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closing the studio for fatherhood,
Old 6th April 2016
  #1
Gear Nut
 

closing the studio for fatherhood,

anyone done this? I have done the studio thing for a living now for 17 years. I am not rich. I pay my bills. I consider myself successful. The wife and I now have two children. As I am sure you all know, the hours involved to maintain a studio or any business for that matter are daunting and time away from the family has to be expected. I am noticing that I could spend enough time with our first child, but with the second one, not so much. The hours needed to make ends meet just don't leave the hours needed to spend the time that I feel is needed with the family.
I am at a crossroads where I can continue to run a local studio that I love, or become a stay at home dad. The money nulls out. Between daycare, babysitters misc expenses etc, we are going to be in the same situation financially no matter the decision.
I am leaning towards becoming a stay at home dad, but am worried about coping with a life that doesn't revolve around music. Im also noticing the studio biz is starting to negatively affect my health. Long hours, Lots O' Stress, Lots of time sitting, the stress however is the big one,
Anyone here have any experience in this? What did you do? What happened?
Old 6th April 2016
  #2
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boombapdame's Avatar
 

I'm childless and spouseless but if I were you I'd close the studio and focus on being a parent, and I wouldn't put the audio toys away. What is your role in the music biz?
Old 7th April 2016
  #3
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raggedman's Avatar
 

I would type the same thing she did...

With the addition that I would keep any studio that was already paid for up and running for myself, as well as to rear the children steeped in a musical environment....that's what's really missing these days....
Old 7th April 2016
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Thanks for the kind words. My role in the music business is operating every aspect of a recording studio, too many details to mention, its just me here, I answer the phone, help your songs see their potential, & clean the ****ter after you leave.
I own all the gear outright, but I rent the location, and it's nice. I do hate to lose the spot.
Old 8th April 2016
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

I don't believe closing the studio would be the end of your career / engagement in music. It won't be the same as up to now, that's for sure. But with a small amount of gear, lots of things are possible. As your username is "tapeslut", I guess the idea of doing engineering with mostly a computer and interface only is not all to appealing to you... still, that would be one possible way to do some music stuff on the side. Smaller bands. As you can find the time. Not so much pressure to hit deadlines. Or maybe being a stand-in at another studio.

On top of that: full time parenting won't last forever. Shutting down the studio doesn't necessarily mean to sell all your gear right now. (Though it's a chance to critically review what you could get rid of).
Since I run my studio in part-time only and lack really good rooms, I very well understand what the loss of a good location would mean to you. And there's nothing to argue against that.



I think that from the perspective of your kids, next to your wife you're the most valuable thing they got. And no daycare can (and should) ever replace that. You know, to them it doesn't make a difference whether you're in a studio all day and night improving people's ****ty music, or work as a greedy financial bastard chasing for riches all day and night. You're there, or you're not - that's what makes a difference to them.
Old 8th April 2016
  #6
Deleted 7f9cade
Guest
I agree with the ideas already stated. Does it have to be a black and white thing? Maybe remove some monetary pressure and turn it into a fun and stressless thing. Some time off would help you frame your studio life into a different mind set.

Sell (SOME) stuff but Id say keep the meat of what you have. Nothing wrong with just letting it sit for a while. As stated earlier also, as your kids grow and get settled in school, that might give you more time.

I don't have any kids so I don't know exactly what youre feeling, but I would guess that just taking a break for a while is a better choice any more permanent solution.
Old 12th April 2016
  #7
It depends on how old your kids are.

If your kids are very young, it'll be a few years until you can get back to it. When one (or both) are of school age, you'll be able to get back to it a good five hours/day. Once they're in high school, you'll be wondering where they are

I could never do the stay-at-home parent thing; there's not enough time shared with adults, and I'd miss that. Make sure to get out and about with the kids.

That being said- fatherhood is the best thing I've ever done. But I wouldn't give up the studio yet. Take a break somehow.
Old 12th April 2016
  #8
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Mertmo's Avatar
 

I have a two year old daughter now.

My wife and I have traded off being the "stay at home" parent so far, while the other one works. She works in TV and film production, so when she's working I am pretty much by myself Monday thru Friday. In fact, right now she's on a TV show until early July that shoots an hour away so I am literally a solo parent Monday thru Friday, as the wife is only here on the weekends!

I haven't produced any "real" work since my daughter was born, so it's been about two years...
I miss it in some ways, but man... It's been incredibly liberating to just let it go for a while. To remember that life is, in fact, NOT entirely about art.

