Weekend report: Eras and entertainment

My big adventure this weekend was going to the Taylor Swift concert in Philadelphia! My eldest and I went to celebrate his 16th birthday.

(Side note: Not so many mom-son pairs in the audience! We joked that they really needed to re-purpose some of the men’s rooms in that football stadium for the evening!)

It was a gorgeous night (75 degrees) and a great show. It was also incredibly long — about 3.5 hours, and 44 songs. It struck me that in an era when you can get individual songs whenever you want, and watch the music videos for those songs whenever you want, one thing live entertainment can provide is to be a real experience. Requiring some serious stamina of the audience could be part of that.

To say nothing of the stamina of the performer. Whoa. She did that show three nights in a row after doing it three nights in a row the previous weekend, and so forth. I really appreciated that Swift acted happy to be there, and you didn’t get the sense that this was just another day on the job, which one could imagine happening somewhere in the middle of dozens of shows. She seemed very aware that some people had waited hours to log on to score their $99 Verified Fan tickets, and others had no doubt spent insane amounts on the secondary market. At one point she said something to the effect of “whatever effort you went through tonight to get here, please know that it is very appreciated.”

As for my effort — it wasn’t that bad on the ticket obtaining front. I bought my tickets on Stubhub six months ago and paid what I felt was a very reasonable price considering what I saw tickets going for later.

The logistics of getting to and from Lincoln Financial Field, on the other hand, felt more intense. We took off at about 4:40 p.m. from my house. In light traffic, you can get there in less than 30 minutes. We didn’t pull into the far parking lot until about 6:10 p.m. (to be fair, this turned out to be more Friday rush hour traffic than Taylor traffic). Then we hiked about 15 minutes to the stadium. And that was better than the departure! We stayed until the end of the concert, because, well, we wanted to hear the Midnights songs. But after arriving at our car at 11:55 p.m., I didn’t even bother starting the car until 12:55 a.m., because no one had left our parking lot in that time. I finally got onto the highway (about a mile away) around 1:15 a.m., at which point it was the 30 minutes home it should be.

So, into bed a little after 2, then up at 6:50 with the toddler, but back to bed a little after 8 and I slept until 11! And now it is a memory that I think will stick with me — more so than many Friday nights. I imagine that is so for lots of people who were in the stadium — something that live entertainment can do that you don’t necessarily get from just listening to an album.

In other news: As for a little adventure…my husband and I wanted to go to a party one of his colleagues was hosting Saturday night. We didn’t manage to get a babysitter, but then I had a realization that some of the young women posting on the babysitter list where I look are 17-year-old students at my son’s high school. (Note: when we hire sitters, they are not generally charged with supervising the older three kids, who tend to hang out in their rooms or watching movies. They are there to watch and entertain the 8- and 3-year-old.)

So I put my two older boys in charge, each splitting the time, an hour and 15 minutes apiece at what I felt was a reasonable rate. And then I left the party early (my husband stayed) to make sure all was good. And it was. When I got home, my 13-year-old was playing a game with his little brothers wherein he dressed up in the inflatable dinosaur costume and chased them and they shot at him with Nerf guns. Good times.

I will be careful not to abuse this (and I pay!) but the prospect of not having to hunt for a sitter for “peak” times when it’s hard to land one really has me giddy…

17 thoughts on “Weekend report: Eras and entertainment

  1. After your many many years of parenting you’ve arrived at the point where you have kids turned babysitters. You deserve this! I’d be giddy too.

  2. I wonder if it is a cultural thing but where I am in Canada, it is very normal for teenagers to be put in charge of their younger siblings. I leave my 15 year old in charge of his 12 and 8 year old brothers frequently. Honestly the hardest part is making sure he is available for whatever time I need him for. This has been happening for a while. And if is a short enough thing during the day (eg going to Costco), I will often leave the 12 and 8 year old at home even if no one else is.
    This is not out of the ordinary here at all but it seems from reading yours and other blogs, this might not be true in other locations. Funny to think about the things we just assume are run of the mill but aren’t for other people.

