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:

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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!

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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.

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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.

Five on Friday: Things You Should Not Do Before a Tour

1. Try not to fight. Kind of a no-brainer but the stress of an impending tour can make even the most seasoned road widows act like crazy brats. This is the last time you’re going to see each other for a while so don’t mess it up. Hopefully these next 4 tips will help…

2. Don’t hold in your feelings. “Holding it in” can result in a fight. All that pent up frustration comes out in the ugliest of ways. I truly believe that great communication is the key to a successful relationship. With communication comes honesty. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hold it in. If you need to have a cry, go for it. If you’re glad he’s leaving, tell him. Don’t expect anything from him. Men usually want to protect us (and some of them are just downright freaked out by our emotions) so he may not respond how you want him to. Just get it out there, then move on.

3. Don’t look at your phone. Seriously, try this one. You’re both stressed out before he leaves so put your phones on silent and try to connect. Even for a few hours… or minutes.

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4. Don’t leave laundry until the last minute. You’ll both be happier, and able to focus on each other, if he gets that bag packed a day or two in advance – and that means doing laundry a day or two in advance. My husband has actually taken damp jeans on the road. Not cool.

5. Don’t plan a party, an outing or anything else, really. Just spend some quality time together.

 

Do you have anything you WON’T or DON’T do before a tour?

Trading places

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Over the last month, my husband and I have each gotten a taste of the other’s life. And its been eye opening for both of us.

At the beginning of each year, work takes me “on the road” for weeks at a time. While my husband has gigs that take HIM out on the road during the time, he still ends up spending days on end at home. Alone. Just like I do when he goes out on tour. He’s grown to have a new appreciation for what I, as a road widow, go through sometimes.

Granted, things ARE different for him than me. I’ve been doing the home alone thing for so long that I’ve built in for myself tasks and fun things to do that help the time pass. While he… watches a lot of movies. And, as such, the time tends to crawl a lot slower for him.

As such, he asks me regularly when I’m coming home, and he counts down the days much closer than I do. And I have to confess… I love that! I sometimes worry that if I count down the days too closely to HIS coming home off the road, I appear unable to handle things. Now I realize, it really does just show him how much I miss him when he’s gone.

Last Friday, I drove to see my husband at a show up in Kentucky. He wasn’t playing the show, but he drove the bus. I’ve gone to countless shows to see him play and have a pretty good grasp what to expect in that case, but going to see him when driving bus had only happened one time before… and that was over a year ago. Since one of my favorite things about my husband’s job is that it sometimes affords me the chance to see new places I wouldn’t otherwise get to see, I jumped at the excuse to drive up and explore a new-to-me little town.

I ultimately drove 240 miles round trip to see a hotel room (and watch my husband sleep), eat at a restaurant (the food was amazing and worth the drive alone!) and see two songs of the show before driving home. While in so many ways, the trip didn’t live up to what I had imagined it would be, it did give me a lot more insight into what his days are like when he’s driving bus instead of playing the show.  I do not for a second regret making the drive and experiencing that.

I know that 240 miles to my husband is nothing when driving a bus, but it wiped ME out! I fought the wind the entire way and I kept thinking that if I was having that much difficulty staying in my lane in a pick up truck, he must have felt like he was hit BY the bus after driving it in the strong wings. I got home that night and slept like I hadn’t slept in weeks! And suddenly I was far more sympathetic to my husband sleeping 12 hours straight after a weekend bus driving.

Sometimes, I think we all end up so focused on our own point of view in a relationship that we forget to look at it from the other side. I know I’ve been guilty of it! I think that the recent chances we’ve had to see the other’s side of “the life” has really strengthened our marriage. The better understanding we have of one another has been eye opening, and suddenly we both sympathize much more with each other. And I am SO grateful for it.

Has anyone else gotten a chance to walk in each other’s shoes? Even if briefly? Did it help?