On music and motherhood.

There are certain things everyone says they will never do as parents.  Of course, most of these declarations are when we are all knowing and childless.  Sometimes these even run into the first few years of being a parent, when you still think you are somewhat in control.

The top of my list was becoming a soccer mom, going to a PTO meeting and listening to top 40 radio.
The first two have been violated, but I’m holding fast to that last one.

I have no problem admitting I’m a music geek.  I love all sorts of music (generally), as does my husband.  Even if our taste isn’t always the same, we both like discovering new bands and sharing them.  Over the years, we have both made mixes (first on CD, now on itunes for her ipod) for Edie.  Now that she’s getting older and starting to develop her own taste in music, she leaves us lists of what she’d like loaded on her ipod next.  There is a frightful amount of what I call ‘that new crap’ on those lists, and so I hand it over to her father.  He takes the time to listen to everything first, making sure it’s appropriate for her 9 year old ears.  He will also then throw some songs in there that he thinks she would like.  She recently complained that the last time she handed her father a list, he took the opportunity to practically fill her ipod with HIS music.

‘He put Nirvana on there.  And Gillian Welch.  And some other stuff you two like”. 

Suddenly, we are being roped together in this music battle – Us vs. Her.  (And yes, we’ve had some battles.) I’ve realized that my freakishly nerdy 80’s music trivia knowledge is being matched by my daughter’s equally deep knowledge about today’s music.  A few weeks ago, she was curled up in the den watching the red carpet for some music awards show and knew who everyone was.  There was some fellow I had never seen before and she started rattling off everyone he had been playing with – Nicki Minaj (I had to look that up!) as well as Usher.  How does she know this?!?!  We don’t have cable, her screen time, both TV and computer is generally limited and supervised.  I get that she wants to listen to what her friends listen to. I worry that she’s liking it, despite our work of making sure she only listens to ‘good’ music.  Our definition of good of course. 

There are moments of hope though.  I was cleaning her room a few months back when I stumbled upon an old Red Hot Chili Peppers CD in her stash.  I asked her where it came from and she answered “Well, I needed something new to listen to, so I went through your CD’s and thought that looked interesting.” (She liked it!).   She loves Ozzy.  Driving home from market on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, she recognized the Dead playing with Dylan on one of his songs, “Stuck down in Mobile….”.  I was so proud.  After all, how many 9 year olds can identify a Bob Dylan song?

That’s the thing about parenthood.  You enter it with all the best intentions, only to have most of them shattered by those beautiful little creatures.  You have to learn to let go, to surrender control and just hope that some of what you want to imprint upon them sticks. 

One thought on “On music and motherhood.

  1. Soccer Mom says:

    HA! Just think of your parents dislike of your music 🙂 It happens to the best of us, quite honestly. I've taken my rocker girl to many concerts (Seether, Three Days Grace, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus (i hate her w/a passion), etc.) She loves all music–my kind and others. When she recognizes Nirvana I'm pleased inside. When she likes Red Hot Chili Peppers I gleam with pride. When she makes me listen to some horrible song about “making the bed rock” I want to puke. Then I remember my parents–who never censored my music–as they let me listen to Megadeath super loud when I was angry with them and Samantha Fox's “Touch Me!” (oh the horror) and so on. But they also found the records I asked for over and over in their huge stash of music–KC and Sunshine Band, Carly Simon, The Guess Who, etc. And for my First Communion I received a Queen record (doesn't that violate a million religion laws?). I think you're doing a FINE job exposing her to all kinds of music — it's how she'll develop her own taste. It's hard because they want to “fit in” … there's no fighting that urge for the tween and teen years!

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