Chasing a personal dream

There is a saying in Nashville, and it’s often said jokingly. “Just living the dream!” is the go-to response when asked how you’re doing and what you’ve been up to lately. Ironically everybody knows what you mean, even as no one ever really puts a definition on that phrase.

But what about those other dreams? Those dreams that don’t have anything to do with the music industry. Things that don’t have any real tie to the road.

Since we got married, my husband and I have dreamed of owning our own home. But it as anyone who is married to someone on the road knows, getting a home loan isn’t exactly the easiest thing in the world. Unless you happen to work with somebody who has you on salary, getting mortgage brokers to understand you’re paid by the show can be quite an undertaking. Many just don’t get that concept.

But should you actually get a loan? Finding time to do house hunting and moving amid his crazy schedule of home then away can be almost as hard as getting the loan itself.

We dreamed and dreamed. We worked to get our finances in order, knowing this could be an uphill battle the whole way. Not only is my husband a musician paid by the show, I too am self-employed. This whole getting a loan thing? Yeah we were braced for the worst.

But suddenly it all came together. We found a mortgage broker who would work with us, and a real estate agent who understood the industry. We started our search. We found the perfect house. Our offer was accepted! And the paper work began. We had a perfect closing date set, because my husband would have the entire week after off to allow is to move easily. But as anyone knows, buying house is far from being anything that stays on track. Our closing date got pushed back, not a week, but two weeks. We would close, and my husband would go out on the road for a week.

What do we do is road widows? We adapt. We take up the slack. I quickly found myself loading boxes into the back of our truck and making trips by myself to the new house. By the time my husband got home from the road and got started moving the big furniture (with the help of a team of dear friends!) I already had been in the moving process for three days. Needless to say when he complained about being tired, I pretty much told him to can it. Ha!

We’re finally settled in our new home. Oh we still have a lot of boxes to unpack, and our running joke is “this is the fun part.”

But daily we both stop and look around, and we realize we have realized another dream. We own a house! We worked hard for it. We know we’re going to have to work even harder to keep it.

So now suddenly, when someone asks me how I am or what we’re up to, I give them a big smile and genuinely say, “We’re living the dream.”

Unplugged

Have you ever abstained from being online – social media, internet, email even? For a day? For a week? For longer?

I did. For a couple months! It wasn’t intentional. It just happened. I went on vacation with family in July. My sister-in-law refrains from posting things to Facebook while away so as not to bring attention to her being out of town. I didn’t want to implicate her in any of my postings, so I unplugged as well. It was nice. Really nice. And then vacation was over and I accidentally stayed unplugged.

I must clarify though – I am using the term unplugged loosely. I wouldn’t say I was 100% unplugged. I still used the internet to look up things. I emailed. I used FaceTime to talk to my husband while he was touring. And I even looked at Facebook from time to time. But it was by no means an everyday occurrence, let alone a several times a day occurrence!

Part of the reasoning for unplugging was life – we were selling our house, building a new house, moving, etc. I was just busy. And so my online hiatus stretched out well past the week-long vacation in July. It was amazing how much time I got back! Time that was so very much needed.

But a bigger part of the reasoning was mood – I just feel plain happier and freer not being tied to Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or news or anything online for that matter. The longer I stayed (mostly) away from social media, the more I realized I depended on it to “check out” of my life. Multiple times a day! (Do you realize how much time the average American spends on the computer or their phone just surfing?!?) I became more present with myself, my kids, my husband, my friends. I stopped comparing myself to others as you often do when you’re mindlessly perusing Facebook or Twitter. I allowed myself to be confident in who I am, what I’m doing and how I’m parenting by not relying on getting “validation” in the form of likes, comments, mentions, retweets, shares. I stopped judging or getting caught up in the negativity that often consumes my news feeds. I stayed positive about family and friends and life. I refocused all that lost energy being wasted on spending time with others and giving of myself. I learned to sew. I re-discovered how beautiful life is when experienced in the flesh.

In a world where everyone is trying to keep up with the Jones’. Where we’re all trying to “one up” each other. Where we feel the pressure to be better than the person next to us. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop focusing on what everyone else is doing and just enjoy what YOU are doing? Wouldn’t it be nice to get hours back in the day to actually DO something?

