The Loveliest Song About Parenting

The Loveliest Song About Parenting

The other day, we were watching Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again for the millionth time (nine-year-old Toby is obsessed), and when this song came on, I started blubbering…

Have you heard the Abba song ‘My Love, My Life’? It was originally written as a love song, but in the movie, a mother and daughter sing it to each other. (The first stanza is sung from a new mother to her baby girl; and at the end, it’s sung from the same mother, who had died, to her now-adult daughter.)

I never felt this strong
I’m invincible, how could this go wrong
Now, here, here’s where we belong
I see a road ahead
I never thought I would dear to tread

Like an image passing by, my love, my life
In the mirror of your eyes, my love, my life
I can see it all so clearly
All our love so dearly
Images passing by
Like reflections of your mind, my love, my life
Are the words you try to find, my love, my life
But I know I don’t possess you
With all my heart, God bless you
You will be my love and my life
You’re my one and only

I held you close to me
Felt your heartbeat and I thought I am free
Oh yes, and as one are we
In the now I’ll be found
Nothing and no one can break this bond

Like an image passing by, my love, my life
In the mirror of your eyes, my love, my life
I can see it all so clearly
All our love so dearly
Images passing by
Like reflections of your mind, my love, my life
Are the words I try to find, my love, my life
But I know I don’t possess you
With all my heart, God bless you
You are still my love and my life

Yes, I know I don’t possess you
With all my heart, God bless you
You are still my love and my life
You’re my one and only.

*clutches heart, cries like a baby*

The words that especially move me are, “I know I don’t possess you; with all my heart, God bless you.” Parenting embodies that knowledge that, in the end, you must let them go but always love them so deeply.

Another beautiful song? ‘I Will‘ by the Beatles. Says a reader named Erin: “A children’s choir once performed the song ‘I Will’ at a celebration for an adoption agency. I have always loved the song, and I will now see it through the beautiful lens of adoptive parents singing to their newly adopted children. Makes me tear up every time.”

What lullabies or songs do you sing to children in your life? Do you know ‘You Are My Sunshine‘ is actually a sad love song?

P.S. Six words to say to your child, and how did you know you were ready to have a baby?

(Photo by Victor Torres/Stocksy.)

  1. emily j says...

    every love song is now about my children for me. used to sing to them while I nursed, knowing they’d never remember it. ‘I will’ was one of my faves. I also love all the songs from ‘Music Man’ to sing to kids; the barbershop quartet ‘it’s you’ is my favorite. my little guy’s bedtime song is ’embraceable you.’


  2. Sue Harris says...

    I cried when we saw this at the movie theater. Openly sobbing in my seat.

  3. Jules says...

    When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I would sing her “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” As a baby, singing it to her when she cried would instantly calm her down. Now as a preschooler, she buries her head in my chest and melts into my arms as I sing it to her.
    For my second daughter – I wanted her to have a song that was her own. I already knew what being a mom was like, and that the first time your child reaches to hold your hand as they take those early steps is a special moment. So for her, I chose, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles. It was a nice way to tell her how I was anticipating her arrival and now that she’s a little toddler, she gives me a huge smile whenever I sing it to her.

  4. Nicola says...

    There’s a song in the first movie, Mamma Mia, called ‘Slipping through my fingers’ and I was in absolute pieces watching it! It’s the scene where Meryl is about to give her daughter away at the wedding and she sings it. Its such a beautiful song and my daughter was getting to the age of going away to University. I can’t watch this scene for crying….

    Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning
    Waving goodbye with an absent-minded smile
    I watch her go with a surge of that well known sadness
    And I have to sit down for a while

    The feeling that I’m losing her forever
    And without really entering her world
    I’m glad whenever I can share her laughter
    That funny little girl

    Slipping through my fingers all the time
    I try to capture every minute
    The feeling in it
    Slipping through my fingers all the time
    Do I really see what’s in her mind
    Each time I think I’m close to knowing
    She keeps on growing
    Slipping through my fingers all the time

    Sleep in our eyes, her and me at the breakfast table
    Barely awake I let precious time go by
    Then when she’s gone, there’s that odd melancholy feeling
    And a sense of guilt I can’t deny

    What happened to those wonderful adventures?
    The places I had planned for us to go?
    Well, some of that we did, but most we didn’t
    And why? I just don’t know

    Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
    And save it from the funny tricks of time
    Slipping through my fingers

    Slipping through my fingers all the time
    I try to capture every minute
    The feeling in it
    Slipping through my fingers all the time
    Do I really see what’s in her mind
    Each time I think I’m close to knowing
    She keeps on growing
    Slipping through my fingers all the time

    So true, savour every moment, one day its the school bag, the next its a suitcase!

  5. Sarah M. says...

    Now I’m crying! I always sing Baby Mine from Dumbo to my three boys. I always tear up at the scene when Dumbo’s mother swings him on her trunk.

    • Katherine says...

      Baby Mine is one of my favorites too. The sweetest song and lyrics (I love the Bette Midler version from the Beaches soundtrack- talk about a tearjerker!)

      “But you’re so precious to me
      Sweet as can be
      Baby of Mine.” :)

  6. I have three sisters and we are all very close with our mother. Our tradition was that the night before each of our weddings, we would all pile into my moms bed, and my mom would cuddle the bride while this Mama Mia song played! We’d all sing along, as we are a big Broadway family.

    I was the third and final daughter to leave the nest, and I love that memory of the women in my family.

  7. KC says...

    Cup of Jo always has the best timing! I’m 19 weeks pregnant with my first child, and the pregnancy development books say the baby can hear my voice as of the last couple of weeks. So exciting — I’ve been trying to think of songs to sing now and once the baby is here. Thank you!!!

    • KC says...

      Also, thanks to pregnancy hormones, I’m crying reading this all at my desk during lunch!

  8. Tiffany says...

    I’ve Got You by Jack Johnson… I listened to it a lot right after my first daughter was born, and would (and sometimes still do!) get so choked up.

    Same story with Blessed by Elton John.. such a beautiful sentiment from parent to child.

    My younger daughter often requests “What a Wonderful World” for her bedtime song, and I’m always happy to oblige :)

  9. Courtney Berner says...

    Here Come’s the Sun by the Beattles gets me every time too. When my son was a newborn, I was often up with him in the wee hours. At the first hint of light, I would play Here Comes the Sun and bawl because I had made it another night and for all the other reasons you cry when you have a newborn!

    Another song that gets me every time is The Wailin’s Jenny’s version of Wildflowers (originally by Tom Petty). It came on the other day while I was dancing with my two year old son and I could barely hold back the tears!


    You belong among the wildflowers
    You belong in a boat out at sea
    Sail away, kill off the hours
    You belong somewhere you feel free

    Run away, find you a lover
    Go away somewhere all bright and new
    I have seen no other
    Who compares with you

    You belong among the wildflowers
    You belong in a boat out at sea
    You belong with your love on your arm
    You belong somewhere you feel free

    Run away, go find a lover
    Run away, let your heart be your guide
    You deserve the deepest of cover
    You belong in that home by and by

    You belong among the wildflowers
    You belong somewhere close to me
    Far away from your trouble and worry
    You belong somewhere you feel free
    You belong somewhere you feel free

  10. Jamie says...

    As I mentioned above, my daughter’s lullaby is “Lullaby (Goodnight My Angel)” by Billy Joel because my mom used to sing it to my little brother when we were kids and now my daughter calls it Mommy Song.

    For my son, I sing Lullaby by Dixie Chicks.
    “Life began when I saw your face
    And I hear your laugh like a serenade

    How long do you wanna be loved
    Is forever enough, is forever enough
    How long do you wanna be loved
    Is forever enough
    ‘Cause I’m never, never giving you up”

    I also sing David’s Mandolin, Dream Big by Ryan Shupe, and Phil Collins’ Come With Me.

  11. Diana McNeill says...

    okay crying at my desk now

  12. Florencia says...

    So many beautiful songs.

