The Life of a Musician's Wife: My Survival GuideSelena Mills
I’ve written about being the partner of a musician/webmaster before. While I knew exactly what I was getting into all those years ago, one can never imagine how challenging a situation is going to be until they’re actually in it. At first I was going to present a series of tips for life touring on the road with toddlers.
But we haven’t done that in a while. We used to do it a lot, when we had just one baby, but as you can imagine, road life as a musician is less than glamourous. While there are enough opportunities to stay in swank or regular hotels at some of the more local gigs, it’s just not realistic for us to be flying with him all over the world, for all the obvious reasons — no matter how much we miss our family being together.
The truth of it is, he’s gone for 4-5 months (not all at once) out of the year, which isn’t a lot compared to what many successful musicians do, but it’s enough to be doing the part of a single parent thing for long(ish) stints of time. It’s not so much that I’m complaining (Which I do! It’s natural and fine for us mamas to vent, within reason, about whatever the heck we want to.), but more coming to terms with it all. Accepting our crazy life as it is, being grateful for the person my kids call Daddy. He wouldn’t be the awesome that he is without being an artist. Our lives, my kids’ lives, wouldn’t be steeped in art and music, creativity, and the freedom to adventure in the way that we do.
So how do I do all of the parenting double-duty on top of working full-time without feeling resentful? This is my Survival Guide…
Respect & Accept 1 of 7The biggest thing that I must always strive to remember is that the mister? He's doing double-duty in a very different way. Touring as a musician isn't all limos, 5-star hotels and seductive excitement. It's gruelling, hard-ass work -- especially since he has a full-time job as a webmaster to keep up with on the road, on top of touring and performing. Studio recording and touring time is when our relationship and parenting skills are tested the most. It can be a grueling time wherein I can't expect regular contact and I can expect plans to change/get shuffled last-minute, including holidays and birthdays.
Fully Loaded 2 of 7I cook up a storm of large batch, freezer-friendly foods when he's home, and I have more time to prepare meals from scratch. Without a freezer full of soups, stews, sauces and lasagnas ready to pop in the oven when he's gone…we'd be eating a lot of grilled cheese, scrambled eggs and take-out. Which we do on occasion, of course.
Stock-Up 3 of 7We always hit Costco right before the mister leaves for a stint, to stock up on everything that we can so my grocery runs can be short and sweet. Same goes for trips to the farmers' market. We stock up on meats for the freezer, so when I go with the kids on my own, I'm only grabbing the fresh veggies we need. Less lugging and juggling for me = less stress, a happier mama and happier kids.
Community 4 of 7When we moved from the city to this small town we now call home, we did so with thoughts towards surrounding ourselves with community. I can't imagine doing all of this on my own out in the boonies somewhere. Mamas who do that? You have my respect. Big time. When he's away I have a small group of amazing friends who come over to help on the weekends, (not always but enough to give me a much needed break), or just hang-out and have dinner with us or a couple of glasses of wine and some convo with me after the little ones are in bed.
Childcare 5 of 7Both of our little ones are in daycare part-time now; we've gone back and forth between that and full-time and seriously considering Montessori. We've recently decided that having a part-time nanny may be the best fit for our family at this time, until a spot opens up for them next spring (holy wait lists!) at the school we like. Without daycare, there is no way I'd be able to keep on top of my work. I also enlist the services of our awesome babysitter (the son of the the mister's band-mates), to come over onc evening during the week.
Love the Life You Live 6 of 7This is a mantra I sometimes struggle to get down with. Usually in and around the time that things happen like my sewer backing up due to construction workers on my street hitting a pipe, and I get screwed around left right and centre by all the people who are supposed to take care of it. Probably because they were all men and I was home alone. (You can judge me on that rather sexist statement, you have NO IDEA). Or when my toddlers, as they will often be at this stage in their lives, are melty, disobedient, raging balls of hormones for what seems like days on end. Those are the times that it's really hard to see the light, feel the love, be the happy. But all of the rest of the time? I love being a mother. I love being with, parenting, caring for and having fun with my kids. It's not all a drag. It's not all a chore. Which, is, I think, as it should be, no?
Be Kind 7 of 7To myself. Even if the kids DO eat grilled cheese 3 days in a row and there's probably too much screen time going on, I have to tell myself it's all okay and that I'm still a good mama. I have a cleaner once a week when he's gone. That's right. Once a week. And when the mister does get home? You bet I go go out for a mani, a pedi (yes, I'm girly like that. Only sometimes.) and a night out with the girls. (After loving him up of course. Which is hard to do at times because he's basically comatose.)
Image courtesy ImagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival
More Babbles From Selena…
- Family Holiday Traditions? You Bet.
- a Work at Home Mom’s Guide to Financial Freedom. Yes really. Give or take.
- On Making Magic For Your Toddlers This Season: (you get to make up the rules’ as you go!)
- Give Your Plastic a Rest: Surprise Your Toddler (and Yourself) With a Handmade Holiday Gift
- Your Holiday Shopping? It’s Done >>> The Ultimate Toddler Gift Guide.
Elsewhere on the internets…
Via my humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve.