If wasn’t a Childbirth Educator, I’d be a Rockstar!
Not that I’d actually be a Rockstar, I’m not that good – but I can dream, right?!
I just came off of a “Work Weekend.” My job as a Childbirth Educator is all evening and weekend work. It’s one of the things that makes this position so incredibly family-friendly. During my days, I’m a Stay-At-Home-Momma. I’m sure there are plenty of people at my kids’ school who are completely unaware that I work outside of the home in addition to the work I do inside the home as primary caregiver for our four children.
I’m almost always there for drop-off and pick-up, and I’ve gone on a fair number of field trips over the years (although, these tend to be the ones that involve ballet or theater performances. The Zoo in rainy April? Not so much). I appreciate the flexibility of my work schedule so I can be at home, but still maintain a career and not have to pay for childcare. If we had to cover those costs, I’m pretty sure I’d have to work a full-time job just to pay for it! (I realize this is completely absurd and how many families have to do just this. It shouldn’t be a luxury for families to choose more flexible work hours in support of raising their children in a way that remains financially feasible. But that’s a post for a different day…)
This past weekend, was a full work weekend. This means on Saturday, while everyone else was still asleep, I tiptoed around the house getting ready so I could be at my workplace by 7:30 am – a little earlier than usual, but we’ve had a few AV issues I needed to address so the full-day Saturday Seminar class would go smoothly. And it did! Twenty-one couples, three observers, two educators and nine and half hours later, evaluations were gathered and I’m happy to say they reflected the passion that my fellow educator and I have for the work we’re honored to do with these expectant families.
Sunday rolled around and I was back at it again, only this time “teaching” four mini-classes: Maternity Tours. I can’t help it, even on a tour I find ways of providing education about pregnancy, birth and parenting. Tours are just another opportunity for me to do what I love most in the world. But it meant another full day which started at 10 am and didn’t end until 5 pm. Now, before anyone starts feeling sorry for me – don’t. I set my own schedule, for the most part, and I purposefully set up these full work weekends so that even if I’m away from my family for two days in a row, there will be less weekend days worked overall in any given month. Plus – I love my work, so there’s no reason for me not to want to work weekends (but it does help when the weather is crappy and cold as opposed to sunny and warm – I’m not going to lie).
No matter the size of the group I’m teaching, I try to give them 110% of my attention and energy to keep them engaged and learning. I want to share with them what I consider to be most important in our interaction with one another:
Birth is a normal, physiological process and it’s not only their right – but their responsibility – to fully participate in their labor so when they look back on this event, they remember it as a positive, empowering experience. I want them to have a birth story they are proud to tell – where they are the hero of their own epic journey.
This requires a lot of energy output from me. Being the most extroverted person on the planet, most of the time this works to my advantage. I get energy back from being with a group of people – especially if that group contains at least one other extrovert. More energy coming from the group, just means more energy pouring back out of me. Actively engaged participants who respond positively and obviously to my use of humor, or otherwise engage by asking lots of questions, helps keep that energy transfer balanced.
After my full Saturday class, I felt pretty good. The class was with us the whole day and I felt that strange post-teaching buzz that can happen when the flow of energy has been moving back and forth freely. This continued into Sunday morning’s two tours as well. But my two afternoon tours were not balanced in the same way. I was searching for a little more energy transfer from these groups – and it was not forthcoming.
So by the time the day was done, I was feeling zapped of energy. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue, because I could go home to the bosom of my (crazy!) family and find respite (and lots of energy! Everyone in my family is an extrovert.)
But on this particular day, a friend of mine was celebrating her 40th birthday with a gathering of girlfriends at a place called VoiceBox – a set of private suites that allow small groups of people to have their own Karaoke parties.
What to do?
I was beat. I’d been talking for the past six hours, and my voice was shot. So I texted my friend to say I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to come out for the party. She responded with, “Please rally.”
And then it happened.
The pull of spending a few hours doing my other dream job, being a Rockstar, won out and I rallied. Oh, yes I did. At first, I just drank my beer and sang along while others grabbed the mic. But eventually, I got up to do my best with a few songs that I really love to sing. Songs that are all in my wheelhouse: I know the lyrics and can hit the notes. I’m pretty sure I said, “I love this song!!!” as each was cued up and ready to play, no matter who was singing. The sense of exhaustion was erased with every note.
This might sound really obnoxious but when I’m up in front of my classes and I’m teaching, I kind of feel what I think a Rockstar might feel when they’re in the groove and singing a crowd favorite. Everyone is listening for those parts that they know by heart and letting the parts that are true for them settle in their souls – happy for a moment to be with this group of people who are all in the same place, at the same time, experiencing the same thing.
And I can tell when I’ve hit the exact, right note – that my words have landed not just with the folks in the front row, but the people all the way in the back of the room.
And it’s the greatest feeling in the world!
So. While I’m not a Rockstar – figuratively or literally – it sure is fun to pretend to be one at a friends’ 40th birthday party, and I feel lucky to get a glimpse of what I think it might be like to be one when I’m really in the flow and in front of my class.
And for your listening pleasure, here’s the latest song I love to sing when I’m needing to feel like a Rockstar in my off hours. And if you’re ever in Portland, Oregon you have to check out Karaoke From Hell – this is karaoke on steroids as you’re singing live in front of an audience backed by an amazing full band. It’s as close as you can get to feeling like a real-deal Rockstar. I’m sure this will not come as a surprise – I love it!
PS – As it turned out, one of my former students was at the Karaoke party the other night. It was so much fun to have my two worlds come together this way!
What is it that you do in your day-to-day world that makes you feel like a Rockstar? What could you be doing differently in your off-hours that could fill you up in this way? (Note: You don’t have to be an extrovert or sing Karaoke to get this feeling!)