This weeks Meet a Mom is such an inspiration. How many of you full time working mommas also find the time to go after your dream? Meghan Lehman Schoneberger has a full time day job as Marketing Director at McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, is a mom of two little girls, AND somehow in her very spare time, is still pursuing her dream as a musician.
Hi Meghan we are so excited and honored to have you here. I cannot wait to hear how you balance it all. Lets us start with, where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Santa Barbara? What made you decide to live here?
I grew up in Carmel, California and moved to Santa Barbara in 1999 to go to UCSB. It took moving away from Carmel to realize how extraordinary of a place it was to grow up—although Santa Barbara is pretty magical, too. With the exception of spending my junior year abroad in France, and short stints in San Francisco and Albuquerque (don’t ask), I’ve basically lived in SB for the past 20 years.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share with us!
Yes! I have a pretty demanding full-time job, but I’m also spending as much time as possible pursing my passion of writing songs, singing and sharing my music. It’s something I gave up for a long, long time, but in November of 2018 I had my “epiphany” that I couldn’t NOT do it anymore and be a happy and satisfied human being. It’s tough to find the time and energy, but the reward is in the creating and sharing itself, so I keep doing it. Please do follow along; I’d really appreciate it! You can sign up for my email newsletter (and get a free download of my most recent EP) HERE
What got you into music?
I have been deeply moved by music for as long as I remember. My mom is a music-lover, and we always had records playing in the house. I think she was drawn to the women of her generation– Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Ricki Lee Jones– and that was the music I can remember hearing as a little girl. When I got to high school, it was just in time for the era of the Lilith Fair, and I was deeply impacted by hearing all these incredible women: Sheryl Crow, Tracy, Chapman, Jewel, Fiona Apple, Alannis Morisette, Natalie Merchant… I feel really lucky that early on I learned that music doesn’t have to be “a man’s world”.
How long have you been singing? What type of music do you play?
I loved to sing when I was young, and around 5th grade, I started taking voice lessons and participating in musical theater. I probably peaked in 7th grade when I played Audrey in the Carmel Middle School production of Little Shop of Horrors. I stopped when I got to high school though– I think I was too self-conscious! When I got to college, I had taken my mom’s guitar with me (even though I could barely play it), and I basically taught myself to play by printing chord charts off the internet. I was really into Sublime at the time, and lucky for me most of those songs are mostly 3 chords. We were in the dorms, so I was surrounded by people who wanted to listen and sing along, and it was a really positive feedback loop. By the end of college, I had written some songs and started playing at the open mic night at Java Jones, or for anyone who would listen at house parties in Isla Vista. As far as what type of music I play– I think a woman alone with an acoustic guitar can really only play variations on folk music… so I’ve decided to describe my music as female-fronted, indie-folk Americana 🙂
You mentioned to me you were in a band before, is that right?
I was lucky enough to be asked to join an old-school country band called Hold Fast Rifle Company back around 2008 or 2009. I honestly can’t even remember how it came to be, now… but I’m glad it did because it’s how I met my husband. His best friend was our fiddle player, and he came to a show at Cold Springs Tavern in 2009. I took one look at him and was like “WHOA”. I’m so glad I was the frontwoman for the band that evening because I’m not sure I would have caught his attention otherwise, he was kind of out of my league.
Ha, Really ? I highly doubt that. How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?
I am lucky enough to have two daughters! Sadie is 5 and Iris is 2.
What’s your favorite family activity in Santa Barbara?
We start every weekend at the Saturday Farmer’s Market, which was a lot more relaxing before we had kids. I don’t really relate to moms who paint a perfect picture of their lifestyle, so let me just say that my husband and I love to shop there, love to support local farmers, and want to expose our kids to that direct relationship with the people who grow our food—but mostly it’s a scream-fest about who’s riding in the front of the wagon, who hit whom, and a lot of whining about getting a balloon AND a honey stick. We also spend a lot of weekend time at Campus Point, where the girls surf with their dad while I hide underneath 4 layers of Zinc Oxide and a towel.
Love that picture you just painted, isn’t that the truth about going anywhere with toddlers. Where is your favorite place to eat and/or shop in Santa Barbara?