    I love Dear Theodosia:
    Dear Theodosia, what to say to you?
    You have my eyes
    You have your mother’s name
    When you came into the world, you cried and it broke my heart
    I’m dedicating every day to you
    Domestic life was never quite my style
    When you smile, you knock me out, I fall apart
    And I thought I was so smart
    You will come of age with our young nation
    We’ll bleed and fight for you, we’ll make it right for you
    If we lay a strong enough foundation
    We’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you
    And you’ll blow us all away
    Someday, someday
    Yeah, you’ll blow us all away
    Someday, someday
    Oh Philip, when you smile I am undone
    My son
    Look at my son
    Pride is not the word I’m looking for
    There is so much more inside me now
    Oh Philip, you outshine the morning sun
    My son
    When you smile, I fall apart
    And I thought I was so smart
    My father wasn’t around (my father wasn’t around)
    I swear that
    I’ll be around for you
    I’ll do whatever it takes
    I’ll make a million mistakes
    I’ll make the world safe and sound for you

  13. Cassie F. says...

    The Mother by Brandi Carlile is one that my oldest daughter and I love to sing/listen to together. It’s not a lullaby, but such a beautiful, sweet song.

  14. Jean says...

    I’ll Stand by You by the Pretenders is the song I used to sing to my daughters.
    Oh, why you look so sad, the tears are in your eyes,
    Come on and come to me now, and don’t be ashamed to cry,
    Let me see you through, ’cause I’ve seen the dark side too.
    When the night falls on you, you don’t know what to do,
    Nothing you confess could make me love you less,
    I’ll stand by you,
    I’ll stand by you, won’t let nobody hurt you,
    I’ll stand by you
    So if you’re mad, get mad, don’t hold it all inside,
    Come on and talk to me now.
    Hey there, what you got to hide?
    I get angry too, well, I’m alive like you.
    When you’re standing at the cross roads,
    And don’t know which path to choose,
    Let me come along, ’cause even if you’re wrong
    I’ll stand by you,
    I’ll stand by you, won’t let nobody hurt you,
    I’ll stand by you

  15. Amber says...

    I sang the song “Lullaby” by Dixie Chicks to my boy when he was in my belly and bawled my eyes out the first time (and everytime) we listened to it after he was born. 😭

    They didn’t have you where I come from
    Never knew the best was yet to come
    Life began when I saw your face
    And I hear your laugh like a serenade
    How long do you wanna be loved
    Is forever enough, is forever enough
    How long do you wanna be loved
    Is forever enough
    ‘Cause I’m never, never giving you up
    I slip in bed when you’re asleep
    To hold you close and feel your breath on me
    Tomorrow there’ll be so much to do
    So tonight I’ll drift in a dream with you
    How long do you wanna be loved (how long do you wanna be loved)
    Is forever enough, is forever enough
    How long do you wanna be loved (how long do you wanna be loved)
    Is forever enough
    ‘Cause I’m never, never giving you up
    As you wander through this troubled world
    In search of all things beautiful
    You can close your eyes when you’re miles away
    And hear my voice like a serenade
    How long do you wanna be loved (how long do you wanna be loved, do you wanna be loved)
    Is forever enough, is forever enough
    How long do you wanna be loved (how long do you wanna be loved, do you wanna be loved)
    Is forever enough
    ‘Cause I’m never, never giving you up
    How long do you wanna be loved (how long do you wanna be loved, do you wanna be loved, do you wanna be loved)
    Is forever enough, is forever enough
    How long do you wanna be loved (how long do you wanna be loved, do you wanna be loved, do you wanna be loved)
    Is forever enough
    ‘Cause I’m never, never giving you up
    Is forever enough
    ‘Cause I’m never, never giving you up

  16. Kim says...

    I can’t listen to Brandi Carlile’s “The Mother” without sobbing! The video is lovely:

  17. K.C. says...

    I love this movie! I saw it in the theater with my mom (my BFF) and cried like a baby too (I am in my 30s) during this song. My mom cried as well, which she always cries haha but I am a strange crier and this song and scene shook me! There are few things I treasure like my love for my mom <3 and this song/scene/movie summed it up so well! Coincidentally, "I will" was a childhood friend of mine's first dance with her husband!

  18. Lilla says...

    One of our favorite lullabies is “Three little birds” by Bob Marley. I sing this to my daughters at bedtime. It is a cheerful tune, with a wonderful message that “every little thing is gonna be alright”. I feel like it ushers in sweet dreams!
    I have to say though, for touching songs about being a mama- “The Mother” by Brandi Carlile, makes me cry! Having children has changed my life so much, and it is so different and hard at times- but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Seeing the world again, through the eyes of children, is infinitely magical. So many of the lyrics resonate with me:

    Welcome to the end of being alone inside your mind
    You’re tethered to another and you’re worried all the time
    You always knew the melody but you never heard it rhyme
    She’s fair and she is quiet, Lord, she doesn’t look like me
    She made me love the morning, she’s a holiday at sea
    The New York streets are busy as they always used to be
    But I am the mother of Evangeline
    The first things that she took from me were selfishness and sleep
    She broke a thousand heirlooms I was never meant to keep
    She filled my life with color, canceled plans, and trashed my car
    But none of that was ever who we are
    Outside of my windows are the mountains and the snow
    I’ll hold you while you’re sleeping and I wish that I could go
    All my rowdy friends are out accomplishing their dreams
    But I am the mother of Evangeline
    And they’ve still got their morning paper and their coffee and their time
    And they still enjoy their evenings with the skeptics and the wine
    Oh, but all the wonders I have seen, I will see a second time
    From inside of the ages through your eyes
    You are not an accident where no one thought it through
    The world has stood against us, made us mean to fight for you
    And when we chose your name we knew that you’d fight the power too
    You’re nothing short of magical and beautiful to me
    Oh, I’ll never hit the big time without you
    So they can keep their treasure and their ties to the machine
    ‘Cause I am the mother of Evangeline
    They can keep their treasure and their ties to the machine
    ‘Cause I am the mother of Evangeline

  19. Kat says...

    Not a song, but Richard Wilbur’s poem “The Writer” captures everything I feel about parenting, especially as I watch my teenage daughter unfolding into the woman she’ll become.

  20. Brooke says...

    With my precocious 3-year-old Otto, my go-to has been Smokey Robinson’s “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me.” How true are the lyrics, “I don’t like you, but I love you, Seems that I’m always thinking of you, Oh, oh, oh, you treat me badly, I love you madly, you really got a hold on me.” After being snuggled to death one moment and a moment later having a matchbox car soar close to my head, this one reminds me that three-nager or not, he’s really got a hold on me.

  21. Oh, Joanna! YES! This particular song from Mama Mia DESTROYS me every single time! I sob buckets…and then I’m sort of ruined for a few hours. It’s so beautiful. Not only the lyrics, but the melody and harmonies are heart-wrenching. I think of my mom, my children, my life… OY! I’m so glad someone else can relate. XOXOX

    • Gaylen says...

      Agree 100%….doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, BAWL. BAWL HARD.

  22. Teresa says...

    I Will was the song we cut the cake to at our wedding!!

    Sarah Bareilles wrote the musical Waitress, based on the movie. The song Everything Changes is sung right after the birth of her daughter—

    “Today’s a day like any other,
    But I am changed,
    I am a mother, oh in an instant.

    And who I was has disappeared, it doesn’t matter, now you’re here
    So innocent.

    I was lost for you to find
    and now I’m yours and you are mine.”
    I cry EVERY. TIME.

  23. Elyse says...

    Love all these beautiful song suggestions! My dad always sang The Seekers’ Morningtown Ride to me at bedtime, and now I sing that to my son. Just like my dad, I replace the driver, sandman, and fireman in the song with names of people in our family – I always loved when I got to swing the lantern in my dad’s version of the song :)
    Other favorites include She & Him’s If You Can’t Sleep and the Roche’s Mud & Apples.

    • Kate says...

      I sing Morningtown Ride to my 1.5 year old twins EVERY night, just like my mother did to me. It’s the best bedtime song – I also replace all the names :) I love the Raffi version.

  24. Cheryl says...

    “You’ll be in My Heart” by Phil Collins. Don’t make me cry, Phil!

    • Anja says...

      SAME! I never knew how beautiful this song was until I had my little girl.

      “I’ll be there for you always, always, in always.”

  25. Alice says...

    Into the Woods….because it helps remind me that I’m human, making mistakes, and am “not alone”.

    “People make mistakes
    People make mistakes
    Holding to their own
    Thinking they’re alone
    Honor their mistakes
    Fight for their mistakes
    Everybody makes
    One another’s terrible mistakes
    Witches can be right, giants can be good
    You decide what’s right, you decide what’s good
    Just remember
    Just remember
    Someone is on your side (Our side)
    Our side
    Someone else is not
    While we’re seeing our side (Our side)
    Our side
    Maybe we forgot, they are not alone
    No one is alone
    Someone is on your side
    No one is alone
    Hard to see the light now.
    Just don’t let it go
    Things will come out right now.
    We can make it so.
    Someone is on your side
    No one is alone.
    Hard to see the light now.
    Just don’t let it go.
    Things will turn out right now, we can make it so.
    Someone is on your side.
    No one is alone.

