“…I’m an involved parent and I don’t want to tap my kids on the head and send them off. I need to show up, and I want to be there and I want to come home and read books even though I’m totally fried. That’s my safe, happy place, is my children.” – Diana Krall in a 2012 Vanity Fair interview
“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy?” – Proverbs 127:3 (The Message)
Being a musician can be an all-consuming passion that requires a majority of your time, effort, and energy.
The same is true of being a parent.
Some people assume that musicians deliberately avoid the pressures of parenthood in order to focus on their careers. This is far from reality. There are many working musicians that are parents, just as there are in other professions. However, musicians that are parents face unique challenges.
Late nights. Unpredictable schedules. Balancing the creative lifestyle with the responsibility of managing a family.
What do you do when you have the privilege of being both a musician and a parent? How can musicians practically balance the passion to perform with the passion needed to be totally engaged with their children?
Here are three key points:
1. Be willing to adjust your career for your children
Every parent knows that the only predictable thing about raising children is change. We know our toddler’s issues will be different than our teenager’s, and we adjust as they grow. Similarly, parents in the music field must be ready to make major changes in order to keep their families in working order. For some, that may mean turning down some opportunities. It may be tough, but the sacrifice is worth it when you value your children’s well-being over your career.
2. Build a reliable support system
Despite all efforts to spend lots of quality time with your children, eventually a musical career will require time away from them. That means a support system is essential. Whether it’s a spouse, extended family, or other caregivers, every musical parent has to have people in their lives who understand the unique demands of a music career, and are willing to step in when their children need additional support.
3. Be open and honest with your children
While young children may not need to know much about what mom or dad do for a living, older children should be allowed to share in the decisions about the choices their parents are making. Open and honest discussion within the family can help children manage the pressures of the musical lifestyle and help parents to keep their children’s needs as the top priority.
While being a great musician is a worthwhile goal, nothing is more important than being a great parent. Being flexible, faithful, and forthcoming with your children can help you do both.
After all, the most beautiful sound in the world is the sound of a happy child.
More tips on parenting as a musician are in the God and Gigs book, to be released in Spring 2016.