Karen Jonas lives life in the public eye as a singer, but offstage she shares more in common with her fans than they may know. Jonas has two daughters, June and Hazel, and is expecting a baby boy this winter. Rather than approaching her professional life as something that must be weighed against her role as a parent, Jonas finds that sharing her passion for her profession and allowing her children to see the fulfillment she gets from pursuing her chosen career is an integral part of raising self-reliant and confident children.
Jonas says she finds a certain balance in the routine and structure she creates for her girls during the day. She explains, "You know, you have to get up and make breakfast for these beautiful little faces that are at your bed. They need you to get your day started. At home, we get distracted by the everyday cleaning and chores, so part of our routine is to visit a lot of coffee shops. We walk around town, and we have a little bag with our crayons and things in it. It gets the girls out and meeting people."
There have been surprises to parenting that Jonas would never have expected; no matter how much problem solving or guidance she offers her girls, much of parenting has been helping June and Hazel to accept themselves. Jonas explains, "I thought my influence would be more than what it is, but the girls have their own personalities. I've learned that being able to accept and work with that is the strongest way to parent. I am here to help them figure out what they need to be successful."
"When you exclude your personal desires to cater to a child's schedule, you have to find a comfortable balance;
otherwise, the example you're setting is 'I'm your taxi.'"
Though her own passion is music, Jonas says she doesn't feel it's her place to push her girls into the field simply because she chose it. "There's music around our house, but they consider that to be Mom's job. I think that's an important example to set, that your passion and your art can be your livelihood. There are a lot of people who aren't able to make that scenario work, but I'm grateful to have that opportunity."
Jonas sees many parents putting their own pursuits aside to indulge their children's interests. While she sees this selflessness as an important piece of helping one's children to develop, she also sees it as important to show that one's own interests are equally important as the child's. She says, "When you exclude your personal desires to cater to a child's schedule, you have to find a comfortable balance; otherwise, the example you're setting is 'I'm your taxi.' What the children want to pursue is important, but kids need to see that mom and dad are people with passions and interests, too."
In the end, Jonas believes her children have made her wiser. "Your own understanding of things deepens, certainly. Having children is one way that your place in the universe becomes clearer."
A.E. Bayne is a writer and visual artist who lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She has been a frequent contributor to Front Porch Magazine and is an editor at the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review.
Karen Jonas's second album is slated for release in March of 2016. Country Songs was recorded with Jeff Cover at Wally Cleaver's Recording Studio in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and features a plethora of local talent, including Tim Bray, Jay Starling and Eddie Dickerson.
Bill Harris painted the cover artwork, and Amber Renee Photography took photos for inner CD sleeve.