Five on Friday: Life Changes You Probably Should NOT Do All At Once

The hubs has been home for most of this year so far. Yay!! And what makes that time together more fun than making some life changes! Right?

Totally kidding.

But the truth is my hubs and I are NOTORIOUS for making major life changes all at once.

Remember last year when he started a new gig touring the world and I quit my job, had a second baby and became a stay at home mom? Yep. That. But I digress …

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." -Helen Keller

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller

And when your life partner isn’t home 80% of the time, you gotta do what you gotta do in the other 20%. Right? Right? I mean, I’m not the only one, right? Excuse me while I hyperventilate …

  1. Launch your own consulting business.
  2. Add/Change childcare services.
  3. Build a new house.
  4. Prepare to sell your house.
  5. Move. (Okay, so this hasn’t actually happened yet, but given #3 and #4 it will soon! And the process of cleaning out and packing up has already started.)

Ah, but such is life. It wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if we weren’t making it interesting!

What crazy stories do you all have from when your hubs is off the road for an extended break?

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Bonded

rw-photo-meetup-jan2014

In my most recent post, 5 Perks to Being in Nashville, my 2nd favorite perk was YOU. You road widows are awesome. Road widows, band wives, crew wives, musician’s wives, groupies…whatever you want to call yourselves… we are bonded. Whether your boyfriend is a guitar tech for a big country artist in Nashville or your husband is in an Indie band based out of Portland, Oregon we are bonded. Whether you love it or hate, you’re in love with a music-loving man. We’re familiar with the phone calls, face time and Skype. We know about long nights home alone. We have attended parties without our better halves. We get each other.

I had my very own band wife for a while. She was dating the singer of my husband’s band, she lived nearby, and she was super cool! We even toured together to California for a few dates. But, that relationship didn’t last and I was a lonely band wife for a very long time. The road widows I’ve met here in Nashville have been amazing. It was definitely something I needed, without even knowing I needed it.

Thank you for being kind to one another. Thank you for listening. Thank you for sharing your stories in our comments section. Thank you for telling others about this website and our Twitter account. We all have those days where we “just cant take it anymore!” so keep supporting each other, checking in with each other, sending flowers or notes or a simple text message of encouragement. 

You road widows sure are awesome.

Five on Friday: Things You MUST Do on a Kids-Free Weekend Getaway

My husband and I are on a much-needed vacation this weekend. And we left the kids at home. That’s right. We are kid-free!! (Don’t worry. There’s someone with them.)

This trip is a VERY exciting thing for this mama who spends every day and night with the kids and is often on her own when the hubs is on the road. Not to mention, with two kiddos running around, it’s really challenging to get one-on-one time with the hubs when he’s home anyway. So, after well over two years of no kid-free vacations, here we sit. In our plush hotel room with absolutely nothing we have to do. Well, except these top five things you MUST do on a kid-free weekend getaway.

  1. Listen to music with cuss words really REALLY loud. I don’t know about you, but the Frozen soundtrack is on repeat at our house. So today we listened to Eminem. Can’t do that with kids around.
  2. Eat junk food whenever you want. I can’t eat anything around my kids without them wanting it too. Not to mention, I try to be a good example for them so they make healthy choices and have a nutritionally-balanced diet and blah blah blah. So I just don’t eat junk food. Which is good for my waistline I suppose. BUT, when you’re away from the kids … anything goes! Cheetohs? Doritos? M&Ms? Yes, please.
  3. Pack a cooler of beer. Not that I don’t have a drink with the kids around, but bringing a cooler of beer is not usually on my to-do list when I’m taking a family vacation. Make it an adults-only weekend though, and suddenly it takes priority over my hair dryer.
  4. Disregard time altogether. When you’re a parent, you live by the clock. What time is it? It’s getting close to lunch. Gotta go before the kids start to lose it. Almost nap time. Quick. Get in the car before the baby starts to fall asleep! Dinner out? Sure, but we need to go for the early bird special so we can get home in time for the 35 minute bedtime ritual. You get my point. This weekend I’m going to eat dinner whenever the heck I want to and not worry a damn about it.
  5. Take a nap. Because you just can.

