About Chris B.

My husband is my best friend who also happens to be a touring musician. My kids are my motivation as well as a constant challenge. My blog, Road Widows, is a support outlet for wives and others in the music industry.

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: Top Things Your Road Warrior Needs From You

loving support

Photo Credit: scribbletaylor via Compfight cc

I’m closing out week 2 of home alone with our two kiddos while the hubs is on tour in Asia. And you know what? I’m not crying, pulling out my hair, feeling lonely, harboring resentment, or feeling depleted.

Not that I always feel those things, all the time, all at once, but this is the first time in a while that I can truthfully say I am just fine. I am actually better than fine! There’s a lot to this statement that’s resulted from soul-searching conversations with the hubs, but I won’t go into that here. The bottom line is I went into this trip in a good and confident place and it shows. And my husband, who can see right through my “faking it,” can tell too. It’s making all the difference for him on tour too.

So here are some things we Road Widows can do for our road warriors to help them feel good about what they do.

  1. Show interest. When hubs is gone, he wants to know what’s going on at home. Especially since he’s a parent! But we also need to show we’re interested in what they’re doing too. It means so much to my husband when I not only ask about his day/travels/show, but when I actually seem interested – listen, ask questions, share in whatever emotion he’s feeling. It’s so easy to feel like we’re living two different lives (and we kind of are!), but when I invest in his experiences, I actually feel more a part of it than not.
  2. Be honest. If you’ve had a bad day, be honest. Don’t play the passive aggressive game. And don’t try to pretend you’re okay for the sake of your husband’s really good day. It’ll show. It always does. Be honest about how you’re doing and say what you need, even if it means you just want to go to bed and talk tomorrow.
  3. Manage expectations. Of course we expect him to call when he says he will. But we need to remember that, on the road, time moves differently and things change often. If he hasn’t called when he said he would, don’t take it personally. Maybe soundcheck ran late or he got hung up talking to someone. There’s a million reasons. It doesn’t necessarily mean he’s avoiding you. He’s just working. And, this may sound rude, but don’t expect him to drop everything for you all the time. He’s traveling, tired, working, networking. My husband loves me. And I also realize when he’s gone, everything he does is with purpose. And it’s important. So I don’t expect him to be at my beck and call.
  4. Be supportive. This doesn’t always mean you have to constantly cheer him on. That’s of course important. But being supportive also means you help him feel okay about being gone – from you, from kids, from family. Send pictures and videos. Tell him you’re all doing okay. Tell him the fun things you’ve done. Encourage him to have fun too. Support each other in this journey.
  5. Be genuinely happy. This one you just cannot fake. The more truly happy you are in your situation, whatever it may be, the better he will feel being on the road. My husband often tells me he misses the kids, but he never worries about them. He worries about me. When my happiness is genuine, he doesn’t worry. And he can focus on what he’s on the road to do – work.

So tell me Road Widows, what have you found your road warriors need from you?

Risky Business

I never really think of my husband’s job as dangerous. It’s not really at all. The only “danger” in playing drums is accidentally letting go of a drumstick while playing a fill and getting hit in the eye with it.

But the places they travel to and the kind of transportation they take can lend themselves to scary situations. IF you think about it too much. Which I generally don’t. I’m usually ignorant about the city/country he’s going to or just try not to think about the 13-hour plane ride he’s taking.

This week that kind of changed though.

My husband is doing the last leg of an international tour right now. And a show on this tour was just cancelled due to “political unrest.” I don’t know all the ins and outs of it, but I do know it was a decision made to keep the large group of people traveling with them safe.

security fence

Photo Credit: Will Montague via Compfight cc

Playing music is a risky business – in the sense that some make it while many don’t. It’s a risk to try to “make it” in the music business. But I’ve never considered it risky because it’s dangerous. The band has security with them. They get informed on what’s safe and what’s not for the various places they travel to. They are protected. Honestly, I don’t really think about all that much. But this time, I did. And I am so thankful that they have people whose primary responsibility is keeping everyone on the tour out of harm’s way.

On the coattails of Memorial Day, this scenario reminds me that there are people, soldiers, out there fighting for us. Who are providing that same kind of protection. On a much MUCH larger scale. They don’t get to cancel. They don’t get to walk away due to “political unrest.” They don’t get security. They ARE the security.

I am grateful. I am grateful for the soldiers who protect us everyday. Who selflessly make it their job, no matter how dangerous, to grant us the freedom we enjoy. The freedom we have to make choices, decisions.

And I am grateful for the security who make it their priority to protect my husband and others on tour.

Five on Friday: Holidays Most Often Spent Apart

My husband is leaving early Memorial Day to travel to Asia. It’s no surprise really. He’s rarely home for Memorial Day … and honestly a bunch of other holidays. So this Friday, let’s share the most popular holidays for our road warriors to be out on the road rather than at home with us.

  1. Memorial Day – With summer tour season ramping up, Memorial Day weekend is always primetime for fairs, festivals and shows. Which means I’m usually grilling out with my other “single” friends.
  2. July 4th– Fans like to party on July 4th. And that usually means there’s music and concerts. So our husbands are out there working while we’re celebrating the 4th on our own.
  3. Labor Day – As the summer tour season winds down, Labor Day weekend is always a good one for a final push of shows. Giving true meaning to “labor day” for our husbands.
  4. Valentine’s Day – Even though it’s in February, my husband and I inevitably are apart on Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s a short winter tour, TV appearances, award shows or whatever, it seems this holiday is our nemesis.
  5. Birthdays & Anniversaries – So these aren’t technically “holidays,” but you still celebrate them! And, Murphy’s Law most always plays a part in making sure the hubs and I are apart for them.

I’ve spent plenty of other holidays alone (Thanksgiving, New Year’s, Easter), but thankfully those instances have been rare occurrences. What about you? What holidays does it seem your husband is never home for?

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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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?