This is a much broader post. Not necessarily one geared towards road widows. But I think it’s relevant nonetheless. How many of us kill time online while our road warriors are gone? How many of us get frustrated or angry at the things we see posted either by our spouses or by friends? How many of us compare our lives to those of others based on what’s posted online? Even though it’s only a small representation of the full picture.

Being unplugged for so long has given me a fresh perspective and a renewed sense of self. I’m (slowly) re-entering the online world with the promise to myself that I will not be consumed by it again. This has been an amazing, albeit accidental, journey. I felt compelled to share it with you road widows so that you might be inspired to do the same someday.

Five on Friday: 5 Reasons You Should go to a Meet-up

On our Facebook page we’ve been hosting (almost) monthly meet-ups for about a year and a half now. Without a doubt, those of you who do not live in Nashville are feeling a little left out. I have a dream of some of you (yes, YOU) hosting little meet-ups for musician’s wives in Los Angeles and Austin and everywhere else!

1. SHARING: Meet-ups have been a fun way to meet other women who are… living the dream. Share your successes and failures, annoyances, grievances and just simply share your story with other women who totally get it.

2. CONNECTIONS: At several meet-ups I’ve found out that my husband toured with someone else’s husband or they met and hung out at a festival. Sometimes it’s a strange feeling realizing all the strange people your man comes in contact and these connections form an instant bond with other women and make me feel more at peace.

3. SUPPORT: If you meet someone you click with, get their number and add them on Facebook! It’s nice to have a friend you can talk with when you’re missing your man.

4. FRIENDS:  When your husband’s schedule coincides with your friends’ husband’s schedule… BAM: insta-friends! Find out when these other ladies are alone and try to plan little hangouts for those long, lonely tours.

5. OBVIOUSLY: Fancy drinks! Girls Night Out!

Join us October 6th for our October Meet-up in Nashville. Or plan one in your own city! Let us know what city you’re in and we’ll start making connections.

Helping our Toddler Cope with Daddy’s Job

A few weeks ago I shared how our son told daddy not to go to work EVER AGAIN. Thanks to this community of road wives, I got some great advice about how to cope.

20140912_125138I got a cheap map of the US and taped it to the fridge. I cut out a photo of daddy’s van and glued a magnet on the back. Whenever he asks, “Where’s Daddy?” we walk into the kitchen and I show him. He also knows how to find Nashville and where his grandparents live, which is really fun!

We’ve also changed our tone. When he misses daddy or asks where he is I say things like, “He’s playing a big, awesome concert!” or “He’s rockin out on his guitar!”.  My former response was just, “He’s working”, but the added enthusiasm has helped. (And it helps that our son loves wild and crazy concerts!) Anything to keep him excited about dad’s job.

I’m also teaching him the days of the week. Toddlers have no concept of time but I’ll point to the days, also on the fridge – under the map, and show him when dad gets back.

Do we miss dad any less? No! But I hope these are healthy steps in helping him cope.

What do you do when your kids have missed their dad when he’s on tour? I’d love get and share more ideas. That’s what this community is for!

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I Need You

This week, for the first time ever, I got to feel what it was like to be the unavailable person in the relationship. This time it wasn’t bad cell service in small town venues or traveling abroad. It was dunking my phone in a toilet. For 24 hours my phone was drying out, possibly dead, in a bag of rice. Coincidentally, my husband didn’t have WiFi so he didn’t get my Facebook messages. We had no contact. Not one text, tweet or video chat. It was like touring in the 80s!

I realized throughout the day how often I call my husband. During those 24 hours I showed our son his new daycare and that’s something I would have called him to tell him all about. I bought a ton of groceries and a few things for the house. I made plans with friends (via Facebook message) and I wished I could have consulted him on some of it. But, because I couldn’t, I just rolled with it! Independent woman over here!

Normally he’s the one that’s hard to get a hold of. I have internet access and a cell phone [with a charge!] pretty much all day. It’s a disgusting balance of being independent because you can’t rely on him but still needing him there for moral support and to discuss your life with. This lifestyle requires us to be independent but doting, self-sufficient but loyal. I want to believe I’m independent and then I have trouble deciding what color sheets to buy or who to invite to dinner next week and I am reminded that he’s with me. I need him. He is a part of every mundane detail of my life regardless of the fact that he’s been on the road for over 150 days this year already. (There have been 239 days this year, for the record). 

