Music gets us through each stage in our lives. The album you played on repeat in your room during high school. The song you danced to with your first crush. The playlist you and your friends listened to while you got ready for a night out.
This is not that kind of music.
Hold onto your yoga pants, folks. Time to crank up some Mom Jams.
The Weeknd, “I Can’t Feel My Face”
A new baby is a joy and a blessing, and holy shit, he doesn’t sleep and you haven’t changed your underwear in four days. Having a newborn is a mix of both intense love and intense “Why did we think this was a good idea?” All the people you know with kids leave the house again. Sometimes they look showered. You know this isn’t forever. At least you’ve got a good lullaby to cry-sing to your wide-awake bundle of ugh.
Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”
This is one instance where both the song and the video depict the Mom Moment — the wrecking shit part, not the gyrating part. Don’t make it weird. “Wrecking Ball” is the anthem of your naked toddler, barreling through the house, breaking all your lamps.
Beastie Boys, “Sabotage”
You’ve put the kids to bed. You walk by the kitchen on your way to the calming glow of your television, and there it is — a sink full of bullshit that you forgot existed. You put on your gloves. You run some hot water. You get ready to fuck up some dishes.
Pharrell Williams, “Happy”
Every instance of forced family bonding is going to call for a little feigned enthusiasm on your part. Someone is going to be too close to someone’s side in the car. Apple picking will turn out to be not as exciting as the pictures from that mom blog you follow depicted it to be. (You should have known. Filters on filters on filters.) Morale will need to a boost and you can bust out this jammy. This way, the family can do their bonding over how much they hate when mom sings her heart out in public places.
NSYNC, “Bye Bye Bye”
Everyone needs a break sometimes, and you’ve needed one since your uterus became an Easy Bake Oven: Fetus Edition. Your purse is collecting dust while you carry your life around in a diaper bag. “Sleeping in” is now classified as 7 a.m. You haven’t drunk your coffee while it was still hot in who knows how long. You’re ready for some time away. Whether it be a full-fledged vacation or a night at that hotel you pass on your way to the grocery store, you’re taking it.
Celine Dion, “All By Myself”
So you took some time away. It’s now a few hours into your well-earned respite, and you miss your damn kids. You should be lounging in your cushy hotel bed, watching something on TV with lots of swearing and gratuitous nudity. Instead, you’re texting requests to FaceTime your sleeping children in night vision.
So, this isn’t a real song, per se. But it’s what you’ll be singing all through years 13 to 17. Fill those lungs up and be sure to project so your angsty teen can hear you through their slammed door and over their Justin Bieber.
Mariah Carey, “Always Be My Baby”
Your youngest son is getting married today. You have compiled a slideshow of moments from his childhood and formative years — ending right before he met her — to play during the reception. You didn’t ask permission from the bride because you’re sure What’s-Her-Name will be fine with it. You haven’t bothered to learn her actual name because you know this is temporary. You’ve kept his room exactly as he left it in preparation for the day he realizes that he could never love anyone as much as he loves his darling mother. You pull up to the venue with your projector and boom box. Then you check the address because this is an abandoned Blockbuster, not the country club. Why would What’s-Her-Name give you this address?
Justin Timberlake, “Can’t Stop the Feeling”
I will employ a metaphor here: Your family is a Tyrannosaurus rex. It’s mid-afternoon on a Sunday and you look around your house. It’s moderately tidy. No one is fighting. Everyone is occupying themselves without complaint. You know in your heart of hearts that you shouldn’t move or make a sound, so as not to alert the T-rex to your presence. But you’re overcome with the perfection of this moment. Same as when you hear this song come on the radio, you have to release your joy through the art of dance. You woke the T-rex, and your house is quickly a familiar pit of chaos. It was worth it.
Beyoncé, “Love On Top”
As you open your front door, arriving home from a night out with your girlfriends, you do a double. There isn’t a sea of Legos and American Girl bullshit all over the floor. He cleaned? The kitchen is tidy, and you can’t find evidence of a pizza box. He cooked? The house is quiet? He already put the kids to bed? You sneak into their rooms to kiss them goodnight while they sleep, and they don’t smell like an earring. He bathed them? Where is he?
It may not give you the same feels as the song you walked across the stage to at graduation or the one you sang with all your friends that night at your graduation party right before you puked, but they’re still your songs. One day, you might even get to turn off Radio Disney long enough to listen to them.