Music and Motherhood

Many people dream of growing up and becoming famous, the next Beyonce or Michael Buble…… ( or is that just me?)  Maybe even a producer or song writer for those a little less enamored with the stage, but statistics released by Creative and Cultural show that the music industry is 67.8% male dominated and PRS for music report that out of their 95, 000 song writers only 13% are women. Thats a pretty big gender gap.

When we were contacted by two mums making their way through music and motherhood we were thrilled to share their stories and thoughts on their journey and also ask if they had any top tips for you guys.

MICHAELA POLAKOVA 

Tell us your story……

I am a composer based in Essex but originally coming from the Czech Republic. I have been living in England for eleven years now and I have studied masters in composition at King’s College London. I have recently released an album with my friend singer/lyricist Natalie Kocab called ‘Ellis Island’ featuring The Verve guitarist Nick McCabe and Lou Reed bassist Fernando Saunders. During recording this album I found out that I was pregnant. I was in my late thirties and I was extremely happy. I can say that I had a perfect pregnancy with no major problems, no morning sickness and I enjoyed that so much.

I was pregnant, I was happy in my marriage, I was about to release an album with major label with top class musicians and thought that all my dreams have just come true. Heavily pregnant I was still travelling from East London to West London to the studio for mixing our album and my waters broke just four hours after we submitted master to our record company. My son was born 12 hours later. But when he was born I suffered from severe anemia, the doctors wanted me to stay in a hospital for blood transfusions but I didn’t want to stay there anymore. So I went home, but the sleep deprivation and exhaustion quickly hit me and I suffered from some kind of postpartum depression, I guess, although I think in my case that it was mainly due to the sleep deprivation and tiredness due to anemia. Twelve days after our son was born my father-in law passed away. It was a very difficult time for my husband and I didn’t have the energy to share his sadness and help him somehow and support him. It felt like everything was falling apart. It took many months before everything got better again. My son started to sleep better and so I could sleep better. We started to think moving on with our lives and started to think to buy a house and I started to focus on my composing again. I started to write music for Natalie’s theatre play.

How is it being a mum and musician and what are the challenges you face personally?

There are new challenges being a musician and a mum. I used to compose whenever I wanted, long hours, night time, anytime I wanted to make some music. Now I have to be more disciplined and can only compose when my son takes a nap during the day or in the evening or if my parents or my husband can look after him. On the other hand, this creates some kind of a pressure which can be very productive in making new music.

How do you juggle family and professional life?

What also helps is when we, as a family, relax together. We love travelling. Me and my husband we love travelling across England, we fell in love with places like Cambridge, Oxford, Devon, Lynton and Lynmouth, and many others. We do that especially in summer and our son absolutely loves it too. We also love to go to Croatia for holidays, although we weren’t there for last two years, but it’s the most beautiful country you can spend your holidays in. A couple of years ago we travelled there from London by car, it was amazing. I also love watching movies, reading books and walks in the nature. And I love playing with my son!

How do you juggle family and professional life?

Do I have any money saving tips? Not really haha, but I think working hard is the key to have a good income.

Do you have any top tips for mums?

Develop good time management skills. Ask for help whenever you need it – your partner, family etc. Staying positive. Sleep deprivation or a time when the baby starts to crawl/walk/climb can be challenging. Never think you are not a good mother. Sometimes washing dishes or ironing can wait and it’s good to use this time to do what you like -be creative! haha

Having a child is the best thing in life and you can balance both. It might not be easy at times, but it’s definitely possible to have both. Be a mom and do what you enjoy doing in your life. Being creative in every way…

NATALIE KOCAB

Tell us your story……

Michaela and Natalie are… artists, I guess. Friends and partners in art. The story starts in 2005 I think, with an album released in 2006. Next one in 2016 (I’ve released solo 4 albums) and another one in process.

How is it being a mum and musician and what are the challenges they face personally?

To be honest I don’t like this question, because I don’t like being seen as a mom – artist. I’m just an artist, a mother and a person. It gets hard, but I try not to make a big deal out of it. I pretend it isn’t.

I’ve been a mother since 19. Active in showbusiness since 15. So that’s all I really know, I was never a single person in art. I was always a double. Then a triple… and soon a quadruple.

How do you push past the fear or lack of confidence to achieve your dreams?

For some reason this was never a great issue. I get unsure at times, but I have this personality to always achieve what I want to achieve. I get things done, I don´t mean success in general. It just has to happen, if I choose to. Of course failures are a big part of the process. The more profound experience you have with them the better you are. Nothing really great comes out of pure success.

How do you push past the fear or lack of confidence to achieve your dreams?

Yeah, a lot of things went wrong, from my perspective at that time. What I see today, if you work hard enough and something doesn’t go the way you wanted to, it´s usually just changing course. It’s not a fail. It might seem like it, but it´s just that you don´t see the end of it yet.

Do you have any top tips for mums?

I think the biggest tip is not to have one. Whining doesn’t do the job. Just make it happen. You will be exhausted, but fulfilled and independent.  Take it as a part of the process, not a problem.

Do you have any money saving tips?

Money saving is an issue for me, hahaha. I’m so bad at it. It’s one of the things I have a terrible time learning. But I had to, to some level, do it after divorce with two kids included. Being a single mom is the high school of life. Once you survive that and learn the game… you can do anything. You are truly capable… of anything. I have the greatest respect for divorced moms. They are the greatest fighters.

How do you relax?

I Netflix and chill:)

How do you have quality family time?

I´m not an expert on quality family time, that is my weak point. I work really hard, day job and the art after work, 2 kids and another one on the way, so I actually just crash on the weekends. And then I get jealous my ex has this great activity time with our kids. So that is a thing I would and need to work on… Being actually a fun mom, not just providing.

Watch the video to “Underwater” herehttps://youtu.be/omx-6V6hbk8

Mums Music new album

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