There is so much to enjoy that has nothing to do with music.
It's been amazing for me to remember that.
I'm not attached and obsessed the way I used to be, and while it does have an element to it that is sort of depressing... feeling the classic dream slip away and all...

I wouldn't trade this new perspective back in. I'm *MUCH* happier now than I was before this break, that's for sure.

I'm not sure I'll return to trying to produce and record albums for money. It seems pretty futile to me now. I kill myself going above and beyond, making everything as great as I can, get paid way too little, and the reality is that very few people even hear the results. Meanwhile I'm not playing my own music.
Meh... I don't have time for that anymore, there's not nearly enough return on my energy expenditure.

I am currently only interested in doing recording projects for bands that I'm playing in. Or helping someone who's one of my good friends, etc.
If it's going to truly just be for sh*ts and glory, then I'm trying to embrace the reality of that. I've signed on to help reboot a defunct local band. (one that never did make a proper record)
It's been great so far, just going back to the very beginning. Just... playing songs.
Trying to be as great as we can be without even turning on the damn studio gear.

Fantastic feeling.

Good luck, whatever you decide. I walked away from a cool rented studio location about 4 years ago when I got married. Tough emotional decision, but an easy financial one. It sucks not having a place that can "track a band", but I have a cool mix/overdub room at home.
And I barely ever made any money at it, despite making good records. I was constantly worried and obsessed... Yuk.

I'm finally looking forward to doing some production again, and I'm glad it's going to be about a band I'm in and not for hire on someone else's art.

FWIW...
Old 13th April 2016
  #9
Sounds like you need to take on an intern or two! You can show somebody thats going to school for engineering the ropes, and since they're interns, free help! Best part, you can put em on bathroom duties too.
Old 18th April 2016
  #10
Gear Guru
 

Maybe you could move the studio -or a cut-down version of it - to a room at your home. Keep your better gear -especially mics and front end stuff.

let your kids hang out and be around you while you work etc. Take on jobs that require less client interaction. You could do piecework editing for other studios -like tightening up drum tracks or tuning vocals. You could do mixing and mastering . You could track a remote overdub here and there.

maybe you would still need a 'sitter' for really busy times, but not as much outside help and full-blown daycare as if you were working downtown at an another location.

also it occurs to me that a viable recording studio that is not failing is a pretty rare thing. If you could find the right person, you might be able to remain the studio 'owner' and have someone else be the studio 'engineer'. Perhaps not even every day. If you worked half time and had a partner work the other half...

Quote:
the stress however is the big one
Is this stress from actual recording sessions or from running the business?

The only time I find working in the studio to be stressful is when the equipment breaks down. Anything else, my attitude is 'relax- I got this'.
Old 19th April 2016
  #11
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noah330's Avatar
I did something similar. When my first son was born (13 years ago!) I was away touring for most of my wife's pregnancy and for the first few months of his life. I was around a little more for the birth of my second (10), but not as much as I would have liked.

When we had our third son (6) I decided I didn't want to be away as much and my wife was ready to go back to work. I still will go out and do tours, but I do that a lot less than I used to. I am lucky enough to work out of the house and mainly play guitar on album tracks and work with artists on preproduction tracks. I do some corporate things here and there and do a lot of writing.

I'm glad on one hand that I did what I did with my first two because financially it really was important and I couldn't be doing what I do now had I not done that then, but I really have enjoyed being around for my two older kids the past few years and it's been an experience being the stay at home for my youngest (who is crazy, whereas the others were pretty relaxed kids).

At the end of the day you can't get those years back. I think you're doing the right thing.
Old 19th April 2016
  #12
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old ghost's Avatar
 

These years will be gone in a flash and won't be back. The studio option will still be there when the kids are in school and your time frees up again.

I made that call, and though it has been very difficult at times allowing my wife to be the breadwinner, I feel pretty lucky to be able to spend this precious time with my daughter. Being able to wake her up and hang out all day/keep the house in order instead of having to rouse her out of bed from the time she was an infant and stress out over the timing of everything with childcare has been amazing.

We wouldn't trade the quality of life for anything during this season.

If you do choose this route, bear in mind that you're still providing for your family because your time is valuable and would be paid elsewhere otherwise.
Old 19th April 2016
  #13
Lives for gear
I don't know... letting your children know that you have (and they'll have) to work could be also considered as an example of good parenting.
Old 20th April 2016
  #14
Keep it open. The family can adjust. Never neglect yourself.
Old 20th April 2016
  #15
Gear Nut
 
chip's Avatar
 

Why don't you take all the precious gear out from the studio, and turn it into a rehearsal place for small bands while you're away..You wouldn't have the loose the place. Just lock up the studio, but keep the live room open for rent.
Old 21st April 2016
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Keep it open. The family can adjust. Never neglect yourself.
Ha.

