A Musician’s Wife’s Reality

Wednesday Words

My friend Becky posted this blog yesterday morning and inspired me to share my similar, yet different story.

A traditional marriage has a stay-at-home mom, kids, and a 9 – 5 working husband.  In this model the husband works all day to provide for the family while the wife stays at home caring for the kids and then they all get to spend the evening and weekends together.

A couple of years ago, within a month, Josh and I both transitioned into full-time self-employment.  A year later Citizen Way, Josh’s band, was signed and I had to wean off of most of my part-time/freelance gigs to put enough time into my business, a Sunshine Moment.

As a result, in my marriage, I am the bread-winner right now, which is a joke because I am an artist, and my husband sometimes spends weeks at a time away from the house.  This makes me responsible for taking care of our home, making the money, doing our budget, paying the bills, taking care of the dogs, and taking care of myself. I’ve become all too aware that this wouldn’t be nearly as difficult if I was single and only paying bills for one person while splitting the rent with a roommate or two.  Not to mention, I’d have people around.

So, as Josh is gone for days or weeks at a time I work overtime in my little corner to pay our bills.  I don’t complain anymore.  Yes, this means I used to.  I used to take it hard when Josh left for a few days at a time.  Now our normal is weeks at a time so I push any inconvenient feelings into a box in the back corner of my brain and lock them back there.

Most people think what we have is ideal.  I mean we’re doing what we love and getting paid for it right?  Yes we are doing what we love.  But, currently, Josh isn’t really getting paid for it and I’m barely getting paid for it.  It’s the fact of our life and a risk we have to take in hopes that money will come eventually.

So this is my norm.  And after this past week, I would take that every day if I didn’t have to live what I’m living right now…

On Thursday Josh left for 4+ weeks of nonstop touring.

On Friday my mom called to tell me my Grandma decided to stop dialysis (this means she has about 2 weeks to live).

On Sunday that knowledge, despite my best efforts of to contain it, traveled from my head to my heart and spilled over as buckets of messy, snotty tears.

Yesterday I was pushed further.  Sam first snatched a chocolate chip cookie right off the table while I was in the bathroom.  When I found him all that was left were crumbs and chocolate smears all over my couch.  A couple hours later I came home from running a vital errand for the band to find he’d managed to get into the bathroom and distribute the contents of the trash all over the house and snatch the box of donuts off of a different table and polish them off.

Something in me snapped.  After almost throwing Sam out of the house to be in time out I melted to a puddle of wailing in the middle of my kitchen floor.  I picked myself up only to crumple again onto the more favorable, carpeted floor of the living room.  When I finally reached a state of numbness, I let Sam in, and spent the next two hours completely still and silent on my couch.  I dozed in-between bouts of just staring at the wall.  I have never felt so alone and helpless.

The worst part is I told myself I would be strong because there’s nothing worse than having a needy wife at home making a mess of herself.  But it appears I can only manage for so long before succumbing to my black hole of remorse.

My grandma does not know Jesus.  So even though she is still alive my fear and grief for her soul is consuming my whole body.  I have prayed for her consistently for a year and a half and now and with only two weeks left to reach her I simply feel hopeless.

Perhaps this is me reaching out for help. But all I really want is for my grandma to find Jesus so I ask that you simply pray your hearts out for her because the prayers of one broken-hearted girl is not enough anymore.

Musings of a Musician’s Wife: what it takes.

Marrying a musician throws you into a whole different ball game of marital learnings.  Not everyone could be married to a musician and make it, and I couldn’t be married to an Army man and make it.  I reserve those women married to our men serving our country as sort of saint-like wives.  When Josh is gone I am not worried about him getting killed, injured, taken hostage, or otherwise permanently changed.  I am not even worried about the fanatic, adoring, gawking women that cross his path.  All I have to do is endure the times when he’s gone by managing aloneness and holding the fort down and be sane enough by the end of the latest stint to do my best to give him the best homecoming I can manage.  However, here are the things I’ve had to learn in the past two an a half years to survive and thrive in such a marital lifestyle.

1.  Don’t cry little wife.  In our first year (actually, more literally, our first few months) I collapsed to bits every time Josh left for his weekend stints away.  We were wed in October and January marks the beginning of “retreat season” for the guys.  This means from then until April they are gone most weekends.  I most simply became a sort of blubbering mess, I think just out of immediate loneliness.  It’s like when you’re first in love and you have to go home from college for the summer.  Especially in the first moments of arriving at your long distance separation prison it feels almost as if your heart has been stretched across the distance and it aches simply because of the strain of surviving such an ailment.  When two are made one this distance suddenly becomes ten times longer.

2.  Put out that anger fire little wife.  Simply because he was not with me aroused this sort of fire-breathing, nasty wench.  The anger swooped in from left field, side swiped me and I was left staggering around the house in a fit of fury at nothing in particular.  So of course I took it out on Josh.  Apparently sometimes loneliness turns into frustrated fury.

3.  Don’t let that jealous monster eat you up little wife.  Josh gets to travel to all these cool places now.  In high school I thought it was my mission in life to see the world.  Instead, I daily travel from work to home then listen to my husband describe the world to me.  Fortunately, I also am doing what I love and it also allows, on occasion, a trip to somewhere different.

