A Rock Star Wife

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’m a rock star wife. 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!

About the writer

Katie Hurley, LCSW, is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in Los Angeles, California. Katie is the Child Development Expert for allParenting and EverydayFamily. Katie can also be found covering all things parenting for Practical Parenting and  The Huffington Post. Katie is the author of the upcoming parenting book, The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Cheerful Children in a Stressful World (Tarcher/Penguin). When she's not doing all of that, you can find Katie sipping a latte (or maybe a glass of wine) and enjoying time spent with her husband and her two kids.


Casey 4 months ago

My husband is also a musician. He is currently working on a demo with his new band, and that means whole weekends by myself with the kids. Considering he was in the military before, I think I can handle it. But, as the song says, Loving a Music Man isn’t easy.

Rebecca Kay 1 year ago

Thank you, Katie, for departing from your usual subjects to write about this. In August, I married the love of my life who is also a professional musician. He is not as successful as your husband, but he is extremely talented and driven to go wherever music can take him. Currently, we’re dealing with whether or not we should have a baby. We both want to start a family, but aren’t sure it’s a good idea since his career is so up in the air. I am not sure I’ll be able to handle having to stay home with kids while he is away. The potential for infidelity and resentment worry me. We also don’t want to wait on the chance something happens because we know he may never end up touring. Any more advice you can spare me?! Thanks!

Bethany 2 years ago

So… coming from the wife of a musician who also has a day job… how do you handle it? With the kids I mean. I’m close to my wit’s end, between long hours at work and then time spent away travelling while they try to get big enough to do this full time, I feel so abandoned. I don’t even mind him being gone so much, in terms of loneliness (I like my alone time) but it seems like this dream of his costs so much to his family – not only our marriage but also our three girls. How do you do it and not be resentful of him leaving you to constantly hold the fort down?

TD Hassett 2 years ago

loved this article, gave me lots of ideas for a book I worked on.

Kristin 3 years ago

I gotta say, it is great to hear your story and the countless comments of similar wives/moms married to musicians. I have a 3-month old and am just starting the journey. My husband is incredible (metrosexual is the way to go for sure!) and I wouldn’t trade it for anything… but I’m so nervous about the future and the touring that’s bound to come sometime in the next year… Anyway, I echo the many comments of thanks for sharing your story. The musicians’ life is probably the most misunderstood.

Emily 3 years ago

I am so glad to read how someone shares my same story. I am married to a “well known” touring musician, have an eight year old girl, and am an artist. It is so hard sometimes to be so far apart from your best friend and lover for long periods of time. I have grown to really tune out all of the little stuff that gets under my skin when hearing stories from the road.I look at the big picture and the fun times we have when he is home or we can join him. Getting readjusted when he comes home can be trying sometimesas well, but we have been doing this for over 9 years. The kind of love it takes us to get through this is nothing shy of completely unconditional. Its really nice to hear from others that are in the same boat. Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer 4 years ago

Atleast your children are not suffering from the epidemic… parents that don’t rock!! http://bit.ly/OmfD0V, well I thought it was funny. All kidding aside, you really do ROCK!

lifeintheboomerlane 5 years ago

If anyone had told me that there was a psychotherapist wife of a rocker who has a crazy popular blog called “Scary Mommy” and I should read it, my response would have been, “Right. Gee, Thirty years ago, I could have written a fascinating blog about the Realtor wife of an economist.” But you are real, totally real. And you are hilarious, totally hilarious. Lucky kids. Lucky rocker.

Melanie 5 years ago

I admire you, Katie. I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet you and get to know you just a little. You’re loyal and strong. Sean is a good guy, and I know for certain how much he loves his family. Seeeing your reunions at baggage claim made that abundantly clear. Keep on keepin’ on, and keep sharing your invaluable perspective. It’s right on the money. The road is a challenging place. You’re blessed to have each other and much love to see you through. And just for the record, I also HATE the reveal! Best of everything to you…melanie

Megan (Best of Fates) 5 years ago

I strangely have never thought about people married to musicians who had to travel SO much – good for you for being so supportive and positive!

