About rockmommyct

I am a mother, writer, rock and roll musician, and guitar teacher.

When you’re a freelancer AND a mom, editors don’t always cut you a break!

Hello everyone! So here I am, blogging, for, like, the first time since January 1. Or was it December 30? Doesn’t matter, I suppose. I had, at one point, intended for Rockmommy to be a destination blog. A one-stop shop for women who wanted to rock/play rock on their guitars/drums/whatever and also were moms. Alas, it’s just a personal dumping ground. I WILL rock again, I swear it. But the question is, when?

Life is great since I left the corporate journalism world to go freelance in May. I am a writer and a guitar teacher, working maybe 30 hours a week and spending the rest of the time with my two adorable sons and husband. It’s fantastic that I can do this now, and that I have a partner who is able to support me emotionally and financially. However, as I am starting to learn, not everyone “gets” it when you’re a mom AND a freelancer.

The parents of my guitar students are fantastic. We have an understanding that sometimes lessons need to be cancelled by one party (them) or the other (me) because kids are sick or parental duties are overwhelming.

But in journalism, other than CafeMom, the situation is different. I’m currently writing for a news-style online media outlet. And while my editor is totally cool with “Two Dude Tuesdays” and me doing work at night instead of early in the morning, when snow days happen, deadlines don’t move. Even though daycare is closed and I can’t get a sitter, I’m still expected to meet them. Of course, my editors are all (for the most part) understanding of my insane parenting challenges, but they have jobs to do and deadlines to meet. The real world doesn’t give a hoot about my personal situation!

If I were just writing op-eds, this would be fine. After all, exhausted as I am, I can still write from 8:30-10:30 p.m. or whatever. I’ve done it before. But phone interviews for news pieces are a different story. Being a journalist requires quite a bit of them — even in today’s e-mail-infused world — and it’s really difficult to tell a high-profile source, “I’m sorry if you hear my kids in the  background.” I literally just told a source that I would put my baby in his crib and stick the other one in front of the TV to watch frozen. So professional, I know.

Pushing stories back a day or two, when they’re not evergreen, long-form features, is also difficult. Especially because journalism is competitive. If I can’t meet deadline, there’s a talented, young, child-free, commitment-free writer who can, indeed, meet deadlines. And while I’m talented, I’m not off-the-charts talented when it comes to being a healthcare writer. I cover stuff and I do a good job. But loads of other writers would, too.

I can only hope, as another snow day looms ahead, that a certain editor I am thinking about can have a bit more compassion when she sees that interviews were all conducted by e-mail when I hand in one of my weekly articles. I can only hope that when I do make calls, my sources don’t mind hearing my infant scream from his crib or Olaf the snowman announcing, “I like warm hugs!” I’m doing my absolute best to balance everything.

Speaking of which, now that I’m done breeding, I’d like to officially announce three goals for 2015:

1. Run 2 races (the 200-mile relay and either the Fairfield Half or something else, ideally)

2. Play a couple of shows (one in NYC/BK and one in CT would be amazing)

3. Finish my novel, editing aside.

Let’s hope at least two of these goals can be accomplished. XOXOX

2014 in Review

This year, I really let my blogging fall by the wayside. I can’t help it — I’m a writer by trade. I get paid to write blogs for other people every day. So by the end of the day, I’m left with zero energy or ambition to pen something of my own. With that in mind, here’s a quick summary of what happened this year:

1. I was pregnant

2. Logan was born on Feb. 12

3. We started life with “two dudes,” and Logan soon assumed the nickname “baby dude.”

4. I quit my full-time job to be a freelancer and part-time stay-at-home mom.

5. We acquired our lovely babysitter, Alyssa. She’s been terrific!

6. We met more of our amazing neighbors.

7. Nathan turned 2. We partied! His first sentence was “dada mow grass.” He said this over and over in June and July.

8. Baby dude started army crawling, and at some point said “dada.” He also became quite the eater — consuming avocado, waffles, turkey, salmon, everything I blended. It is wonderful to have a baby who eats.

9. We watched almost nothing but “The Berenstain Bears” on my iPad.

10. “Two dude Tuesday” launched and is now a regular weekly success.

11. Zack left his job to move onto more creative ventures in lead generation.

12. My mom broke her arm doing something in the basement. So we skipped the annual beach trip.

13. Derek Jeter retired, and Zack and his mom enjoyed his last home game.

14. And finally, my Nonna Mary Torrieri died on Dec. 29, 2014, after a long tenure with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Her funeral is Sunday. I am exhausted. The holidays and then this.

Yet I am grateful for all the wonderful things that have passed in 2014 — especially the birth of my Logan. Here’s to a great 2015.

Over and out.

A Post of September Gratitudes

It’s been a busy weekend — with some craziness, too. Saturday: Just after swimming lessons with Nathan, followed by Starbucks (family tradition), I headed home with the boys while my hubs went off to snatch an iPhone. I was walking down the steps with Nathan and barely holding onto him when he tripped, fell down a step, and banged his head. He was crying and I saw something purple swelling up. I thought he had broken a bone or had some kind of blood vessel break so I panicked and called 911.

Whew, it was only a bruise! (We’ll deal with the ambulance-calling bill later.)

But the experience shook me. Nathan is the love of my life (Logan is too, so they’re co-loves of my life, technically), and when the accident happened, I wanted a bus to run me over. I wanted to get swallowed whole by the earth. So to start off my small gratitude list, I want to say I am SO GRATEFUL that Nathan is ok, alive, breathing, and sleeping as I write this. SO GRATEFUL.

