When I was a kid, my mom used to go around the house singing all of the time. I thought it annoyed my siblings and me because she sounded like Edith Bunker and usually sang songs like “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life at Last I Found You” or “Ave Maria“. Since I’ve become a mom, though, I’ve realized that it’s just that kids hate to hear their parents sing – especially their moms.
Oh, sure, when they were infants and toddlers my boys loved to hear me sing. But they loved to hear me talk, too. It didn’t matter what I did as long as words were coming out of my mouth and I was paying attention to them. Even now, I get the occasional request for me to sing to them at bedtime. I am not silly enough to believe that it is about my singing or because they love the songs I have made up especially for them. No, I recognize that these are just attempts to eek out a few more minutes of staying awake, a few more minutes of mom’s attention that their brother or dad is not getting.
Other than those occasions, my boys would prefer if I kept my singing to myself. In the car, if I sing along to whatever we are listening to, I usually get “Mom, could you please stop singing. I mean, we’re not trying to insult you or anything, but we think the song sounds better without you.” I totally get it. I’m not likely to be on American Idol or The Voice anytime soon. I’m sure the song does sound better without me.
But, I also get why my mom used to sing so much. It was to keep her sanity. She had five kids running around the house. Sure, we were outside for most of the day, but there were plenty of hours that we were in the house. If I think two kids can create a lot of noise and aggravation, I can hardly imagine what all five of us seemed like to her.
So, she sang. And, now, I sing. Sometimes, I sing to block them out. Sometimes, I sing so I can relax. It’s my way of taking a deep breath before I explode – or, if it works, instead of exploding.
When the boys groan, I tell them that they have a choice. I can yell at them or I can sing. Singing makes mommy happy, I remind them. Yelling makes mommy angry. The choice is theirs. Luckily, I have pretty smart boys and they usually chose the singing. Sometimes, they will actually join me.
Instead, of trying to belt out the latest Katy Perry song, though, I stick with little ditties from their early childhood. Little ditties that I have, well, modified a bit. “Have You Ever Seen A Lassy” has morphed into “Have You Ever Seen A Mommy (Go Crazy)”. A little tune from a favorite Oswald episode, The Leaky Faucet, has become “Oh Children of Mine”. By now, my kids have heard these so often that when I start signing them they either join in, with hopes of winning my favor or they get very quiet.
“I think we better knock it off. She’s starting to sing that “Oh, Children…” thing.” Aaron will whisper to Nic. “And, you know what that means.”
“Yeah,” Nic whispers back. “We’re in trouble.”
So, if you are sick of counting to five or yelling your empty threats, sing a little tune. If you’re lucky, it might send your kids running and make you feel a little better at the same time.
Do have a little ditty you would like to share? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment. You just might be featured in an Imperfect Mommy song collection!
(I apologize for the poor quality of the .wav files, both for the singing and the static. Like with most things, I have no idea what I am doing and this was the best it got. )