Wanna know what the first text I sent was?

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Five on Friday: 5 of Our Most Popular (and Helpful) Posts

We’ve had a lot of new visitors on our Facebook page and a ton of new traffic to the site so I thought I’d do a little recap! Here are five of our most popular and helpful posts.

1. The Musician’s Tour Clock.  This is a post I wrote, complete with a graphic, that shares about what exactly your man is doing while he’s away. 

2. Things only other Road Widows will understand.  Nise wrote this post and it’s spot on. You’ll get it.

3. Things your traveling husband should never (ever) say to you.  These will either make you mad or make you laugh — depending on what day it is. 

4. Blurred Lines. This was a saucy little piece written by Chris, our creator. It’s about fidelity and trusting your man while he’s on the road. 

5. Who We Are. Nise gives us a clear depiction of who Road Widows are (who YOU are) and what we’re all about. 

 

Thank you so much for being a part of this community. What have been some of your favorite posts – on this site, or others?

 

 

Five on Friday: Sometimes irrational and emotional

1. Being annoyed he’s back home. I start with this one, because I JUST went through it. My husband was gone for a long period of time, and when he got home I was happy he was back! But I also found myself getting annoyed more and more with things that normally are… normal. I realized it was because I had gotten used to being alone and my days had a certain rhythm to them. He came home, and it was like a tornado came through my day and uprooted everything. I got annoyed, and he noticed. The important thing is that we talked about it, and it only lasted a day. (It was weird for him, too! He was in road-mode and had a hard time not being on a set schedule, and lord forbid he put the toilet seat down…)  This is only something to worry about if it lasts a long time, and you go from annoyed to resentment. Make sure you talk about your feelings to avoid that from happening.

2. Feeling frustrated with a schedule change. You can’t do anything about it. You know its part of being on the road. I often joke that one of the only consistent things about having a husband on the road is knowing that nothing is consistent. I know this. I accept this. (Sometimes even embrace it!) But… its okay to get frustrated when a schedule changes. Just don’t hold it against your spouse, because its not their fault. They’re probably as frustrated as you are. And while I am sure they appreciate you being flexible and understanding, they also know the times will come when you’re inner five year old comes out and you want to stomp your feet in frustration at the changes.

3. Looking forward to some alone time. And I don’t mean time alone with your spouse. I mean time away from them. It’s a running joke with myself and friends that if my husband is home too long, I start going, “Don’t you have a show to go play or something??” Its a joke. But even my husband knows there’s an element of truth. Its important to be an independent person when you marry a man on the road, and sometimes if that man on the road is around too much, your independent side screams for time alone.  (A suggestion on this one, if you can’t get time to yourself… plan to get up earlier than your spouse. That’s how I get my me-time when he’s off the road for an extended time. It keeps my independent side happy.)

4. Feeling absolutely lost when he’s gone. Don’t let my previous items make you think I wish my husband would go away! That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Sometimes when he leaves on the road, I feel completely and totally lost. It’s worst if he leaves when I’m at work. He’s home when I leave, but gone when I come home. My tiny house suddenly feels big and empty. I feel so alone. I know I’ll eventually get into my own schedule. I know we’ll talk on the phone. I know I have tons of friends I could go hang with to fill my time and attention. But in that moment, that doesn’t matter. I’m lonely. And sometimes, I think I need to feel that. So I’m more compassionate to those who are new to “the life” and so I remember how very, very important my husband is to me. So I don’t take him or US for granted.

5. Having a completely mixed up opinion on fans. Oh fans. Fans are what keep our spouses in a job. And for that I think we can all say we are thankful. Its okay, though, to have mixed up emotions and opinions about those fans. There are the fans that end up being friends. I have several delightful people I never would have met had it not been for their being fans of whatever artist my husband was working for at the time we met. Then there are the fans that just drive you crazy, because, frankly, some fans don’t see a line between the musician or crew on stage and the person they are off the stage. Its okay to feel protective of your spouse and your private life. Depending on the situation, I find myself either feeling amused, annoyed and sometimes a little jealous when I haven’t seen my husband in a long time.  Talk about those feelings. Be up front about them. Hold on tight to the trust you’ve built between yourself and your spouse, and know that you are the one they are coming home to at the end of the run. And know it is you they are missing the most.