Parenting is special. The incredible experience of giving birth to and raising a child is remarkable. It feels so singular and specific to you and your family, and yet it’s so universal. You might be new to pregnancy cravings and sleep training, but the rest of humanity is all, “Been there, done that.” So let’s celebrate the commonality we as parents all feel instead of bickering over the tiny issues that divide us, and come together on the one thing we all know is true: Raising kids is hard.
To this end, I offer the playlist of all playlists — one that celebrates the parenting moments (some talked about, some unspoken) that we all go through. I invite you to listen and raise your hands in the air like you just don’t care. Unless they’re too tired. Or they fell asleep while you were nursing. This playlist will take you from the moment of conception to the day that precious baby of yours leaves home. It’s going to be a long and bumpy road, friend. JUST ENJOY IT.
1. “My Body” by Young the Giant
Congratulations. You’re pregnant! It feels terrible. You ache and you throw up and soon you won’t be able to button your jeans. As Young the Giant says, your body’s going to tell you no. But you won’t quit. Because babies are cute.
2. “Blame It On Me” by Akon
There will come a time when you’re furious at your partner for getting you into this predicament, like when you can no longer tie your shoes. Your mate, like Akon, needs to “take some time out to apologize for things they’ve done, and things that haven’t occurred yet, and things that they don’t want to take responsibility for.” Man up, everyone. It’s about to get real up in here.
3. “Pretty in Pink” by Psychedelic Furs
Around 20 weeks (maybe sooner) you’re going to get some good news. It’s a girl! This is a watershed moment. You can go shopping and pick out a name! Won’t she be pretty in pink?
4. “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” by Deniece Williams
Or maybe you’re having a boy. This is good news, too! Boy clothes are just as cute now, and you can buy skinny jeans and Converses for a child as young as 6 weeks old. Let’s hear it for your babe-eh!
5. “Can’t Keep It In” by Cat Stevens
Your water just broke. THIS IS HAPPENING.
6. “Just Breathe” by Willie Nelson
Your baby is here. Just breathe. And also during labor — don’t forget to breathe.
7. “Love Struck Baby” by Stevie Ray Vaughan
It doesn’t take long once you hold your baby in your arms to forget the whole labor ordeal. You’re pretty much whipped from the start.
8. “Latch” by Sam Smith
Now that your baby is here, it’s time to get down to business. You both need to learn how to nurse and that includes the science of latching on. I think it’s fantastic that Sam Smith wrote a song to help new mothers out. Good luck! And if you decide to bottle feed, for sure Sam Smith won’t judge.
9. “Some Time Around Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event
You’re going to be in a sleep-deprived fog for the next few years. Just go with it. It’s normal. You’ll be “sleep training” your kid when all of a sudden you have a moment of clarity (believe me, these are rare) and you realize your baby is actually sleep training you. And it starts … sometime around midnight.
10. “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears
Raising babies isn’t for the faint of heart. You may find yourself in the middle of a stand-off with your aggressive toddler at the grocery store with judge-y onlookers watching as your precious bundle assaults you in the candy aisle. Remember, you’re the grown-up and you can do this.
11. “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by REM
When you take a much-deserved family vacation and you remember as the plane is lifting off the ground that you left the binky in the car, your parenting chops will truly be tested. I’m not going to lie to you: This isn’t going to be pretty. “It’s time I had some time alone.”
12. “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel
Parenting is hard. It’s hard to live up to Pinterest dinners and Instagram family fun. When you realize that you’ve fed your kid from the McDonald’s drive-thru more times than you can count (what day is it anyway?), be kind to yourself. There are worse things. Let it go.
13. “Hold On We’re Going Home” by Drake
You jumped the gun on potty training and left the house without your diaper bag. You flew too close to the sun! We’ve all made the mistake of trusting our little one with undies before they were strictly “ready.” Don’t panic. Hold on, we’re going home.
14. “If I Could Turn Back Time” by Cher
All your teaching and prompting and caring is coming back to bite you because this little baby of yours is headed to preschool. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah! “My world shattered I was torn apart / like someone took a knife and drove it deep in my heart / you walked out that door I swore that I didn’t care / but I lost everything darling then and there.” Why is Cher riding a canon? It doesn’t matter! Preschool pick-up is in an hour and a half.
15. “I Turn My Camera On” by Spoon
Whatever stage of parenthood you find yourself in, you’ll be sure to document it. Whether you like it or not, you’ll be THAT mom at the school play and all over Facebook. We can’t help it. And why should we?
16. “So Tired” by Eric Clapton
One of the most defining qualities of parenthood is bone-aching fatigue. Eric Clapton gets it. He’s got kids. All parents are a little worse for the wear. We’re trying to do our best, but we just don’t get no rest.
17.”Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye
Maybe it happens in junior high or maybe it happens the first day of grade school, but it will happen. Your sweet, dependent, little darling will blow you off and move on. Kids are jerks. Gotye describes it perfectly, “You treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough.” It’s a thankless job.
18. “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors
Weened, raised, educated, loved, and full of big plans that don’t include you, your baby will be all grown up some day and off on their own adventure. You did a good job. It still feels terrible.
19. “Your Childhood” by The Proclaimers
Bittersweet, this parenting thing. Isn’t it? Take heart. And good luck.