Monday, July 30, 2007

Since I claim to talk about the balancing act

For several years, I've had an on-again, off-again relationship with the Memphis Vocal Arts Ensemble. I sang three concerts, then sat out six. I sang six, and now rehearsals are about to start for the new season.

As of today, I've decided to sit out the next concert (or two, or even the season). The rehearsal space has changed to a location about twice as far from my house, and that adds about half an hour of driving time to rehearsal days. As last season continued, it became more and more difficult for me to be away from the family for so much time in addition to working full-time. Twice-weekly rehearsals, plus driving time, added up to about 8 hours per week, more like 16 the week of a concert. Adding another hour per week away just doesn't sit right with me.

Add to that a few schedule conflicts (rehearsals are on Tuesday nights, but so are the monthly board meetings at my church, and it looks like Craig is going to teach on Saturday mornings, the other rehearsal time) and my new commitment to getting in better shape, and I just can't do it.

Singing with the group has been so positive for me in many ways: improving my musicianship, meeting new, great friends, the all-important "me" time that is in no way related to my parenthood or my job, contact with very talented people. But it's not all wine and roses. The rehearsals are sometimes frustrating. That many talented musicians in a room means just as many egos in the same room. The minority of us who are not professional musicians in "real" life definitely have a different experience of the group than do the pros. The changes in this year's schedule and rehearsal space created just enough of a conflict for me that I need to sit out for a while.

I know I'll miss it. And I'll probably go back, especially for the Christmas concert, because I deeply love singing Christmas music and don't get nearly enough of that in the Unitarian church.

But it begs the question: how much time should a working mom devote to her own hobbies, especially if those hobbies take her away from her family? Where's the tipping point demarcating self-care versus self-indulgence? Do working fathers ask themselves the same question?


gingajoy said...

so you *can* sing:)

i know this dillemma well, and sometimes it's more complicated than "i deserve *me* time." sometimes those type of time commitments can turn into a stress. main thing is to keep a balance and know it's ok to say no if you can't participate as fully as others, you know?

I love a Christmas sing-song too!

it was great seeing you the other day, lady!

Uta said...

Well said.

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