husband and I separated when Ethan was three and ever since then our life has been moving. We went from being a family with a routine to being a family with an alternative lifestyle. Not in a sexual orientation way, but in the way that our lives are not like the typical mother and child.

As a single parent I don’t have a lot of money, so often Ethan would not have as many luxuries as his classmates. Also, being that I’m working full time as I also work on my music, we don’t do all of the extra curricular activities that most other kids do. Trust me, I’m not depriving my son of extra activities! We’re both martial artists, so we train whenever possible and we’re very active in the church. I just want you to understand that there are times when I feel lacking in the “mom” department because I can’t do what the other moms are doing. Silly, I know.

Ethan has also been attending shows (mine and other musician’s) with me since he was six. Sometimes for fun and sometimes out of necessity. In fact, in the last year Ethan has seen some amazing bands! He’s been to two Dropkick Murphys concerts, absolutely LOVES Phillybloco, and adores New Sweden. None of them more than mommy, of course 😉

I remember when I first started performing at open mic’s again in 2008. I was able to leave him with my mom while I competed in an open mic contest at Stoney’s on 202 in Wilmington, however when I made it to the finalists I didn’t have a sitter. I thought, “How professional is this going to look if I bring a little kid to a pub just so I can sing??”… but I bit the bullet and brought him along anyway. My little guy sat in the table closest to the stage with a few toys and some french fries to keep him occupied while his mom rocked out to three songs hoping to win the contest. Did I get any dirty looks? Not that night, but it’s also important to note that most traditional pubs are totally fine with kids being around as long as they are taken care of. I did win the contest, however 😉

My son quickly became my biggest fan. He hears me practice constantly. He’s the only person in the world that’s ever heard me do a full vocal exercise, and he gives me feedback about the songs I’m singing. He even seems to understand some of the concepts you would think would normally go over his head. One time I was writing a new song and he says, “I like how it’s about life. It’s about what you’re going through right now. Other people will like that.”

One night when he was about six, after a particularly rough week at work and having a stressful time dealing with the fact that I *am* a single parent and I *am* trying to juggle essentially three careers (banking, kung fu, and music) while trying to raise my son, I said to him “…You know we’re not like every other family, right? And that’s okay..” And he snuggled up against me and said “I know.”
I asked him what made us different, just to see what his answer would be.

He said, “My mommy’s a rock star.”

He didn’t say it jokingly or with some kind of childlike fantasy. He said it matter-of-factly. As if it was a simple concept.

I asked, “You’re okay with that, right? I’m not like the other moms” curiously.
He said “It’s awesome!”
I told him that means we won’t always be living in the same place and we may not get to do everything the other kids can do (basically because I work days AND nights)”, and he shrugged.

He wasn’t worried about “what if it doesn’t work out”… he had no doubt that his mom was going to make it and everything would be fine. In his mind, I’m just working toward being a rock star and one day we’ll get there. No doubts, no fears, no underestimations. Perfect trust.

Taking Ethan to my shows isn’t always dirty-look-free. One time I walked into the bar (after clearing with the manager that it was okay for Ethan to come) only to hear some young twenty-something say “…Really??”, when we walked past. I remember wanting to tell her she shouldn’t worry since Ethan’s only a few years younger than she. Another time someone actually told Ethan (8 at the time) that he shouldn’t be there because it was a “grown up party” (at an all ages event).

Not only have I brought my son with me to shows, but I’ve also brought him with me to auditions and networking events. Ethan is so comfortable in the setting he doesn’t require too much extra attention, so he sits quietly and plays while mommy works.. and he enjoys being there.

Why do I bring him to shows?
Music to me isn’t just something you do when you want to hang out and get drunk. Music is a part of my life. It was a part of my upbringing. My mom was always singing to us and playing the keyboard or organ. My dad was always singing to us and playing the piano. My grandmother played the piano and mandolin and sang in the choir. We used to put on shows for our families and of course *every year* we’d enjoy the Greek festival, staying up and dancing into the wee hours with our families.

In my family live music isn’t something only adults can enjoy with a beverage. Live music is a family event. I proudly bring my son with me to shows because that’s where he’s going to learn what true self expression is…and what good original music sounds like. Please keep in mind, however, I do not bring him into environments that I think are going to get out of hand. Many of the shows I bring Ethan to are family members of mine or friends that I trust. As for the Dropkick shows, I’ve been attending them since I was 17. Things have never gotten out of hand and whenever I bring Ethan everyone high fives him, shows him love, and makes way so that he can see. He even got to talk to Ken Casey and get his picture with him.

I’m not going to say that all mom’s should bring their kids out. There is a time and place for everything. This blog is just to give some encouragement to the single moms (and dads) out there that are apprehensive about doing what you do, just because it’s not the conventional parental career choice.

Your child is going to have dreams just like you do. Don’t you want them to be achieved? What better way to encourage them to do so than to let them witness you working to achieve (and eventually achieving) your own?

It’s hard to balance family, “day jobs”, and your dreams… but it can be done and it can be done with grace. My son is amazing and I will not let him down.

Mommy’s going to be a rock star.