Come back when when you've got married and had kids.

Believe me in the earlier years, you adjust around them. Babies don't just slot around studio hours or whatever free time you have, neither do new mothers.

Don't like being the guy saying "if you've not had kids you don't know" but if you've not been there, you can't really make this call. Don't forget, the OP HAS been there - he knows why it takes.
Old 21st April 2016
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Ha.

Come back when when you've got married and had kids.

Believe me in the earlier years, you adjust around them. Babies don't just slot around studio hours or whatever free time you have, neither do new mothers.

Don't like being the guy saying "if you've not had kids you don't know" but if you've not been there, you can't really make this call. Don't forget, the OP HAS been there - he knows why it takes.
So he is just supposed to throw away a dream just because he has a family? That doesn't seem fair at all. I say keep the studio. A man has to keep some part of his identity and free spirit. Never cave in to the desire of others without some return on investment. The studio should stay, even if he can only use it just for himself.
Old 21st April 2016
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
So he is just supposed to throw away a dream just because he has a family? That doesn't seem fair at all. I say keep the studio. A man has to keep some part of his identity and free spirit. Never cave in to the desire of others without some return on investment. The studio should stay, even if he can only use it just for himself.
I didn't say that. I just said your advice was the advice of someone who hasn't been there. You don't have kids do you? Just checking...

"Fair" isn't necessarily how the world works, and part of your "identity and free spirit" might not mean leaving your partner to do all the child raising. Read his post - he did state it's not like he's the sole breadwinner, there's not financial advantage to him working.

"Never cave in to the desire of others without some return on investment.". That's not how relationships work. It's not a business. It should be YOUR desire as a team, not a fight. If it's a fight then you've got bigger problems than whether to keep a studio open!

I certainly wouldn't advocate closing something you've worked hard to achieve. But given the choice between that and missing a chunk of your child's upbringing? I've only been doing it 15 months, and I spend far more time at home now than I ever did - I'm militant with my working hours and I don't take on as much. And it's totally worth it.

I sound like an old man so I'll stop now..but the comment "the family will adjust" couldn't be further from the truth - that's just not how successful families work. Unless you've been there and can offer some 1st hand experience on how to help your family adjust of course, in which case I'm keen to hear too!
Old 21st April 2016
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I sound like an old man so I'll stop now..but the comment "the family will adjust" couldn't be further from the truth - that's just not how successful families work. Unless you've been there and can offer some 1st hand experience on how to help your family adjust of course, in which case I'm keen to hear too!
That is the problem. People get old and life goes on. The only ones who suffer are the ones who gave up to please others.

The best thing to do is to stay young for as long as possible. Keep that studio open and maintain some sense of identity outside of marriage and parenthood. Plenty of men do things outside of family life and still are adored by their families.

I'd dare say that a man who does not doing things outside of his family is making a dangerous gamble with his own internal happiness. The repurcussions are long term and leads to a man eeling as if he does not have any power or control. That is much more dangerous than spending a little Les time with the family.

Always maintain some sense of control and independence.
Old 21st April 2016
  #20
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
That is the problem. People get old and life goes on. The only ones who suffer are the ones who gave up to please others.
I'm not sure if they are the only ones who suffer. Kids usually need some role models and growing up around people who don't have their own lives probably won't help them when they'll have to make their own lives. And I think that they need a father more than two mums.
Old 21st April 2016
  #21
I guess I don't see the reason to choose between the two. Having two working parents is a good thing. Many kids have two parents that work and they grow up to be just fine.

I don't see the point in going from a dual income to a single income. It is hard to make money out here. If the studio is losing money, sure close it. But if the studio brings in money then keep it open.

Realistically, you can never spend enough time with your family and you can never have too much money. You just learn to make some sort of balance between work and family life. I would not choose between more family time or more work time. I would work to do both. That is what it takes.
Old 21st April 2016
  #22
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old ghost's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
That is the problem. People get old and life goes on. The only ones who suffer are the ones who gave up to please others.

The best thing to do is to stay young for as long as possible. Keep that studio open and maintain some sense of identity outside of marriage and parenthood. Plenty of men do things outside of family life and still are adored by their families.

I'd dare say that a man who does not doing things outside of his family is making a dangerous gamble with his own internal happiness. The repurcussions are long term and leads to a man eeling as if he does not have any power or control. That is much more dangerous than spending a little Les time with the family.

Always maintain some sense of control and independence.
You speak as though you've been there and done that but I'm guessing you haven't...?

