Motherhood is one of the most challenging, dramatic, life-altering experiences for a woman, and also one of the most rewarding. Having a baby isn’t easy, and neither is having to go back to work once you have. Singer/songwriter Marsha Ambrosius is taking it all in stride and showing us just what it means to be a fearless female, juggling family and career. We caught up with Ambrosius days before her live concert at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in Cleveland and she shared just how she is balancing it all.
So you are embarking on a three-month tour with Eric Benet, the M.E. Tour. Are you ready?
Of course. Absolutely ready. But it just feels like three months ago, I was like OK, I’m about to have a baby. We had the baby, and now we’re on the road. It’s just that quick. It’s amazing. Now I have a little girl, Nyla named after her father, because he was raised in New York but born in LA – so NYLA.
How is motherhood treating you?
Amazingly, beautifully terrifying and gratifying all at the same time. Because you have a new life that’s your own, that came into this world out of love – me and her father wanting this to be a reality, and now that she’s here it’s like, oh my goodness. Wow! We’re parents. I’m a mother. I gave birth to a child. And it’s so overwhelming. It’s like starting life all over again. I get to watch all of my Disney movies all over again through new eyes. Learn my ABC’s and 1-2-3’s and all of these melodies that my kid doesn’t know yet and is in wonderment in anything that we do. If her dad is singing to her, or dancing, or playing with her it’s all brand new to this human being, this new human being that’s ours, so that by itself is just so beautiful. So exhausting but so worth it! Like every sleepless night, every moment is like a new moment, you know? It’s amazing. There’s no classes for that, there’s nothing that prepares you for motherhood. You could read every book in the world, and then your baby is here and it’s still so new. I think the adjustment for myself and her father was easy because it was like we knew her already. We’ve nurtured this. We’ve loved this. We wanted this. So it’s like we shaped this human being who at three months already has a personality. We know what she wants and doesn’t want. It’s insane but it ‘s so amazing, and so beautiful.
What is the hardest part of being a new mother? How are you juggling motherhood and your career?
The two for me now, as I expected it to, must go hand in hand. And I’m not the first woman who ever had a kid and had to go back to work. It’s mandatory, it’s standard. It’s taking care of a household that was always taken care of and now having a kid shouldn’t and wouldn’t change that. So for me it’s just managing my time a little better. I have to make sure I get up extra early to make sure her she’s fed and we’re fed and had enough sleep and we’re kind of micromanaging our time collectively. Where he’s having a nap I’m taking care of the baby and vice versa. Like, ok babe, you sleep and I’ll make sure everything’s ready for dinner, and when you’re up she’ll be ready for her next feed, I can go for a nap… It’s just juggling the time, and we have time for each other so it kind of makes that a whole lot easier than I expected it to be. And getting back to work is just something we fearless women do.
Will your fiance be on the road with you to help with the baby?
Absolutely. He is road managing so we have someone else with us to help us both so we can do our jobs and still stick to it, but the baby will be with us out on the road. I didn’t want to miss any of that time. You know, from three months of six months? That’s a whole other person. I’ll come back and she’ll be walking and talking by then the way she’s growing right now. It’s just gonna be beautiful having us all together and making it work.
Are you planning on sharing your parenting journey with the public or are you determined to keep this part of your life private?
I guess being an artist kind of does force your hand to share a little bit. There are certain things I would want to keep private, but it’s only right that I share my experience, otherwise you won’t know where I’m at in my life. Something could completely be a surprise to you because I hadn’t shared where I am at. So it’s definitely something that I want to share with people – not just with other mothers, but other fathers, other people. I’ve been creating music that has made a lot of babies, now I’m having the similar story where now I have my own and I get what everybody else was talking about. Now I understand it, so there’s a conversation there to be had and I’m keeping that open dialogue, which is why even with the song “Don’t Wake the Baby” it’s something all parents can relate to. The type of music I make, whether me and my dude are going through it and we’re having a hard day, we still want to get some good loving at the end of the night. So it’s for every parent that never had enough naps to even have that as an option. It’s just making sure that it’s all relative, keeping people definitely up to speed with what’s going on with me.
I wanted to ask you about your new single. You used the “D” word Marsha!
I mean why not?! I don’t know what’s so surprising. What’s so surprising to me but also thankful at the same time is the cover art, shot by Dez, my fiancé, is me breast pumping and I have a whole nipple out… Every woman who’s ever had to do that knows exactly what that image is and the power in that statement to me, sitting there, flaunting in my lingerie – not so sexy lingerie at that – but how my fiancé makes me feel in them big draws and that breast pump and still wanting to get busy – that makes me the sexiest woman on the planet! So it’s for every woman who, you know, we go through our moments after having a baby, feeling like I’ve got on too much baby weight, or I’m not sexy anymore, and I feel too tired to even get to it… But when you’re with that one who still sees that you’re that special and you’re still that sexy, it just pushes you to be your better you, and I really wanted that artwork and that imagery to resonate with all women that have ever been there.
You kept it raw and real with the song as you always do with your music. Have you had any negative response?
No, not really. If it was a language thing, it’s a little crass, and there’s a clean version for those that can’t handle curse words, but as a grown woman I didn’t want to shy away from the reality that voices are raised and there are gonna be some tough times and some arguments, but guess what? I want to love you, I want to make love to you through it all. That was the reality of the use of language.
Speaking of your fiancé, have you set a date for the wedding? The world fell in love with you both when you posted videos of you two on Instagram, one of which was his proposal to you.
You know what? No (laughter). I don’t know when that will ever even really come to that. Thinking about that right now is not even a thing that we’re pressuring ourselves to figure out just yet. We’re so happy that it feels like it’s already happened. With our families being so close, we’re already a functioning family. It’s really when we get the down time to celebrate what that is. So bank on some good weather and being able to get that one day where my entire family from overseas can make it and his family from upstate New York, Buffalo, when we can get everyone together, I’ll figure out what day of the year that’s even a real thing and we’ll make it happen.
So you’re back at work, you’re on tour, do you have any plans on releasing a new album soon? What’s on the horizon in terms of work?
An album definitely. It is complete and will be released shortly and I’m so excited about it. It’s my favorite piece of work that I’ve ever, ever, ever, ever done. It’s crazy, as it was recorded over a span of just before I got pregnant and finding out I was pregnant, and then having to deal with what was then another tour, the Floetry reunion, and then going on another tour (Love Jones musical) and then having the baby. All of these songs were recorded over that period of time and all of the emotions that I’d gone through and it was only befitting that I gave it the title that it has, which will be revealed soon enough… it’s amazing. It seriously can’t wait for you to hear it, for everyone to hear it. I’d be jealous of this album – it’s one of those albums like, I wish I did that album.
Are you concerned or obsessed about getting your post-baby snapback or are you all taking it all in stride?
It took me nine months to create a human inside me and push her out, so it might take me nine months to come all the way back to where I used to be. I’ve always been an active person, having played basketball damn near my entire life, and I’ve been an athlete prior to my obsession with food (laughter) but you know, I’m working out, I’m feeling great, I’m a parent, and that’s enough. All women are different, some people might lose weight in two weeks and some people might take two years – that’s OK. We’ve pushed out human beings! That should be celebrated, all shapes and sizes.
Marsha’s new single, “Don’t Wake The Baby” is available on iTunes. For tour dates and info visit facebook.com/marshaambrosius/