  26. colleen k says...

    The chorus of Ray Montague -You are the best thing. My son is 22 months but I imagine us dancing to it at his wedding everytime i sing it and it makes me happy-sad (a real emotion that needs an english language word).

    Also can’t get through singing Baby Mine from Dumbo without crying real tears. Maybe by his 2nd birthday i’ll get to verse 2. So this Is Love from Cinderella is also a good one.

    • colleen k says...

      Also, I should mention I sing the lullaby my grandmother wrote and sang to my mother, who sang to me. My mother and I are the only ones who still know it by heart, and soon my kids too.

  27. Heidi says...

    I sang Golden Slumbers to my little girl when she was in the NICU for her first 10 weeks… “Once there was a way, to get back homeward…”

    Our signature song, though, is Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney and Wings. During the “I Love You” part, we trace a circle around each others faces.

  28. Lindsey says...

    My 3-year-old, Emerson James, has heard James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” (sung with his name) and “You’ve Got a Friend” almost every day since his birth. How many nights I’ve rushed through them when I’m ready to get through bedtime to my me time. But the other day, he grabbed my face as I was putting him to bed and sang “You’ve Got a Friend” back to me. Ah. So this is love. Stopped me in my tracks and took my breath away.

    • Kristen Peterson says...

      That is the sweetest thing! “You’ve Got a Friend” was the song I danced to with my dad at my wedding. :) Makes me cry every time I hear it now – perfect parent + child song.

  29. Clare says...

    Have you ever heard “May I Suggest” by Red Molly? It’s heartbreakingly beautiful. I cry just thinking about it. The first verse:
    May I suggest
    May I suggest to you
    May I suggest this is the best part of your life
    May I suggest
    This time is blessed for you
    This time is blessed and shining almost blinding bright
    Just turn your head
    And you’ll begin to see
    The thousand reasons that were just beyond your sight
    The reasons why
    Why I suggest to you
    Why I suggest this is the best part of your life

    It’s sung acapella by the three women in Red Molly, and it is stunning. I love a gorgeous vocal, and these three ladies are fantastic.
    But please, do yourself a favor and don’t listen at work.

    Also – all the votes for I Will and Make You Feel My Love. I sing those both to my boys, and my husband has learned to play along on his guitar. I just think of it as another way that we say “I love you” – so that they are hearing it again and again and again.

  30. Maggie says...

    Forever Young (Bob Dylan)

    May God bless and keep you always
    May your wishes all come true
    May you always do for others
    And let others do for you
    May you build a ladder to the stars
    And climb on every rung
    May you stay
    Forever young

    May you grow up to be righteous
    May you grow up to be true
    May you always know the truth
    And see the light surrounding you
    May you always be courageous
    Stand upright and be strong
    And may you stay
    Forever young

    May your hands always be busy
    May your feet always be swift
    May you have a strong foundation
    When the winds of changes shift
    May your heart always be joyful
    May your song always be sung
    And may you stay
    Forever young

    • Allison says...

      My dad read the lyrics to Forever Young to my husband and I as a toast at our wedding reception :)

  31. Jessie says...

    “Child of Mine” by Carole King (the live version from Carnegie Hall). Just Carole & her beautiful voice, accompanied only by a piano. Chills & tears every time I listen.

  32. Becka says...

    I sing “I Will” to my Anna every night because of your recommendations, Joanna, and it cracks my heart wide open every time!

  33. Laura says...

    I made the mistake of listening to this song for the first time the week I went back to work from maternity leave! Between this and Kacey Musgraves’ Mother, I was a wreck.

  34. Amanda says...

    I sang Chris Stapleton’s “Parachute” to my daughter during maternity leave on repeat. The lyrics lend themselves to more adult issues, not young babies, but I think it allowed me some perspective. I had PPD and was stressed with a newborn, but it gave me some solace knowing that this was the easy time in her life, where I could protect her from everything. I hope she knows that I’ll always be her parachute.

    There’s a song that I remember
    I never learned to play
    And a lifetime of forgotten words
    I never got to say

    You only need a roof when it’s raining
    You only need a fire when it’s cold
    You only need a drink when the whiskey
    Is the only thing that you have left to hold
    Sun comes up and goes back down
    And falling feels like flying till you hit the ground
    Say the word and I’ll be there for you
    Baby, I will be your parachute

    If you think you’re going down
    Just know I will be around

  35. Mirte says...

    Didn’t even like the movie that much, but cried my eyes out several times. This was the major tearjerking moment. My mom died when I was 19 and now I have two girls of my own. Wish I could share it with her and try to hold her near through singing her songs and loving my girls as much as she loved me and I loved her.

  36. Julie says...

    Our daughter became OBSESSED with The Logical Song by Supertramp when she was two. Not a lullaby, but when her sweet, tone-deaf voice scream/sings

    “There are times when all the world’s asleep, the questions run too deep for such a simple man. Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned? I know it sounds absurd. Please tell me who I am.”

    from her room after bedtime, it warms my heart. I’ve sung Be My Baby (Ronettes version) to her since day one, and I love In My Life.

    • Maureen P. says...

      I love this!!

  37. MM says...

    The wonderful children’s librarians and musicians at the Ann Arbor library created a sweet second verse to “You Are My Sunshine” that has become the standard version in our house:

    You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
    You make me happy when skies are gray.
    You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you.
    Please don’t take my sunshine away.

    You are the sugar in my coffee.
    You are the honey in my tea.
    You are the sunshine in my mornings.
    You are everything to me.

  38. Alexis says...

    Aww man…now I’m crying in my office and I’ve got a meeting in 5 mins. Beautiful song. I cry so much more since becoming I parent.

  39. Melanie says...

    Shortly after my my now 3 year old was born I was searching for songs to sing her that wouldn’t bore me to tears, had some meat to them and worked in my voice ranger (former choir girl here) and one night I started singing Winter by Tori Amos. It is hauntingly beautiful and it still calms my daughter to this day, she calls it her ‘baby song’. I also do Favorite Things from Sound of Music alot, sometimes with the actual lyrics and sometimes changing the verses to her favorite things, my favorite things, Daddy’s favorite things and the pups favorie things.

  40. Nathalie says...

    Go Gentle by Robbie Williams
    “Go gentle through your life. If you want me I’ll be there. When you need me I’ll be there for you”
    I sang it so much my 2 year old could sing it with me in her tiny little voice.

  41. Jenna says...

    When my oldest was born I knew I wanted the song I sang him to be “Baby Mine.” Just thinking about it now makes me tear up. When my second was born it somehow didn’t feel right to sing him that; he needed his own song. One night, out of nowhere, I started singing him “Stand By Me” and it felt like the most perfect song for my perfect baby. Then my third son was born and, once again, inspiration struck in the middle of the night, and his song is “To Make You Feel My Love.” Each song feels so right for the specific child it’s sung to.

  42. Sara says...

    Iron and Wine’s ‘Upward Over the Mountain.’ I used to play and sing to this song while bathing my newborn. Now, the mother of two young boys, the lyrics kill me every. time! I can barely hold back the tears even just thinking about the lyrics!

    “Mother don’t worry, I killed the last snake that lived in the creek bed
    Mother don’t worry, I’ve got some money I saved for the weekend
    Mother remember being so stern with that girl who was with me?
    Mother remember the blink of an eye when I breathed through your body?

    So may the sunrise bring hope where it once was forgotten
    Sons are like birds, flying upward over the mountain”

    • Meagan says...

      OMG, this!! I also have two young boys, and this song has hit me since my first was born. I love “the blink of an eye when I breathed through your body” (*chills*), and “I sold your car for the shoes that I gave you.” Pretty much sums up parenthood right there. :)

  43. K says...

    i LOVE that this is Toby’s favorite movie. Something so magic about ABBA, cheesy and full of unapologetic feels.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! so earnest!

  44. Jeannie says...

    I sing “when she loved me” by Sarah McLachlan from Toy Story 2 to my 4 year old daughter. She just started singing it with me at bedtime, and it is the sweetest thing. She puts her arms around me neck and gives me a kiss on the cheek.