Making the decision to stay home and take care of the kids for the good of your family doesn't mean you have to lose your identity. Granted, it isn't easy but that's just the way it goes sometimes.

Edit- I definitely don't think there's anything wrong w/ both parents working, and staying home definitely isn't for everyone. I was used to studio work so being alone a lot doesn't bother me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jetam View Post
I'm not sure if they are the only ones who suffer. Kids usually need some role models and growing up around people who don't have their own lives probably won't help them when they'll have to make their own lives. And I think that they need a father more than two mums.
I don't recall turning in my balls when I made that decision. I work nights and weekends and still work on my craft, and during the day I'm on Dad duty. It's pretty rewarding overall.

I agree that it's healthy to maintain things that matter to you outside of family life. I still spend plenty of time in the studio and I don't wear an apron while doing so!

Last edited by old ghost; 22nd April 2016 at 12:22 AM..
Old 21st April 2016
  #23
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old ghost's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
I guess I don't see the reason to choose between the two. Having two working parents is a good thing. Many kids have two parents that work and they grow up to be just fine.

I don't see the point in going from a dual income to a single income. It is hard to make money out here. If the studio is losing money, sure close it. But if the studio brings in money then keep it open.

Realistically, you can never spend enough time with your family and you can never have too much money. You just learn to make some sort of balance between work and family life. I would not choose between more family time or more work time. I would work to do both. That is what it takes.
Well, the reason to do so is when the cost of childcare basically cancels out the money made to pay for it. Good childcare is really expensive.

So when the option is having both parents work all day, then picking up the kids and going home to a house with all the work to run it waiting to be done... Compared to having it all dialed in so when one spouse comes home you can focus on spending time together (and doing other hobbies) with the end result being the same income...

Not all situations work out this way but it makes a lot of sense in some.
Old 21st April 2016
  #24
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foamboy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by old ghost View Post
Well, the reason to do so is when the cost of childcare basically cancels out the money made to pay for it. Good childcare is really expensive.
Bingo!

I don't have kids and I am fortunate enough to have a significant other who gets me. With that said, my older brother had to make a similar choice years ago and he and his wife decide that she would stay at home because of childcare costs and that was way beck then.

However, as others have suggested, MAYBE, you could compromise and
agree to do very selective studio work a few days a month in order to keep another source of income. My brother, did keep gigging just a little bit which helped his finances and his sanity.

Good luck,

fb
Old 21st April 2016
  #25
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guavadude's Avatar
You might consider finding a partner for the studio. Not an intern because you won't have time for that, but a talented, experienced engineer that is looking for a studio.
That way you'll still be able to take the occasional session so you can keep your creative juices flowing. You'll be earning income from the studio, obviously less but still something and you'll spend more time with the kids.
Old 22nd April 2016
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
I guess I don't see the reason to choose between the two. Having two working parents is a good thing. Many kids have two parents that work and they grow up to be just fine.

I don't see the point in going from a dual income to a single income. It is hard to make money out here. If the studio is losing money, sure close it. But if the studio brings in money then keep it open.

Realistically, you can never spend enough time with your family and you can never have too much money. You just learn to make some sort of balance between work and family life. I would not choose between more family time or more work time. I would work to do both. That is what it takes.
I don't disagree with your last statement, but you've repeatedly ignored the point that there is no extra money when working, because it's all eaten up in childcare. It's a single income regardless. It's not bringing in money at the end of the day. That's one of the reasons you don't see the dilemma.

Yes, 2 working parents are fine, but when there's no net benefit other than a credit list, when you're purely working to pay for things you don't really see the benefit from, and particularly if you're not doing high level projects - by which I mean you can't pick and choose, you have to take what you can to keep the doors open - I don't see too much point.

If I were in that situation, and I'm not - I'd have a hard time wanting to run my own studio. There's absolutely no reason to "give up", you'd just restructure, take the studio work part time hiring facilities when you needed to, and so on.

My whole issue was your blasé "the family will adjust". Notice how everyone who has been there is saying differently!
Old 22nd April 2016
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by guavadude View Post
You might consider finding a partner for the studio. Not an intern because you won't have time for that, but a talented, experienced engineer that is looking for a studio.
That way you'll still be able to take the occasional session so you can keep your creative juices flowing. You'll be earning income from the studio, obviously less but still something and you'll spend more time with the kids.
Absolutely great idea. Even if the OP just does part time stuff, with part time childcare, and still isn't better off - with someone else covering the rest of the sessions, the OP keeps his hand in and his credits churning over, the studio keeps going and he keeps his "work" whilst still having time for the kids.

