My husband and I are musicians. And we’re parents. When we are onstage, we do our best to really be ON stage. But all our “backstage” experiences with our son (our little frog) deeply affect who we are as people, thus musicians. Recent insights:
Making specific plans to go with the flow seems like a silly contradiction, I know. And yet I didn’t know how else to think of preparing to tour Europe for 5 weeks with the Irish Folk Festival Tour… with a toddler (and without one designated nanny).
Matt and I knew a few of the other fine musicians on this tour (4 bands in one night). We each have a short set, so we would need kid care for our brief sound check, our 25-minute set, and our big group number (during which time Nigel, we hoped, will usually be asleep).
Still, there was no formal childcare plan. That was not how this tour was set up. So we made our own Plan B, C, D, E scenarios. We tried to “prepare” to wing it.
Three days in, we have met many challenging moments. And yet the promise that “we will work it out, it will be fine” is sort of coming to some truth. In addition to the generous support of other musicians and our promoter, we have already used quite a few of our Plans. Coping strategies that have worked (sometimes):
- Talking through each day and coming up with possible scenarios/ideas
- New toys at key moments
- Judicious use of video (which Nigel doesn’t get to do much at home)
- Trying to anticipate energy swells, trying to encourage naps (not as successful)
- Staying calm and telling Nigel “it is going to be great” and trying to believe it
- Ergo on Matt’s back during a set (a real desperate moment)
Work in progress. So far, the advance planning we did (to assemble activities and come up with possible strategies to try) is helping us roll with it, moment by moment.