  45. Moira says...

    Allllll the feels! I absolutely love the Beatles’ song “I Will”–my husband and I used a quote from it on our letterboard when we did our pregnancy photo shoot. The quote “When at last I find you, your song will fill the air” particularly resonates with me and makes me all weepy. When my son, Julian, was born in February of this year, he came out screaming. We framed a picture of these lyrics next to a picture of his first beautiful moments on this earth, screaming and letting his song fill the air. <3

  46. Tilly says...

    Dear Theodosia from Hamilton.

  47. Caroline says...

    This moment! I SOBBED in the cinema. Mother/daughter scenes get me every time. It feels like such an important relationship that is barely ever given the attention and complexity it deserves. Ladybird also killed me because of the final scenes where she’s leaving a voicemail for her mum and finally realising all the things her mum was trying to communicate all along but just didn’t have the words for.

    • Sarah says...

      Same! And, unlike other movies I’ve seen where the first time I see it a scene will make me cry but then I’m immune, I cry EVERY TIME I watch the movie again on Netflix (a couple of times now). I think because I’m not a mom yet, but really hope to be soon, and I’m so close with my own mom and scared of the day I lose her – hopefully a long way away.

  48. Alice says...

    Oh how lovely! I’m not a parent, but that’s just the sweetest thing. Five For Fighting’s I Just Love You always gets me- it sounds like a typical love song, and then becomes clear that it’s about his daughter… so sweet!!

    • Alice says...

      Oh! And my dad used to sing Ralph McTell’s Streets of London to me when I was little- it’s probably not the intention of the song, but the chorus is such a sweet way of saying “I’ll stick around for you”:

      So, how can you tell me you’re lonely
      And say for you that the sun don’t shine?
      Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
      I’ll show you something to make you change your mind

      The best bit is- I now live in London and spend a lot of time leading HIM through the streets when he visits :)

  49. Eline says...

    “The first time ever I saw your face” by Roberta Flack, my signature song for both my children. Can’t listen to it without crying.

    The first time, ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars
Were the gifts you gave
To the dark, and the endless skies

    My Love

    And the first time, ever I lay with you

    I felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy
Would fill the earth
And last, til the end of time

  50. Kirsten says...

    I’ve been singing “Sing a Song” from Sesame Street and “Taps” at bedtime. Just two easy songs that I can remember in those bleary-eyed moments of endless rocking and shushing.

  51. Emma A says...

    Lots of Simon & Garfunkel songs. The Sundays. The Cranberries. Sarah McLachlan. Norah Jones. Vienna Teng. Elton John. John Denver. Jim Croce. Some classics. Songs from musicals, movies, Disney songs… Many! I also used to hum The Corr’s “Rebel Heart” to my daughters. It is an instrumental but to me, the title implies gentleness mixed with undeniable strength. Doesn’t it seem like “rebel hearts” can be the kindest but also very courageous… respectful and deserving, demanding respect???? (Also, humming it at bedtime reminded me of times when I used to listen to it during my late night painting/drawing sessions. I still find the melody hauntingly beautiful. With this song in my head, I used to imagine walking through the woods, pass a stream, on a bridge, through open fields, pass an old well… through a garden by the cliff, up a lighthouse, then by the beach… under the moonlight, with maybe a lantern on one hand and a key on the other. I guess, I was (still am) weird like that. Sorry. LOL. Anyway, I hope my girls will learn to play this song someday.)

  52. Love all these comments and just made a playlist. If someone does too and scrolls all the way down here… please add Little Man by K’s Choice. It’s so striking.

  53. This is SO random but I was listening to Miley Cyrus’ album “Younger Now” when I was trying to perk myself up while having a bad day with my toddler and my newborn (HEAR ME OUT!) and this song called Miss You So Much is on the album. I’m sure it’s a ballad about a love obsession or something but I was already feeling vulnerable and a year later it’s sorta my song for the kids, I guess!! haha.
    Here are the lyrics if anyone’s curious, I don’t normally listen to Miley Cyris but it’s a pretty beautiful song and she has such a voice!

    They say love can drive you crazy, my dear
    Wanna trap you in a locket or in my pocket
    So I can keep you near
    You know I’d never hurt you
    If you fall I’ll pick you up and I’ll drink your tears
    But how can I miss you so much
    When you’re right here?

    They say good things come to those who wait
    It’s like counting in light years
    I could physically live without you, but I don’t want to
    Death’s never been my fear
    You can take my blood, take my bones
    My heart is yours, I volunteer
    But how can I miss you so much
    When you’re right here?

    When you look up at a rainbow
    Do you ever wonder
    What is really waiting at the end
    I don’t want no gold, nothing’s more than you
    The amount is hard to even comprehend
    There’s nothing I can do, I’ve lost control
    Something we hold on to so dear
    But how can I miss you so much when you’re right here

    And how at this optimal time did you just appear
    Everyone on their guard, so full of shit
    but you are just so sheer
    You’re my God, you’re my faith, on my knees
    I look at you and I revere
    But how can I miss you so much when you’re right here

    When you look up at the cosmos do you ever wonder
    if there’s really even an end?
    It might go on forever like my love for you
    an amount thats hard to even comprehend

  54. Emily says...

    “Baby Mine” from classic Dumbo movie. Got me as a kid, got me as a new mother rocking my baby to sleep. Cue the waterworks!

    “Baby mine, don’t you cry
    Baby mine, dry your eyes
    Rest your head close to my heart
    Never to part
    Baby of mine”

  55. Katelyn says...

    Baby Mine (from Dumbo) is my signature song for my kids. It’s just so sweet and has such a comforting melody.

    Baby mine, don’t you cry
    Baby mine, dry your eyes
    Hold your head close to my heart,
    Never to part, baby you’re mine.

    The song that SLAYS my mama heart me every time I hear it is Remedy by Adele.

  56. Anna says...

    Daughter by Loudon Wainwright. A friend danced to it for her father daughter dance at her wedding and I was bawling.

  57. Kristina says...

    I’m a nurse. A couple years ago, I was taking care of a 15 year old girl with cystic fibrosis, an awful disease that affects your lungs and digestive system. She was having a difficult time breathing and needed a lot of care. I had just given her a breathing treatment and her father who was laying in bed with her started singing You Are My Sunshine while stroking her hair. It was such a tender yet heartbreaking moment. I cried immediately after I left the room. The song took on a whole new meaning for me and every time I hear it, it always reminds me of them.

    • P says...

      holly shit. this comment. all the feels. brb. just sobbing in my office.

  58. Katie says...

    Love “I Will,” started singing it as a lullaby to my boys after reading it on your blog! We’re also big fans of Close to You by the Carpenters and Stand by Me

  59. Emily says...

    I’ve always been moved by “In My Life” by the Beatles – such a sweet love song and evokes that same melancholy nostalgia as “Landslide”

  60. Fiona says...

    My Mum always told my siblings and I, that Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time after Time’ (” If you fall I will catch you, I will be waiting, time after time…”) was how she felt about us.
    : )

  61. Carla says...

    Loudon Wainwright III’s “Daughter”.
    My husband sings it to each of our daughters. Gets. me. every. time.

    Everything she sees, she says she wants
    Everything she wants, I see she gets
    That’s my daughter in the water
    Everything she owns, I bought her
    Everything she owns
    That’s my daughter in the water
    Everything she knows, I taught her
    Everything she knows
    Everything I say, she takes to heart
    Everything she takes, she takes apart
    That’s my daughter in the water
    Every time she fell, I caught her
    Every time she fell
    And that’s my daughter in the water
    I lost every time I fought her
    Yeah, I lost every time
    Every time she blinks, she’d strike somebody blind
    Everything she thinks blows her tiny mind
    That’s my daughter in the water
    Who’d have ever thought her?
    Who’d have ever thought?
    That’s my daughter in the water
    I lost every time I fought her
    Yeah, I lost every time

    • Lesley S says...

      We have an 8 year old foster daughter who has been with us for the past 11 months. This song definitely brings both me and my husband to tears now! ♥♥♥

  62. Kate the Great says...

    I sing the same songs my mom sang to me, of course– camp songs. The Angel Song and Sandman. Dad’s bedtime song was always The Pony Man by Gordon Lightfoot, played with his banjo. He’s forgotten it now.

    • Kate the Great says...

      Ah, but the lyrics aren’t something you can find online. Well, now you can:

      Angel Song

      When He sees you walking
      The Lord will hear you talking
      Talking to the angels in the sky
      And when He knows He’s near you
      The Lord will always hear you
      Talking to the angels in the sky

      Talk to the angels
      Let them hear your plea
      Tell them you’re lonely
      Get down upon your knees
      And there the Lord will hear you…


      Sleep tight, Sandman’s a-coming and he’ll
      Be here mighty, mighty soon and if you
      Don’t cry, he’ll be coming by
      With his great big lollipop moon.

