Know what I mean? I’m listening to T. I. “Why You Wanna” and godd*aaaang does it feel good. It’s like a breath of fresh, cool, 2006 nightclub air at 2am after 3 shots of Bacardi O. That kinda thing. Man. And then you think, why didn’t I do this sooner? Why don’t I listen to hip hop every day, before breakfast, and after lunch, and after all the kids go to bed and nobody is crying anymore and nobody needs you to feed them or wash them or wipe them or anything at all, just go to Naughty by Nature or LL Cool J– OHHHHHHH, haaaaay, now I’m on to “Mama Said Knock You Out“.
I’ve been in Eastern Europe for 14 months now, with 3 children under the age of 7. The details of why and how are another story, what matters at the moment is getting through each day without melting down by 5pm. And a certain kind of heavy-hitting hip hop music, the kind where the bass reverberates in your spine, deep into the heart of your tired soul, has been like emotional therapy for me lately. It’s like the soft and nurturing part of motherhood has to be met with the harshness of something else, something that pushes up against that constant giving and caring and allows the giver (the mother) to feel a release into another world that doesn’t ask anything. With music, it feels as though the heavier the beat and deeper the bass, the wider open the mind can feel to flow, free, into an abyss of untethered daydream. Yah. Like that.
Most of the time lately I feel like a partial failure as a mother. It’s a constant feeling that I could be doing better, I could be more attentive, more creative, more fulfilling to my children’s many and diverse (yet simple! So simple!) needs. Isn’t Mothering what we were made to do? Isn’t it completely natural? Shouldn’t we know, instinctively, how to do this? I suppose yes to all of that. But, I’ve come to realize that the lives we all live are not the way it was long ago. You know, tribes, raising these complex humans together, as a band, never alone, never feeling the darkness creep in on us making our nerves break down and our thoughts whirl in a tornado inside our worn-out minds that never stop seeking the answers that don’t exist because the world we live in wasn’t really built with children in mind, it was built for something else. Yes, for the freedom of being independent and alone, yes for that liberation of doing whatever you want within your four walls of isolated independence– but, at the expense of the sense of sanity that togetherness brings. Togetherness with other women, mothers, who understand. Who can laugh with you about the poopie diaper explosion in the middle of the park when you forgot to restock your baby’s supply of nappies, or hug you when the mood-swings of your 4-year-old make you question the very core of your maternal instincts. We need something. I think we need each other. But in the absence of that (and more precisely I mean, the absence of enough of that to feel a sense of peace within), there is music.
If you’re there somewhere, feeling that biting loneliness that is particular to motherhood, I say to you now… crank up some Will Smith–complimented with a cold glass of white (I recommend an Italian Moscato by Castello Poggio, yes, splurge sister splurge!)– “Summertime“, and then “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It“. Pure wholesome feel-good rhythm. You can’t go wrong there.
In the meantime I’m going back to my obscure and strangely healing mix of Amon Tobin’s Two Fingers “Fight! Fight! Fight!” album interspersed with some Busta Rhymes and a bit of classy French jams by Hocus Pocus. Because a little bit of French hip hop can always make a girl smile.