September 25, 2022 6 min read
Happy Monday Mamas! This week on the Mommy Moments blog, we are thrilled to introduce Amy, who is a mama of 3 and also a teacher and songwriter. We spent some time getting to know Amy, and get the inside scoop on motherhood, work/home life balance and more.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself and your little one(s).
My name is Amy Craze. I am a teacher, songwriter and a mother of three amazing children named Nyella, Merryn and Gavin.
2. Tell us a little about your journey as an artist. What inspires your music?
I have known that I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 8 years old. When I was in high school my mathematics teacher urged me to do something for myself before I committed to teaching. She explained to me that the more life experiences I had, the more I could teach my students. So I took her advice and followed another passion of mine – music.
After I obtained my grade XI vocal certifications from the Royal Conservatory of Music, I started working with the producer Jim Huff from CoeHill Entertainment in Toronto on my demos. When the demos were done I was offered an artist development deal from CoeHill Entertainment which led me to move to Los Angeles, California. It was also at this time that I started working for Maverick Records, which was then Madonna’s record label so that I could learn about the inner workings of the recording industry. When Madonna sold her share of Maverick back to Warner Brothers, I moved back to Toronto where I received a FACTOR grant from the Ontario government to continue on with my recording. At that time, I worked with Jeff Bird from the Cowboy Junkies who produced my second EP. I also had the opportunity to sing back-up for the Cowboy Junkies and join them on tour.
When I came back from this tour, I stopped doing music to take up teaching as I was getting married and wanted kids, and wished to stay in one place while I raised them. I wove music into every element of my teaching from mathematics, science transitions and more. Then after I had three kids I had a bit of a realisation. As a Mom and teacher I had devoted so much of my energy helping others to actualise their potential and meet their individual needs. Somehow along the way, I had forgotten to do the same for myself. So I came back to music.
Music is something that is just mine. It is my secret creative cove where I can slip away and do something just for myself. As a mom I also feel as though I am constantly wearing my heart on my sleeve. Music is the way I process all of my emotions as I spin my stories into songs.
3. As a working mama, juggling home and work life can be difficult. How do you balance between the two?
Juggling home and work life is a balancing act but what has saved me and my family is being super organised. Since I started teaching, I have consistently designed programs that lend themselves to student leadership. I set up consistent routines and expectations so that the students can become leaders in the class and go on to lead the routines and their own inquiry independently. When a program is well organised, it lessens the workload at home as well.
Organisation has also been key at home to ensure our family life is in balance. At the end of each summer my husband Laurence and I sit down and plan the extra-curricular activities for our family. We have learned (the hard way) that less is more and we don’t want to overprogram our kids because they need time to do their school work, unwind, and be a little bored in order to be creative. We love organising activities that all of our kids can do on the same day such as piano on Monday nights. We divide and conquer with the sports such as hockey and skating and even carpool with friends when we need to. As a teacher I am also extremely fortunate to have summers off with my kids. This gives them time to be together and also gives me extra blocks of time to be in the studio and record my music.
4. Would you please share with us your (breast)feeding journey.
I was really fortunate with my breastfeeding journey. Minutes after each of my kids were born they latched and started feeding. As each child is so different, my nursing experience was different with each of them. My eldest Nyella didn’t stop eating from the moment she was born. She was only hungry once… and it was all the time. I remember the night she was born everyone told me to expect the newborn to sleep a long stretch for their very first night and this did not happen. She ate every hour all night long and only slept for 15 minute stretches. This actually lasted until she was six months old. I was so exhausted and tired and never felt as though I had enough milk to keep up. My middle child Merryn was so different. She slept 4 hour stretches at a time, would wake up and feed for 15 minutes and then go back to sleep! My youngest Gavin also had an endless appetite. I was so happy to discover Boons cookies at this time because I really found it increased my milk supply so I could feed Gavin more in one stretch, but not as often.
5. If you could go back in time before you had kids and offer yourself advice about motherhood, what would you say?
As Moms we always tend to give selflessly and endlessly to our kids. It is just so important to make sure we are taking care of ourselves as well. I remember in the early days when my babies were born it felt like there were no breaks in the day (or the nights). What saved me was finding a wonderful community of Moms to share my experiences with and to lessen the load. I loved my local Mom’s group where we would meet up weekly and let the babies play while we sipped on coffee and treats. When my third child Gavin was born, it was such a gift when the Mom’s group set up a meal train for me the first week I came home from the hospital. I remember trying to prepare dinner, while nursing and tending to the tantrums that accompanied bringing home a new sibling. This group taught me that it was okay to reach out and ask for help when I needed it.
6. What is your one mom must-have?
I believe the most important thing you need as a mom is a sense of humour. Being a Mom can be so exhausting and demanding but if you can find the one thing in your day that makes you laugh then you are winning. I remember when Merryn was a newborn and Nyella was 3. I was sitting on the floor nursing Merryn while on the phone with the CRA and building a tower with Nyella. I was so proud of myself because in three different 15 minute intervals during the day I had managed to shower, wash, blow-dry and straighten my hair. Suddenly, Merryn stops drinking and proceeds to spit up all over me and my freshly washed hair. It was at that moment I realised motherhood was all about setting out goals but going with the flow (no pun intended) and laughing when things don’t go the way you planned! I gave over to the mayhem and just started giggling. The lady from the CRA did not know what to make of me and I was okay with that.
7. And finally, what is your favourite part of being a mama?
I love watching as my kids figure out what makes them light up, and supporting them with my whole heart as they reach for their individual goals. I also really, really love the daily cuddles.
We want to thank Amy for taking the time to answer all of our questions. We agree that being a mom can be very exhausting and like Amy mentioned being organised and having a support group or support system can be beneficial especially for new moms. That is partially the reason we decide to create ‘mommy moments’ – so we could share mom stories such as these. Just like Amy’s Mom’s Group gave her through the meal train, we want to translate the same sense of encouragement to our readers, and to say that it is okay to ask for help. You are not alone! We can do amazing things when we all support one another.
If you would like to learn more about Amy, you can visit her website here, and other socials Spotify , iTunes, Facebook, Instagram.
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