Music & Family


#1

I usually tend to spend long hours making music and my girlfriend is quite annoyed by that, even though she gives me a lot of space. I am becoming a father soon and I will have much more less time for myself.

Have you had or do you have a similar life experience? How do you handle it?


Postcards from slow places - a lines compilation of long-form ambient music
#2

Congratulations on becoming a father-to-be.
I found the first few years really hard; sleep deprivation, not knowing what to do, feelings of guilt about who takes on different types of work.
Mine are now teenagers which brings different pressures, but is much easier than the early years.
You will likely have much less time for music, but you may still find that it is a useful meditative activity: a concentrated form of ‘me time’ which can be valuable for your mood & sanity. If that works for you, your partner will understand. But she may struggle to understand if you disappear for hours with headphones on while she struggles with a whining baby.
A few snatched hours a few times a month (rather than extended sessions) can still be valuable.
Maybe think of it as a creative limitation: what can you complete in 60 minutes?
I think the other thing to remember is that it is finite; your life will change forever, but you won’t be looking after newborns and toddlers forever.


#3

I am a father of a 16months old boy.
Well be prepared to a lot of time without your music making activity but also you will be surprised how you will be efficient…

For example now I am taking the time to check the forum while he is having his afternoon nap…
Congratulations!!!


#4

I grew up and became a parent versus the overgrown adolecent that I was. This did not mean giving up my profound creativity or whatever, it just meant recognizing how precious time was and how little I had to waste.

The give and take of blocking off a set limit of ‘me time’ became more crucial after our second child was born.

Then everything soon went out the window when my better half became sick and died of cancer when the children were quite young. Raising them by myself only reinforced how precious our time is. My youngest will be applying to colleges soon and I feel my ‘me time’ is beginning to expand again.


#6

I like this! That would definitely opens up new creative sceneries


#7

I am saddened by your words but at the same time I understand how important is to spend quality time with friends and family.

Thanks


#8

Well, it is sad but it also something that happened some time ago. The experience put in stark relief what is truly important in life and the children and I have lived our life accordingly. There is so much to live for and some many things to do. Music is a part of it.

I will never forget the first time my eldest son made a funky sequence on an SH-101. Or when my younger son came home from school after his first guitar lesson. He wanted to show me a song he’d just learned. And then he stunned me by playing a stirring rendition of, ‘The Man Who Sold The World’. That is the sort of stuff that makes me cry.

But back to you, and the amazing adventure you’re about to enjoy. :slightly_smiling_face: I highly recommend ‘The Birth Partner’ by Penny Simkin. It’s the best book on child birth, and is very much about the emotional support that is involved in the process. I have labor and delivery nurses and midwives in my extended ‘family’ and this is the one to read.


#9

I have a 2 year old and a 4 week year old. I haven’t been near my modular since he was born :smile:

You will definitely lose time for extended music sessions etc. However, The one thing that you cannot prepare yourself for is just how much you will love your new arrival. Pure unconditional love. Losing time for hobbies will seem like a small price to pay.

I do find myself making the most of any time I do get for hobbies. E.g All the Tracks on my SoundCloud were made in 1-2 hours sessions. Modular is actually perfect for this as you can set limitations (‘what can I make just using my system?’).

Also, Get things organised now so if you do get a bit of time to yourself, you have everything set up and ready to go.

Good luck and let us know when the little one arrives :+1:


#10

First new family member arrived 15 weeks ago, so really appreciating this thread - congrats @WhiteNoise and thank you @bradleyallen for your perspective and insights.

Somewhat related to the zen thread, I’ve never experienced anything that so focuses my attention, openness and love like the baby and all of that has been (along with the exhaustion) carried into everything else.

I’ve never once been with her and thought - “i’d rather be making music right now” (admittedly, “i wish we were sleeping right now” does happen regularly)

that said, my wife does nudge me downstairs saying “hey go make noise for a bit, you’re a better person when you do.” We met when I was DJing and she sees it a critical part of my whole being - I think that’s the person she wants to be with.

Been using these shorter sessions to learn/experiment with teletype.


#11

Oh My! I thought about writing similar to this topic about 1 week ago as I was feeling miserable about this exact topic.
Congrats of course, parenthood is an amazig experience. I have a 5 year old boy who amazes me every day.

