About The Author: Lawyer by training but musician at heart, Linda Ong is one third of local alternative rock/metal band, Lunarin. Formed in 1993, the band has released two albums and two EPs. They’ve also performed at Baybeats and other festivals at the Esplanade, the Substation and the Arts House. However, with the arrival of her son Damien, Linda has swapped her bass guitar for bassinets (for now)! That’s not to say she’s given up on music completely. In this post, she shares how she balances motherhood while keeping her love for music alive.
On how life has changed after having a baby
You know that scene in “Lost in Translation” where Bill Murray shares with Scarlett Johansson what it feels like to have kids? “Your life as you know it is over” he tells her as they drink sake on the bed. It’s absolutely true. Motherhood is truly the most humbling experience I’ve ever gone through. It is so easy to get lost in the confusion, the exhaustion, the chaos. I am not sure I am out of the woods yet!
That said, I am beginning to see the world in a new way, thanks to my son. I see, for example, the weird light shapes that flutter on the floor under the curtains because he saw them and were intrigued by them. I can appreciate his ability to express clearly and exactly how he feels without having to hide or be ashamed of his emotions.
On juggling motherhood with musicianship
I admit, I’m not very good at this! The band is now on hiatus because of the babies (my drummer also recently had a baby girl). It is so difficult to find time to jam nowadays. However, my bandmates and I keep in constant contact via Whatsapp. We have a bunch of new ideas which we need to work on and hopefully record. My aim is to try and re-establish a regular jamming schedule with the guys after the baby gets older and we get a helper. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later!
On keeping her passions alive
You never give up something that is a part of your life. Yes, I have stopped playing in the band (temporarily) but I certainly intend to resume when it is possible. While I don’t get as much studio time as I would like, I am still connected to my musician friends via social media. That way, I can check out their work on YouTube, buy their albums and share their tracks, etc.
If you love music or art or whatever your passion is, you never give up on those things just because you have a child. In fact, your love for these things should shape the way you bring up your child and mould you as a parent.
On cultivating one’s passion outside of motherhood
In the early years of the child’s life, his needs are mainly physical and immediate. He needs to be fed, clothed, bathed and cuddled. The physical demands of parenting at this early stage is so demanding that to some degree, yes, it overwhelms and takes precedence over many other things. I know of many mothers who quit their jobs because of this.
That said, as the child grows, the intellectual stimulation and nurturing that his parents provide him take precedence. That’s the stage when I believe that a parent who is well-adjusted, with a passionate world view of her own and an interest in other areas besides the domesticity of life, would be able to provide the necessary stimulation that the child needs. I think it is also important for the child to know that he is not necessarily the center and focus of his parents’ attention all of the time. He needs to learn that there are limits and demarcations of time and space applicable to himself and to others around him.
Also, for the sake of the parent’s own sanity, it would not make sense for life to stop completely and to give up on everything that you had loved before you had a child. You were a person before you became a parent. You must continue to be a person after, not this amorphous being that only posts baby pics on Facebook and yaks about lactation all day long!
On hopes for her son’s musicianship
If Damien expresses an interest, say to learn to play the piano, then I will try him out and see if he enjoys it. If it turns out he would prefer playing football and riding bikes like his dad, that’s fine too. No one forced me to play music. I picked it up myself because I had a natural love for it. My son should be given that same choice.
As a mum, how do you juggle your passions/interests outside of parenthood? Tell us in the Comments section below!
[More stories by our Material Moms]
1. [Material Moms] “Why Is School So Bossy?” – Elisa Woodward
2. [Material Moms] All You Need To Know About Car Seats – Deborah Giam
3. [Material Moms] Choosing the Right Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (OBGYN) – Delphine Tan
4. [Material Moms] The Veggie Dish Your Kids Will Love – Selena Quah