    1. @Mary – I have left the 15-year-old in charge of the other big kids (including the 8-year-old) for quite a while, and left the big kids home alone as well. It’s the fact that I have a 3-year-old that changes things. He requires constant attention and is still a baby in some ways (needs help pottying and sometimes diaper changes) so taking care of him is a real job. If I only had kids 8+ I would have been doing a lot more of this. As it is, I put the big kids in charge of the 3 year old for short periods (like less than an hour) at times but this was a real night out.

      1. Ah yes, that makes sense. A three year old would indeed be a lot more hands on work then older siblings. I think it was once my youngest was 5 or so that it really worked well to leave him in the care of the older siblings.

  3. It’s totally normal in my circles (big Catholic families in Pittsburgh) for teenagers to watch their younger siblings (including babies and toddlers) so their parents can go out. I mean, you’re paying them! And one day if/when your oldest has kids, if he still lives nearby he’ll probably be able to get his youngest brother to babysit them on occasion! When your youngest is 15, your oldest will be 28. Definite possibility he might have a little one of his own before your youngest graduates from high school.

  4. We haven’t hired a sitter for evenings since 2020. Our 15 yo and almost 13 yos are responsible for their younger sibs. This is one of their chores (rebranded “Responsibilities” in our house) like setting the table our taking out the trash. We utilize their services 1-2 times per week and we do not pay. It is part of their contribution to your household.

    1. @Gillian – I also don’t pay for when it’s only the 8-year-old who needs supervision and the occasional check ins. It’s the 3-year-old who complicates matters for us!

    2. I agree with this approach. I find paying for watching a younger sibling, even if it’s a baby, a bit like paying for a family member to empty the dishwasher. It’s one thing if the babysitting is very regular, like three hours each week. But occassional babysitting seems like a reasonable thing to contribute.

  5. So glad you were able to enjoy Eras Tour. I went to Nashville the weekend prior & agree many memories were made! She is an incredible performer. I’m speaking as a fan since 2006 though!

  6. I know that personalities vary, but at 14 I was getting paid to babysit for families with infants, families with 3+ kids…it’s weird that I can’t remember now which of our kids got left with which others at different ages, but we definitely were not hiring sitters once our older kids hit the teen years.

  7. Fun! I hope you had a good Mother’s Day. Thanks for being a positive influence and teaching me, along with many others, ways to have the best of both worlds.

  8. Oh that is so fun! My son is nearly 6 and a mum/kid outing is definitely a highlight, I think partially because I’m away quite a lot. I’m hoping he’ll still want to go places with me when he’s 16.

    I live near Edinburgh which is taken over by the festivals in August. You couldn’t pay my husband enough to go into the city during the festival, but I quite like the food trucks, street performers, and hustle and bustle. Except when kiddo went to nursery on the main festival street and the school run required fending off buskers, and some performance artists made him cry…

    I spent Saturday looking at the programme and deciding what he and I would like to go to. There’s a deep sea science show and one about Norse myths, which are his specialist subjects. My parents will be visiting, my mom hates crowds, but my dad will happily wander about.

  9. I wondered if you had any thoughts on when you would feel comfortable to leave your youngest with your eldest? I also thought about how circumstances such as the youngest being in bed?
    I have a 12,8 and 4 year old so not quite there yet – but do feel it is only 1-2 years away when the eldest can sit for everyone for a couple of hours.

  10. When my oldest hit 13 or 14, I was happy to pay her to babysit her siblings! And we had the same issue with high school age sitters in that they came from her own school and it was awkward, even though they were technically hired to watch the two younger ones.

  11. We used a repurposed men’s bathroom at that concert ! It was a really great bonding experience with the other girls and women! It was really a fun experience. It was more heavily female the audience than I anticipated and a very positive specific vibe !!!

    1. Actually we kind of took over the men’s bathroom out of necessity … it was fun and moving !! and seemed pretty consensual.. the bathroom given the demographics at a certain point in the night just yielded to all that girl power. It was moving and fun experience!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *