About rockmommyct

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

No Time to Be Creative/Gwen Envy

Yes, I am a writer. For a living. That means people pay me to write stuff (and teach guitar after hours). When I was a little girl, I really wanted to be a writer. When I was a slightly-less-little girl, I wanted to write songs and perform them. I won poetry awards. I started several bands. I made records. My life is very charmed, and I’ve been very lucky.

My greatest creative creation, no doubt, is my son Nathan. He is beautiful and beyond perfect. I am overjoyed just being in his presence.

But balancing motherhood and career has left me little to no time for much-needed extracurricular activities. Yes, I manage to squeeze in four workouts a week, but that’s maintenance (if it isn’t, it should be, mommies!). I’d love to have two hours a week to just mess around on guitar without having to watch my baby at the same time. I’d love another hour a week to work on my novel. And another hour per week to write a blog or several.

Yet I’m not willing to give up exercising to get those extra hours. I’m not willing to give up doing the dishes, doing the laundry, or basic cleaning (wiping counters, making beds). So what can I give up? I’m not a super-paid rockstar mom like Pink or Sarah McLaughlin, who can afford to hire nannies and work on their art all day. In fact, they’re paid to work on their art all day. I can’t stand it when I read magazine articles that are all like, “Gwen Stefani… you’re sooo busy. How do you fit it all in?”

Gwen, unlike most rocker mommies, has someone to do the cleaning and the cooking. And the babysitting. Her creative outlet IS her day job. She’s paid to do what she wants creatively. Of course, she has argued, in articles, “that’s not true… I have a fashion line and I have to do magazine promotions, etc. There’s no time to chill.”

Well, Gwen, I don’t have time to chill either. And I have to do the laundry/clean bottles/work a day job that isn’t being a rockstar. Imagine that!

I’d love to have Gwen’s apparent “lack” of time to chill. Oh, what we would all do with that kind of money!

Anyway, this blog might be suffering a bit from a lack of editing. But it’s still better, grammatically, than many edited blogs. And I’m sure it’s better than what Gwen could write, were she left to her own devices. Without a team to clean up those misplaced commas and absent apostrophes.

At least I have something to show for this master’s degree!

Let’s hope my little son wants to make creative time with mommy as he gets older. That will be awesome for both of us.

Skype Post-Natal Personal Training and the Busy Mom

I teach Skype guitar lessons. And though it’s mainly as a supplemental service for my existing students, I do it for new students, too. 


While it’s true my fee is slightly lower than for in-person lessons (after all, I only have to travel to my home office), and, in turn, the lessons aren’t quite as nice as in-person lessons, my students get a lot out of them. And I make a little money. So it’s a win-win. 


But recently, I started to rethink all that is possible now that we can have virtual visits with just about anyone who offers any kind of service — whether guitar lessons or sewing lessons or even personal training sessions. 

Last week I took my first Skype training session with my old personal trainer, Sharissa Reichert, brainchild behind the Bene-Fits Personal Training blog

Sharissa and I go back a few years to my Brooklyn rockstar days. She trained me before my first national tour with Marisa Mini & The Underage Hotties. During sessions we’d swap stories about going to shows and listening to awesome bands. 

Today we share other commonalities: She’s a mom of a boy (now grown), and I’m a mom of a boy (quite little). She’s done the nursing thing and the post-natal, get back-into-shape thing. And though I’m in better shape than some post-natal moms, having her fitness wisdom, albeit from afar, has put me in a good head space. And, following session #2 this week, I’m in a good physical space too. 

I’m not going to pretend that training via Skype is the same as having Sharissa right there to guide me through every single stretch and leg lift and muscle move. But it’s certainly better than using a workout DVD! Sharissa corrects my form flaws, asks me about my day, and listens as I ask questions. And I didn’t have to hit the pause button to get water. 


I’ve noticed fantastic physical and mental changes again since returning to personal training. I feel famazing, my legs are ballerina-like, and my posture is definitely less slouchy. 


It’s so nice to know that being a super-busy mom doesn’t mean having to sacrifice my physical appearance.

And it makes me wonder, what did all those mothers do in the 1990s before Skype?

Swapping One Kind of Sunday for Another


For three years after I moved to Connecticut I continued to teach guitar every Sunday in Brooklyn.