I worked at the Paradise Café in my twenties, so the bar there is always my first choice for a drink or quick bite (Margarita with salt and mini-quesadillas, add black beans). I also love Via Maestra 42, and the new restaurant on State Street, ROOST, is AMAZING. The food is so good, and the owner makes you feel like a million bucks. I cannot recommend that place highly enough. Go right now. My favorite places to shop are Asher Market, Chaucer’s and Paradise Found. If I’m buying clothes for myself, I basically only go to Crossroads. I’m a cheap-ass.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m a pretty open book—I guess people would be surprised that I’m an introvert? I love talking to people and being social, but my guilty pleasure is having massive amounts of alone time and taking naps—which does indeed make me feel guilty. Very, very guilty.
How do you balance work/ mom life?
I don’t. I never feel like I’m getting it right. I have the sneaking suspicion that any mom who tells you she’s found balance is either delusional or lying to try to cover up her deep insecurities. That being said, I think there’s a way to find peace within the lack of balance… I haven’t found it yet, but I’m trying.
The fact that you are pursuing your dream on top of it all is truly extraordinary. What is the best advice given as a parent?
Hire someone to clean your house! I don’t care if it means you have to cut back on something important— this is more important. No two adults living together ever think “clean” means the same thing, and the only outcome is that someone does more, which leads to resentment. Also—be clear and vocal about how much time you’re putting in to invisible/ emotional labor, and be fierce about making sure you get the time and space to rest and pursue what you’re passionate about—which might be napping—and that’s okay.
Well said. That is really REALLY great advice. I have never looked at it like that, thank you for sharing that. What are a few of the most recent things you’ve pinned on Pinterest and/or who do you follow on Instagram?
Here’s my most recent pinterest obsession/board :https://www.pinterest.com/meglehman/music-studio/ I’m obsessing about having a music studio space, so I’ve been pinning ideas that are not the typical masculine and dark vibe you usually see in studios—you know, purple lighting and lava lamps. Right now I don’t have a dedicated space to record music, so I have to pull everything out of the various places I store it and set it all up every time I want to record something—which is a huge pain in the ass! Pinterest has me fantasizing about having a dedicated space some day. On Instagram, I’ve just rediscovered a really awesome musician named Molly Jensen (@mollyjay), whose story parallels mine a little bit. She put out an album in 2009 (just like me) and then took a really long break (mine was because of kids, hers was because she got burnt out on the music scene). We’re about the same age, and I just think her voice and her music and her style are really cool. I follow all sorts of random stuff! Mindfullness hashtags, bad-parenting memes, lots of musicians. I only started my “Music” instagram page in February, so I don’t have a lot of followers yet. FOLLOW ME PLEASE @meghan_lehman_music
What’s your children’s favorite song you sing to them?
Both my kids hate it when I sing. I think they would rather be singing themselves– they love it. If I’m trying to practice, my 2-year-old will scream “NOOO MOMMY”, and will hit my guitar. I still have a fantasy about having a family band someday, though. Hopefully, they’ll grow out of it?
Are your children musical?
To be honest, I can’t tell yet. They clearly love it– they both love to sing and dance, and that’s all that really matters.
Anyone special you would like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
My husband, Andrew, is amazing. When some of my friends talk about divorcing their husbands because they don’t “do anything,” I’m like “crap, that’s me in this scenario… I’d be so screwed.” Andrew does so much for our family and is an incredible dad to our girls. I don’t know how I got so lucky. Also, his parents and my mom all live here in town and help out several days a week
with the girls—which is enormously helpful, and also wonderful for everyone. We’re really lucky— I’m really lucky, and I don’t take it for granted (most of the time).
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I’ve lived here for a long time and I feel like we have the most wonderful, young, creative, entrepreneurial parent scene. Living in a small town has a lot of benefits, and I feel really supported and inspired by the community. It’s tough to make it work here, and we’re all in the same boat, so we support each other! I love that and feel so lucky to be a part of it.
Wow Meghan your words are so heartfelt. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Not only should everyone go follow Meghan on Instagram, let us use her story as a reminder that we all can find the time to pursue our dreams. Meghan’s passion is inspiring and I know it definitely touched my soul. Have you heard her sing? Don’t miss out. She has a special cover coming out October 4th. You won’t want to miss it, Trust me. Pre save it on Spotify HERE. Also, go to her website and find out where you can hear her preform in person, she’s spectacular!
Check out Meghan live: https://www.meghanlehman.com/shows
Sign up for her newsletter: http://eepurl.com/gfa3lP