This is a Man’s World

Life on the road with dudes

I work in the music business.  One of the last bastions of male domination.  Sure, there are lots of amazing women that work in this business, but the upper echelons are still held by men.

Its ok.  I actually don’t mind it.  Some of these guys that I’ve had the privilege to work with harken back to an era of when women were dames and men wore fedoras – and not in some weird fad-ish way.  Like the real deal Don Draper-styles.  These guys are something else.  Aside from male domination, this is also an industry that’s fed by youth and here they are running the machine, still relevant, still getting their calls returned.  I love it when they call me “Babe” when they forget my name.  Somehow they have earned the right.  Now if some little hotshot straight out of recording engineering school tried that he would get the freeze from me!

I don’t mind being one of the few women at the table.  The women that are here are for the most part pretty damn cool and have more chutzpah in their baby finger than you can imagine.  Women who have built major companies while nursing babies and traveling the country.  Pushing a stroller side stage, they created their own empires.  And they did this in the ’70s and ’80s when you were a pariah for even considering the working mom title.  Women who have chosen to make the artists their families and work around the clock, dedicating themselves to the business.  Female artists who have had to overcome the need for physical beauty to find success and respect for their artistry in spite of their looks.

I always wanted to go down to Chinatown and buy those jangley Chinese meditation balls and send them to all my female colleagues. The way I see it you always need a good set of balls in this business.

I am, I am, I am SuperMom

Take your daughter to work day - Shorty #2

Take your daughter to work day – Shorty #2

I was just reading Devon Corneal’s blog on about what not to say to a working mom.  (Here’s the link –  Its incredible to me that in 2013 women have to defend their decision to return to work after having kids!  Kinda like what not to say to a pregnant lady – working moms can be just as vulnerable when hit below the belt with the judge-y comments hurled at them by other moms.

Heading back to the workforce is a really hard thing to do.  At the end of the blessed mat leave, Mom’s returning to the office are torn. Hormones are still supercharged still, the work clothes only kinda fit and your sweet little bundle has been left in the care of some stranger!  The last thing anyone needs is some jackass SuperMom judging the choice to re-enter the work force.

DISCLAIMER: Just so we’re clear before people start tearing my head off in the comments section – this post is NOT targeting Mom’s who make the choice of full time parenting.  I applaud those parents for their choice and respect (and even envy) their position.  This post is about those blabbermouth know-it-alls that give working mom’s grief for choosing careers over staying at home with the kids.

When Shorty #1 hit the one year mark, I had to extricate myself out of the sweatpants and back into my heels.  IT SUCKED!  Big time.  I cried and cried.  The hunt for childcare was horrendous (THAT is a whole other post) and I was a wreck leaving her every day.  But then, once I was well back in the swing, the hormones had balanced and my good jeans were just starting to fit again – it hit me.  I was sitting on a plane waiting to fly somewhere to meet up with a client on tour, beating myself up for leaving Shorty and J.  In a this moment of self-flagellation, it suddenly all came together;  I have to do my job.  Its an important part of who I am and leaving the job I’ve wanted to do since I was 12 years old would actually be a disservice to my kids.  By doing the job I loved, I was showing Shorty #1 (and eventually Shorty #2) that a woman CAN do whatever she wants to do, she can be whatever she wants to be.  And I haven’t looked back since… until we started school and I met the SUPERMOM.

SU-PER-MOM – n. informal – A Mom who does not work outside of the home, who bakes proficiently and volunteers incessantly while at the same time judges all other Moms for their short-comings, life choices and perceived failings.

SUPERMOMS are a whole new breed compared to the Daycare Moms I had encountered in the past.  Daycare Moms share sympathetic smiles at drop-off time, nodding in solidarity at the peanut butter on your lapel or the fact that you forgot the kid’s lunch.  Some SUPERMOMS can be equally as sympathetic and cool as the Daycare Moms – but always in every class there is one SUPERMOM who wears the badge of SuperMomdom like no one else!  She breezes in with her little one.   She doesn’t worry about forgetting lunch, why Junior eats lunch at home everyday.  She says things like “Are you staying for carpet time?  Oh right, you have to go to work.”  She invites you to midday playdates and when you decline says “Oh right, you have to work.”  The SUPERMOM scares the sh*& out of me with her ability to make cupcakes, host a party and write up a whole class of Valentines in one fell swoop.