I recently had a big arguement with my partner over exactly these issues… We had our 2nd child this year. I have been busy with music things and not communicating well (an important thing to do) about all the projects and idea I have undertaken. In the last year or so my music making has been doing well, getting regular gigs and asked to do some tape with various people and doing some sound stuff for an ad agency, it gives me much creative pleasure and I feel like I could get to a position where I make some more money from this… My main problem is that I haven’t said No to any musical offer or possibility which has had an impact on my partner and family life. I have took too much on without communicating this.

But we / she is clearly not happy with the way the time is being split, we discussed this. I was being a bit selfish with my music but was working bloody hard at all family tasks. Parenthood is tiring and I split this time up badly and never did it right and then we stopped talking about various things and we retreat to poitions we’re comfortable with even though resentment builds up from this. With 1 child it was easy and we never had this problem. 2nd child is only 4 months old and clearly its not working.

It is about finding that balance, giving your partner the time for the creative things they need to do and you having time of your own. Then having time together as just a couple in the moments when kids are asleep… and then the family time the walk in the park and cafe trips, seeing friends etc… It seems simple but its a hard balance to get right.

I have failed to do that since our 2nd child an its added a lot of stress to our life.


#12

Congrats to you and your partner. So much great advice here, so I’ll just add that every family has their own formula for balance and happiness. It’s not always easy to do so, but embrace the upcoming changes as an opportunity for you and your family to change and grow and learn.

Also, prepare for sleep deprecation. It’s a real thing, and it’s important to remember things will change.


#13

Thanks so much to all the contributors in this thread. This one is really topical for me too.

My partner and I have been on the edge of this one a lot lately. The idea of having a child and starting a family was never a serious part of the conversation until about a year ago when she got pregnant. We decided to have an abortion, which was a pretty horrible experience, as we really weren’t ready or stable to be able to be parents. But since that experience, my partner has said that it made her realize that she does want to have a child (and holds some resentment about having the abortion). We’re both in our early 30s now, so if she does want to have a child she needs to know that I want the same thing, and commit to doing that within the next 5 years or so, and if not then she needs to move on to find someone who wants the same thing. The problem is that I’m not so sure if I want to have a child. I’ve always thought that I’d like to someday, but I’m not too sure if I’d want to have one so soon, as I want to focus on my career and life as a musician. The next 10 years I could probably say yes to, but maybe not the next 5. Being a musician is all I’ve ever really wanted to be, after trying many many different things in life I’ve always come back to wanting to do that. Now that I’m 30 I’m facing this reality that if I don’t fully focus on being a musician I’ll never make it as a career, and I’ll always regret not at least giving it my best shot. I think that I could make a humble living off being a musician, but it will take time, dedication and of course a lot of hard work and persistence. And I don’t think I’ll ever be making big money off it. This conflicts with the idea of starting a family so soon.

This has been an ongoing conversation ever since the abortion a year ago, and my response still hangs as a vague maybe, when my partner really needs more reassurance than that. It’s become a lot more tense lately, which is opening communication up further, but is leaving the future of our relationship uncertain.

On the positive side of the idea of starting a family is that my partner is studying psychology and would be the bread winner, while I would be a stay at home/work from home dad. I may have room to be a musician, which she is supportive of, but if I don’t meet her expectations in terms of responsibility and carrying my share of the weight for a family, it will create tension, while on the other hand if I’m not working towards my dreams or feeling like I’m being held back it will create resentment.
I would likely have to work a part-time job on top of home/father duties, and be slowed down from reaching my career goals. My worry is that taking on that responsibility I won’t be able to meet my goals, as I won’t be able to hit the road and be able to focus on building a name for myself.

Reading the above comments on this thread is helping provide some perspective in my situation. I still don’t have an answer but it helps!


#14

Having a kid a couple years ago really motivated me to dedicate time to making music. I’ve been spending time here and there making music for most of my life but always in a fickle and undisciplined way.
Limited time between naps and late after everyone is asleep has really focused my practice, and helped me realize how important it is to me. Yes it’s nearly impossible now to devote an entire day to goofing off in the studio, but it’s somehow easier to put in a solid hour or two almost every day, which has ultimately been much more productive.