4.  Don’t let the money blow away little wife.  Perhaps the most recently frustrating and troublesome responsibility to take hold of me in our newest season of longer Josh absences is maintaining all there is in life.  In March the guys traveled to Nashville to record their single.  It was the end of the month.  Suddenly all the bills came in, half of which Josh normally took care of and I still had to wrap up the month of work and payroll along with daily dishes and weekly laundry.  Suddenly I was in way over my head.  This area I am still navigating but we have put be completely in charge of the finances, even making of them for now, and I’ve worked out most of the bugs.  To survive I’m really going to have to stay on top of my game and make sure that there’s money in the bank before paying the bills then pay the bills then handle the other bills.

5.  Hold up that house little wife.  As mentioned slightly in the previous marital requirement of a musician’s spouse, one of my other full time jobs is keeping the house spiffy.  Josh is a Mr. Clean.  When he’s home he does the dishes, laundry, and makes me food.  Those tasks have a lot more weight with me now than they did four months ago.  Pile those trivial tasks on with more than a full time job, handling the finances, and emotionally maintaining oneself you’ve got one wife barely keeping her face out of the water.  My method of solving my drowning predicament: routine.  I’ve found that managing life gets much simpler with a rhythm.  It’s like the drummer in the band of me.  Keeps me structured and on time.  Tidying is done before heading off to work along with walking the dogs, making the bed, packing my lunch and dinner, and walking the dogs, giving the dogs bones to gnaw on so they don’t destroy the place from boredom.  When I get home its all about getting the dogs out to relieve themselves and putting food in my belly.  Just before bed, it’s dishes and tidying up and only then may I lay down and catch some zzz’s.

All in all, what I’ve learned makes a musician’s wife is a woman of independence and responsibility who falls madly in love with a man who also loves music.  But not the type of madly that elicits frequent blubbering, fits of rage, and wallowing in jealous self-pity.

Musings of a Musician’s Wife: Musician’s Wife Lesson Number One

Musician’s Wife Lesson Number One:  Welcome your husband home.

It was my understanding that the best way to welcome Josh home was to clean sweep the whole house, make sure all the dishes are done, have a huge hug at the ready and probably a good ear for listening and maybe have homemade cookies at the ready and perhaps even some beer in the fridge.  Whole new ball game in the realm of long absences.

This time around he was practically gone for two straight weeks and apparently I got into the rhythm of a workaholic hermit and didn’t know how to break out of it.  Josh was suddenly at the ready making coffee and taking the dogs out, two things I’d grown used to doing myself before work, and because of it I was thrown all out of wack.  As a result, I mostly wandered aimlessly from room to room before heading out the door without my lunch.  His hands were also all over other things and I suddenly was no longer fully aware of how much of each item of food we had, where the handheld mixer went, or where my work shirt disappeared off to.

I thought the biggest struggle of a musician’s wife was to be the missing of the husband, but I guess I adapted to that quicker than I thought and didn’t even begin to realize the repercussions of his return or any sort of disturbance of ritual forming done in his absence.  This is my next mission, welcome Josh back into our life, not just our home.

The beginning of… Musings of a Musicians Wife

Perhaps writing, or blogging, is a way of processing the sharp turns in life.  Perhaps it is a way to unleash the darkest depths of the soul.  Perhaps it is a way to make yourself known, to shout to the world that you exist.  In my case, I think this is a way for me to get my daily musings out of my head.

Lets say this starts because I felt prompted.

Today lets talk about words.  Right now I feel I have so many boiling over and no one to hand them off to.  I am a mommy to two crazy smart and ridiculously adorable dogs, but lets face it… not much for conversation.  I am a photographer and I work until I drop.  Currently I own a business, a Sunshine Moment, where I get to share my joy of photography and people with anyone who cares.  I also work for Hindsdale Living Magazine, Bella Baby Photography, Sherwin Williams Paint Store, Cornerstone Photography, and Houzz.com.

I have words about my ordinary life and in a marriage with an up-and-coming rock star as my counter part I’m afraid my words are pretty lack luster.  I suppose even when I am asked a question the exciting thing that jumps to mind is that my musician husband is on a crazy awesome adventure elsewhere.  And what I mostly want to talk about lately is my new dog Sam.

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Sam makes so many noises that he lost his voice for yesterday and today.  He makes yips ring shrill and painful.  I am most definitely working on getting rid of that noise completely. He also makes the whole assortment of monkey noises.  Today, when I got home, I was greeted with his entire catalogue of noises, almost as if he was listing them off my making them.  I leashed him up in a frenzy of fur and paws to my face and thrusted us out the door.

Tommy is the neighbor dog. The day after we got Sam he ended up at Tommy’s mercy with me shreiking along trying to catch the ravenous killing machine of a dog or my tiny teddy bear Sam before he got eaten.  Haley even joined in the battle, apparently she forgot she too is terrified of the monster or was too overcome with the desire to protect me or the new little fur ball that she forgot her fear.  The whole war between Sam’s life and death probably lasted only a minute or two but Sam will not ever forget it.

Today Tommy was out when we went for our potty excursion.  As soon as we rounded the corner Sam spotted him and desperately tried to climb up me as he ferociously growled his raspy puppy gurgle.  I obliged and picked him up to prance him past Tommy, a long way from the end of his rope, and put Sam down in hopes of seeing a pee stream.  No such luck.  He was more concerned with getting away from the sight of Tommy as quick as possible.

We did.  Then he whizzed.

The end.