SUPERMOMS also stick together.  I see their sideways glances as I drop off the Shorties with my phone in hand and a conference call waiting.  I hear their asides – judging Working Moms for choosing careers over kids.  One time was much like being back in High School.  I was with Shorty at the playground after one midday preschool pick-up.  The SUPERMOMS were huddled on the other side of the jungle gym and were talking loudly about their maternity leaves and plans to stay at home.  One SUPERMOM was recounting a story about a former co-worker who had negotiated the ability to work from home on certain days to be home with her kids, “Can you believe it?  She is so selfish and our boss always gives her whatever she wants!”  I was shocked.  These SUPERMOMS knew me and they knew that I was currently working from home so I could continue to nurse Shorty #2.  Me and the SUPERMOMS weren’t really friends after that.

Take your daughter to work day - Shorty #1

Take your daughter to work day – Shorty #1

Its a juggle managing everything for sure, but all Moms are juggling no matter what their career path holds.  Its the expectation for Moms to be June Cleaver and Hillary Clinton that makes it so hard.  Loving our kids and living our lives as an example is all we can do!

Grammy Ins-N-Outs

Grammy Awards DIY Hair & Make-Up

Grammy Awards DIY Hair & Make-Up

It’s Grammy week and that usually means a significant amount of frenzied chaos around the office as anyone with an artist playing a role in the show is in a manic state of preparation.  With nominations announced only mere weeks ahead of the show and invitations to present and perform following after, its always a bit of a mad dash to coordinate with military precision all the required to’ing and fro’ing that comes with Awards show territory.

The Grammys are a complicated manoeuvre.  When an artist is thrust under a microscope for their 30 second – 3 minute appearance, on stage where every last detail from what they say to how they look is scrutinized by the media and any douchebag with a Twitter account, there are a lot of details to take into account – wardrobe, hair and make-up, arrival strategy, performance plans, etc etc.  There’s a lot that happens to prep for the big day.

Now, what happens on the ground is a whole different thing.  I’ve been to the Grammys twice.  It was pretty amazing to see it all work.  I’m a nerd that’s done this management thing for a long time, so I found the whole production process and logistical side of the event really interesting.  Yes, roll your eyes – I am a total nerd.  Although, my twelve year old self was pretty excited about the whole thing and kept asking my thirty-something self if Duran Duran still came to these things.

Ok – now here’s where I shatter some images, so apologies in advance.  I think some people probably expect backstage at the Grammys to be a little Bacchanalian or something – champagne flowing, hookers and blowing.  But yeah, not so much… at least not all out where anyone can see it.  Hell – one time I was there, there were even Muppets backstage – Muppets I tell you.  That’s not the sex, drugs and rock and roll we all expect!  But it is interesting.  Was that Miley Cyrus eating a cupcake in a Herve Leger Bandage Dress?  (Lucky little thing – if that were me you would see the cupcake popping through the fabric!)  Was that J.Lo’s legendary butt walking past my eye level as I sat in the green room?  (Yep – and it was magnificent – good for her!)  Was that a size 40 Justin Bieber in a size 44 jacket or was that a waiter?  Was that Florence (as in + The Machine) peeing in the stall next me?  (Yep and  PS – for the record, I DID NOT fan girl her while we washed our hands side by side.  PPS – If you’re reading this Flo – I DO ❤ you.)

An LA King's Throne

An LA King’s Throne

Speaking of which, on one of my Grammy tours of duty I was 6 months pregnant with Shorty #2 (See previous blog post The Glow of Pregnancy to get an idea of how interesting that would have made that day at the office).  The artist I was with was set to perform on the telecast, so we were scheduled to be at the Staples Centre early the morning of the show for rehearsals and be there all day.  The Staples Centre is an arena – and a very big one at that. I should’ve worn roller skates or something to get around (yep – you are welcome for that visual!)  The talent wranglers (bless their cotton socks) took pity on me and helped me find all the hidden secret bathrooms.  I swear people were worried that I would go into labor in the green room!

After rehearsals, we ran to a nearby hotel to quickly change and doll up for the show.  I always love this part the best, hanging with the girls and our bestie the make-up artist, primping and preening.  My feet were so swollen and sore from getting around the arena I didn’t know how I would get into shoes, let alone those platform heels.  That was when I met my best pregnancy friend – MATERNITY SPANX.  Those things saved me!  It was unreal.  If you’re pregnant, go buy them, like now!  Plus they helped hide all the cookies I stole from craft services all day.

So as I tune into the show tonight, I think of my best Grammy memory.  We made it a bit of a tradition for our little Grammy team to hightail it before the show ended, ahead of the stadium traffic and hit the In-N-Out Burger on Sunset.   A pile of animal style cheeseburgers, fries and strawberry shakes were a great way to end a great day (and give us a base for great night – after parties!).  Now pass me another pair of Spanx!In-N-Out


The Stand-Off


Shorty #2 on the Time Out step.

Shorty #2 is only mere-months away from the dreaded terrible twos.  She’s always been strong-willed and lets say a bit naughty for lack of a better description.  A little mischievous perhaps.  Well, she’s taken to throwing her plate, food, cup etc when she’s unhappy with the progress of a meal.  Yes, Shorty #2 has always been a big fan of mealtime but lately when she wants to cut out of dinner early in favour of dessert she will sort of lose it.  J and I, while not huge disciplinarians – have to nip these shenanigans in the bud.  So we have resurrected the TIME OUT.

There are many schools of thought on the Time Out, but its worked pretty well in our house.  A little break on the step while we talk about what went wrong and what led to the mac and cheese hitting the ceiling.

Here’s how it went down.  Shorty #2 was done with her dinner and decided to throw her plate of chicken and rice across the room like it was a Frisbee.  “No thank you!” we cried.  “That’s not what we do with our plate!”  The tears began to flow and little #2 was ushered to the step for her first Time Out.

We sat down with her and explained again how this is “not what we do” blah blah blah.  She looked us in the eye penitent so we asked her “Are you ready to say sorry?”  She looked up, eyes glassy with tears and slowly but deliberately shook her head “no”.  Yep, Shorty #2 doesn’t ever say much – but she clearly knows how to say no.  So we sat her down again and explained that she couldn’t get up and finish the meal until she apologized.

Many minutes went by with wailing tears and foot stamping – we asked her again “Are you ready to say sorry?”  Again, she shook her head  “no”.  Now we were getting dangerously close to bed time and she wouldn’t give in.  I could not believe Shorty #2 could be this stubborn and that she would stay on the step for this long.

What do we do?  We CANNOT give in – if we do we’re done for.  It’ll be like Lord of the Flies and Shorties will rule the house!  So we sit her back down and try to ignore the ensuing tantrum, every now and again asking if she’s ready to apologize and always the same response – “no”.

Finally, a brain wave.  “Ok little one, if you are not able to say ‘sorry’ to Mama & Dada, maybe you can give us a kiss and hug instead.  She relented a little and gave me a hug.  “How about a kiss?”  She shook her head again!  But after a little more prompting, she at last gave in.

All forgiven, we returned to the table so she could finish her meal.  She sat in her high chair chomping away.  I asked her ” Can you say ‘sorry’?”  She looked me straight in the eye and said “Sorry”  then she sang it “Sooooorrrryyyy” chanting it over and over again.

Who knew that our kid was the David Geffen of time out negotiations!  She wasn’t prepared to give it all up, but she gave in a little so we felt like we were getting what we wanted.  In the end, she holds all the power.  Ack!  Don’t kid yourself, the kids will always rule the house.