      How I love my pretty baby
      Sweet and precious little baby
      How I love my pretty baby
      Honest to goodness I do.

      Also “Gonna Find Me A Rainbow”, another camp song. I’ll restrain from sharing the lyrics here just because my pointer finger hurts from typing so much.

  63. Cheryl says...

    Adele wrote the song “Remedy” for her three-year-old son. I tear up every time I hear it. Makes me want to hug all three of my kids (who are now in their 20s!)

  64. Melissa says...

    My little guy turns one tomorrow, and lullabies still work like a charm to turn him from a wiggly wild thing into a sleepy babe ready for bed. We always sing the same few: Stay Awake from Mary Poppins, Eidelweiss, Rockabye Baby, Butterfield’s Lullaby, and Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral, which my grandmother sang to my cousins, my sister and I and that we called “singing lulas.” Singing it to my babe lets me remember her every night and makes me feel just as snug and cozy as I did tucked up in her spare bed as a kid.

  65. Melissa Bergstrom says...

    Billy Joel’s Lullabye: “Goodnight my angel, now it’s time to dream
    And dream how wonderful your life will be
    Someday your child may cry, and if you sing this lullaby
    Then in your heart there will always be a part of me
    Someday we’ll all be gone
    But lullabies go on and on
    They never die
    That’s how you and I will be.”

    • A says...

      This song makes me blubber! When ever I hear it I can hear my dad singing along to it.

    • Megan B says...

      Melissa! Thank you for reminding me about this song. It prompted me to listen to it and weep uncontrollably (happy tears) at 3am while feeding my 2 week old baby girl, Stevie. It took me back to nights when I was little and couldn’t sleep. My dad would put this song on- I would stand on the tops of his feet and we’d dance around the moonlit living room. Listening to it now fills me with so much love and gratitude. To be here, able to connect the dots between my dad and daughter, and all the beautiful space in between these two profound anchor points of my life…They were never not leading to each other.

    • Jamie says...

      My mother sang this song to my little brother all the time! I battled unexplained infertility for years and whenever I would be at the doctor’s office for a treatment I’d sing this song to myself and my unborn baby. After many treatments and 2.5 years I got pregnant with my daughter who is 4 and a half. I still sing this song to her at night and she calls it “Mommy Song”. :)

  66. Katie says...

    I’m not a parent but these songs stick. My dad has a rotation of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, City of New Orleans, Sunday Morning Coming Down, etc.
    Last weekend I was listening to a random folk playlist at breakfast and Teach Your Children by Crosby Stills Nash and Young came on and there was a visceral reaction so strong I almost passed out. Called my Dad and turns out it is indeed one of the songs on his rotation from when I was a baby. I guess they stick with you.

    • Celeste says...

      Love all of these

  67. Caitlin says...

    You Were Born by Cloud Cult….I start crying before the lyrics even start

    You were born into a strange world.
    Like a candle, you were meant to share the fire.
    I don’t know where we come from, and I don’t know where we go.
    But my arms were made to hold you, so I will never let you go.
    Cuz you were born to change this life.
    You were born to chase the light.
    You were born…
    Love your mother, yeah she’s s good one.
    She’ll build you armor; keep you warm as a hen.
    The stars may fall and the rains may pour,
    But I will love you evermore.
    You were born to make this right.
    You were born to chase the light.
    You were born…
    Oh my precious, oh my love, when they come to take me,
    I will hold you from above.
    I don’t know why we’re here, and I don’t know how,
    But I’m here with you now, I am here with you now.
    Cuz you were born to change this life.
    Cuz you were born to make this right.
    Cuz you were born to chase the light.

  68. Michelle says...

    Now that my little one is all grown, Landslide by Fleetwood Mac or the Dixie Chicks hits home. The lyric about I’ve built my life around you was particularly poignant when my daughter left for college and I had to rebuild my life.

    I took my love, I took it down
    I climbed a mountain and I turned around
    And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
    ‘Til the landslide brought me down
    Oh, mirror in the sky
    What is love?
    Can the child within my heart rise above?
    Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
    Can I handle the seasons of my life?
    Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
    ‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
    But time makes you bolder
    Even children get older
    And I’m getting older too
    Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’
    ‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
    But time makes you bolder
    Even children get older
    And I’m getting older too
    Oh! I’m getting older too

    • P says...

      the Dixie Chicks version gets me in the heart all the time. I just played it in the car on my family road trip and my 9-yr old goes, “mom, are you crying???”
      Yep. Every. Time.

  69. Lesley S says...

    Haven’t heard the song, but in tears reading the sweet songs in the comments. ♥ I ALWAYS tear up when I hear the Dixie Chicks song Godspeed (Sweet Dreams).

  70. Amber says...

    A good friend is an adoptive mother to two older kids who hadn’t received an easy start to life. “Make You Feel My Love” is her song for them. I promise that if you look at the lyrics through that lens you won’t be able to listen to it without waterworks.

    • Libby says...

      brb sobbing. Your friend sounds like an amazing mom.

  71. Lindsay says...

    I’ve been singing “ I will “ so much lately! I love that song. I can’t listen to Eric Clapton’s tears in heaven song, just thinking about it is making me cry!
    A happy cry song I love is beach boys “baby blue” which really makes me think of my blue eyed sweeties. I sing it to them but it never sounds very good so I prefer to play it at bed time!

  72. CaraM says...

    My husband and I danced to the song, “The Luckiest” at our wedding (Ben Folds) and now the song holds a new meaning for me with my daughter. Look up the lyrics… It is worth it!

  73. Mandy H. says...

    The Dixie Chicks song Lullaby always gets me bawling!

  74. I’ve been feeling so nostalgic about parenting and my children’s childhoods lately! They are now 8 and 6 years-old. I feel like I pinball between “Parenting is so hard! I’m at the very edge” and “I have to soak up every last bit of this amazingness! Never let it end!”

    And the line that resonated with you most reminds me of these stanzas from my favorite Kahlil Gibran poem: “Your children are not your children./
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself./
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”

    And this one: “You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.”

    • Veronica says...

      Love this. Mine turned 7 this week, feel you.

    • K says...

      oh gosh those poems *heart breaks*

    • Alexis says...

      Whoa…love that bow and arrow analogy.

    • Anneka says...

      I love love love this song. There is a beautiful song version of it by Sweet Honey in the Rock.

  75. emily d says...

    my older daughter’s lullaby is three little birds by bob marley. for my younger daughter, we sing sweet baby james by james taylor but change the words to her name, “charlotte james” : )
    my mom always sang a version of swing low, sweet chariot (but she’d change the verses to sing about our day) and now my kids are old enough to know that’s cc’s song. it makes me tear up every time to hear them request it from her!

  76. alison says...

    The Mother by Brandi Carlile is the most incredible.
    The first things that she took from me were selfishness and sleep
    She broke a thousand heirlooms I was never meant to keep
    She filled my life with color, canceled plans and trashed my car
    but none of that was ever who we are.
    Every single line slays me. Every single time.

    • Willa says...

      I recently heard this for the first time and was reading the lyrics simultaneously. omg it gutted me. so so gorgeous and so many overwhelming feelings expressed so precisely. motherhood is such a trip.

    • Allison says...

      OMG. This song. The first time I heard it I was in my (kid-trashed) car driving my two year old to the children’s hospital for an x-ray because we thought he swallowed a penny. I have never felt so seen.

    • Annie says...

      Yes, this song!! So amazing and poignant.

    • The first time I heard it, I bawled like a baby. It has become a challenge for me now, to try and get through the whole thing without crying. I’m proud to say that the last time I tortured myself with this project, I merely got chills. Progress!

  77. Adrianna B says...

    I Have Never Loved Someone by My Brightest Diamond. I cry every time I hear this song and sing this song. Makes it hard to sing 😂 but it was written for her son and is my absolute favourite song in the world.

  78. Kathy says...

    I think I sang everything in the Broadway song book to my daughter. Now at nearly three she wants only one song- the pyramid song (aka- You Belong to Me). It’s adorable when she croons it to me when we play bedtime.

  79. Emaly says...

    Oh my goodness that scene! I saw Mamma Mia in theaters, and absolutely lost it sitting alone at the movies. It was my first solo outing away from my then 8 week old baby girl, and I was starting to wean at the same time and dropping a feeding (hence the need to get out of the house, in addition to saving my sanity). But when Meryl and her daughter were both singing to their babies, I felt all the feels and knew I would never love anything as much as my little one at home! I ran home as soon as it was done because I didn’t want to be apart for another minute. That song still makes me tear up every time I hear it.

