About rockmommyct

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

Ragnar Relay: I did it!

I’m not the best when it comes to team sports. Sure, I played softball and soccer in high school, but when the balls came to me, I’d clam up, get freaked out by the pressure to perform, and just suck. Cross-country and track were more consistent with my independent free-spirited personality, and I excelled in those.

So when I was asked to run the Ragnar Relay in Cape Cod, I enthusiastically signed up. After all, if I’m not doing big things now, in my 30s, before my body really starts to deteriorate, then, when?

The pressure to train wasn’t so intense, or at least not as intense as it was in high school. After all, I was going for the bucket list, not the college scholarship. But finding time to train, to run for hours and hours, was much more difficult than I imagined. The last time I ran a race of any substance, a 13-miler in 2011, I ran whenever and wherever I wanted. Now, I am a mom to two little guys. If one of them is sick, I might miss a workout. Also, I have to run during specific time slots, and balance that “free time” with all my other work and home obligations.

Another big challenge was the lack of sleep. I never sleep before big races, ever (not even the Marine Corps Marathon), and I’ve gone DAYS without more than a few hours of sleep. But the prospect of running a race that is practically built on the premise of getting no sleep (just “rest” on the hard ass floor of an ice hockey rink or a tent) was almost too much to bear. I almost bailed the night before.

But then I remembered that my friends were counting on me. Specifically, my mom pal Heidi, who I’ve always wanted to run with, had flown to Boston to be one of 12, and my friends Sean (also Zack’s best friend) and Kat would be there. So I did it. I got up early, nursed little Logan, and hopped in “Van 1,” my home for the next day and a half.

After what seemed like endless hours of waiting, I finally got to run my leg, Leg 6, the last of my van. I did 4.2 miles, averaging about 8:45 minutes per mile. And then, we were done! Off to a random Italian restaurant that is probably responsible for the 4 pounds I’ve gained over the last month (I wish I was kidding). Lesson learned: If you want to lose weight while running, don’t also eat more. And don’t cut out nursing (or in my case, 50% of nursing).

The hardest runs, but by far the most interesting and euphoric, were the night runs. Leg 6 kicked off at about 4:15 a.m. in stunning, idyllic Hyannis, Massachusetts. The dusk was my backdrop as I ran past lovely streams of water, lighthouses, and residential neighborhoods. 5.5 miles passed, and Van 1 moved on to a campsite.

Our van finished at about 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, almost 24 hours after we kicked off the race. It would’ve been nice to stay with the rest of “Blood Sweat and Beers” team but the exhaustion was kicking my ass. Little did I know the one day I’m allowed to sleep in, Mother’s Day, would be met with a 2.75-year-old toddler in underwear ready to potty train at 7 a.m. But that’s OK. One day, when Nathan’s older, perhaps in college, I’ll long for the little guy in the diapers. Being a mom is the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m so grateful for it every day. And I’m also grateful I can still run an 8-something mile. Not sure how much longer I’ll be able to do that, but I’m relishing every moment and every footstep. headlamp selfie

Waiting to Launch

The Delta Sky Lounge isn’t the worst place to spend time while waiting for your flight. But today, as I stew in the aftermath of an overbooked plane and not being able to take off at 7a.m., it feels a bit stuffy. Then again, that could be all the Republicans fresh off the NRA Convention. Unfortunately, it’s not the AmEx lounge in Laguardia. Not even close.

I just hope we can get home safely, to my little boys. I had a lovely time in Nashville with my husband and friends, but it’s time to go home. I wish I had my computer! Going on a vacation trip means I didn’t bring it, so now I don’t know what to do with myself — I can’t really make too many edits to my novel and I can’t work. All I can do is blog, make photo albums on Facebook, watch videos of my kids, and catch up on the Hillary Clinton news.

I hope today gets better soon!

East Village Rocker Mama ReW Takes On ‘Mainstream’ Fashion in TLC Show

Sometimes it can take years before a local musician gets her big moment. For “ReW” Starr, there have been lots of “moments” — getting her song on a major network TV show, launching a local Internet Radio show (ReW & WhO?) that garnered national attention — but perhaps none as big as this: The NYC-bred starlet and mom of two recently scored a spot on the TLC show, “Love, Lust or Run” and is now in the running for the Q104.3 Hottest Mom contest (you can vote for her starting TODAY, April 2!).

