Bass and babies
I'm a weekend warrior player (barely) doing weekly rehearsals and a handful of gigs a year. Nothing crazy. Recently discovered that my wife and I have our first kid coming next summer!
Beyond the usual initial emotions (excitement, terror, etc.), I was wondering how this will affect my band and my bass playing in general.
For those with kids, how did you do it? Obviously those of you who are pro's kept doing it 'cause that's what you do.
Can't wait to give that kid some in utero bass lessons!
I am in the exact same boat. Lets see what they say.
My son just turned 2 in Sept and I am gigging more than ever (5-8 gigs per month)and working full time.
Sure I am tired a lot of the time but it is worth it for me and the extra cash is a real bonus.
I think the key for me at least is that my wife is very supportive and at least right now the gigs don't really take away much family time because I am not going out until 8pm or so.
Look at it this way, some people need two jobs to make ends meet, if you are making money doing gigs it sure beats pumping gas!
My wife took my daughter to band practice in a baby tote when she was 5 weeks old. In those days all our wives got together upstairs while we practiced downstairs. Later when my son was born & 2 years old we moved practice to my house. Neither child would go to bed until they got a chance to come in the room & watch dad play one song. Then they went to bed & slept like logs. To this day night noises don't bother them and can sleep anywhere, anytime.
As far as the band situation the only "hobby" I had was my music. Didn't like going to bars etc. unless I was getting paid to do it so I was home every night. When they were young they were usually in bed when I left for a gig, always up with them in the morning (that was the deal) and at all their sporting events. My wife was (and still is) very supportive of my "hobby". She didn't go back to work until the kids were in their teens so the extra money earned from music put food on the table and helped pay the bills more than once.
Your situation & how to handle it is different for every one. I was fortunate to have tremendous support from my wife that allowed me to keep playing.
I've been doing the weekend warrior thing on and off for about 30 years. It has varried over the years, but usually simillar to your schedule of weekly practice with the band for 2-3 hours and gigs a couple times per year. My wife has usually been in the same band playing drums or singing. Our children are now 23, 21 and 12 years old. The oldest just started her carrer as a middle school band teacher and the 21 year old is about to graduate with a music ed degree also.
When we first had the older children, we took a break for a couple of years until they got to the toddler stage and we weren't so busy at home. When we had our last child, my wife was still drumming in the band right up to the last week before she delivered. Our son was always more comfortable in a noisy environmrent, go figure.
Looking back, we always found a way to make things work. Family always came first, but music was just part of our lifestyle. It can be a little difficult to find time to play/pracvtice and the time can get interupted a lot. As far as time away for rehearsals or gigs, it's good to have some break time as long as every one else's need are being met and the family supports what each individual needs.
How do we do it? It's just finding the balance and doing what you love. Family is always first and you get to share you music with them.
Just look at Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones and Gene Simmons. They seem to have turned out fine with bass and babies and one wife, for the most part. Btw, congratulations!!
If your just doing a handful of gigs it shouldn't matter. If this is a band that rehearses more then they gig you might want to think about that.
As mentioned above, a supportive spouse is essential to making this work. I am a high school English teacher. I play bass, and I run live sound at least one night, but usually more than one night, per weekend. I also gave three kids ages 10, 6, and 18 months. I am home when they're getting ready for bed and home when they are so they know I'm there when they need me. The extra cash has come in handy on more than a few occasions, too. As long as you have a wife who supports your interest in music and you're there for your family, there's no reason why it shouldn't work.
The only thing I'd add is that kids like being around music; include them in your musical life. (In age-appropriate ways, obviously; don't take your 2-year-old to that Pig Destroyer gig!) Among many other good things, I think it helps them develop reasonable musical tastes, so you don't have to listen to Raffi nonstop for eight years!
I have a 5 year old son, a 3 year old daughter, and a daughter that just turned 1 on Monday. It's a blessing to have 3 healthy, beautiful kids in the same house and being able to raise them and watch them play together. It's not without it's challenges, though.
