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Leading up to Father’s Day, we’re talking to dads who continue to make and perform music even after having kids. I loved learning more about Bobby Hackney Jr’s personal story and truly amazing family history of making music. His wife Sara is a writer at Parent.co. 


 

I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about your band?

I’m in a band called Rough Francis. We’re based out of Burlington, Vermont. The band is me, my two brothers, and two close friends. We’re a punk band.

How long have you been making music?

I’ve been making music ever since I was five years old, believe it or not. When I was a kid, there were instruments all over the house. My dad and uncle were in a band called Lambsbread at the time, so they were always gigging, always practicing.

I remember one year they actually practiced up in our house in my dad’s den, which was kind of funny because it’s a really small spot, you know the office. He used to practice in the office.

Whenever they were done, I would just get behind the drums and play the drums because that was the easiest thing to get to.

Actually, I was originally a drummer. I started playing drums, and my uncle taught me some stuff. I don’t know, I just stuck with it all throughout middle school and high school.

Rough Francis has been together for about six years. Before Rough Francis, I was in a band called The Static Age. We were a post-punk new wave band. Then before that, I was in a few hardcore punk bands.

You mentioned Lambsbread. Can you talk about your family’s surprising family story with music? 

Yeah. Yeah. It all started in Liverpool, England. My father, John Lennon …

Woah! John!

Had no idea that he was a Beatle until … no. Anyway. Like I said before, growing up my dad and my uncle were in a band called Lambsbread, that was a reggae band. All through my childhood, I only knew my dad and uncle as reggae musicians.

Yeah, it’s a well known reggae band.

They did really well. My dad started the Vermont Reggae fest. They toured quite a bit. They brought a lot of big time reggae acts up to Burlington in the 80s and early 90s. That was going on, and me and my brothers naturally got into music through our father and uncle because it was already around. We grew up on reggae, so we got into that.

As I got a little older, when I was in, I don’t know, 8th or 9th grade, I started to get into skateboarding. Skateboarding opened up a whole new door musically. I was hanging out with kids who were punks. A lot of the style and culture revolved around punk rock with skateboarding. I got into it through that.

A good friend brought me to my first show at 242. My first punk show. As soon as I went to that first show, it was just a life changing moment. Felt like that was what fit me the most. I didn’t look back from there.

Most of the kids from my high school were the chuck type (editors note: rednecks). They didn’t like skateboarders or punks. A lot of the kids that I really connected with were from Burlington, and I became friends with a lot of kids who lived in Burlington, and that’s how I got into it. Hanging out with cool people in Burlington.

The whole time with your dad though, you’re still reggae guy.

Yeah. I’m just like “Yeah, I just got into it. It’s cool. Whatever.” And my brothers get into it the same way. As I get older, I’m probably in my early 30s, me and my brothers find out that our dad and uncle were in this band called Death from Detroit in the 70s. That changed a lot.

How old were you?

I was old. It was funny, because I was done with The Static Age. When my son Kiernan was born, I was not in any musical projects. I was just hanging out and stuff.

Being a dad.

Yeah. Being a dad. Then I started playing around with this cover band. This 80s cover band for a little bit. Then once that ended, me and my brothers thought it would be cool to do a Bad Brains tribute set. You know the Bad Brains, right?

Hell yeah. I love the Bad Brains.

We did a Bad Brains tribute set at 242 for Halloween. There’s a significant age gap between me and my two brothers, and this was the first time we could actually be like “Okay, cool. We can actually play some music together,” not thinking anything of our own musical history. We were just big Bad Brains fans. It went really well.

Shortly after that, my brother Julian moved to California, where he starts getting all these little snippets of what my dad and uncles did in the 70s. He started learning about the band that they were in and that they recorded some music, that there was some music out there. He ended up finding two songs on a blog.

When Julian first told me about this, I didn’t believe him. “This is bull! This is bullshit! There’s no way. They’re just reggae dudes. There’s no way that they played punk rock in the 70s.”

I heard the music, and I was just blown away. I was like “Man, I hope this is true, because this is amazing.”

Amazing.

We confronted our dad, like “Dad, okay you got to tell us some stuff! What did you guys do in 70s? Were you guys in a band?” He’s like “Yes. We were in this band called Death. It was me and your two uncles. We were a rock and roll band. People didn’t like us back then because we’re three black dudes playing this loud racket. Everybody wanted us to play funk and R&B.”

I was just like “What?!”

Yeah! Seriously.

I asked him, I was like “So, do you have any more of this music sitting anywhere?” Then he said that all their master tapes were up in the attic. All this time. He took the tapes and he transferred them over to digital for cd. I took the cd home and I listened to it and I couldn’t believe it. I was really just thoroughly blown away.

That’s an amazing revelation to find out that your dad was a real pioneer, in one of the worlds first bands that could be considered “punk,” for which he’s super respected. Meanwhile you’re playing in a punk band with your brothers. 

