Parent Dilemma. You want to go to a music festival. Should you take your small offspring? Is it still a proper festival experience if you might not see all the bands you want to and you don’t get slowly shit-faced?
This has been a tough one since I became a mum. It sounds amazing to integrate something you love from pre-parent days into family life. But is that realistic for us?
I have heard of many parents who throw a tent and wellies in the back of the car and head off for a mud and music filled adventure. I’m guessing that they are the types of families who love camping trips anyway. We are not. Or more specifically, I am not.
Since going camping with the Guides aged 12 I learned that it only takes two days for my curly hair to turn into a Medusa-like state without the aid of a power shower. I also like my own toilet.
So for the past few years I’ve just not bothered, instead choosing to watch ‘Live music’ on the TV red button, with a brew and my slippers on.
But now my Unbalanced Man plays guitar in a band that are getting invited to play at these festivals. So I want to go even more. Would 6 year old Joe enjoy watching Daddy play? Probably, for about 20 minutes from past experience. But, if you give him a choice between time at Granny’s where he can have bacon butties and ice-cream on tap, or being taken from tent to tent watching all the weird and wonderful artists perform songs that are NOT recognisable tunes from Disney and Pixar films, there’s no contest.
So that’s the answer then. Weekend at Granny’s, and off we go.
But uh-oh, here comes Mum Guilt. I absolutely hate sodding Mum Guilt.
“Going off having fun on your own are you?
Drinking are you?
Don’t think I’ve forgotten that you were away without him last weekend,
AND working away the week before that.
Look at THOSE parents who’ve brought their children.
Look how much fun the kids are having.
Joe would LOVE jumping on hay bails with them.
They are GOOD parents who REALLY love their kids.”
I tell you what Mum Guilt, you can absolutely fuck right off. Yes, perhaps Joe would have enjoyed BITS of the weekend, but probably not the whole of it. Instead, we’ve had an amazing weekend as a couple. Joe is back, more than happy and of course, full of ice cream. Next week Ste has another gig but I’m not going, and the week after we’re setting off on a family holiday. So everyone is happy. You might even say it’s all balanced as it should be.
I’ll admit that festival-ing as a mum wasn’t the same as pre-parent days. This time around we managed to stay up till the early hours on the first night, but didn’t get anywhere near shit faced, and on the second night we came home early and were in bed way before midnight.
So I’ll accept that I’m not a full-on Rock and Roll Mum, but I had a wonderful time. And, I’ll tell you a secret… I slept with* that guitar player!!
*Literally. We were knackered.