Other things:

1. Work. I love teaching guitar and writing. And while working for myself is sometimes challenging, it frees up so much time for me to spend with my “mens.”

2. A husband who supports me. In more ways than one. 🙂

3. The ability to run and enjoy physical activities.

4. My parents. Their visit here was so wonderful.

5. My in-laws, who are just as amazing.

I’m also grateful for my new blog gig via CafeMom: Here’s one of my favorite pieces on why I personal train via Skype, and another one that’s loaded with financial advice.

Beyond the Ice Bucket Challenge

Like me, you probably know how to dump a bucket of ice water on your head. Maybe you even know how to create a great video. But what do you actually know about ALS, the degenerative disease that has inspired the now infamous “ice bucket challenge?”

If you’re like most people, the answer is probably little to nothing.

After completing an ice bucket challenge, I was a little alarmed at how little I knew about Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gherig’s disease, other than it is a bad thing and Lou Gherig played baseball.

Fortunately, the ALS Association website offers a great, easy-to-understand definition:

“ALS is … a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.”

Here are a few more important facts:

• Approximately 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS each year. The incidence of ALS is two per 100,000 people, and it is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans may have the disease at any given time.
• Although the life expectancy of an ALS patient averages about two to five years from the time of diagnosis, this disease is variable and many people live with quality for five years and more. More than half of all patients live more than three years after diagnosis.
• About 20 percent of people with ALS live five years or more and up to ten percent will survive more than ten years and five percent will live 20 years. There are people in whom ALS has stopped progressing and a small number of people in whom the symptoms of ALS reversed.
• ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries.
• ALS can strike anyone.
• The onset of ALS is insidious with muscle weakness or stiffness as early symptoms. Progression of weakness, wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing generally follows.

While it’s comforting to know that ALS is rare, it’s upsetting to know how debilitating the disease is — in some ways worse than most cancers.

That said, I hope other disease associations can think of great, catchy ways to get people involved in spreading awareness and raising money. There are so many health-related conditions that could use funding toward research. And in a week where we’d otherwise be thinking about back-to-school clothes and finishing off summer vacation (if we’re not thinking about Robin Williams and the Middle East crisis), the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” is a reminder that we have the power to build awareness and effect change, one person at a time.

Baby Logan: No Longer Sitting Still

Ah, blogging. What I used to do during my toddler’s nap time. Now, said toddler is napping but my six-month-old is wide awake. He’s barely being entertained by (and even looks frustrated with) his play mat and Ms. Octopus. And while his sudden babbling (which began at some point last week, though I no longer track these things) is adorable, keeping up is not.

Still, I will persist as he baby-screams because, damn it, this is my break. My time to chronicle our lives, and my naptime breather.

Logan is big, bigger than Nathan was at this age, it seems. Next week is his six-month checkup and I look forward to all the questions.

But as my baby flails and whines while strapped in a baby seat, I feel sad that our days of the bouncy chair are coming to an end. I don’t plan to have a third baby, so they literally are coming to an end. For me. For this life. Forever.

The plus side: I get to enjoy watching Logan enjoy the exersaucer, at least for a few more months. Then, the you know what gets real. He’ll be one, crawling and walking. Nathan will be two and a half, then three. And I have a feeling 2015 will be the most insane mommy year of my life.

It’s a good thing I’m almost done writing today. Because I hear the “mama” screams from upstairs. The little monster, er, big monster, is up from his nap. He’ll want attention. He’ll want “more bears.” So I better be on my way.

Blogging Out of Necessity

Today, I said to myself, “I will write this blog if it kills me.”

Of course, I’m being dramatic. But I hate missing deadlines. And I’ve missed every single self-imposed deadline I’ve given myself to write this blog, my tribute to being a “rock mommy,” to balancing everything. But honestly, these days I’m just trying to stay afloat.

Being a mom of two — one of whom just turned two the other day — is harder than I thought. Especially because I don’t have much downtime nor a nanny for one kid while I spend time with the other. When my kids are napping, I’m usually cleaning or catching up on bills.

The only time I’m making to “rock” lately is during Nathan’s swim class. We sing “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” At night, I see my child-free friends posting shout-outs to their bands as I rub my eyes and turn on the TV because I’m too tired to do anything.

It is impossible to do everything perfectly — work out, freelance, cook, clean, make time for my husband, shower regularly, pay bills, play guitar occasionally, and keep up with friends and family — yet I feel immensely pressured to keep up with all of these things while caring for two young sons. I know I should be gentle on myself, but dammit — I want it all!!

Logan is growing so big, so fast. He’s gotta be at least 15 pounds, and his cute, chubby little body is busting out of those six-month clothes (he isn’t even six months old yet!). He giggles a lot, and is such a pleasant baby. I really struck gold with that one.

Nathan is also a joy in the best way a toddler can be. He laughs, runs around, asks questions, snuggles with his toys, loves his baby brother, and does hundreds of adorable things every week. I couldn’t ask for a better firstborn — though his screaming tantrums are totally testing my patience lately.

I hope I can summon the energy to write about something more interesting, and soon. I am, after all, a writer by trade. But today, it’s either I write or I get outside and enjoy the sun while my awesome mother in law babysits. It’s only summer for a few months out of the year in frosty New England. So spending time in the sun is certainly a must. Over and out.