Gigging and Fatherhood

speakerjones

Member
Messages
2,299
So, I'm 33 and I've been in bands pretty steadily since I was 15 years old. Early last year the band I was playing with broke up in a rather nasty falling out with the keyboardist/singer and the bassist. We were on the verge of finishing our first album and starting to get some really good gigs. Anyway, the experience kind of soured me on the band thing for a little while. When the singer got a new project together and invited me in, I decided that since my daughter was due to be born soon at that point, that I would rather spend my weekends watching her grow up than sitting in a basement developing yet another band that could very well break up in a year again anyway. Maybe I'm still a little bitter. Whatever.

I don't regret my decision at all. I treasure the time I'm able to spend with my little girl. Watching her grow up has been the single most amazing and humbling experience to me. She thinks I'm a great musician and has been a great audience for me these past 7 months. But I'm also a performer at heart and I honestly miss gigging. I don't want to seem selfish, but it's a true release for me, an itch that home recording, occasional jamming and playing in my living room is not going to scratch. I'm figuring that this summer, after her first birthday, I'm going to slowly ease back into things with an acoustic duo or something and just try playing out once month or so to see how it goes. I don't know.

I guess I just wanted to see how you gigging fathers do it (or did it). How do you juggle time with the family vs. time for music. I hear a lot of stories of how people just gave up on music for a while after they had kids, and are only just getting back into it now that their kids are all grown up. I'm not sure if I can do that and maintain mental health. I quit cigarettes last year too, so I guess I can give up anything, but do you guys know what I'm saying? I feel like being a performing musician is part of my identity, and by giving it up, I'm not being true to myself. But on the other hand, I don't want to miss my daughter growing up. Any advice?
 

shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
11,650
Gig on the weekends at locations close to home. Then all you will miss is her sleeping (hopefully she is sleeping!). You will lose some sleep in the process as you will get in late and she will typically be up early, but IMO it is worth it.

I've been there and done that. Now my kids are now 15 and 18, and I have not missed much at all---just the occasional late game (both in HS sports) on a Friday night.

I've kept my sanity, enjoyed my outlet, and the family responsibilities have not suffered. I've been with the same band for the last 11 years, and we are all married with kids---one has them much younger than mine. You can make it work, and it can be a joy with the right band---which is key.
 

Tony

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,859
I'm 33, been married 13 years, and we have two kids (12 and 8). I did the full-time band thing until 2001. My daughter was four when I quit in December 2001, and my son arrived shortly thereafter.

Long story short... I gave it up when my daughter asked me to. She just told me that she didn't want me to go away anymore. That was it for me.

It was the right move. I wouldn't trade the time I've spent w/ the family since I quit for anything.

Re: how do you juggle and/or give it up... well... I gave up full time touring, but I didn't stop playing. I still play quite a bit - I just moderate it and make sure I stay in balance w/ my family responsibilities. I've done my best to include both of the kids in the musical part of my life. They both love music, and the 12 year old has picked up bass, so we're starting to jam a bit.

Balance is the thing, man.
 

franksguitar

Member
Messages
3,685
Our situation years ago was worse our bass player was doing the keyboardists wife and got caught by his now ex wife
 

stevel

Member
Messages
14,619
I guess I just wanted to see how you gigging fathers do it (or did it).
First child at 32, when I was gigging 2 to 4 times a week, regularly, and teaching guitar lessons, and working in a music store, and teaching some courses at a university.

I can remember that my son would wake up at 3:00 AM when I would get home from a gig basically. I would go up to him (so my wife could sleep, because she'd been with him the rest of the day) and take care of him and get him back to sleep, and by about 3:30 could go to sleep.

Up at 7:30 the next morning (well, actually, that's that same morning) to go to work. Can remember smacking myself in the face on the way in to stay awake.

I was somewhat fortunate in that I did have some partial days off, and my son had gotten into a schedule where he'd take a mid-morning nap. I can remember turning the TV on to a non-station so there's be static - white noise, and we both slept like babies.

Then, 2nd son comes. Couldn't do it anymore. Wife had started working again (after my first was born, and she continued to work) and had to cut hours (other jobs became full time, so had to give up teaching guitar too).

I kept playing out, but only a couple nights a month.

Now they're getting older, and it's a little easier to be gone more, but I'm also doing things like recording work for people, and to be honest it's more lucrative than playing gigs so that's where I'm spending my energy (unless a really good-paying gig comes along).

So now I'm more choosy about the gigs I take, and can be afford to be - and I'm cool with that.

Steve
 

jazzgtrl4

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,165
Im a full-time working musician. two kids 6 and 2. I do daddy care during the day, gig at night. wife is a teacher. It gets hectic at times forsure. Im helping the 6 year old right now with homework, the 2 year old is into something.. and learning a tune for tonight's gig at the same time. Gotta leave for a double in a few hours. awwwwwww. i need a drink.
 