Also – just so you know, the great-guy-who-says-stupid-things just taunts the reader to google and find out who he is – so if you actually don’t want people searching you should probably leave that out.

(Or I’m just a crazy snooper and feel free to disregard that.)

Kimberly 5 years ago

Sounds like your family is flourishing :) Sometimes I think the right attitude, a smile and a willingness to be flexible are all you really need to get through less than perfect times. Good for you!

Brian Curtis 5 years ago

Thanks for allowing us a window into your world. It was refreshing and real, not something you would get from “reality tv”.

Not a Perfect Mom 5 years ago

ugh, I get crabby if my hubs isn’t home by 7 or if he has back to back caterings to do…I couldn’t imagine doing it all alone all of the time…
Kind of a bummer not to have him around…I don’t know if I could handle that…it takes a strength I don’t think I have

Glamamom 5 years ago

No “real” life is ever glamorous all the time. Sure sounds pretty cool though 😉 How did you meet? Were you like a video vixen in one of his videos? I’m intrigued. Oh wait, you mentioned you didn’t want to spend 45 minutes answering questions. Damn. Good thing you have a blog.

My Beautiful Life 5 years ago

Our society is so obsessed with image.

I understand he is a musician, and he has all these cool perks. I get it. None of that will matter when her kids are grown. All the time he spent recording with some famous rock star, and touring- None Of That Will Matter. His sense of validation should come from his marriage, and being there as a parent for his children.

His wife seems like such an incredible, and giving person. The kind that seems to be taken for granted.

In life there is always trade-offs. For a career like that, he could make less money, and just take studio jobs, and be at home with his adorable kids, and his beautiful wife.

Guilt gifts do not make up for lost time. They don’t. God forbid something should ever happen to his family, but let me tell you- when someone you love dies- don’t think for a second that you will be OK with all the precious time you threw away for something that truly did not matter. His regrets would be enormous, unless he is just truly that selfish.

Rock star husband needs to re-evaluate things. His family is the most important, most precious thing in this world. She is an amazing person, and those kids will only be little once.

    Practical Parenting 5 years ago

    Wow. I want to clear things up, because I wouldn’t ever want anyone to misunderstand. My husband is the greatest. He tours when he has to, because the music business has been hit very hard by the economy. He does a lot of studio work, but we never know from year to year how much work will be available, and how much $ he will make. He loves me and our kids more than any gig, any guitar, or any moment of success. He’s just doing what he can to provide for our family so that I can be home with our precious kiddos right now.

    As for loss, we know about that. My father spent a lifetime at home with before committing suicide when I was 23. If he had been happier with his life, maybe he would have stuck around.

    Sean misses us every second he’s away (whether it’s on tour or in the studio…btw, in the studio means 14 hour days on a good day), and tries to make up for it when he’s home.

    I appreciate the thought that I’m being taken for granted, but believe me I’m not. In 11 years, he’s been the most faithful, loving person I’ve ever known. He makes my world a better place very single day.

      Bella 5 years ago

      I think this is awesome!

amber 5 years ago

My husband is most definitely not a rock star, but he is a metrosexual, and you’re right. They make the very best husbands. I hope you guys get a nice dinner and some wine soon!

Cassandra 5 years ago

As a military wife, I get a lot of what you’re saying; time away, guilt gifts, single parenting, nights, parties, loving him, revealing (specifics for us). The worst question I get is how do you do it; (well dumb ass), Because it needs to be done and I love my family. So thanks for sharing, you put it so much nicer then I would have. And thanks for the honesty.

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) 5 years ago

Well I’ll be completely unoriginal and say…how exciting!!

