Katie is a child & adolescent psychotherapist/parenting consultant in Los Angeles. She plays the roles of mommy to two very talkative kids, wife of a metrosexual rock star, and mommy blogger. She uses her own “Practical Parenting” strategies just to survive each day.
I usually write about parenting strategies. Largely because I spent most of my adult life studying child development and working with kids. But there’s another reason hidden below the surface. I married a rock star. I know. You’re confused. What does one have to do with the other? More than you would think.
I married Sean because I loved him. But to love him is to accept that his job takes up a huge amount of space in his life. He’s either holed up in a music studio in LA making one record or another, or he’s out on the road with one of the biggest artists in the world of rock (who shall remain nameless for privacy reasons but, for the record, is a really great guy despite his tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time). He’s a busy guy. To marry a musician is to know that there will really never be job stability or a set annual income. To marry a musician is to know that you are willingly entering some form of polygamy, since they are always married to their jobs as well. Touring for long periods of time when you have a wife and two kids? Not the best-case scenario for the wife and two kids.
To make a long story short, I became focused on easy parenting strategies long before I started my blog because I had to. While Sean was off touring the world, I was left home to play the role of mommy and daddy. I needed easy. People often tell me that I make it look so easy. That I don’t seem to get frazzled. I wish that were the case. Sean would say that I just have a way of putting people at ease. Which, by the way, is why I do what I do. So while I usually focus on parenting strategies I thought that today, just this once, I might focus on the real me. The me who runs to the bathroom for a self-imposed time out if the kids won’t stop fighting. The me who insists on slapping on a little make-up every morning because otherwise I just don’t think I could survive the day. The me who runs on little sleep and a lot of caffeine, and who simply can’t survive without the help of the Cuisinart single cup coffee maker (if there is a god, it’s the person who developed this genius concept…I mean the REALLY good single cup coffee, not the instant Sanka my Nana swore by). Today I get to debunk the myths behind “Rock Star Wives” (and I don’t mean those plastic surgery women with ridiculous diamonds on that horrible MTV show.) So here’s a little about the real me:
1. I hate the reveal: I love making new friends. I’ve always felt really lucky to have so many amazing women in my life. From childhood friends to college roommates to moms I’ve met in the past four years, I’ve always managed to form great connections with wonderful women. But I don’t like the getting to know you part. When most people are asked, “what does your husband do?” they get to provide a brief description, which is met with some sort of understanding. When I have to answer that question it is met with one of two responses: “Wow, that’s so awesome! You must have such an exciting life!” or “so what does he DO?” Sean has an exciting life. I have an average mom of a four year old and two year old life. To explain what he DOES is to get into a lengthy discussion about recording studios (no, bands don’t always have their own bass players play on the record…often they don’t), tours (living in a bus for a year is NOT actually that glamorous), and how the music business works (which I’m still not convinced I even understand). It’s not a simple explanation. Sometimes I come really close to saying “he’s a lawyer” just to avoid the 45 minute question and answer period, but then I know I will get caught in a lie eventually. I’m not sure which is worse.
2. I don’t tour: It’s amazing how many people ask me how often I tour with him. We have TWO kids! Here’s your quick run down of a tour bus (and I’m talking the fancy made for very successful touring artists kind). You walk in to find the “front lounge”. It basically consists of a couple of small couches, a very small table (you have to be really good at sharing to withstand touring), a “kitchen”, and the smallest bathroom you will ever see in your lifetime. Then there are the “bunks” which I like to think of as rolling coffins. Sean and I have spent many a long drive crammed into one of these “beds” together. It is not suitable for children. Then there is a “back lounge” but I usually steer clear. That’s where the video games and heavy drinking usually takes place. Can you see where I’m going with this? I once did a five-week run with him. Riley and Liam wouldn’t last two days.
3. I dread the night: I run a tight ship around here. I have a schedule for the kids and we really stick to it. It’s the only way to survive when you are responsible for pretty much 98% of the parenting. The days are generally fun (well, you know) and go by without much drama, but I dread nightfall. When the house is quiet the anxiety creeps in. I can’t help but worry. What if something happens to me, and the kids can’t get help (morbid, I know)? What if something happens to Sean and where is he anyway? It’s lonely at night. I wish I had started this blogging adventure earlier; at least it keeps me busy. I’ve come to rely on the friends who show up with wine and food even when I tell them not to. They saved me this past year. But I do like to read, so that’s a positive.
4. I have a love/hate relationship with the parties: I never get tired of watching Sean play. I can’t describe it. Other people see him up there and say, “that was amazing! He’s great!” But for me it’s different. I’m watching the man I love completely in his element getting lost in the song. The after parties? Those I could live without. It’s fun to get dressed up and go to the show, but being crammed into a nameless bar with hundreds of other people while the ticking of the clock gets louder with each passing second leaves a bit to be desired. I find myself checking my watch constantly thinking, “if I get home now I can sleep 4 hours before they wake”. It was fun at 25, but now its just part of the job. I go because it’s what we need to do (and good people watching), but you’re more likely to find me on the couch with a bowl of oatmeal and my laptop on any given night.
5. I do enjoy the guilt gifts (and so do the kids): Come on, who wouldn’t? When he’s been away for a long time and comes home bearing the Coach box it sort of does it make it seem not so bad! What can I say, I have thing for purses! I’m a little less pleased with all of the rule breaking he does to try to make up for time missed with the kids, but I can’t always be the bad cop. So sometimes I let it slide. Also, I get to buy as many pairs of designer jeans as I want when he’s on tour. So that’s a huge bonus.
6. I love him anyway: I hear the complaints about husbands who go out to watch a football game (the one good thing about musicians is that even though they sometimes pretend, they really don’t care enough about any one sport to actually go to a bar to watch it), don’t do enough kid duty, slack on the chores. I totally get it. But Sean toured from October 2009 to October 2010 with few breaks. It makes you see things differently. There were times when I would have done anything for the football husband (even if he does leave the toilet seat up) if it meant having dinner with him just a few times in a month. I love him anyway. I don’t resent him (I get asked this a lot). I miss him when he goes (thank god for my sister, who calls me 18 times a day to fill in the gap). I miss him when he’s holed up in a studio making records. But that’s who is. And you know what? When he’s here he’s the best husband around and a truly amazing father. I still think I got the best one. 11 years later we still look forward to dinner in and a bottle of wine. Not bad.
So there you have it. No glitz. No glamour. Just an average girl who married a musician, was lucky enough to have two wonderful kids, and then decided to write it down. And yes, I would do it all over again.
P.s. I guess my only advice today is to marry a metrosexual. They love to cook, they clean without much prompting, and they buy really great gifts!