Motherhood Captured by an 80s Playlist

Who knew that 80s musicians had such keen insight on the ins and outs of motherhood?

As a product of the generation, I love some good 80s music, and to be perfectly honest, I probably love some not so good 80s music, too! Sometimes when I get the radio dial win as I’m traveling about with our crew ages 16, 15, and 4, I am able to tune into the melodies of my youthful exuberance by tuning into 80s on 8. Luckily, I can usually make it through a fair amount of songs before teenaged rumblings overtake.

During these snippets of nostalgia, I find myself singing along and enjoying the fact that these tunes from my youth are providing the soundtrack for some brief moments of my journey through motherhood.

In navigating the whole motherhood/parenthood dynamic, I’ve certainly learned that there are times when taking pause and turning to others for some sage advice can be warranted. Little did I know that while listening to these short playlists featuring the songs of my younger years, sage advice and in-the-trenches knowledge would come in the form of the song titles displayed on my minivan screen. While the lyrics as a whole don’t necessarily apply, the song titles share quite a bit of wisdom and insight on their own.

My 80s Playlist of Parenting Insight

Bang Your Head– A Quiet Riot classic that we can all identify with again and again and again. Whether it’s the interminable Why? from toddlers or the innumerable requests for the something to be completed by kids of any age, we’ve all been there. There are lots of head in palm, bang your head moments in parenthood. Try to find a beat for them; this too shall pass!

I Won’t Back Down– Parenthood can often feel like a battle of the wills, but Tom Petty offered a much-needed mantra with this one. Yes, you may be banging your head, but it’s imperative that you don’t back down. Kids will push your limits, but parents need to provide the structure and guidance to get kids safely through childhood while instilling manners, morals, and humility along the way.

Dirty Laundry– Oh, Mr. Henley, if you only knew… Laundry is a ceaseless pile-up of a thankless task. There will always be something, even when you think every garment that isn’t being worn is clean. Whether it’s a potty accident, a game-winning slide for home, an over-ketchuped burger, or a crafting project gone awry, dirty laundry will taunt you from hampers or from the dirty laundry mannequins that are your kids. A word of advice- never sniff test the socks of teenage boys. Always err on the side of dirty.

Just Can’t Get Enough– This is so true, Depeche Mode! We just can’t get enough sleep, snuggles, privacy, coffee, glimpses of angelic sleepers, girlfriend time, dry shampoo, wine, elastic in our waistbands, date nights, proud mama moments, etc. The day in and day out can be overwhelming, but oftentimes it feels like there is a just can’t get enough element to so many facets of motherhood!  

Endless Nights– Eddie Money has been there and done that, and so has every parent on the planet. I wish I could say that this one disappears, but there will always be times when sleep evades us due to our kids. It can be the soothing of an infant or the trials and tribulations of the teenaged years. I’ve also heard from a reliable source that this late night ceiling contemplating condition doesn’t cease once your brood hits their 20s, 30s, 40s… The time to invest in eye cream is now!

If I Could Turn Back Time– Even in her leather, thonged bodysuit, Cher was able to belt out a parenting pearl. There will always be moments where we want to turn back time. Sometimes it will be because you’d like a do-over, and other times it will be because you want to relive a cherished memory. Whichever is the case, it teaches us to be more mindful of the moment. Take the picture, let them splash in the puddles (the dirty laundry is coming anyway), know your trigger points for losing your cool, etc. While we will surely have days where nostalgia may have us wanting to turn back time, cherish the memories, but revel in the present because it becomes another memory all too soon.

Fight for Your Right– While the Beastie Boys had a different set of rights in mind, parents are awe-inspiriting advocates for their kids’ rights. As parents, we may find ourselves fighting to spread awareness about childhood diseases, the importance of accepting others, and safer communities. We may fight for our children’s rights via IEPs, insurance coverage battles, and program cuts. We are tireless fighters, and we will fight for their rights when they can’t and fight alongside them when they can. Mamas are fighters, and when Mama Bear comes calling, look out!

She Works Hard for the Money– You’ve got that right, Donna Summer! Whether you work outside the home, work from home, or raising responsible humans is your sole gig, moms work hard for the money. Many work multiple jobs inside and outside of the home, and SAHMs have a finesse for making a dollar stretch on a single income that is righteous. Well done, Mamas!

It’s Tricky– Run DMC is in the know with this recognition of the juggling act that is parenthood. It’s tricky sneaking in vegetables. It’s tricky talking about stranger danger without instilling fear. It’s tricky coordinating a schedule where you need to be in two or three or four places at once. It’s tricky finding some time for yourself amidst the daily hustle and bustle. It’s tricky, but mamas do an awesome job of finding the balance.

Born to Be My Baby– Bon Jovi struck parenting gold with this one. Whether you were blessed with children via IVF, surrogacy, adoption, natural birth, cesarean, or stork, there is no question that these amazing little (or big) humans were meant to come into our lives. Even though it may have happened a continent away, our children were born to be our babies, and we are blessed to be their mamas.

This playlist may run the gamut of musical stylings, but that’s what makes it a perfect ode to parenting. There’s no exact set of rules for navigating parenthood, but adding a little lyrical insight to the daily soundtrack may be just what’s needed to get us through.

What 80s titles would top your parenting playlist?

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