It really depends on what you and your wife do for a living. If you're free on weekends and only work 40 hours a week during the day, chances are you'll have plenty of time to spend with your kids in the evening and whenever you're at home on the weekends. In my case, I play music and work a part time job to make ends meet. My wife is a stay-at-home mom that does a great job raising our children. That gives me the freedom to work when I'm scheduled and to do gigs and recording sessions when I need to. If my wife worked, however, that would require a lot more balancing of our schedules and even sacrificing things I like doing like doing gigs and playing in bands.
It really depends on the schedule of the family. When kids are younger, they're not as needy as far as time is concerned. They're happy with staying at home with mommy and watching cartoons or playing with toys. However, when they they older, they'll want to go to baseball practice, go to the mall, go to their friend's house, etc. and that all takes travel time. It's a case by case basis and each family is different. What works for us may not work for you. Some women, like my wife, are independent and don't mind doing things on their own and that will allow you more freedom. Some women, like a guitarist's wife I know, won't allow him to even go to a 2 hour rehearsal because she's so clingy. Then there are the kids. Some kids are more involved with things like school clubs or sports while other kids stay at home and play video games all evening.
Congratulations and I hope you guys can work out a formidable schedule to accommodate your band and everything else.
Balance is the key. My boys are now 35 and 31, and I'll tell you, you'll never get back time you don't spend with them. So, first bit of advice is don't let the band become the priority. Make commitments, but be sure you're around. Repeat the paragraph quoted above regarding your wife too.
Kids love music, and sparking that interest even before birth helps them in the long run. A couple of cool things happened to me even though neither of my sons ever really played instruments (they both had piano lessons from a great teacher, and they both played band instruments- 'bone and trumpet for a while). One beautiful August day my younger son came home and said "Do you know just how cool it is to drive around with the windows down, cranking Jimi Hendrix as loud as you can? Oh, yah, Dad, YOU do!!"
My older son had a radio show when he was in college which I used to listen to while at work. One day he played the entire "In A Gadda Da Vida" track. I called the station and said "I didn't know they'd released that on CD" and he said "It's vinyl- you haven't checked your record collection lately have you? I also have "Wheels of Fire" and the first Emmylou Harris album here for todays' show."
I in in a weird situation....
I am 43 and have kids that are 17, 15 and 1 MONTH old. The baby was a bit of an oops, but she rocks.
in any case, with my first 2 kids, I quit playing completely for over 10 years. One of the dumbest things I have done. With the baby, I am still gigging and rehearsing.
I find that my wife is fine with this as I make sure I feed the baby and spend a lot of time with her when I am home. Babies really do sleep, eat and poop. Not much else and can be pretty low maintenance once you get them in a good routine.
It can definitely work IME.
My little girl is 16 months old, I still play in two different bands. Now, my other hobby (scuba diving) has definitely taken a back seat :(. Oh well, it is worth it.
First off - congratulations!
I'll repeat the quote from a drummer I used to play with, that came up in a similar thread:
Family comes first.
Work comes second.
Band comes third.
Totally in agreement that your wife's support will be essential. What's most important is that she not feel like you're running away from your role as a dad and hiding behind the band as an excuse to escape and dump her with the baby. A lot of new moms worry about that kind of thing. You may find that you need to say no to the band sometimes or turn a gig down because there are family needs.
But at the same time, I think it's important that she understand that, while you support her 100%, you need time to do things for you, so that you can catch your breath and recharge and come back as a better dad and husband. Encourage her to have time for herself too, especially after the baby is weaned (if she's nursing), when you take over and she can go out with her friends or do whatever recharges her. Fair is fair. Invite her to communicate what she needs from you and what you need in the relationship as well.
My daughter is 14. I've been playing in bands steadily over the last 18 years (off-and-on for the previous 17 years). One night a week for practice should be negotiable with the bride. A couple gigs a month. It isn't that big of a deal, but your wife should get equal time away.
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