Advice from dads to the young bloods
I recently became a father and when I was younger I was a little worried that my music would end when I became married and had a kid. I know that other musicians that are young have had the same fears, but I know this doesn't have to be the way. So, as a new father I offer my advice on my blog (basstony.wordpress.com), but I am wondering if any of you gigging and practicing dads out there have any wisdom to add to this subject, or young cats that have any questions. Thanks, P
Here is my recent post about it:
I don't think its an issue of kids, I think it's an issue of your other half. If your wife is cool and understands how important music is to you, then it shouldnt be a problem to practice once a week or so and play gigs now and again. If on the other hand you're wife is too controlling, then that's another story.
I never had kids because being in a band was such a big part of my identity.
You did it right man.
There are a lot of issues that could arise. My son is now 23 years old but when he was younger I always felt guilty about doing tours because I felt like I was deserting him and my wife. I sometimes felt guilty about leaving to do a local gig too. My wife was always fine with it as long as the bills were paid. The first time I did a tour she said "don't do drugs, don't get arrested and don't get anyone pregnant". None of this was an issue because I have never done drugs, always stay out of trouble and had no plans on cheating on my wife. I can't say the same for other members of my band. I found the best way to avoid any issues at home is to always remember that your family MUST come first. If you are not the type of person that can do this you shouldn't get married in the first place. If I get a last minute call to do a gig and I do not have plans with my family, I do the gig. If I have plans with my family, I politely decline the gig. I am fortunate because my wife is very easy going and not insecure at all. Of course, that might be because I have never given a reason to be insecure. She never questions anything I do when it comes to music. Her main priority is that our bills our paid and we are happy and healthy.
I have several friends who quit bands because their wife didn't want them to play anymore. Marriage is about give and take. If you can't support and share in each other's hobbies and interests then you probably shouldn't get married. Onve kids anter the picture, you have to decide if a band is going to take too much time away from your family. The most important thing is to always be there when your family needs you regardless of whether you are in a touring band, a local club band or in anything else you do.
There is no right or wrong here. Parenting is a full time job, plus earning a living and having a relationship with your wife other than shopping, schelping, washing, and tending to the development of your offspring. Having some family support helps, like grandparents, so family values are passed along, etc.
When the kids were young, under 5, I would gig, easy show gigs, a franklin for a couple hours, but when they were getting physically active, I withdrew till they were well into their teens. That's my story, anyway, for what it's worth.
My oldest is 17 and I only started playing 3 years ago, so I never had to face the prospect of giving up music or having to juggle music and a newly arriving family. Still, a drummer I used to play with put it very clearly:
Family comes first.
Job comes second.
Band comes third.
Of course, if you're a pro, the band IS your job, so that bumps it up the priority list...
Basically, when you're a dad, you have people who need you, on a lot of levels, and your first priority is making sure their needs (including emotional/relational) are met.
Having said that, you have needs too, and the rest of the family needs to understand that you'll be a better dad if you're not burning out because nothing is meeting your needs. Guys need a night out with the guys now and then. My wife had a hard time for a while adjusting to me getting into music, but she came to grips with it when she said, "Some guys have the bowling team... my husband has his band."
I think it's absolutely healthy to play music as a father and husband, as long as you achieve the right balance. But that's true of any pursuit. My wife and I give each other some space to do what we love as individuals as well as spending time as a couple and as a family with our daughter. Seems to work out pretty good.
This is really great guys! Exactly what I was looking for. keep 'em coming!
My husband saw this thread and asked me to reply from the perspective of a musician's wife. As a wife of a musician, and a musician myself, I believe in balance and compromise. I knew what I was getting into before we got married. Spouses must realize that music is an integral part of the soul! Communication is also an important part of being a musician and spouse. Time must be scheduled for both family and music! For the most part, I focus on family now with 3 children ages 10, 6, and 17 mos; but when an opportunity comes my way for challenging choral work, I communicate and make arrangements with my husband to attend rehearsals and performances. He generally works as a sound engineer on weekend nights.
A lot of my friends who used to play before they had kids tell me they still have X number of guitars....in a closet somewhere. For me, a recipe for success was 'keep the guitars out of the closet.' How to do this with curious, sticky hands about? Wall hangers. A guitar is always in sight and within my reach (but not theirs), even if for only 10 minutes at a time. For me this is crucial.
Beyond that - entertain. Kids love hearing their names in song - even if you make it up as you go, and it sounds terrible.
For me, the "issue" is not my wife. It's me. (Really there's no issue.) But the point is that once I got a look at my first born (we now have two beautiful girls) my identity changed. Being a bass player, an electrician, and even to an extent a husband all took 2nd place to being a dad. My wife is as cool as can be expected. As long as I don't play a gig on the day of her sister's wedding or something ridiculous like that I'm good to go. But I DON'T allow music to get int the way of being a dad. It's MY choice. I wouldn't trade some of the moments I have had with my 3 year old on a Saturday night watching a movie on the couch for any gig I turned down to do it. My friends all say I'm full of crap when I tell them that Brad Paisley or Bon Jovi could call me up for a tour and I would turn them down with a smile on my face. There's no way I'm leaving my kids for that long to hold a bass guitar for anyone.
Congrats to you new dad! Your life is going to change, but not in the negative ways you may have heard from your buddies pissing and moaning about responsibility. There's no substitute for YOUR kid running across the room yelling "DADDY!" with her arms wide open waiting to hug you when you pick them up from school. I wouldn't trade that feeling for any money, drug, or fame. (I'm sure it's the same if the kid is a boy.)
The post above is right.
Family and relationships first.
That assumes you don't do all your own car repairs, do your own IT maintenance, do all your household repairs, do all your own lawn care, and have multiple other hobbies which take up your time. If that's the case, then you need to protect #1 and #2 and sort out all the other priorities yourself. That's the situation I face, which is why I'm lucky to practice on my own 30 minutes a week and get in one band practice.
I am with two fingers. I enjoy being a father most of all. My son is 2, and today he told me "I play bass in a band Daddy". We go to music class together once a week, and we play together every night.
I am as supportive a husband as I can be. When my wife wants to do something I stay home and I don't complain. That way when my time comes, she is happy to trade places. If I feel guilty about going out and playing I spend the whole next day with my boy, or we do something special next weekend. Plus, he gets some alone time with Mommy. He doesn't miss me so much when they are playing together.
My son LOVES music. When I am really grooving he dances around the house. If I lose the groove, he lets me know. My happiest musical moment was seeing the look on my son's face when I played the "Bob the Builder" theme for him. He thought I was so cool.
Seeing your kid react to your playing is exponentially more exciting than watching the 3000th person get excited for "Sweet Home Alabama"
Good luck with the baby and enjoy every second of it.
The great advice keeps coming!
This is a followup, in a way, after a year of being a father, husband, student, and musician. http://basstony.wordpress.com/2013/1...how-to-say-no/
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