Rockmommy recently sat down with Rew (who likes to spell her name with a mix of capital and lower-case letters), to learn more about the TLC experience, and what it was like to revamp her signature punk-rock mama look. Here, she tells us about her TV stint and more.
RM: You recently appeared on the TLC show, “Love, Lust or  Run.” How did you land that? Why did you decide to go on in the first place?
Rew: I landed the TLC show from an ad off Craigslist. I saw something asking “Are you stuck in the 80’s” and duh … it was a no brainer. I had no idea what it was for and there were about three castings so I kept thinking I didn’t make it and BOOM … I was one of the first season ‘make unders’ on Love, Lust or Run! They are now in Season 2, and I probably wouldn’t make the cut this round!!! I went because I actually had a vision of being a ‘sophisticated’ version of myself … like in the classy Cyndi Lauper, Courtney Love ‘couture’ versions. They always have the best hair and clothes. Instead, well, I got a part on a soap opera.
RM: How does your personal taste in fashion reflect your style of music?
Rew: My personal taste in fashion reflects ME so I believe it reflects a colorful expressive style of music. I am addicted to glitter so I suppose any music that has that sparkle to it reflects my wardrobe! A little rough around the edges too, of course. I am always out of the lines and forever Johnny Cash BLACK!
RM: Some people say that how you dress is a reflection of who you are.  If friends could describe you in three words, what would they be?
Rew: Quirky, Rockstar, KooL
RM: Were you happy with the results of the “makeover?” Why or why not?
Rew: I was not happy with the result. All i wanted was hair extensions and long hair (I have a Rapunzel obsession) and they cut it ALL off and gave me hair I can only gag at. I was so sad. The clothes, who cares! The make up was kind of yuck but the HAIR just broke me. Still, the experience of everything was FANTASTIC. I LOVE Stacy London and the crew was amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything — it was a GREAT adventure and I am forever grateful.
RM: Have you adapted your personal fashion style at all since the airing of the TLC show?
Rew: I kind of merged the two, but probably lean more toward my usual style. I was using hair extensions for awhile so i could look in the mirror and now that the hair is starting to grow I am OK. I kept the color they gave me, which is my natural color, so I don’t have roots to deal with right now..  I just want my hair to grow so I’m gonna be patient & not damage it for awhile. The clothes, well I used the dress once for an audition I had as a business woman!! I have kept off some bracelets that were on me for years & am wearing less jewels..sometimez….
RM: You’ve had your radio show ReW & WhO? for a long time! How are things going with that?
Rew: ReW & WhO? keeps going strong. This show I feel chose me since I never set out to be a Web show host or producer. As you know I was asked to be a cohost and then the host quit and it landed in my lap. I feel the show has its own life and I simply manage it. It surely takes over my life because to have a weekly show with soo many guests every week and a once a month in Brooklyn is VERY TIME consuming. We have visions and dreams for the show and we are always  praying for a fairy God sponsor to get us to the next level. Every week we walk away SOOO inspired by all the FABULOUS people out there in this world.
See Rew perform Live: 
Fri., Apr 24: w/ band at Sidewalk Cafe (NYC)
Sun., May 3: w/ band at Otto’s Shrunken Head (NYC)
Mon., May 11: w/ band at Cobra in Williamsburg (Brooklyn)
Sat., May 16: at a festival in New Jersey
See all upcoming dates online at www.ReWandWhO.com

I Finished my First Novel!

Ladies and gentlemen (sorry — my brain is fried and I have daycare pickup in, like, three minutes so that’s the best I can do), my novel is FINISHED! But to be clear, I’ve just finished writing it. Of course, there is the self-whipping, I mean editing, phase, then the beta reading and revision phase, but the writing is done. DONE! I am so excited and haven’t been this excited since Logan was born (and before that, Nathan’s birth). So, yeah, that means this Rockmommy blog is a little bare. And it will probably be a little bare-isn in April too save for an exciting Q&A I’m planning with a local rock mommy hero. But for now, I’ve accomplished another big one on my bucket list. Now, all I need to do is run that 200-mile relay and record a full-length album (oh yeah, and be an excellent mom, hahaha!).

Between Snow Days and Sick Days, It’s Tough to Catch a Break!

For the entire month of February, our part of Connecticut has worn a thick blanket of white show atop its grassy yards and park fields. It’s lovely, as snow always is. Nathan and I built two snowmen. But after the first major storm in January, there was hardly a pause for melting before the next storm was underway. And now, as we inch toward March, I realize I haven’t seen grass in weeks.

It stormed once a week for, like, an entire month. Really, I don’t remember how long it’s been that things were snow-free. It’s all a big, white, snow blur. All I know is that I’ve had to keep the boys home almost every Monday since mid-January, which has made it harder to accept freelance work and teach lessons. I’ve even had to quit a couple of gigs because, as a mom of two toddlers who stays home with them on snow days, I just don’t have the energy to work late into the night when school is closed. Just because it snows doesn’t mean there isn’t laundry to do/fold, dishes to wash, or food to cook.

Then finally, as the threat of new snow and snow days seemed to subside, both my kids came down with a stomach bug. Nathan’s lasted less than a day, but poor little Logan had his for a few of them (no, I still haven’t weaned him off the breast — but in this case that was a good thing!). What that meant for mommy: Keeping both boys home from school on Monday, a day originally intended for working, not watching “Frozen.”

Now (knock on wood), everyone is better. I’m heading out to teach a lesson, and I’ve got some great assignments lined up. The novel is back on (and I finally finished Part 3).

Here’s to warmer days ahead — and by warmer I mean anything over 20 degrees and no snow!

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