Mindy Sotiri is a single mum who is also a singer and songwriter. Her songs often reference mothering. We asked her some questions in the lead up to the Mamapalooza Sydney festival, which is a week long celebration of mothers in the creative and performing arts.
I have a sister who has been like a super-hero in terms of coming to the rescue with kid care stuff, a few really great friends who have done the same - and I have excellent child-care and after-school-care so I can work. Although until recently my kids have stayed with me 100% of the time, for the last year or so their Dad has looked after them (at my place) three times a week in the afternoons and evenings (which means I can get to gigs, or theoretically the gym…but well, HA to that at this point…)
I think it is somewhere in between. Obviously it’s not a ‘need’ in the same way as breathing is a need, but it is so much a part of what I do – and has been for such a long time – that it doesn’t quite feel like a choice either.
I found having babies incredibly inspiring (the intense vulnerability that comes with falling in love your children rocked the crap out of me and made me want to write about EVERYTHING) - but it was also monumentally frustrating in terms of the pragmatics of actually getting creative work done. I walked around for a few years in a state of intense sleep deprived inspiration, with a zillion ideas for songs and about 3 minutes each day of time to myself. Now that life is a little less nutso, the impact has been primarily in the material that I draw on. The kids and the domestic are the backdrop to a big chunk of my life, and that means that breastfeeding, playgroups, and housework have tended to be the backdrop of a fair few of my tunes.
I love it. I guess I am always interested in learning from other women who are artists and mothers about their practice (ie, HOW do they get stuff done, especially if they’re not Madonna and need to do actual paid work on top of their art/music etc to pay rent).
I guess on a personal level I’m reasonably relaxed about the job that my ex and I are doing in terms of parenting our kids - but systemically there are many MANY things that I would like to see changed. Just for starters; the ridiculous juggle between work and family, the cost and inaccessibility of child-care and the endemic sexism in the way we raise (clothe, talk about, market to) boys and girls.
Yes. I guess I love that feminism has so often been about busting open the private sphere and claiming a space for this in the public arena. And for me this melds beautifully with the folk tradition with which I also identify - writing songs about what you know - even if this is at times involves toddler snot and sore nipples.
Mindy Sotiri will be playing at Mamapalooza Sydney Mums Rock Night at The Supper Club, The Oxford Hotel, 134 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, on Wednesday 9th May, 7.30pm. Hosted by Carolyn Woodorth. Songs inspired by Motherhood with Tina Harrod, Hiske, Zelda Smyth, Kathy Cox, Ruby & Faith, Trish Young (from The Clouds) and Freya. Part of the week long Mamapalooza Sydney Festival, hosted by Tap Gallery.
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