A Permission To Be You (For Mothers)

It’s a pretty hot day and moving stuff (especially when you’re pregnant) doesn’t make it less hot. I’m happy with our new place though, more windows for air to enter the space. Still have lots of stuff coming up.

When thinking what to write today, I’ve thought of several things. I don’t want to rant about how unsettling my condition today, still not completely have my things in my home and rant about my dirty laundry (the washing machine still on the old place 😦 ). But then I thought about a social media status my friend shared couple of days ago.

She said (or written),  ‘Is it still appropriate for me to listen to this (indie band that I forgot the name) when I’m a mother?’ She referenced the band to be similar like Phoenix, a band I used to listen to and even went to concert to.

phoenix wolfgang amadeus phoenix

That status, especially coming from her, just bugged me. Flashback years ago when I just know her, I realized her fondness to local indie music while I never did. Perhaps she was the one who introduced me to bands like Tahiti 80, or Bird and The Bee, and some local indie bands. As I explored (or just dipped) the world of indie music, we bonded over it as we became best friends. She took me to local youth community (a pretty hipster one) and cool book store who sell indie band albums. She just the girl who knows the cool stuff. In fact, we both did.

Then, she got married and got pregnant in matter of months. I never hang out with her a lot like I used to. Then I got married and pregnant too. Sometimes we made time to hang out and she brought her kid along, but lately never. I admit, listening to music surely not the first priority, but when I do, it’s a leisure and great time. I still need music when I work. Sometimes I discover new music and happy with my foundings.

But asking permission if I can listen a music?

From what I observed and experienced, women can drastically change after they got married. Our first priority is family. So, knowing the cool stuff and looking up-to-date with trends? That’s like number 76. Maybe it’s different with working mom with a job demand to still be and looking hip. But if you see a mother with a weird looking mix match style, it’s normal because she’s got kids and perhaps have no one to help her with home errands. They won’t have time to do ‘me time’ a lot. TV and gadgets perhaps dominated by her kids taste, like Barney or Sesame Street, or Pixar movies. It’s normal if perhaps they lose themselves.

But if there’s one small time to do ‘me time’, most mothers could connect to their inner self. Some do knitting, crafting, gardening or working out. One of the easiest is to listen to music. Well, even when you’re single, you’re playlist could contain some guilty pleasures, like Justin Bieber, or Hanson. That’s normal, whether you like to admit you have them or not. Your personal playlist is private and personal. And I always consider that as your privilege or right. Maybe you’ll never know my music taste if you see my appearance today. Especially with the hijab and covered clothes.

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from the movie Begin Again (2014)

I used to judge a person by their looks. But now not I’m not so shocked anymore. Any guy with scary face can fond of a Bollywood movie, any sweet looking girl can listen to rock music. Why put labels on anything? It’s tiring. A person sometimes not like what they appear to be.

So, asking permission if you can listen a music? Is like asking, can I watch this TV show or movie. Or asking, can I eat this chocolate cake? As long as the thing doesn’t influence you or your kid bad, it’s still always legal and always OK.

I can relate to when I look at my leather jacket (it’s a gift and now the skin is damaged) and thought if I still appropriate to wear them. When I wear them, I always feel 100 times cooler. My single self said, ‘Of course you do! Just wear it with a compatible outfits.’ And the other said, ‘Yeah, should just wear capuchons or other jacket.’ The first is the optimistic, the other is a lazy negative one. I never pick one of them for a lifetime, because one day you feel you can wear a leather jacket, one day you just don’t.

So asking if you can listen a music? Unless the music you listen is about suicide or other self-harm themed, of course you can, it’s your me-time and you shouldn’t be hard on yourself like that. After all, music is often associated with your identity. So, it explains a lot if you have to ask for these stuff!

You don’t have to ask permission to be you.

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sunglow mama

Jakarta (Indonesian) based blogger, 33, loves beautiful things and to write about them

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