#15

I’m always curious what would happen if we told our partners the worries and thoughts we voice to others about our relationships


#16

I do it on a regular basis with varying results. Writing it into a text box gets you to a certain point, but speaking the words to another person can have a healing effect and clear space for new thoughts to emerge. Your partner has to be as brave as you when sharing. And it takes practice for everyone involved. I’ve known my partner for 15 years, and we’re still in the prototyping phase :wink:


#17

Honesty and openness is integral for openness in any relationship. If my partner and I weren’t so communicative we’d be setting ourselves up for potentially terrible heartbreak or disappointment in future.

It can be hard to talk about how we really feel to our partners, but we owe that transparency to them and ourselves, lest we avoid living our authentic lives.


#18

What a great thread! I’m happy to see people here thinking deeply about this as it’s really important. I have a 4 year old son who was born soon after I turned 30. My wife is eight years older than I so I probably would have waited longer to have children if the biological clock concerns weren’t an issue. I know lots of women who have children in their 40s so its certainly normal but ultimately a personal preference when people choose to have children.

Before my son was born I was looking forward to the chance to really focus my time and priorities. I think that was the biggest thing for me. The fact of having less time to devote to music made me prioritize my musical activities in a way that helped me focus on what I was truly interested in, instead of doing a bit of everything. It still can be a struggle to find time for creative projects but I tend to feel that doing your best with the time you have is the way to go.

Overall I would say communicate with your partner about your hopes and fears in regards to parenting and your creative life. Expressing some vulnerability can go a long way in helping your partner understand where you’re coming from and in the process you’ll likely understand your partner more. If you and your partner can express to each other when you need space and when you need support, you’ll be able to find those spots to work on projects without resentment building due to lack of communication.

For couples who are pregnant I’d highly recommend taking a multi-week birthing class like the Bradley Method. Taking that class helped me get into the mindset of taking care of my wife so that we can take care of the child together. In those early days I know that a lot of fathers struggle with feeling like they can’t comfort/care for their child, but that will fade fairly quickly. Putting my focus on my wife initially helped me feel like I was integral to the family unit and that all of the family components needed to be there to be successful.

Also, I know that there is another perspective for mothers having children and finding time for their creative pursuits. My wife is a musician as well and it took and still does take time to make sure we support each other in pursuing what interests us creatively.

Well, I feel like I’m rambling but I’d love to talk about this more as I think it’s really important. Oh also, kids can really spark your creativity in different ways and you might find yourself making different choices on account of having a family and wanting to create ways to integrate your family into your creative life more.


#19

Good things. I started doing this after about a year of being angry at her for having to do more than my share at home. It turns out that despite her busy schedule of work and communal politics, there is plenty of time to do my things if I don’t assume that there is not. Also voicing my concerns makes it possible for her to react to them.

Having a child revealed some weak spots in our communication. We had previously gotten away with things that were no longer possible. Good thing it’s possible to change.

Having a child will change how much time there is available for creative pursuits but it will not be permanently as overwhelming as with a baby. Also, my child and wife are a sorce of great joy and strength to me despite the challenges of family life.


#20

Haha, we have very similar families : my son is almost 2 years old and my daughter is exactly one month old today :slight_smile:.

I manage to get a bit of modular/PC time sometimes but it’s not long and at the end of the day when everyone is sleeping and I should be too so it’s not super productive but but still very nice/relaxing in a way.

And I just wanted to say that the “pure unconditional love” thing is indeed true and stronger than I ever thought it could be. Well, stronger might not be the best choice of word as it’s different from other types of love/affection/etc., at least in my experience. More primal and almost overwhelming. When I want to explain this to friends who do not have children I typically explain that I love my wife for many reasons and I can explain most of them but for my son and daughter I just love them because they exist.

Anyway, having young kids is another reason why I want to slim down my music gear (not that I have that much compared to many people here) to a few separate and finite instruments : my 7U modular, my guitar/bass and pedalboard, and Reface YC with its small board too. Anything else should end up at work (the perks of working at a small game studio) or get sold.

I need more time, not more things ;).


#21

Also, patching with a three year old is a good way to get new ideas. There is very limited time to get sound out of the synth before they lose interest. This can lead to new ideas that are worth pursuing further.