What a month. When our bookings didn't quite fill out our schedule next year as we hoped, we decided to hit the phones and grab as many more as we could, just like we do any other bookings. I've noticed that about 50-60% of the moderate to larger RV parks book nearly everything at the showcases, and a few even get many on their schedule 2 years out. Out of the rest, some will call you after they sit down with their notes, and some don't bother with the showcase at all, just getting acts as they are suggested by folks. We're targeting the rest right now, and it means calling all the parks, finding out who books, then trying to reach that person to see which category they fall into - basically, if they're booking still and interested in talking to us.
January is booking time. We are late for some city festivals, fairs, and other places that have already booked though, but libraries, RV parks for summer, and RV parks for next winter are all in full throttle right now and we have to somehow hit them through 17 or 18 states all at once. After we finish with the Rio Grande Valley, we move on to Florida and try to line up Christmas shows, RV parks through the mid-west and east coast, and book retirement communities and hopefully some churches from north Texas to Colorado, then through to Indiana and Ohio. There will be contracts then to mail, and paperwork to follow up. Then I get to do taxes.
While all this busy work is going on, we are just really getting moving on our new winter show, with performances sometimes multiple times a week, and new music still needing a bit of polish.
Today I put an end to most of that business to be a housewife for a day. Laundry was out of control, there was no food in the house, and the kids were about to dress in togas made from sheets and gnaw on the tires. I was busy, busy, busy, but somehow, while I focused on the mundane work, business got done. Michael added a couple more shows to the calendar, and lined up a few things simply through answered emails, and I can stop feeling guilty for a moment that my children do not have healthy snack options and food.
There are times when I look back at the time in my life when I was "just a housewife", instead of taking a break from other things to do some typical housewifey things, back when my days were full of meal plans, cleaning, and schooling. I was pretty good at the first one at times, terrible at the second one, and mostly gave up on the third, thankful that unschoolers actually have a good point about children having a natural desire to learn, with or without fancy curriculum. Now and then the drudgery would get me down, but I was always happy when I was in the middle of a sewing project or other side project.
That seems a lifetime away now. I am a business woman running a band, bookings, music arranging, practice, finances, costumes, promotion, etc. The cleaning often gets moved to a supervisor roll, with children and teens doing much of the work, Michael helps with the meals, does most of the searching for playing opportunities, bus maintenance, and schools Sean, though we still stink at formal schooling. Even so, I am still the default supervisor for everything that needs doing, the one who has more cooking experience, and knowledge about best food choices for various family dietary needs, curriculum choices filed in the back of my head, and I like to handle laundry myself. I'm also the only one who can ever find anything and inherited an organizing gene to get all that stuff into the small refrigerator, or find a place for that one additional item.
Right now I'm very overwhelmed with so much on the plate to balance, but in the end, this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I'm in my element. No time to feel sorry for myself, though there is time to get weary and sometimes I drop the ball on a few things I intended to do but lost track of, especially the mommy things, like reading stories. Even so, for me, the work I do with the band is somehow more meaningful because it's more... personalized, perhaps?
I always believed homeschooling was best for my children, but I hadn't learned that I did not have to be perfect at it. I always believed an organized home was far more pleasant, but couldn't get it together and learned to settle for "mostly functional". By allowing less than perfect in these areas, I gradually was able to move forward on to other things in my life, and break out of the cookie-cutter housewife role society has placed on us. God created women with so many talents, and families of so very many dynamics, I think it's a shame to try to be carbon copies of some unnecessary ideal. Please do not understand me. One doesn't need to sacrifice a firm belief that priorities are and always should be your home and children by simply acknowledging that the gifts one woman brings to her family may look drastically different than the gifts another brings. On the contrary, such a realization opens up a world of things a family can accomplish together when they break the mold. I am forever grateful to God for dragging me away from a self-serving career in Opera, forcing me to turn my attention to my home. His plan was for this life I now have with my family. So, don't misunderstand me there. I'm not talking about selfish pursuits trumping family, but individual talents enhancing it.
I only miss the sewing. Someday I really want to sew again. I fear I'll not manage to sew as much for Mary as she grows, but I saved many of the dresses I made for the twins. Perhaps someday there will be granddaughters who need some cute dresses?