  80. Kim says...

    We sing a lot of the Beatles at my house. I have a lot of favorites, but I love “I Will” and John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” so much. I’d watch the YouTube video and cry like a baby when I was pregnant!

    I don’t remember how it started, but I sing “Silent Night” to my now five year old son every. single. night. I have to sing it extra slowly, and gently touch his cheek and forehead. If I don’t do it right, he corrects me and makes me start over! I’ve had to record it for him to listen to if I’m not home for bedtime. It’s funny how short out bedtime routine used to be, and now it’s expanded x100.

    We love Casper Babypants for child-approved Beatles covers. The kids ask for “Lucy Diamonds” a lot.

    Also, for inexplicable tears, The Highwomen “Redesigning Women” makes me teary right now.

  81. Sarah says...

    This reminds me of how I used to sing Live’s Heaven to my oldest girl when she was a little baby. “I don’t need no one to tell me about heaven, I look at my daughter and I believe.” When my second, also a girl, was born, I sang it to her as well. And I was so used to it, when my son was born, I sang it to him too as I paced around his room at night.

  82. Katherine says...

    “You Can Close Your Eyes” by James Taylor. It was a song I remember listening to as a kid, from an album called Lullaby Magic by Joanie Bartles. I brainstormed for awhile for what to sing my now 9 month old daughter when she was born, and it took me a good two weeks or so after she was Earthside for me to be able to sing it to her without sobbing. I also sing “You and Me Together” from Disney’s Oliver and Company, and “You Are My Sunshine” because it’s what my dad sang to us as babies. He died from depression two months ago, so I’m crying through my nighttime singing again these days, thinking of him and missing him so very much.

    • Ana D says...

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Katherine.

  83. Katie says...

    We have a special song that we sing to each of our babies; “Rainbow Connection” is what we sing to our two year old daughter, but we struggled to decide on a song for our son when he was born in April. A few weeks after he was born, I had both kids in the car with me and the baby was screaming. Between hormones, stress and exhaustion, I started crying too. A few minutes later, the sweetest, tiniest little toddler voice started singing “You are My Sunshine” – one of those amazing little things children so innocently do that make the hardest moments sweet. Guess what our son’s song is now!

    And “I will” was the song my husband and I first danced to at our wedding! The best.

  84. Kaitlin says...

    This song reminds me of Khalil Gibran’s reflection On Children:

    “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.”

    As for songs, I sing the soundtrack of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (because I know the whole thing) and “House at Pooh Corner”.

    • Anni says...

      There’s a song version of that Gibran poem! Ysaye Barnwell set it to music, her group Sweet Honey in the Rock sing it, and The Amidons both groups have great children’s albums.

  85. Amy says...

    I’ve had a “signature” song for each of my kids – Baby Beluga for #1 and Edelweiss for #2 (per a previous CoJ post!). I was having trouble deciding what #3’s would be but while pregnant and driving with my kids we heard “Down By The Riverside” on the radio and my oldest suggested we sing it to the baby. She’s 8 weeks old now and we sing it all the time. Such a lovely song of peace for her for the world today.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love the idea of a signature song! How special :)

  86. Stephanie says...

    Oh my gosh… I can be singing along and lost in the gorgeousness and fun of Mamma Mia and when that song comes on, I *immediately* and *completely* lose it and sob breathlessly. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  87. Jeanne says...

    Landslide by Fleetwood Mac as you drop your child off at college. It has a whole new meaning from that point of view. Ok … excuse me while I go tear up.

    Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
    Can the child within my heart rise above?
    Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
    Can I handle the seasons of my life?

    Well, I’ve been ‘fraid of changin’
    ‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
    But time makes you bolder
    Even children get older
    And I’m gettin’ older, too

    • Marci says...

      I was just going to post the same thing! My youngest was learning this song on guitar and singing this just as we were packing for school, and wow, cue the waterworks. And I’m not a crier – sent her off to kindergarten with a cheerful hug and a dry eye. This is a new chapter not only for my daughter but for me as a mother, and the song sums it up perfectly.

  88. Deb says...

    Good Mother by Jann Arden. Her mother just passed away , and she totally demonstrated being a good daughter. A whole lot of heart is showing up here, today.

  89. MJ in MI says...

    The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell gets to me every time I hear it — the lyrics are so true and poignant —

  90. Katy Jones says...

    “You Can Close Your Eyes” by James Taylor
    I contracted a serious illness when my son was born and he had several people caring for him until he was three months old. When we finally “met” again, he would not let me out of his sight, even at night. This song would eventually lull him to sleep.

  91. Patricia says...

    I love “Isn’t She Lovely”. Stevie Wonder wrote it for his daughter and I love singing it to my girls.

  92. Laine says...

    I love “Remember Me” from Coco. They play it a few times in the movie in different styles, but it’s the lullaby one that really gets me every time. My 4 year old daughter’s father and I divorced when she was 2 and share custody, so this song makes me think of how much I want to stay connected despite all our time apart.

    Remember me
    Though I have to say goodbye
    Remember me
    Don’t let it make you cry
    For ever if I’m far away
    I hold you in my heart
    I sing a secret song to you
    Each night we are apart
    Remember me
    Though I have to travel far
    Remember me
    Each time you hear a sad guitar
    Know that I’m with you
    The only way that I can be
    Until you’re in my arms again
    Remember me

  93. Margaret says...

    “I Have Never Loved Someone (the Way I Love You)” by My Brightest Diamond. I can’t hold it together when I sing it for my children.

  94. Sarah says...

    Pocket Full of Rainbows (Elvis), La Vie en Rose (English version, after Louis Armstrong), and From Me to You (the Beatles). I’m happy to have introduced songs I really like to my kids, because I’ve had to sing these all so, so many times!

  95. Mindy Walker says...

    Kasey Musgraves’ “Mother” is not a lullaby but it’s a song about parenting that makes me pause, appreciate, and shed a few tears:
    Wish we didn’t live, wish we didn’t live so far from each other
    I’m just sitting here thinking ’bout the time that’s slipping
    And missing my mother, mother
    And she’s probably sitting there
    Thinking ’bout the time that’s slipping
    And missing her mother, mother

  96. Anna says...

    “Little Darlin'” is on repeat with my daughter, who is named Nina (after Nina Simone, and the song “Here Comes the Sun” – but I really like the “Little Darlin'” alias.

    Also, “Three Little Birds” was and still is a favorite.

  97. Liz says...

    I sang “can’t help falling in love” by Elvis to my newborn at all hours of the day and night to comfort him. Especially the line “take my hand take my whole life too”- that was exactly how I felt holding my first born baby. I definitely sang/cried that to him.

  98. SB says...

    When my daughter was born I started singing “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” I had to look up the words because I didn’t know them but the tune just stuck in my head and compelled me to sing. Four years in and we still sing it every night. It’s as though it’s our love song to each other.

    • Tricia says...

      This is my song for my daughter too! It was our nightly lullaby when she was a baby, but these days it mostly comes out as needed – when she’s had a bad dream, or when she’s upset or experiencing out-of-control emotions. As soon as she hears the first few words, she goes instantly quiet and rests her head on my chest while I sing, and all is right and safe in the world again.

  99. Hilary says...

    Ah love this! I remember a CofJ post by Alex about the first song he played for Toby (the pressure!!). We had a more difficult hospital stay than we anticipated with our baby and we were SO excited to go home. My husband brought the car around, loaded baby in while the nurse helped me get situated (post c-section and all), and he turned on “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles. Oh boy. All the feelings. The fact that we finally had our sweet babe and we were heading home as a family of 3 with this uplifting song was the best! We still call it our baby’s song!

  100. Christine says...

    When I was expecting my first-born, I spent considerable time contemplating what the first song would be — as in, the first song he would EVER. HEAR. out of the womb. I decided on Somewhere Over the Rainbow (the lovely Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version) and played it for him as I slipped away to my bedroom to nurse him when we first got home from the hospital. I’ll never forget that moment–hearing that song, looking at him looking at me. It’s a beautiful song but I now have trouble making it through it without giving myself over to big fat tears!

  101. Haley says...

    ‘I Will’ was my mom’s lullaby to me and my sister when we were babies. I always tear up when it comes on the radio or I hear it while walking through a mall or driving in my car.

