Concerts, After Children vs Before Children… think there’s a difference? Hell yeah there is. Ya know how when you get pregnant, people tell ya how having a baby changes everything? You think “Well, it won’t change that part of my life.” Bullshit. When we say everything, we mean EVERY-thing.
Before I met the hubs, I had attended two concerts in my life: Amy Grant & New Kids on the Block. Oh yeah. I was SO cool. The first concert I attended with my husband: Alanis Morrisette, a little band named Radiohead opened her show. I even remember what I wore: a tie-dyed peace-frog shirt with overall shorts. Hey, it was 1996, ok?! Once I had a taste of what an amazing experience attending concerts could be, I was hooked. The live music, the lights, the celebration of music as a community of fans, there’s nothing like it. The hubs & I have attended many, many concerts since. I won’t bore you with a long list, but here’s my top 5: Radiohead in Grant Park, Chicago, Roger Waters in Phoenix, Natalie Merchant (front row!) at the Joint in Vegas, Queens of the Stone Age, Grand Rapids, Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks, GR (first concert with BOTH of my children — I nursed my then 4-month old during the show).
The first three concerts I listed were before children, the last two were after children, well, to be even more accurate, I was pregnant with my 2nd at the QOTSA concert. But I didn’t look pregnant in my black Jane’s Addiction tank, and Josh Homme wanted me and totally sang to me and only me the whole show though. It’s a basic fact I’ll take to my grave. There, I said it.
The differences between attending a concert before & after you have children are huge. Before you have kids, all you needed was the cash and maybe a few friends. Once you become pregnant, that throws an entirely new wrench into the situation. Standing for long periods of time is not easy, so GA shows aren’t really an option anymore. You can’t drink alcohol like everyone else seems to be doing at the show. Back in the day when I was preggers, people could still smoke at concert venues so that was another issue you had to fight. And let’s face it, if the concert goes past 10p, you may not make it to the encore because you are exhausted by then, and will absolutely pay for your sins the next day — no hangover, but to me, pregnancy felt like a 9-month hangover. That being said, my stubborn self must’ve known the clock was ticking on concerts (and I didn’t think things would really change that much) so when I was pregnant the first time around, we went to so many concerts, the first 2 pages of my 1st born’s baby book is plastered with concert-tickets.
After you have a baby, you quickly learn that you have to budget for other things like baby clothes, diapers, possibly formula, etc. And concert tickets seem like a waste of money if you don’t *truly* love the band. You need to arrange for a sitter (more $$!) If you don’t live in a big-city, you need to transport yourself to/from the show, sometimes travelling hours just to see a band, then turning around to drive home, exhausted, in the wee hours of the morning only to get a few hours of sleep before your little ones wake up. And the reality of your world post-baby is that everything you schedule is in pencil. So, even if you have these concert tickets, who knows what will happen that day? What if you have a sick child on your hands? Do you leave them with a sitter? Is the guilt worth it?? The toughest thing we ever had to do was giving up our 10th row seats to see Tenacious D in Detroit (about 2 1/2 hrs from GR) when our oldest (who was 2 at the time) was going through a really rough spell where she would randomly have 2-3 hour episodes of screaming. Leaving her wasn’t an option. The day we made that difficult decision, we officially became “responsible parents”. It’s not something I necessarily regret, but a small piece of me died that day.
The good news is that once you become parents, you pick & choose the concerts you go to very carefully, and you enjoy a bigger percentage of shows than you would’ve if you went to see every band you loved, or even liked at the drop of a hat. You save more time & money by seeing shows in your home-town… but the best part is when you can afford to take your kids with you to a show. Even if you’ve seen the band before, seeing it with your children is like seeing them for the first time.
I have 2 concerts to look forward to in the next few days. Tonight, the hubs & I are going to see Stone Temple Pilots here in GR with a couple of friends. We are leaving the kids with a new sitter for the first time, so that should be interesting. Always something to stress about! And then, on Monday, will be taking our 5 yo to see her favorite band: Green Day. We had a special red & black shirt made for her that says “I <3 Green Day" on the front and "not my first concert" on the back. All 3 of us are so excited. My mother-in-law is coming in to watch our 2 yr old while we do that. Very helpful, especially when you are leaving town for a show (which we have only successfully done twice since having kids). As much fun as I have going to concerts without the kids, it's turned out to be just as much fun to be able to take my kids to concerts... expensive, but very special to be able to share live music with them.
Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...
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