Need a good cry?
These 6 tearjerker songs about parenthood will have you blubbering like a newborn, then gazing at your “baby” — no matter how big or small.
For an extra tear-jerking spin, watch the videos, too.
Because all parents could use a good, healthy cry.
Seriously, The journal Scientific Reports discovered crying to music makes you feel better.
So crank up the tunes, grab a tissue (or a bucket), and listen to these tearjerker songs about kiddos growing up.
6 Tearjerker Songs about Parenthood
1. Turn Around — Nanci Griffith
“Where are you going, my little one, little one?
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you’re two, turn around and you’re four.
Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.” — Malvina Reynolds, Harry Belafonte, and Allen Greene
I first heard this song at my eighth-grade graduation, yes, YEARS ago, but let me tell you — there wasn’t a dry eye in that room.
It didn’t help that old pictures of my junior high class flashed across the screen while Nanci Griffin sang about how babies become teenagers in the snap of a finger.
As a mother now, I can’t help but bawl when I hear the lines “Turn around and you’re two, turn around and you’re four. Turn around and you’re a young girl going out of my door.”
(And I have two boys).
2. Return to Pooh Corner-Kenny Loggins
“So help me if you can, I’ve got to get
Back to the house at Pooh Corner by one
You’d be surprised, there’s so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh.”
Like most kids, I LOVED Winne the Pooh growing up. Okay, let’s be real, I still do.
Conveniently, my boys have also developed an admiration for Winnie, Christopher Robin, and Tigger.
For my family, the Kenny Logging classic — Return to Pooh Corner — has it all.
Playfulness. A Winnie the Pooh storyline. A bookend involving a father reminiscing about childhood while staring at his own sleeping child.
Need I say more?
The following lines get me every time.
“It’s hard to explain how a few precious things
Seem to follow throughout all our lives
After all’s said and done I was watching my son
Sleeping there with my bear by his side
So I tucked him in, kissed him
And as I was going
I swear that old bear whispered
Boy, welcome home!”
Enough said. I think I’ll go eat a bucket of honey.
3. When You’re My Age-Lori McKenna
“When You’re my age, I hope the world is kinder than it seems to be right now.
I hope the front page is not just a reminder of the way we’re letting each other down.” Lori McKenna
I heard this sweet melody for the first time this year. The song affected me so much that it inspired me to write How to Find Your Calling in a Post Pandemic World.
Not only does McKenna’s ballad dive deep into the fact that we’re raising children during divisive times, but the chorus reminds us — over and over again — that children grow up.
Still, the song leaves us with an optimistic reminder: even though they’ll outgrow our homes, they’ll always be our babies.
“You’ll outgrow your shoes
You’ll outgrow your bed
You’ll outgrow this house
Just don’t forget
When you’re all grown up
But you don’t feel that way
You’re still gonna be my baby
Even when you’re my age.”
Forget the tissues, grab a bucket.
4. Cat’s in the Cradle — Harry Chapin Carpenter
“And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
“When you coming home, dad?” “I don’t know when”
But we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then”
Need a reminder to slow down during parenthood’s chaotic days? I know I do — time and time again.
Cat’s in the Cradle starts off with a boy repeatedly asking his dad to spend time with him, then reverses when the father asks his grown son to do the same.
Chapin’s calming voice and melodic tune about life passing you by and the tables turning transforms me into a weeping willow every time.
The end of the song, when his adult son says he’s too busy to get together, hits me hard.
Cats and the Cradle serves as a reminder to not take these precious moments for granted — even though, I admit, like most parents, I still do.
On more than one occasion, the following verse made me stop everything, reach for a baseball, and take my boys out to play.
“I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind
He said, I’d love to, dad, if I can find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me”
I’ll take a breather, Harry, I swear!
5. Then They Do — Trace Adkins
“No more Monday PTAs
No more carpools or soccer games
Your work is done
Now you’ve got time that’s all your own
You’ve been waiting for so long
For those days to come”
Raise your hand if you’ve received this parenting advice: “Enjoy it now, it goes by fast.”
Trace Adkins’ song, “Then They Do” will remind you of these words time and time again.
I, like many parents, can get caught up in the chaos of raising young children and wish for easier days to come.
And as I see my toddler and preschooler reach independent milestones, this country tune shakes me to the core.
This tear-jerker song for parents reminds me that those days come before you realize it.
When do those days arrive? As Trace conveys, one day, they just do.
“Then they do
And that’s how it is
It’s just quiet in the morning
Can’t believe how much you miss
All they do
And all they did
You want all the dreams they’ve dreamed of to come true
Then they do
Oh, and then they do”
6. The Circle Game- Joni Mitchell
“And the seasons, they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return, we can only look
Behind, from where we came
And go round and round and round, in the circle game”
My Joni Mitchell phase happened in high school, but her classics still stuck.
The Circle Game is a poetic song about children growing up and how “we’re captive on the carousel of time.”
The folksy tune starts with children catching fireflies then eventually transitions to teenagehood seasons and beyond.
“16 springs and 16 summers gone now
Cartwheels turn to car wheels through the town
And they tell him, “Take your time, it won’t be long now
’Til you drag your feet to slow the circles down”
Unlike its predecessors’ somber rhythms and obvious relations to parenting, this song made the cut of tearjerker songs for parents because of its subtle metaphors about growing up.
It’s okay if you’re bawling (I know I am). And if you didn’t have time to listen to them all, put these tunes on your playlist for later.
From country to folk, these 6 tearjerker songs will have you reminiscing and treasuring fleeting times.
Listen to one or all of them to release that emotion. You might be surprised how a good cry improves your mood.
This post was previously published on Medium.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member today.
Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.