I loved Tandra’s blog post about confidently asking for what you need (read it here). The question of having the confidence to create balance in life is one that we all struggle with, especially as women, so I’d like to share my thoughts on that subject from the perspective of a grandmother.
I married very young, and had never lived by myself. So I really understand the need for wives and mothers of young children to have balance, to have time and interests of their own. One refuge I did have was meditating: I had already been practicing TM (Transcendental Meditation) for a few years, so I claimed those 20 minutes to relax and rejuvenate. Because I was a much nicer person after meditating, no one complained.
But I also needed to make music, which I had done in some form my whole life. At first I collected and sang lullabies to my babies, sang for retirement centers, and joined choirs. And finally when the kids were older I asserted myself, and found the confidence to go back to music school so I could work in the field I loved.
In 2009 the world turned upside down when my husband, a strong and gorgeous man, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. All the treatments in the world—and we tried them all--couldn’t save him.
Sure, I knew I would have things to learn: how to pay the bills, deal with insurance, and plunge the toilet. But I didn’t expect how hard it would be to make decisions by myself, to assert myself every day, and to find a new balance for a life that suddenly had way too much free time.
So I plunged into work like a maniac, creating a music program at a small university. I took on a million new responsibilities to replace the ones I’d had as a wife and mother. I did anything that anyone wanted me to do, and more.
After a few years, I finally woke up and realized that again I had to create a different balance in my life---this time away from work and towards love. I moved to North Carolina, where my children and grandchildren live, and discovered for myself what other grandparents had been talking about---the heart-healing magic of a child’s hug.
Now it’s come full circle, as I sing, write music, and record albums of lullabies for both children and grown-ups. I’ll probably always search for that perfect balance of work, family, friends, and time just to be me. Sometimes I have to say “no” more than I want to, and sometimes I have to say “yes” to doing new and scary things more than I want to. But developing the confidence to learn what you need and make it happen is, as Tandra says, the way to “honor your life, talents, and spirit.”
Jane Roman Pitt is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and composer. Her latest album, “Road to Dreamland: Unexpected Lullabies for All Ages,” is available through her website: ladylullaby.com, iTunes, Amazon, and CDBaby.