“Hello? Vered? Are you still there?”
Yes, dear Tunie. I am. And it’s time I check in and let you know where I’ve been, why, and what I’ve learned in the process.
If you’ve taken a Baby in Tune class before you know that we always do Check-Ins where parents say wonderful and challenging moments they had with their baby during the week.
Well, here’s mine:
After the road trip across the US we decided to knock another item off our bucket list – living in Israel for a year. One year turned into a wonderful two, and during that time we had Friday night dinners with the grandparents, my kids got in touch with their Israeliness (absolute authenticity along with a complete disregard for standing on lines,) and I learned how to surf (or at least how to overcome my fear of it, and keep trying again and again).
Professionally, I allowed myself to take a big fat break from the hustle. The pandemic threw a monkey wrench into my business, and moving across the world lodged it in deeper. Slowly I felt myself losing interest in writing another blog, creating another reel, scrambling to fill classes. I stepped off the fast train and took a look around.
Instead, I went inward; I spent more time with the kids, meditated more regularly, wrote songs with no audience in mind. I also worked on a book based on all the years I’ve worked with YOU all. The quiet mornings spent writing in a coffeeshop suited me perfectly, and led to a book that will be published in 2025 by Countryman Press/ W.W. Norton!
And now we’re back. And two things happened:
1. The achievement bug is back. My word for 2024 is CREATE. I’ve got renewed energy to learn more, create more, help more. It felt right to let the hustle go while I was in Israel. And as I suspected might happen, coming back to the US cracked that door open once again.
2. The war. The terrorist attack in Israel and the war in Gaza following have had me feeling mute in shock and despair. The anti-semitism unearthed as a result has been a terrible wake-up call.
But this post isn’t about politics. It is about my internal conflict, confronted once again, between a private life and a public one.
Anyone who wants to make stuff these days must also use the platforms we have. And to really be effective at it, you have to enjoy it 🙂 I knew I couldn’t while I was away, but the detective part of me, intrigued by figuring out what grabs people’s attention, how to best word a post, and what parenting problems need solving, is back. It’s a roller coaster, and can be disheartening, but I’m ready for it again.
[Important to note – the fact that I’ve had time or energy to explore whether I’m in the game or out of it is because my kids are a little older. They don’t need as much from me. It’s not like when they were little and it was almost impossible to access the non-mom parts of me. That might be where you are right now. If so, I just wanted to say that you won’t be there forever.]
So now that I’m back in it, I have more perspective on what I learned while I was away. I hope I don’t forget these lessons as I get back on the achievement ladder:
- Life is pretty great without the hustle. You do your work, focus on in-person connection, have more time for the kids, and are less stressed about the future. Without the focus on the demonstrative aspects of what you do, there’s much more energy left over.
- At the same time, the hustle is fuel. If you’re like me and you have an itch to create stuff, you also want people to receive it.
Recently I read a great book by Seth Godin called The Icarus Deception. He says that today’s world champions connection over industry, and that social media is a means to getting your ART (broadly defined as anything done artfully, with intention, innovation, creativity) out into the world. He says:
“We built this world for you. Not so you would watch more online videos, keep up on your feeds, and lol with your highschool friends. We built it so you could do what you’re capable of, without apology and without excuse. Go” Social media is not all bad. It can also can charge us to make more, make better, change things.
- You can step out of it. You don’t have to keep running on the hamster wheel if it doesn’t feel right. There are other ways to make ends meet. It took me a while to shed the belief that if I stepped off I’d never find my way back on. But lo and behold, the wheel is right where I left it.
- It’s not just me. My step away was not just a function of where I personally am with my life (hello, midlife crisis), but is part of the gestalt of this era. Covid was a harsh reminder of what’s actually important, leaders of countries are more extreme and polarizing, climate change disasters are right in front of our eyes. There’s a growing pressure in the air that we all feel. I did flight. Now I’m back for fight.
- Meditation helps. I can’t stress this one enough. The past few years have been wonderful but also very challenging – the kids acclimating to a new language and culture, starting life in a new country and now in a new town, processing the horrors of the war. Over and over I notice that when I drop my meditation practice I have a harder time breathing and dealing with it all. When I start up once again I’m more at ease, creative, and patient. I love Tara Broch on Insight Timer. In addition, two podcasts help me access the part of me that’s more meditative, feels more expansive, less focused on the grind of it all: Poetry Unbound. This is the quickest dose of perspective you can get. In these 10-12 minute episodes you’ll connect to a deeper calmer part of yourself . 10% Happier. This series where Dan travels to interview the Dalai Lama is worth a listen. He’s cynical and skeptical in a way that makes the material that much more accessible.
- Say yes to the kids. This began in Israel but has really been hammered home since the war – when my kids ask to play a game I say YES, I stop and gaze when my daughter is cutting something and the tip of her tongue sticks out between her lips, I marvel at my son’s long fingers as he plays piano, I give my son a massage before bed even when I’m exhausted. I hope to hold on to this even as I step back in to the hustle.
So what now?
Baby in Tune is in Jersey, baby. And also Brooklyn and Manhattan, of course. You can find classes in Montclair, Maplewood, Livingston, Tenafly, etc. Check out the schedule HERE.
Know anyone in those areas? Let them know.
I’ll keep making stuff. I usually post them on Instagram and TikTok. Please follow me on those platforms so I feel the connection and not just a reach in vain. Not sure yet if I’ll write a weekly blog again but for now you can get good tips on the socials.
The book! Here’s how you can help – I’m looking for big names to write a foreword. Know any? Dr. Becky? Daniel Stern? Aliza Pressman? Janet Lansbury? If so, please do connect me.
Ok dear Tunies, I’m glad to be back. I missed you even while I didn’t feel like writing to you lol.
Ps. Do you really want to help me with the roller coaster of social media that can be so dismally discouraging? Here’s how. It’s easy- If you see a post of mine, like this one, make a comment. It can be ANYTHING. You can write oatmeal muffins if you like. When you comment it helps others see the post. Also, share it with your friends who have babies.