Road Warrior Family

Ian fell into the life of a road warrior rather easily. When Ian was born, I was commuting every weekend from our home east of Sacramento to Los Angeles to host a weekly radio show. The trip was a 6-hour drive that became 7-hours when factoring in diaper changes!

It never dawned on me that I would not include Ian and my wife Monica on these trips. It just seemed more fun to have them along. My premise proved true, but that has changed a good deal over time. Allow me to explain.

Tony Conley holding newborn Ian in one hand for Bloggin' Dad blog post.ROAD WARRIOR PLAN A
Ian was an infant, and it was pretty easy to set things up and travel so that Ian would sleep for at least half the journey. Being an infant, he also needed much less stimulus to keep him interested and occupied. A couple of very simple toys could keep him engaged and happy. Eating and feeding were also much easier, as he was not yet mobile, so he couldn’t run around, get out of his chair, and enter into very natural toddler mischief.

When Ian got beyond crawling and into walking, everything changed. In a very short period, he went from being the greatest of travel mates to being very difficult to manage. He was no longer content to play with a few toys or watch a little Disney Junior. Now, he wanted to see what was in the hotel hallways and other rooms. Naturally, he wanted to meet and get to know everyone when we went to a restaurant.

I see this as completely natural and beautiful development, but it became quite an issue of road management. This is not entirely unlike the way things often go with young musicians, so I was not completely in the dark as to how to proceed. See, young musicians are great on their first tours. They are studious, attentive to the job at hand, and tend to be very well behaved. After a few tours, this all changes. The musicians become bored, curious, and tempted. That is when the road manager’s job and opinion of the young musicians can change very quickly because of the tremendous increase in attention required of the manager (parent).

Ian Conley close upROAD WARRIOR PLAN B
For a few months we ran ourselves fairly ragged trying to keep up with the boy. We attempted to keep his ever-increasing requirements of variety in all matters fairly satisfied (within limits!). Lines were always drawn according to safety and consideration for those around us. Believe it or not, not everyone wants to shake hands with “the dude.” Yes, a large portion of our world knows Ian by his social media persona and nickname.

We soon discovered that it was becoming too difficult to adequately satisfy his wants and needs. So, we did the one thing that made the most sense. We stopped.

I went on doing fewer road trips and when I did travel, it was a solo trip. Harder on me, but much easier on Ian and Monica. This went on for about 18 months.

I am glad to report that Ian has now matured and progressed nicely in his social-emotional development. We’re to the point where a meal in a restaurant is an easily manageable experience. The dude has become more patient with his older and slower parents.

This is great news, because I am very happy to report that when my book, Paul McCartney In The Beatles, is released later this year, I’ll be heading out on the inevitable promotional tour. My family will once again travel with me and be part of the entourage. This time we’ll be well equipped with books to read with Ian, portable tubs of building blocks and supplies, and endless games of I Spy and other road games. It’s the return of “The Road Warriors!”

Post a comment and I’ll be happy to answer. Thanks for reading Rockin’ Fatherhood with Tony Conley!

About Tony Conley

I am a dad who is lucky enough to work from home. Being a writer therefore needn't be a lonely job! My son, Ian, and my wife, Monica, are seldom out of ear's reach, and that is a true gift. I've been attached to the music industry for over thirty years, and will probably be for another thirty, if I'm lucky!
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