Sing Along!

I thought I would do a bit of a light-hearted thing this week and it turned into an emotional roller coaster!  Being a ‘music person’ I was thinking earlier this week, “what is the soundtrack to my parenting?”.  So I made a small play list of songs that talk about parenting and had a little think about them…  This happened to come to me when I was analysing an Alanis Morissette song called Perfect. It’s about how some parents hand out love like a reward instead of giving it unconditionally. It is also about parents living vicariously though their children by shaping them into miniature versions of themselves… That was the first of the emotional swings that had me crying in the car and singing like a freak at the traffic lights (note to self : don’t listen to Alanis when you are pre-menstrual). This bit is what got me:

I’ll make you what I never was,

If you’re the best,

then maybe so am I,

Compared to him compared to her,

I’m doing this for your own damn good,

You’ll make up for what I blew,

What’s the problem … why are you crying?

By the end of that bit she is screaming “WHY ARE YOU CRYING?”. It reminds me of when I was teaching and I had a child in my class who wouldn’t respond to any kind of negative behaviour management because what he received at home was so much worse. So obviously this song shapes my parenting in a “I’ll never do that” sort of way.

Then I was listening to Little Green by Joni Mitchel (I should have known right then and there that it was a bad idea). It’s a song Joni wrote about having to give her child up for adoption when she was young. Another heartbreaking song that makes me a bit teary. Especially this bit:

Child with a child pretending

Weary of lies you are sending home

So you sign all the papers in the family name

You’re sad and you’re sorry, but you’re not ashamed

Little green, have a happy ending

That one just makes me really grateful for any time I have with my daughter. But it also makes me sort of aware that people see us as semi-young parents and there will always be a generalisation and sometimes judgement attached to that. I can’t help but try and break through any generalisations people form. So even though I am actually not as young as Joni was I’m still aware that I am the only person in my social circle my age that has a child – it can be quite isolating especially when friends seemed to drop off the planet once I was pregnant!

I thought I might have to try and find some positive parenting songs and Jeannie C Riley comes through with Harper Valley PTA. It’s about a single mother who is being judged by the PTA (Parents and Teachers Association) and she walks right into the meeting and calls them all hypocrites who have no right to judge her on her parenting. I love it because I remember my mother coming in to school and being a real advocate for us and for our way of life. Then I realised good ol’ Tammy Wynette was on that play list with D.I.V.O.R.C.E

watch him smile he thinks it’s Christmas

or his fifth birthday

and he thinks C.U.S.T.O.D.Y spells ‘fun’ or ‘play’.

I spell out all the hurting words

and I turn my head when I speak

‘cause I can‘t spell away this hurt that’s drippin‘ down my cheek

You just can’t go past those lyrics… It would be quite sad if it wasn’t sort of funny (it probably isn’t funny for people who have experienced divorce but I just love the song!). Country and western lyrics always crack me up! For me it really does explore the fine line between censorship and protection (but mostly it just makes me sing at the top of my lungs). So these are my random picks … you would usually think of cats in the cradle or father and son when it comes to songs about parenting but I think these are pure gold.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Harper Vallet PTA is one of my all time fav songs…


    • Posted by plahski on June 21, 2009 at 9:47 pm

      Hehe It’s a good one… “you have the nerve to tell me you think that as a mother I’m not fit
      Well, this is just a little Peyton Place and you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites”

      LOVE IT!


  2. Posted by MummyTiff on June 22, 2009 at 12:53 am

    Songs can really describe your life or where you’re at at a certain time in your life, can’t they? I remember what songs I was listening to as a teen just like I remember a certain event based on a smell or the perfume I was wearing at the time. Most of my song associations are with my woeful love life as a teenager because after that I worked in radio and the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was listen to music! I need to get back to it though because I miss that meaning that comes with the lyrics of really powerful songs.


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