Last night, I hung up my mom hat and let down my rock and roll hair. I went to the 9:30 Club in DC to see the band The Wild Feathers with my friends Sheila and Melissa. Going to this show was in the stars. Melissa casually brought up the show in a FB message last week, saying that she was thinking of going to this show. I asked if tickets were still available. While she found out about the ticket situation, I found a just-in-case babysitter and Sheila confirmed that she was free. Because the music gods are kind and generous, tickets were available, we were all able to go, and the cherry on top? We discovered that the show was super early. Doors were at 5 o’clock! This meant that we would have time to get to the venue, have drinks in the cavernous basement bar of 9:30 and actually hear each other talk, see a fantastic rock show, and best of all… be home and asleep by 11 o’clock. Yes, I am old and the mother of a toddler. Sleep is everything. (I recently said Dave Grohl is everything. I guess sleeping with Dave Grohl would really be everything? I’m certain he would think so, but enormous ego be damned, I still love him.)
So, this band was really great. Melissa, Sheila and I love to share music with each other. The Wild Feathers album magically appeared in my mail box one day after Melissa discovered them. Sheila was lucky enough to see them a few months back, opening for another band that she loves. Their harmonies are just beautiful on the album, and their performance was lively and tight. I’m a little embarrassed by the tweet that I wrote during the show, enchanted by the new song that they played.
My idiotic tweet: Songwriters make my heart hurt, even in the happiest time of my life. Are you ****ing kidding me with these new lyrics, @TheWildFeathers?
The Wild Feathers retweeted this, but thankfully, they did not ask me which line gutted me so. I don’t remember. It’s not like I was a waste-face, but my alcohol tolerance is not what it used to be. I told my friend on our way home from the show about the exhilaration of being at a concert. I explained that women are constantly thinking of what needs to be done next. Our minds are never still as we worry about all of the things. For me, going to a rock show is bliss. For a couple of hours, I am completely relaxed while exciting and/or beautiful sounds are screaming and/or delicately whispering in my ears. For a couple of hours, nothing else exists.
Those words escaped my mouth and I felt the icy glare of the judgmental mom who lives inside my brain. Let’s call her Blaire. She’s a real bitch and I try not to believe anything she says. Last night, Blaire was gossiping to other fictional moms about how “Stephanie forgot about her daughter while she was drunk at a rock show on a weeknight!” Listen up, Blaire. First of all, my daughter is two and I don’t have to be at work until noon so weeknights mean nothing. Secondly, this is a batshit and unnecessary argument that I am having with myself. Finally, it is absurd to think that I can’t have a moment of transcendence just because I am a mother now.
Luckily, I came across this blog post by Liz Gragan, written in response to this NY Times article by Heather Havrilesky, both affirming my case against Blaire’s judgment. Havrilesky writes that “The current culture demands that every mother be all in, all the time.” Later she writes, “Somehow, as we’ve learned to treat children as people with desires and rights of their own, we’ve stopped treating ourselves and one another as such.” Gragan’s response is that it doesn’t have to be this way. That it’s perfectly okay to retain your own identity after having children. Actually, I think that Havrilesky is saying the same thing, but she is just noting that it doesn’t seem acceptable to not let motherhood be an all-encompassing role. For me, Blaire’s voice is our culture’s voice screaming that I would have time to be Super Mom if I wasn’t selfishly seeking booze in nightclubs with bands and girlfriends. But… my voice, which is probably more crass than Havrilesky and Gragan’s, but in complete accord with what I think they are saying, says screw that. Like most parents, I want my daughter to grow up to be happy. If I’ve learned anything in my first two years as a parent, it’s that children learn most from modeling our behavior. I want her to be responsible, to do well at work, and be a good mother if she chooses to be one at all. I think I’m doing okay on those counts. Most of all, I hope that she sees that I strive for balance and harmony, and that I find those things because I recognize that my happiness and well-being are as crucial to nurture as all of the other things on my neverending to-do list.
Here’s a video of Left My Woman by The Wild Feathers. So, the first line is disturbing. Maybe I just don’t get the metaphor? Creepy opening vibe aside, this is the song that was playing when the band let the audience take over the chorus. It is always chilling and awesome to sing in unison with a bunch of other blissful fans.