  102. Helen says...

    CoJ, you’re officially my port in a storm – I’ve been demented with Brexit, today as every other day, and needed a break from the tension of the news cycle. To now find myself here and remembering singing this as a 7 year old, and now with my own 7 year old son upstairs sleeping soundly, well, blimey, I’m a mess, but in all the right ways. xx

  103. Jess says...

    Jason Mraz’s “Have It All”- don’t know if it was written from a parent’s perspective but every time I hear it I think about all the hopes and dreams I have for my daughter to “have it all”- sweet, funny, and whimsical song!

    • celeste says...

      It’s about his fiance gracefully breaking up with him. I always thought that song had such class.

  104. Bernie says...

    Lori McKenna has a beautiful song called “A Mother Never Rests.” Its haunting.

    “I Will” by the Beatles has been my secret song for my lost angel baby who I had to say goodbye to last summer at 20 weeks pregnant. “Will I wait a lonely lifetime? If you want me to, I will.”

    • Renae says...

      I’m so sorry for your loss

  105. jeannie says...

    This is the song I hold in my heart for my children: “The One Who Knows” by Dar Williams. Every time I hear it, I sing it along silently to them.

  106. Maria says...

    My youngest (now 9!) was a whoops, and came at a pretty inconvenient time in my marriage. We named her “Isla.” I was doing a lot of studying at the time and would turn on music to bounce with her while I read at the counter. I started singing Peter Townsend’s “Let My Love Open the Door” as “Let Isla Open the Door,” and now the whole family sings it to her that way. She has known that song as “her song” since she was a toddler.

  107. celeste says...

    I cried all through the film on a 3 1/2 hour flight this summer. I haven’t shown them to my kids though – avoiding the “sex with three potential dads” conversation! Do ya’ll fast forward? It is beautiful, indeed.

    One of my favorites is Taylor Swift’s “Never Grow Up”. She must’ve had a younger female relative or friend – I’ve always wanted to know!

  108. Tammy says...

    Everything about this post has me crying! Father and Daughter by Paul Simon gets me crying every time as the mother of two girls.

  109. Erin in AZ says...

    Or the song in the first Mamma Mia “Slipping Through My Fingers” that Meryl Streep sings about her daughter getting older and becoming more independent…*SOB*. As a single mother of a 26 year old daughter, this one was a doozy!

  110. Claire says...

    My mom and I saw Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in the theater when I was pregnant with my second daughter. WEPT at this scene/song. A very poignant moment in my life and motherhood so far.

  111. JC says...

    I loved Mamma Mia and was disappointed with Here We Go Again UNTIL that scene at the very end. I SOBBED. It was so beautifully done.

  112. Jeannine says...

    “I will” was my wedding song and now I sing it to my two daughters every night, so that now they know the words!

    Nothing is sweeter than hearing the little voice of a two-year old singing those lyrics.

  113. Courtney says...

    My favorite to sing my little one is “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. Hoping he grows up in a world that’s safe and where every little thing is gonna be alright.

  114. Meg says...

    This is such a gorgeous Monday post! I have sung Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” to my son since he was a few days old. I was binge watching Parenthood in those early days and nights. It was the theme song and stuck in my head. The lyrics
    “May you always do for others
    And let others do for you…
    May your hands always be busy
    May your feet always be swift
    May you have a strong foundation
    When the winds of changes shift”
    just sum up what I want for him–to be kind, to be true, to stay young at heart, to be a GOOD HUMAN. He’s five and half now and still asks me to sing “our song”.

  115. Megan says...

    Adele’s ‘ Make you Feel my love’ – racking my newborn to this one the first few weeks brought so many happy/tired/joyful/overwhelmed tears to this new mama. She’s almost one and the song still takes me right back to those moments.

  116. Mari says...

    First of all, Toby has superb taste. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again rules. I bawled so HARD to this in the movie theater (then again when listening to it on my phone while passing through Union Square). I later cried through Amanda Seyfried’s rendition of “I’ve Been Waiting For You” while re-watching the movie on the elliptical on the gym. I should note that I rarely cry in movies, but this movie gets me somehow, haha. (Also Andy Garcia: the silver fox we’ve all been sleeping on.)

  117. Jane says...

    This goes way back but I used to sing The Carpenters “Close to You” very slowly to my youngest son. He also liked “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess. ♥️

  118. Cindy says...

    Jessica Allosery sings this beautiful song about letting go. She wrote it for a father who wanted it for his daughter before her wedding but I listened to it on repeat taking my “baby” to college. It’s sentiment is universal- at every point we are letting go a little each day, but they’ll always be our babies and our love stays when they go.

    The day has come, to let you go Only happiness, I will show
    I’ll always be here for you, you know
    Nothing takes away my love and it shows
    You’ve grown up now, things have changed Grew some wings now, you’re flying away
    I’ll always be here for you, you know Nothing takes away my love and it shows
    Yeah nothing takes away my love When I let you go
    You’re my baby Always will be I hope you know
    My love stays when you go
    Some years down, the long long road
    If you need help with your load
    I’ll always be here for you, you know
    Nothing takes away my love and it shows
    Yeah nothing takes away my love
    When I let you go
    Cos You’re my baby Always will be
    I hope you know
    My love stays when you go
    Cos You’re my baby Always will be
    I hope you know
    My love stays when you go
    I’ll let you go
    I’ll let you go
    Cos You’re my baby Always will be
    I hope you know
    My love stays when you go

  119. Claire says...

    I love this song – just the most beautiful scene and I sob every time. Have you heard ‘Slow down’ by Nichole Nordeman. They played a slideshow with this track at my son’s nursery graduation and there was not a dry eye in the house. I still can’t hear it without welling up.

  120. Octavia says...

    I am so obsessed with both Mama Mia! movies they are my go to when I need a pick me up- Toby has great taste! <3

  121. Katie says...

    Brandi Carlile- The Mother😭😭

    • Andrea says...


    • celeste says...

      I second this!

    • Abbey says...

      Same! Cannot listen without tearing up.

    • Carrie says...

      Gotta second that one, Katie. I heard Brandi Carlisle singing it on some NPR show and sat at a red light, completely caught off guard, heave-sobbing in my car.

    • Anna says...

      BIG YES to this one.

    • Melissa says...

      Ditto. Omg. I just saw her sing this live and SOBBED.

  122. Sally says...

    I became familiar with the beautiful song “I Will” by reading this blog. I started singing it to my now 2 1/2 year old son over a year ago. Lying in his crib at night after we have tucked him in bed, he often sings the song himself. His daycare teacher told me last week that he picked up a broom on the playground, pretended it was a guitar, and sang “I Will” at the top of his lungs. When my husband and I asked him about it, he happily said his teacher clapped for him when he finished<3

  123. Emily says...

    When my daughter was an infant, I’d sing The Wonder of You (Elvis Presley) or Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want (The Smiths) over and over during all those hours of rocking and pacing. She’s two now and I’ve been trying to find new lullabies to add to the mix, so I’m excited to go down the CoJ comments rabbit hole!

    • Lisa says...

      Aw bless! Very sweet songs.

  124. Jenna says...

    No fair on a Monday afternoon Joanna!!! Just sobbing quietly in my cubicle now.

  125. Anne says...

    My firstborn daughter is named Louise and I cannot listen to the song « sweet Louise » by Passenger without tearing up :
    Only known her for a while
    She came as some surprise
    See the sun shine when she smiles
    Feel the rain fall when she cries
    She hits me in the heart
    And drops me to my knees
    I don’t know where I’d be without her
    My sweet Louise » …

    • Louise says...

      Such a good, classic name that your daughter will grow into. I love the uniqueness.

  126. I used to sing “You are my sunshine” when I was pregnant with my first baby, who was diagnosed with a belly problem called gastroschisis – thankfully corrected at birth. It was something I did to cope, be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. Happy ending over here! Today I sing “Love me Tender” every single night for the three of them. My oldest just got a room just for him, so now I sing at the corridor so they all can listen. It’s fun! Adding some bossa nova to my repertoire.

  127. Pam says...

    Amy Grant and I Will Be Your Friend. I’m getting teary just thinking about it! Love this (and every post here, let’s be honest); thank you.

  128. Ari says...

    Do You Realize by the Flaming Lips gets me. It’s not explicitly about parenting, but so much of it is what I want to impart to my son. It’s such a beautiful song.

    • Tammy says...

      I adore this song! It’s so beautiful!

    • hali says...

      Ugh that song is so good.

    • Barb says...

