Kristina Mulholland is an active freelance French horn player and educator in the greater Philadelphia area. Some of her recent performances have included Symphony in C, Riverside Sinfonia, Patriot Brass, and Opera Delaware. In 2018, Kristina gave the Philadelphia premiere of Karl Stockhausen’s Nebadon. Her teaching engagements have spanned from private instruction to large ensemble rehearsal, from summer camp to general music, and from preschool through college-aged students. Ms. Mulholland received her Bachelors in Music Education from The College of New Jersey and her Masters and Artist Diploma in French Horn Performance from Temple University. Find out more about Kristina online at www.kristinamulholland.com.
Photo credit Ben Tran Photography
It all started when…
August 17th, 2017. 11:45am. After the initial intake process, including over an hour of trying to find a vein for an IV (one of the attempts literally bent the needle), it was time for the C-section of my breech baby.
Doctor jokes to keep the mood light:
“So if your child marries and his wife has a breech baby it will be a son of a breech.”
“We don’t do the Cleopatra treatment to the operating room.”
“This will be the happiest day of your life.”
And just like that, at 12:10pm, 9 pounds and 7 ounces changed my life forever. It was the most terrifying, painful and longest day of my life. But it turned out the doctor was right, it was also my happiest.
Then comes everyday real life…
New parents from all different career backgrounds know this feeling. A major shift in identity happens when you suddenly have a new, vulnerable, beautiful being to care for. A balance, compromise, redefinition of how things in life work happens in such a unique way for each person. Its virtually indescribable.
I found this balance to be especially difficult to navigate as a musician, educator, and wife of a musician/educator. Some of my personal internal struggles–How do I prioritize my family over teaching hundreds of other people’s children? How do I balance practicing and caring for my child? How do I deal with the guilt and anxiety of leaving my child with a babysitter? How do I balance income opportunities with childcare costs? How can I be the best version of myself for my family and my career? What matters most?
Just promise me you’ll keep playing…
This past year has not been easy but it has been worth it. I often find myself reflecting on a moment that happened playing a gig a few months before having my baby. An older gentleman came up to me after he found out I was pregnant and said, “just promise me you’ll keep playing.” At first I was offended. Playing horn is such a large part of my identity. Who is this person to assume that I have chosen to completely abandon my career once the baby arrives? Then I reminded myself that I am so incredibly fortunate to live during a time when, as a female, balancing a performance career and a family is even an option.
Five reasons why having a baby has made me a better musician… Continue reading