It’s funny because at the time nobody heard it or knew about it. It was a more of a discovery. They would have been a huge influence if people heard them or liked them back then.

It’s funny how they’re getting the retroactive respect based on the respect that they didn’t get when they first started. It’s pretty wild.

(Note: readers should watch the documentary “A Band Called Death“)

It’s amazing. It’s a scenario where a person falls in love with something and pursues it and becomes really good at it, only to discover that their father did it a generation before them. 

Exactly. That answered a lot of question for me, personally. That’s what made our band Rough Francis so important. After learning about all that. We actually started the band officially after we found out about Death.

The Bad Brains thing was just kind of the fun little project. Once we found out about Death, that’s when we sat down and we made the decision to actually do a band. It just felt so perfect.

It’s a killer band; Rough Francis is definitely one of the rising bands on the scene. I also think that a band of three brothers who are black playing loud full-on punk rock music in a northern town in New England is surprising for people. 

It’s pretty funny. I step back sometimes and I’m like “Man, that is pretty interesting.” If I was just somebody who lived here and didn’t know about it, and then saw that, I would be like “Wow. Very interesting.”

You mentioned that you weren’t playing music when your son was born about a decade ago.  How has being a dad affected making and performing music for you? A lot of people stop pursuing seriously after becoming a parent. What’s allowed you to continue playing and touring? 

The reason why Rough Francis came together in the first place is because of family. This is the first band I’ve ever been in that’s been more family oriented, and family always comes first.

It’s just like a natural progression. It’s most inspiring for me to be with my own family, and think of things to do with the band. They’re both intertwined. I guess we wouldn’t have found out about any of this if we didn’t hang out. If I wasn’t hanging out with my brothers and finding this out, I wouldn’t have known about it.

I was just hanging out with Sara and Kiernan at the time, and we’re all just always together. That’s where it came from. Just being with family a lot. That’s just a big part of it.

Another thing is, I’ve been on many tours and I’ve been in a lot of bands, a lot of sleepless nights. I feel like being on the road and touring a lot has helped me become a parent, because I’m conditioned to lose sleep sometimes.

It’s kind of like those late night drives that you have to do. Sometimes being at home could be the same thing.

Interesting – I never thought of that!

Especially when your kids are sick.

Did any other band members have kids? Any other dads in the band?

Yeah. Yeah. My brother Urian is about to have a kid soon.

Congratulations!

I’ve played music with people who have kids.  You always find camaraderie with other musicians, but when it’s a parent musician, it’s even better. It’s like “Yeah man! We didn’t get paid enough for that gig! Blah blah blah.”

And it’s like “Yeah and when I got home, my kids woke me up at 6 o’ clock in the morning after I got home at…”

I always talk to Eric and Amanda about this kind of stuff. It’s like you stay up all night playing a gig, you get home, but you know your ass is getting up at 6 o’ clock in the morning to make pancakes. They don’t care. The kids don’t care. They don’t care what you did the night before. If you’re around, you’re their servant, pretty much.

Ha – so true. What effect has it had on your kids to see you playing and making music? Does Kiernan remember a time when you weren’t playing?

I’m not sure. Actually, when he was probably around 3 or 4, that’s when I was playing with that cover band. We used to bring him to shows and stuff, and we bring the kids to shows whenever we can. I think Josie, my three-year old daughter, she’s the one that’s really been paying attention.

Whenever she’s at a show, she’ll do soundcheck with us. She’s really into singing. She’s got a whole bunch of instruments at home. She likes listening to our music too. She’ll put on her 7 inch and sing along to it, which is really cool. Same thing with Kiernan. It’s kind of funny when I’m telling the kids to quiet down, but they’re screaming my own songs at me.

I can’t tell them to stop. I’m like “Okay, I guess … You’re singing one of my songs. That’s kind of cool.”

It is very cool. Do you have instruments laying around your house?

Yeah. We do. We have a chimalong, we have a guitar, we have a ukulele, accordion, kazoo, bunch of drums. There’s always stuff to play all over the house. That’s the way it was for me growing up. There was always something to make noise. Usually it was just to annoy everybody else, but one day … It’s funny because you go through the, you want to just annoy people, and then you’re like “Actually, maybe I should just learn how to play this thing.”

Exactly. Any advice to other parents? Dads in particular, but really both parents, about keeping music alive even after becoming a parent?

Well, actually another thing that I forgot to touch on, which is really cool, is we all listen to records together or we listen to music together. We have a record player right in our living room, and it’s really cool that the kids pick out records and they listen to them.

I feel like in this day in age, kids don’t really know how to listen to a record. They’re always jumping from song to song on Spotify or on Itunes, but if you have a record, you pretty much have to commit to it and just let it finish.

Listening to a record like you would watch a movie is a great family bonding experience.

All right. Thanks Bobby! 

Is that it?

That’s it! It’s 20 minutes. That’s good. One side an LP.

Perfect.

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We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

This article is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.

Coverage:

A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

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[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

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[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

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