By Serena Markstrom Nugent,
Much has changed since I last kept tabs on the local entertainment scene. If you’ve been following me since The Register-Guard changed my beat from entertainment to news at the end of 2011, you know I’ve just made a massive understatement.
Not to go into much detail, I would say the most significant change that affects my daily life is that I have two children now and had zero when I was covering entertainment. I became pregnant with my first, Quinn, who is 2 and a half now, when I still worked at the daily paper, and this site launched on my baby girl Pippi’s first birthday.
Each time I go downtown I discover a new business there I hadn’t seen before. Now that I have kids, the young people out on the town actually look young to me, versus before when I thought just about anyone under 40 was my age (I felt this way from age 21 to age 36 when I had my first).
I think going out for the evening makes one look and feel young, if not encumbered by their own young children and all their gear. But the reality I have encountered as the parent of toddlers, is that life pretty much works better when I include the kids in my plans. Sitters work great for day time away from our kids, but if we leave for the evening, we can count on returning to two overtired and awake kiddos. In most cases, this just isn’t worth the consequences.
In the first year of parenthood, we carried on with many aspects of our lifestyle from before and baby Quinn was adaptable to many situations. Even now, he rarely cries in public and is very social. When he was a baby he didn’t mind taking a little nap in a carrier so we could stay and socialize longer.
Our daughter has proven to be much less portable and their competing needs, in addition to some postpartum anxiety and depression issues I’ve faced, have meant my life has been much more homebound.
I won’t shy from the fact that having young kids has made me profoundly unhip. Now when I meet a friend for coffee and recognize the ambient music, I feel proud, until I remember that if I know it, most likely it is from before 2011.
But this column will force me back into the game. Not only do I not want to embarrass myself in front of readers who once respected me a great deal, the kids are older. Swimming to the surface, I’m starting to see the sunlight from under the deep waters of new motherhood.
Whereas six months ago I might have passed on a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store because I couldn’t be sure I would have the time to clean up the rotting stems and petals after, now I feel confident that I have time for extra things like that.
Neither child sleeps through the night, and sitters can’t get them down with any regularity, so if I want to go out, it really is best if I’m home before nine.
That’s for when I am out sampling Eugene’s bountiful arts, culture and entertainment scene in person. I can still preview events by using my trusty old journalism skills, and better yet I can do phone interviews in my bathrobe from the comfort of my home.
My focus will be:
-Events that I would have gone to if I were my pre-kids self (events I will go to when they start sleeping). This could be a promising show at the McDonald Theatre, Hi-Fi Music Hall, the WOW Hall or the Shedd. It could be Candy Apple Bleu at Blair Alley Arcade. It could be a comedy festival.
-Events that I can take my kids to. This will often include seasonal happenings at farms, all day festivals with kid areas, daytime or early evening concerts and live music in a restaurant or bar setting during all-ages times.
-Entertaining things I can do from home. This could include the latest binge-watching trend on Netflix, reviewing all old episodes of “Beverly Hills: 90210,” a podcast I’m into, a book made out of paper, or movie, album and game reviews. I will try not to write about scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, which is truly what I do for at-home entertainment much of the time.
-Any random thing that catches my interest that I can convince my editor is entertainment related. Trump is an entertainer who jumped the shark, is he not? Sportsball maybe.
Perhaps at some point as the site and my kids grow, I will shift focus again, but the mix I just described is the bouquet I can see myself handling.