What about you fellow mamas? What would you add to this list?

Being careful what you say on Social Media

We’ve all heard the stories. People post something on social media, thinking its a free speech area and nothing they say will ever come to haunt them, and then suddenly they find themselves without a job.The New York Post did a great “The worst social media blunders of 2013” article that will leave you covering your face for all these people.

Social media is not a place to talk too freely. In fact, I know that all of us who write this blog write carefully and thoughtfully. Why? Because we know that anything we say may reflect on our spouses and, by extension, on the artist they work for out on the road.

Last night were the ACM awards, and I admit that I can’t keep my mouth shut when there’s an awards show on. I’m going to comment. I’ve been a country music fan for as long as I can remember, and I’m pretty protective of it as a fan. Twice as much as the wife of a musician.

But I got a nice little reminder that people are listening on Social Media when this happened:

Screenshot 2014-04-07 02.27.23

CMT favorited my post. Now, granted, it was probably because I used the ACMs hashtag, and they probably don’t really care who I am. But it still set me back on my heels pretty fast. Choose my words carefully, because people are listening.

We have a lot of perks as road widows. We have a lot of stresses as road widows. We also have a lot of responsibilities. Sometimes those responsibilities aren’t fun. Sometimes those responsibilities are obscure and unspoken (like remembering to put our best foot forward at all times in the public eye). But they are there, and we have to mind them.

Have you ever “opened mouth, inserted foot” on social media? Was it about your spouse and/or their artist? How did you handle it?

Five of Friday: Perks to Being in Nashville

Since I just moved to Nashville I wanted to share the top 5 reasons we are here and the perks we’ve enjoyed!

photo via tripadvisor.com

photo via tripadvisor.com

1. LOCATION – Being in the far corner of the US (Seattle, WA) meant that tours were long. LA is a 12 hour drive, Nashville is an all day flight and the east coast might as well be the other side of the world. Nashville is a prime location for touring to the majority of this country’s big cities in just a day. I even drove up to Chicago to visit my in-laws and we plan to go back Easter weekend!

the-united-states-of-america-map

photo via geology.com

2. SUPPORT – I’ve only been in Nashville for 6 weeks but I have met and hung out with dozens of road widows. The support from other women in this city has been overwhelming and awesome. It’s not that my friends back home aren’t or weren’t supportive! It’s just nice to have empathy rather than sympathy. 

3. COST OF LIVING – I’m finding that Nashville is a bit of the “Haves” and the “Have-Nots” and right now we’re the latter. But, in a city of starving musicians and artists, you can find deals galore! Cheap eats, affordable housing – this is the place for that.

4. OPPORTUNITIES – We’ve only been here SIX WEEKS and already my husband’s band has gotten some amazing opportunities that would not have happened if he were elsewhere. Being here and rubbing elbows with other musicians and industry-people gives him a huge advantage.

lybecker-concert

photo via instagram.com/lybeckermusic

5. THE WEATHER – The weather has been insane (examples: 40 degree spike in less than 12 hours, tornado warnings, ice storms, hot and muggy, you name it) but I’ve been outside almost everyday. No matter how lonely or out of place I have felt these past few weeks, sunshine and fresh air is good for the soul!

Nashvillians, what do you love about Nashville? What do you miss about your hometown? 

Five on Friday: Perks!

1. Our husbands go away. Okay so this might be a weird one to start with, but a conversation with some friends just yesterday made me realize this is a perk. They were frustrated with their spouses and fussing that, “Sometimes I wish he’d just go away for awhile. Or I could go away. I need my me time!” (Paraphrasing of course.) And I kept my mouth shut. Because, well, mine DOES go away. Often for longer than I could ever like. And often at inopportune times. But sometimes… Sometimes it’s nice to put him on a bus, kiss him good bye, and go home to a hot bath and a chick flick, and not feel an ounce guilty for it.

FxCam_Bubble Bath

2. Travel. The question, “Do you go out on the road with your husband?” quite frankly gets on my very last nerve. But let’s face it, we do sometimes get to go to some really different places thanks to their jobs. Sometimes they’re glamorous. Sometimes not so much. But we do still get to see places we wouldn’t see otherwise.

3. Famous people? Yeah I’ve met some. I had a friend tell me she lives vicariously through me. I laughed and told her I appreciated that, then admitted I realized that whole “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon” thing? Yeah I figured out one day I’m only two degrees from him. Mind. Blown. Seriously. What!?

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With Joyce DeWitt from “Three’s Company” in 2011.

4. Free concerts. I have only paid for one concert in about six years. And I gotta admit, I’m a little snobbish about it now. But between my husband and our friends, I’ve seen a lot of shows on comp tickets. I buy merch every time to help compensate for my freeloading ways! But, yeah, it’s a pretty nice perk.

New Years Eve -- Blake Shelton

5. All of you. I am so thankful for the strong amazing women I’ve met thanks to being married to a musician. All us road widows are special, and I think of all of you as a perk.

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Invisible

I’ve considered myself a pretty strong, confident and independent woman, but somewhere along the way I’ve lost some of that. I kind of feel like Julia from the TV show Parenthood. Now I haven’t kissed another man and am not getting divorced or anything quite as dramatic like that, but I relate to her journey. The one where you are a strong, confident career woman, support your husband’s dreams, have kids, try to do it all, get burned out trying to do it all, quit your job in an effort to save yourself, watch your husband succeed and seemingly achieve the elusive “have it all” life, and suddenly realize you’ve become a Stepford wife who stays at home with the kids and feels, well, kinda invisible.

When I first launched Road Widows, my first blog post was “Let’s talk about me for a change.” I wrote about how often people are so enthralled with our husbands’ careers that they forget to ask you about YOU. I am sad to say for all you who have been following my journey that not much has changed.

As long as we allow it to be ALL about our husbands, it will be.

I guess there’s nothing really sexy about cooking three meals a day and preparing two snacks. Or doing mountains of laundry every third day. Or making house cleaning a game for your kids so that you can maybe, just maybe scrub a toilet once a week.  Or running errands in between play dates. Or wiping butts, potty training, changing clothes, giving baths, and the long list of other things I do for the kids that I can’t remember right now because I’m just plain too tired.

Nope.

It’s definitely more interesting to ask about my husband’s journey. It’s also easier because it’s widely known what he does. No one knows what I do other than be a mom and a wife. No one knows that I’m launching my own consulting/freelance business ALL WHILE STILL being a stay at home mom. (Translated: Damn near impossible!) No one knows that I’m learning web development in my spare time. Uh, wait a minute. What spare time?

No one knows because they don’t ask and I don’t tell. I stay invisible in the conversation to let my husband shine.

What’s worse though? I realize I feel invisible because I’ve let myself become invisible. And what a shame that is.

I’m not exactly sure how it happened. Maybe it’s a byproduct of how it feels when society doesn’t seem to respect stay at home moms – in turn making me believe I don’t contribute enough to society. Maybe it’s my own ego making me feel like I have nothing to speak up about, scared of what people think of me and afraid of failure. Or maybe it’s the cumulative effect of being a mom and a wife and feeling like I’ve lost who I am in the process. No matter how it happened, the hard reality is it happened. And I’ve let it.

So I’m challenging myself and all of my fellow Road Widows who might relate to this post to STOP BEING INVISIBLE. Stop shrinking into the background. Stop feeling like you’re not worthy. Stop giving your husband the spotlight all the time. BE VISIBLE. We not only have a light within us worth shining, but we owe it to the world to share it.