I’d wake up at 8 or 9, fueled by three to eight hours of sleep, and head for either the Metronorth station in Stamford or the highway (at first, the Metronorth; when I got a Ford Fiesta, the highway). A couple of hours later, I found myself in or near the Atlantic Avenue station in Brooklyn, traipsing around town, teaching one student after another, and sometimes taking a lesson.

I loved being in Brooklyn once a week. It felt cool when everything about Connecticut was very Stepford Wife-like. I taught guitar, and between lessons, ran around Prospect Park, shopped for secondhand clothes in Park Slope, ate huge, leafy-green salads, wrote songs in Room A at the Brooklyn Guitar School, and enjoyed paling around with the other teachers.

On my last day in Brooklyn as a guitar teacher, I was 32 or 33 weeks pregnant. Traipsing around town felt more like waddling, and my growing appetite meant big leafy salads no longer made me full. My students, too, started dropping when they heard I was taking a three-month maternity leave. And even though I swore I would be back.

Alas, I never did. return, except for a visit.

Today, I teach in Connecticut.  Mostly Weston and Wilton, but I’m hoping to expand my roster. The kids are great, as kids always are – some are curious, some are spastic, some are quiet and a little brooding.

The biggest difference: My Sundays are free.

Of course, by “free” I mean I don’t have to teach. But I still have to get up super early –7:30 or 8-ish – so I can feed my son. If he falls back asleep till 9, great. But if he’s ready to play, mommy has to play too!

It’s totally fine and fun. I love watching Nathan go nuts in his little exersaucer while I do a few dishes and make his breakfast. And I love feeding him his breakfast (yesterday it was apples and barley) while we wait for daddy to wake up. And I love playing him a few songs on my guitar while it’s just me and him. I’m grateful that it is: My husband loves sleeping in, and I cherish that private time in the morning with my little boy.

I’m also grateful that I have some time to focus on my own music when my son wants to listen and the mood is right – though I do long for more time to work on techniques. Then again, many Sundays in Brooklyn I was so busy with lessons that I didn’t really get good, quality guitar-playing time. And while I miss my old Sundays a bit, it’s much less than I expected. Today I can look back at my past Sundays in Brooklyn and smile at the memories.

There is a time in life for everything, and now is my time to be a mom. Brooklyn will always have a small part of my heart, but today, my family has all of it.

Kids Guitar Show in Weston: Seeking Ideas, Partners

I’m trying to put a show together in Weston, CT, for my guitar students (I have six in the area). But since I’m only used to Brooklyn, I’m not really sure of a good venue (decent acoustics, smallish but not too small, family-friendly). I also don’t know too many guitar teachers — let alone any who would team up with me so we could have a bigger spring show (at least 10-12 students). 

Want to join me in my crusade for an awesome live kids guitar show? E-mail me: marisa.torrieri@gmail.com with ideas for venues, names of other teachers, and anything else that can make this happen.

10 Mostly Musical Goals for 2013

After months of going back and forth, I finally resigned from Brooklyn Guitar School. Just one attempt to teach on a Sunday — which cost $35 and three hours in total travel time — really showed me what I’ve been trying to avoid: It costs too much in time and money to teach in Brooklyn. I’m a mom now, and time is a premium. (Is that even the expression? Or is it “time is of the essence?”). Any way, I’ve been practicing a little more again after my first truly hectic holiday. Those who say their holidays are hectic and don’t have kids really have no idea what it means to have a hectic holiday. And so I’ve set my bar low for expectations. There are no resolutions, only goals. Here they are:

1. To stop being so damn hard on myself

2. To be more compassionate and patient (especially when it comes to my family reationships)

3. To play 2-3 shows this year, whether acoustic or electric.

4. To practice guitar one hour per week — possibly two!

5. To exercise 4x per week (two when I am sick), and run at least two races, even if they’re only 10ks.

6. To see two live music shows of music I like

7. To nurse my son for six more months.

8. To support my friends’ musical projects in some way (need a more concrete goal, but this will have to do).

9. To update RockMommy.com at least once a week, and potentially make it better.

10. To end the year with six to seven students.

So there you have it! I said it here first. Not that anyone’s reading yet because I haven’t told anyone about t his blog.