Continuing our celebration of super dads, we interviewed Austin-based musician Bob Schneider and his wife Laura Moore-Schneider about the balancing act that is parenthood. Enjoy their poignant and insightful responses, fondest memories and honest thoughts about becoming a badass parent.
So Bob, after finding out you were entering fatherhood Round 2, what's the one thing that you were either excited or apprehensive about, and is it easier the second time around?
B: I think the first time, I was a little apprehensive and a little nonchalant about the whole thing. I just didn’t have any perspective on what I was getting into. So when I found out we were expecting the second time, I was really excited because I knew what was coming. I definitely think I've learned a few things the first time around, so just not having to relearn those things makes it a little easier the second time.
And Laura, anything you were anxious about after finding out you'd be a mom?
L: Honestly I was a little freaked out about having a human being growing inside of me! Not only that, but the future responsibility of caring for a person weighed on me, I was hoping so hard not to emotionally screw them up. I still am. But, I think the most exciting part was knowing that I had somebody to show me things about the world I had forgotten as I grew up. I could not wait to have my own little friend to play with, and build forts with, to share our imaginations and dreams. Sounds corny but getting to watch My Little Pony again is so awesome!
And we all know moms receive tons of "advice" from family and strangers alike&emdash;what's the most laughable piece of advice you've ever heard?
L: The most laughable and obnoxious piece of advice I ever heard was... well there was a lot. There was very few advice that I actually listened to, if any, really. Once people started talking to me about how I should do this or that I would usually shut my brain off. People kept telling me 'Make sure you have a good schedule going', that was really annoying, I hate schedules. I just do what feels right for me and baby.
What's the magic combo for the two of you dividing baby duties?
B: For diapers, it's whoever smelt it is usually the one that is doing the changing. I don’t have any problems with changing a poopy diaper! I thought I would before I had kids. I had read that Madonna never changed a diaper and I thought, how cool would it be if you had enough money and help that you wouldn’t have to deal with someone else’s poop! Now that I’ve had the opportunity to change quite a few diapers, I think that she’s probably cheated herself out of something that is really important and special. Taking care of a little baby is pretty hard work- but because it is hard work, it's really rewarding.
L: Yep, we share the diaper duties, and I do most of the feeding. I breastfed for 8 months and then started experimenting with all kinds of purees and soft foods. So I know a little better than her dad about what type of foods she likes, which is everything by the way!
And was it helpful that Bob had already been through the baby process, or is there still ample opportunity for learning?
L: Having Bob be a dad already was helpful in that I knew he was a patient and loving parent. But I had been a nanny for years before I ever got pregnant, so I felt pretty confident and comfortable from the get-go!
Bob, it seems you're always on the go playing shows either in Austin or on the road. How do you balance your music and fatherhood?
B: Well, the music takes a backstage to fatherhood, in that I just don’t have as much time as I used to. Also, you realize that as important as music might be, it’s still not anywhere near as important as your kids, so it puts things in perspective in a way that you wouldn’t get if you didn’t have kids.
And has fatherhood proven an inspiration for your work?
B: Absolutely. Anytime anything happens that changes your life, you end up with songs because of the experience. And being a father is no exception. I don’t necessarily write autobiographical songs, but the feelings that I experience show up in the songs in unexpected ways. Some of the best songs I’ve written happened right after my kids were born.
Many parents speak to a transformation of priorities/goals/sense of self when their little one is born&emdash; what changed for the both of you?
L: The strangest feeling came over me when Scarlet was born. I had this overwhelming sense of serenity and purpose. I seriously felt all powerful and remember thinking I could do anything. All of these dreams I had discarded along the adult highway had come back full force. My fears and anxieties were placed on the back burner. I felt like Wonder Woman-for a while at least. My priorities and goals obviously shifted to keeping this little person healthy and alive, but I also started looking at myself and how I could become more self-aware in order to be the best person I could be for her. So yay for therapy!
B: Well, you immediately lose the number one spot in your life, and that’s a really great thing. All of my misery comes from worrying about my own needs not being met, but once you have a kid you get to look out and take care of someone else, and so you lose a lot of that selfish angst that you had before.
Up to now, what's your fondest memory with your kiddos?
B: That’s a hard question. There are so many really, that’s it hard to say. With Scarlet, it was probably just her being born and starting to breathe. She was born two months early and she didn’t breathe right away, and they took her into the next room and it took four nurses a couple of minutes before she started to take in some air. It was quite a relief when she started to breathe. I can say hearing my son's laugh always makes me feel so great-- that’s probably my favorite sound on earth really.
L: My fondest memory up until now, and there are many, is probably when Scarlet started kissing and cuddling her baby dolls. I felt like I had done something right. She was showing love because she knew what it looked like. I was a proud mama.
Looking toward their futures, what hopes and dreams do you have for Luc and Scarlet?
L: I just want her to love the person she is and have some sort of spiritual outlet to turn to. Whether that's meditation, paganism, religion, universal energy...whatever. I want her to feel like a part of something beautiful by being alive. I want her to see the tiny synchronicities of life and know it's magic. Most importantly though, I want her to be kind to herself and others.
B: Well, I hope that they find something they love to spend their life doing. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as they are passionate about it. So many people settle for things that aren’t their dream because they’re too scared to fail. It’s way better to fail than to never try something. I’ve always felt that the doing is way more important than the figuring out, so hopefully they’ll inherit that in their lives.
Without being those oh-so-helpful folks dishing out "advice" to you both as soon-to-be parents, what pro tips do you have to share?
B: I think the most important thing you can do as a parent early on is set up a schedule and stick to it. It’s good for everybody’s well being and it’ll help everyone get the sleep they need.
L: Pro tips for soon to be moms- trust your intuition and get out of your head. Allow yourself to experience their childhood as your own second childhood. Oh and don't buy all those baby gimmicks. Let your kid get creative!
What upcoming events/shows do you have planned, and will your kids get the chance to attend also?
B: I love it when my kids are in the audience! Scarlet’s already been to a few shows and Luc’s actually performed with me on stage. I went on the road with the Dixie Chicks a while back and they brought their whole families on the road with them. I love the idea of traveling with my wife and kids. It would make touring way more fun in the long run!
There you have it, big thanks to Bob and Laura for giving us a glimpse into their parenting world- Happy Father's Day, Bob! And if you're lucky enough to be in Austin, make sure to check out Bob's upcoming family friendly shows:
July 2: Independence Day Celebration @ Nutty Brown Cafe & Amphitheatre
July 15: Bob Schneider & The Moonlight Orchestra @ Dell Hall at the Long Center
July 16: Postgame Concert @ The Dell Diamond (Round Rock)
And find more show dates at: bobschneider.com/tour