Jmartin

Member
Messages
52
The key when the child is as young as yours is not to piss off Momma. If she thinks you are getting to go out and have lots of fun and leave her at home to do everything by herself, she will start to resent it. I found that it was important to give my wife as much free time as I was taking. If you take a night off to do a show, make sure your wife has a night off with the girls.

As far as you child goes, at this age she will mostly be asleep while you are out gigging. Just don't miss the important things.
 

Cap'n Fingers

Member
Messages
2,384
I wish I had the proverbial village, it takes to raise kids, to help with mine.
I have a 9 mo old and a 9 yr old. The wife works evenings so I am Mr Mom at night. We have no grand parents or relatives to help out so I don't play gigs
anymore. The house isn't very sound proof so I'm unable to play out of my amp after the kids are in bed. Wah wah wah. That's the news from Lake Woe-is-me.

Sorry I couldn't paint a cheery face on it. Anybody know of any free nannys?
I hear Elin is available again. Wouldn't that be nice? :bong
 

SpaceFlunky

Member
Messages
1,579
Im 24 and have 2 daughters. they are 2 and 4. I gig now maybe once or twice a month and rehearse 2 times a week. We only play shows around the city or maybe a show out of town on the weekends but those are rare now.

The key is to make the time that you spend with your family at home or anywhere else worthwhile. I dont go home and watch tv and not play with my kids. I go home and try to enjoy them to the fullest. I only play guitar at home after i have put them to bed and read them a story.

So far it's worked out. I also have to thank my loving and understanding wife! It helps that she loves music as much as i do.
 

bopplayer

Member
Messages
1,237
2 kids here, yeah I don't do over night gigs anymore, in town only. I don't rehearse for jobbing gigs, and regular band I only commit to 2 rehearsals a month with the explanation that if we make them long rehearsals and everyone has done home work we should get a lot accomplished. Of course doing this on my own terms has cost me some work but I don't care, I spent my late teens and all 20's and even early 30's playing whenever with whomever wherever....just won't do that anymore. I practice etc.. after 9:00 pm every night.
 

jads57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,101
Well there really aren't any gigs for the most part anymore. Especially in the freelance market weddings,corporate, etc. So the decision to stay home is kind of dictated by lack of work. But all that said I'm really happy w/ spending time w/ my daughters 13 &10.
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,697
2 kids here, and even one night out a month at a dive bar to keep the chops hot is cutting it close. oh well.
 

jmecale72

Member
Messages
1,628
I have a three year old daughter. First of all...I am fortunate that I have a very supportive wife. With that said...I do mostly weekend, in-town gigs. We rehearse two nights a week. Since this band is fairly new, we haven't gigged at all out of town. I know there will come that time though and when it does, I take my family with me.
 

lpaul626

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
846
A supportive Mrs. is key (I have a 2 and 3 yo). With that, 2-3 gigs per mo. and 1 rehearsal per week works out well. I also have a demanding career which requires I put in 60 hours per week all year.

I try not to leave the house when it's utter chaos (kid's screaming, dogs (2 giant breeds) wound up, etc.). Then it's a different story :)
 

gtr777

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,782
I have two kids. Son is 13 yrs and my Daughter is 19 months. It makes life interesting with the age difference. I still play on weekends but I don't leave the house until my daughter is asleep so I really only miss her sleeping. My wife works Saturdays so Friday night gigs are tough since I have to be up at 7am every Saturday to look after my daughter but its been working out okay....If it started to affect my family life I would quit but they know how much it means to me so they support me fully luckily.
 

bopplayer

Member
Messages
1,237
My wife supportive too, I just don't have the drive I used to for gigging. I don't get depressed staying home on a weekend. Enjoy it actually.
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
Messages
10,662
10 year old son, 8:00am basketball games after head hits the pillow at 3:30am. You do what you have to do. I sometimes nap after lunch and the kid is cool with his drawing, reading or video games. Sometimes the neighbor's take up the slack by inviting him over to play. Sometimes the neighbor's kids come over and there are no naps.

Did I mention you do what you have to do?

Regardless, don't miss that time with your kid(s). It goes by too fast.
 

robelinda2

Member
Messages
2,648
I'm 32 and have a 2 yr old and a 2 month old. Been gigging for 15 years and over the past 12 months its become just too hard, i'm so tired all the time. I dont want to ever be the type of father that regrets not spending enough time with his kids, especially at the awesome young age, so Ive pretty much given myself a break for awhile. there's absolutely nothing i'd rather do than being the best dad I can be. Gigs can return later.
 

speakerjones

Member
Messages
2,299
Thank you guys! Great wisdom from those who have gone or are going through it. I really appreciate the different perspectives. I admire you guys who are supporting families and still playing for a living.
 

drewl

Member
Messages
8,583
The night my son was born I played a gig, so the other guys have no excuse for missing a gig!
Wife and son had to stay overnight anyway, but since most gigs are at night the little guy is going to bed when I'm heading out and practice is only once a week so i get to spend plenty of time with my son.
Alot of gigs are family friendly anyway, like some places at the shore or festivals/octoberfest etc. so I get paid to take the family out!
 




Trending Topics

Top