But, I know…being the one on mommy/daddy duty 24/7 is no picnic. I actually started blogging while my husband was doing most of his travel. It was a lifesaver. That, and like you said…a schedule :)

I love how you debunk the myths. Still, I kinda want to say…yeah my husband is a rock star 😉 Thanks for this great post, it was awesome learning more about you!

TwoWishes Tara 5 years ago

This was so interesting! My ex-boyfriend toured (production, not musician), so it’s a peek into an alternate version of my own life. I definitely missed him, but the lifestyle was enjoyable for a highly independent career gal — lots of time to myself, and then exciting meet-ups in interesting places. By contrast, as a stay-at-home mom, I can’t imagine how I’d survive. So kudos to you!

P.S. Your blog looks amazing — what a wealth of helpful advice. Can’t wait to read more.

Crystal 5 years ago

You and I are so much alike….well, except for the fact that your hubby is a rock star and mine isn’t . But my hubby is gone all the time with the military and he is also a high school volleyball and track coach. He actually leaves for a year long deployment to Afghanistan in May. SO, yeah, I get “doing it all alone” and kind of getting frustrated at other ladies who complain when hubby is “gone for business”. You just seemed to resonate with me.

Amanda 5 years ago

I get anxious when my husband has to work late or goes out with his friends too because I just don’t like being by myself alone at night. You are definitely the rock star.

Lady Estrogen 5 years ago

Fantastic post – it’s great to get rare insight like that :)
Metrosexual indeed! I’ll remember that for my “NEXT” husband. Burley cavemen don’t cook or do dishes and grunt when the idea of shopping is brought up. lol.

Dipaolamomma 5 years ago

I used to think that being married to a rock star would be the proverbial, “bomb”. Life would be a weekend at the Chateau Marmont. Then my bestest best pal went and married one. I. Was. Wrong. I tell ya I don’t know how they do it. He is a drummer who tours with two “big” stars and also does session music. I swear the only time I ever see him these days is on Letterman or SNL (and only for 10 seconds or so). He is on the road more than off. It’s gotten so bad that they have to meet up in odd cities just to celebrate things like anniversaries. YOU my dear are the one who really ROCKS. Doing the everyday mom things is tough. I know I get jealous when my man gets to go for drinks with the boys. I can’t imagine the pressures of him being on the road. I salute you (yes I ripped off AC/DC there but they ripped of Cesar so it’s all good)

Practical Parenting 5 years ago

A huge thank you to the wonderful comments left by this amazing community! I am humbled by your words and grateful for the opportunity to write here and get to know some of you. I look forward to checking out your blogs too!


Stacey 5 years ago

I love this post! I think that marrying an entrepreneur (which is what I did) is much the same as your rock star husband. The biggest difference is the touring. My hubby comes home to sleep, but we go through long stretches when I am it as far as the parenting. I get asked a lot of the same questions and I have all the same answers. I love my husband. He is an incredible Dad. I knew when I married him what I was getting into and I fully support him in what he does. Sometimes it’s great to hear that the famous are just people too!

liz 5 years ago

It’s awesome that you included the gifts as a whole point on their own!

jenny talia 5 years ago

I am a touring entertainer, and my husband stays at home
So what you’ve explained is us, 100% – with the roles reversed
I was an entertainer when he met me, & he loved me anyway
It’s not an easy life, but it’s our life
It also helps that I married a diamond.

Tracey – JustAnotherMommyBlog 5 years ago

I wouldn’t assume it to be fun at all, actually. Having a husband who is gone so often would suck. I would be happy that he was enjoying his career and love, but jealousy would rear its ugly head more often than I think would be healthy for me… I know myself pretty well!

Glad it works for you guys. Some women want to change their partners to fit into their model of what they want life to be. That? Usually isn’t a pretty picture. :)

Ally 5 years ago

I love that you have a tight schedule that you stick to to get through doing a lot of parenting by yourself. When my husband used to travel a lot, I would go into my own “stick to the schedule” mode. It helped me get everything done that needed to get done without going insane. It was efficient and practical. And yes, the nights sucked.