Personally when my baby arrived I stopped working so much overtime, instead choosing to dep more out to my cover engineer, and I also was a bit more fixed when sorting session times - I never start early so I can do the morning shift with the bub, and consequently the wife is less grumpy cos she gets to lie in most days!
Old 22nd April 2016
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
My whole issue was your blasé "the family will adjust". Notice how everyone who has been there is saying differently!
Well, they will adjust. Families change and adapt all the time. Nothing to it really. It isn't a big deal to me, so I'll just let everyone else worry.
Old 22nd April 2016
  #29
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AnalogBrain's Avatar
 

Hey,
I am a stay at home dad.
I'm 40 with two boys (4 & 2).
My wife has a solid well paying job.

All through my twenties and into my mid-thirties I worked in big name Nashville studios, small local studios and everywhere in between. I also toured in numerous bands. Finally, around the age of 35, I was in a band that started getting national press, record label interest, an entourage of lawyers and managers and publicists etc... wow! The dream was happening!

Then my wife got pregnant. We were so happy, and we assumed that I could keep touring and just get a nanny for when I was on the road. The band was even willing to adjust, and do a 'two week on the road, two week off' touring schedule.

But... as the band became more successful it became clear that type of touring schedule wouldn't work. But more importantly, as my son grew, I couldn't stand being away for that long. Finally, when he was a little over a year old I quit the band. I gave the band a 4 month notice and helped find a replacement. No hard feelings, we're still as tight as ever.

The band has become very successful. Not 'huge', but they're selling out 500 seat rooms and the members are paying their bills. And there is finally a couple of official label offers on the table. Definitely on their way.

The point (OP) is this:
Every day when I wake up and see my two sons' faces... and we laugh together at breakfast and I help get them dressed, I think about how I'm not waking up hungover next to a stinky bandmate with some bull**** interview to do 300 miles away, and I get misty eyed with happiness.
Family is everything. And a strong father who does what's right for his family is the best example a man can set for his kids.

I've been doing projects at my studio the last few years, only choosing clients that I am excited to work with. This fall my second son will start attending pre school with his big brother. My time will significantly be freed up to start building up a client base again.

Just put what is best for your family first. Everything else will fall into place as it should... including your happiness.
Old 22nd April 2016
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Well, they will adjust. Families change and adapt all the time. Nothing to it really. It isn't a big deal to me, so I'll just let everyone else worry.
Well yes - it doesn't affect you and it doesn't sound like it's something you've had any experience about, so you're probably not best placed to say what does or doesn't work for a family. The OP I'm sure has a better idea since this is kid #2 .

Families certainly do adjust - but they should adjust around the new arrival. you don't have much choice really, unless you like having a permanently crying baby!


Quote:
Originally Posted by AnalogBrain View Post
Hey,
I am a stay at home dad.
I'm 40 with two boys (4 & 2).
My wife has a solid well paying job.

All through my twenties and into my mid-thirties I worked in big name Nashville studios, small local studios and everywhere in between. I also toured in numerous bands. Finally, around the age of 35, I was in a band that started getting national press, record label interest, an entourage of lawyers and managers and publicists etc... wow! The dream was happening!

Then my wife got pregnant. We were so happy, and we assumed that I could keep touring and just get a nanny for when I was on the road. The band was even willing to adjust, and do a 'two week on the road, two week off' touring schedule.

But... as the band became more successful it became clear that type of touring schedule wouldn't work. But more importantly, as my son grew, I couldn't stand being away for that long. Finally, when he was a little over a year old I quit the band. I gave the band a 4 month notice and helped find a replacement. No hard feelings, we're still as tight as ever.

The band has become very successful. Not 'huge', but they're selling out 500 seat rooms and the members are paying their bills. And there is finally a couple of official label offers on the table. Definitely on their way.

The point (OP) is this:
Every day when I wake up and see my two sons' faces... and we laugh together at breakfast and I help get them dressed, I think about how I'm not waking up hungover next to a stinky bandmate with some bull**** interview to do 300 miles away, and I get misty eyed with happiness.
Family is everything. And a strong father who does what's right for his family is the best example a man can set for his kids.

I've been doing projects at my studio the last few years, only choosing clients that I am excited to work with. This fall my second son will start attending pre school with his big brother. My time will significantly be freed up to start building up a client base again.

Just put what is best for your family first. Everything else will fall into place as it should... including your happiness.
Inspiring! I can relate - if it takes you away from your family, then it quickly stops being fun or making you happy. I've only got a short day today - I'm enjoying what I'm up to (mix revisions and a bit of arrangement) but I'm already looking forward to heading home to feed and bed the baby.
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