      I have been singing you are my sunshine since my daughter was born (she’s 7 now) but I’ve made up my own second verse:
      I love my Ella
      I love my Ella
      I love her more than she will know
      She is my sweetheart
      She is my angel
      And I love my baby so

      Also sing ‘To Make You Feel My Love’ to my boys every night.

    • Adrianna B says...

      Such a gorgeous one

  129. lkb says...

    In the Springtime in the Rockies.

    My mom sang it to me, and I didn’t realize how emotionally attached to it I was until I sang it to my new son (eek, 7 years ago!) as we were walking back from dropping my husband off at work. My son was in the stroller and I started singing and then just began sobbing. I love that song… it’s still my favorite to sing.

  130. Mallory says...

    I grew up dancing around the house to ABBA’s Gold album with my mom and sister. We saw Mamma Mia together on stage in London and SF when it first came out, and we all sobbed through Slipping Through My Fingers. Just a few years ago, my mom played Tanya in a local stage production of Mamma Mia, and I bawled through the whole show because I was so proud of her. She was just luminous on stage.

    I now have two little girls of my own, and when I saw Mamma Mia 2, My Love, My Life just DEVASTATED me in the most beautiful way. All the feelings of my mom’s love and now my own love for my daughters all wrapped up into ABBA lyrics. It’s so warm and gorgeous and overwhelming and somehow tragic, I’m welling up right now just thinking about it!

  131. annie says...

    Shortly after my dad passed away, I watched that movie and was so touched by, and sobbed throughout, that scene.

  132. Katrina says...

    15 weeks pregnant and crying at the drop of a hat. We rewatched WALL-E and “It Only Takes a Moment” about killed me. The unconditional love I’m starting to feel for this little one is overwhelming, so these lyrics were too much: “And that is all, that loves about. And we’ll recall, when time runs out that it only, took a moment,
    to be loved a whole life long.”

  133. Ana says...

    Oh my God Joanna, I have just cried a river listening to the song. Thinking of my mum, my little boy and the baby in my bump.

    I haven’t heard the song before, thanks for sharing.

  134. Patricia says...

    Major sniffle fest watching and listening … but in a good way.

    • Amanda says...

      Moments before my daughter was born, Nora Jones “You’ve Ruined Me” came on. It’s probably about a break up, but to me it’s about how this sweet babe just stole my heart and there was no going back.

      You’ve ruined me now
      But I liked it
      But I’m ruined
      Do you have a plan
      Cause I’m in your hands
      You’ve ruined me now
      Though I liked it
      Now, I’m ruined
      I had no choice
      When I heard your voice

  135. Susan says...

    Check out “The Mother” by Brandi Carlile…such a beautiful testament to motherhood.

    • Kenzie says...

      Omg yes and the music video is beautiful too!

  136. KW says...

    The Happy Song by Imogen Heap! She worked with psychologists at the University of London to develop a song designed to make babies happy, WITH SCIENCE. It’s fun, silly, and super sweet. Works on my 10 week old — and me! (I’m not *not* humming it to myself as I sit at my desk at work…)

  137. My dad and I danced to You Are My Sunshine (Johnny Cash version) at my wedding! He also is a big Abba fan so I’m genuinely surprised to have never heard this (completely tear-jerking) song.
    I sing Blackbird, Five Hundred Miles and Sweet Child of Mine to my littles. We were once out to dinner and my then-3-year-old son said, “Mama- they’re playing our song! Let’s listen together.” He heard Guns n Roses playing in the bustling restaurant and cuddled up against me. My heart.

    • Angela says...

      I danced with my dad to Sheryl Crow’s version of “Sweet Child of Mine” and sing it to my kids too!

  138. Allison says...

    There is a book that has long been a favorite at our house, ‘Hush Little Baby’ by Sylvia Long. It follows the familiar cadence of the original song, but the words are beautifully re-written to include comforting images from nature and home. “Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Mama’s going to show you a hummingbird. If that hummingbird should fly, Mama’s going to show you the evening sky.” We sing this version almost every night.

  139. Caitlin says...

    I sing part of A Million Dreams from the Greatest Showman each night and tear up on the regular. The world we’re gonna make 😊

  140. Jess says...

    Haha YES to blubbering during that song in the movie. I had also had a glass or two of wine by that point in the film and the water works were real. You know when your husband slowly turns his head to check where that noise is coming from…

  141. amy says...

    oooooh, Ben Harper’s Beloved One:

    Your eyes shine through me
    You are so divine to me
    Your heart has a home in mine
    We won’t have to say a word
    With a touch all shall be heard
    When I search my heart it’s you I find
    My beloved one, my beloved one, my beloved one
    You were meant for me, I believe you were sent to me from a dream straight into
    To my arms
    Hold your body close to me
    You mean the most to me
    We will keep each other safe from harm
    My beloved one, my beloved one, my beloved one

  142. Megan says...

    Please tell me you’ve heard “The Mother” by Brandi Carlile! It makes me cry and I don’t even have children! I saw her in concert last night and seeing her sing it (and anything really) live it completely breathtaking.

    • Ara says...

      just saw her in iowa. mahhh gosh.

  143. Iris says...

    I mean from start to finish literally every word of this post has me clutching the lump in my chest ready to burst into happy mom tears (as I sit here 6 months pregnant with #2) – i love it so much! I first watched the second mamma mia movie on an airplane and openly wept at this point while sitting between two big burly old men. Its just so poignant and beautiful!

    We sing “Till There Was You” by the Beatles to our 3 year old before bedtime (after “Row Row Row Your Boat,” natch) and these days it gets me feeling weepy nearly every night that I really listen to the words we’re singing. I love it!

  144. Kathy says...

    Simon and Garfunkle’s Bridge Over Troubled Water was playing on the radio when I drove my daughter home from the hospital after her birth and I will never not cry when I hear it. I WOULD lay down like a bridge over troubled water for her!
    There is a really nice part that goes “I’m on your side ohhhhhh when you need a friend” or something to that effect. I think of it often when I’m doing battle with her over something (she’s a “threenager”) because at the end of the day I want her to know I’m always on her side.

    • Kristin says...

      We danced to that song at our wedding (we don’t have a “song”, and there was a panic looking at what the DJ had available, and I love S&G, so…). I think some people thought it was a strange choice, but it ended up being very meaningful for me.

  145. Lindsey says...

    I listen to “Slipping Through my Fingers” also by Abba and from the first Mamma Mia on repeat and sob just thinking of my daughter getting older. She is only 13 months though. I never thought I could love another human this much, it is terrifying and wonderful all at once.

  146. Lana says...

    you guys…this should come with NSFW tag. Crying like a baby in the office full of men (I’m in engineering). Thank you for making me feel all the feels this Monday! (all possible heart emojis)

  147. Beth P. says...

    My Dad would sing “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor to each of us when we were small, which is a song I’ve always loved. I also love “I Have A Dream” by ABBA.

    • Midge says...

      I always sang Sweet Baby James to my kiddo. He’s 13 now and we smile a sweet, conspiratorial smile at each other whenever we hear it.

    • Abbie says...

      I sang this to my oldest son (James who we call JR) as a baby and I’m fairly sure I NEVER got through it without crying. Every. Night.

    • Sara says...

      I sang that to my babies! Such a good bedtime song.
      My Mom sang “Wish me a rainbow” to me and I sing it to my 9 & 12 year old. Still.

  148. Jessica O'Malley says...

    My mom and I saw both the Mamma Mia movies together, and OMG, the sobbing from both us during this scene…

  149. Laura says...

    My daughter is 7 and obsessed with mamma mia movies and Meryl! Everytime i hear this song I have to fight the tears (most of the times I end up crying). She insists on listening to the soundtrack while she showers!

    • K says...

      You know when your baby is really little and can scream and cry for what seems like no reason, and nothing you do can stop it? Well I found the antidote for my first child, “Us Against the World” by Coldplay. I don’t know how it happened, I don’t listen to Coldplay much. But that song stopped his wailing in a second. Every time.
      Three years later here I am in that same situation with a really small baby. The screaming and crying. The inability to soothe him. Then I remembered THE song. Yes it worked on him too!
      Now any time that song starts (Apple loves to throw it in My Favorites playlist when I’m feeling weak), I’m instant tears. Apparently the song stops tears in babies, then years later causes tears in mothers. Puh.

  150. Melissa says...

    My two girls are obsessed with Mamma Mia (both movies) and tease me mercilessly as I cry every. single. time, I hear that song. But they also love when I sing it to them at night. So lovely.