I very rarely write personal Facebook updates, and never personal Tweets. I was brought up with a strong sense of the importance of keeping my public and private lives separate – which has not always sat easily with me.
As anyone who gets involved in the business of PR knows, people tend not to be interested in the public self as much as they are the private. It’s been a theme that has dominated my shows and thinking for a long time now.
Yet – here I am – celebrating Christmas in New York with my family and Naadia’s family before we return tomorrow to the business of performing the show every night. It would be hard to share something more private. Who knew, when we first got together to think about this show in Naadia’s front room three years ago, that this is where we would end up: with our four children, taking a ferry to Staten Island, then racing back to get the kids to bed before the show tonight. Our husbands are gloriously holding the fort for the week (Ru calls himself my domestic roadie), but there are no nannies or entourage. We are back to the domestic sphere – and the business of trying to go on stage every night with enough energy to move a house full of people to their feet is quite a challenge compared to last week.
I remember how easy it was before children : shows every night, after show parties, the whole of life focused around that one “performance”.
It’s the reason I didn’t believe it was possible to continue my career in the same way when I had children.
To be absolutely part of the minutiae of child-rearing and also maintain the energy for the world outside – there just didn’t seem to be many role models out there.
In my first show about Peggy Lee, she talked of touring with her babe in arms – but my experience of family life was settled, domestic and secure. I wanted that for my children, for better or worse. I didn’t want them pulled around, with a million different carers and so – subconsciously, I guess – I made a choice.
9 years after the birth of my first daughter, here I am testing the balance again. It feels good to return whole-heartedly to performing, putting myself out there – and amazing to be in New York.
But I won’t deny that both Naadia and I are looking forward to returning to home comforts. A proper meal and a night in with a DVD.