While adjusting to my new “Mommy” job title I have learned quite a bit about myself as a mother and myself as a music therapist. I have had a blast singing and playing with my little one and am anxious for her to get more involved! Since she is more of the passive participant at this point, it gave me a lot of time to become self aware and learn a few things. Well, today it’s back to work and maternity leave is over, so I have decided to share a few things that I am taking with me from this experience:
1. Do not put your guitar into hibernation for 6 weeks. The day before returning to the hospital I decided to make my session plan and run through the songs just to get my fingers warmed back up. Low and behold, when I started to play it felt like it was the first time I ever played guitar. You would think that playing for 10 years would give you super callouses, but apparently 6 weeks is long enough for them to go away.
2. It is more fun to sing songs that incorporate the word “baby” to an actual baby. Usually you think of couples and romance when you hear someone singing about their “baby”, but while getting to know my little one I found myself constantly singing “baby” songs to her. It is so much fun to slightly change the words to pertain to the actual moment and usually there was some dancing involved. Baby loved it and I had a blast, so the baby songs shall continue.
3. Do not assume there will be plenty of time to practice or work. Silly me, thinking that I would be able to practice and get work done on maternity leave. I’ve never been so excited to get back to work just so I can have time to get work done! I’ve honestly contemplated paying my babysitter more to incorporate a few office hours!
4. Just because your baby was calm in your womb when it heard guitar, does not mean it will be calm now. I thought for sure she would love hearing the guitar since she was always so calm when I played it before. Within a few strums she quickly gave me a disapproving frown followed by a bit of squealing. She stopped when I stopped playing, so I curiously began to play again and sure enough she began to get upset again. Though it was funny at the time, it reminded to keep music simple with the little ones. Their brains process the simple melodies much better, and in reality, mama’s singing voice is what they really benefit from hearing!
5. When baby is screaming in backseat of car, promptly begin playing “Rock Your Body” by Justin Timberlake. Baby literally fell quiet after the first thump of the bass. My guess is the deep vibration of the bass is what caught her attention and helped soothe her just like when babies are given pats on the back. Whatever the reason, I am thankful for JT.
I know as the days continue I will learn more and more about myself as a mother and a music therapist. I know that I will never neglect my guitar again and in time I know baby will enjoy listening to the guitar and perhaps learning to play! She will someday sing the songs I sing to her now along with me and hopefully tie memories to the songs. And most importantly, I will always have JT close by for car screaming emergencies!