Liz @ Peace, Love & Guacamole 5 years ago

Love your straight-forward attitude! I think even those of us who aren’t married to rock stars can learn from this. And I’m with everyone else…YOU rock.

B 5 years ago

Nice post. So true for me too. Except my husband’s an athlete. I can’t stand “the reveal” either, and avoid it like the plague. I’m a very private person so all you mentioned above hasn’t ever gotten easy for me. I can’t stand the speculation, assumptions and the 20 questions. Especially when I’m just trying to drop my kids off at school. People fail to realize that it’s still my personal life and to mind their manners. It’s definitely not glamorous for me either. We have 3 very small children & he’s gone most of the year. Fun! Not.

Thanks again for the post. It’s hard to find people opening up about this kind of lifestyle. Especially online. Maybe I should try it. Under a solid alias! Lol.

kim 5 years ago

I have to say, paplogic totally got it right — Sean might be the public rockstar, but you, woman are THE rockstar! As an attorney’s wife I truly always thought of the ‘rockstars’ wife as leading this crazy glamours life of tours and planes and nannies, parties and spas and nights out with your husband all alone. I should have known better. On a different level, people hear that my husband is partner in his law firm and make assumptions as well: large, completey ‘done’ house (uh, we bought a fixer upper, then I fell apart. It’s a mess.) kids in private school (public. private costs as much as college!) that I ‘lunch’ and get mani’s and pedi’s. Yeah. I ‘lunch’ with my kids over pb & j and my last mani/pedi was at Christmas. Wish ran in the same circles, we could totally hang!

Shelley Connors 5 years ago

Love the post. Have to agree, as a fiancee of a metrosexual myself, I am one happy (and envied) lady! :)

lifeintheboomerlane 5 years ago

I love that you are married to a rocker but not married to rock. You have such a gift.

TANYA 5 years ago

I’ll take your advice. Please have your hubby said a 6’2″ 30-37 year old metrosexual male to utah for me :-)

    TANYA 5 years ago

    *send not said

myevil3yearold 5 years ago

I think you rock too!

Lynn from For Love or Funny 5 years ago

I love papalogic’s comment…Katie is the real Rock Star in that family!

christy 5 years ago

Wow I can’t believe how grounded you are, and how willingly you deal with it all. I’m going to take your “i hate the reveal’ to heart and remember not to barrage someone with questions when they reveal something like that. I love the way you write, and if you write more like this on your own blog, you have a new follower right here. Thanks for this post – I really enjoyed reading it!

papalogic 5 years ago

It’s good to stay grounded, whatever the situation!

You can also draw parallels to other family situations that combine excitement or glamor (depending on what you’re excited by of course) but also the realities of parenthood. This include, for example, the life of pilots (lots of travel, but tiring and challenging hours), the life of high powered execs (fancy hotels but no time for the kids), or people in the armed forces (far away for long stretches of time), or even being a mob boss (just re-watch the Sopranos…) 😉

But, based on Katie’s posts, you have to wonder whether she’s actually the real Rock Star in that family.

Miri 5 years ago

Glad you caught yourself a good one! Sounds like you’re doing a great job holding down the fort, raising your kids, and making a wonderful life.

HerMelness Speaks 5 years ago

I am often bemused how musicians and celebrities are relegated to some sort of ‘other’ human species. People are people with the same challenges no matter what ‘job’ they do. The ‘guilt gift’ is also welcome be it Tesco flowers or designer jeans. :O HMS

Jessica 5 years ago

It is very interesting to hear a real story from someone married to a musician. There are the shows on MTV but that is not reality for most people, so it is nice to get a real perspective from the mom who is home with the kids all the time. If I was in your situation getting to buy lots of pairs of designer jeans would be a bonus for me as well.

Life with Kaishon 5 years ago

Rock stars are cool!
And so are the woman at home that love them : )
I think anyone raising 2 kids practically by herself is a rock star too!


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