My Parenting Stages Playlist: Gen X Edition - MetroFamily Magazine
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My Parenting Stages Playlist: Gen X Edition

by Christina Mushi-Brunt

Reading Time: 4 minutes 

Music, in all its forms, is a shared interest in our household. We listen to music constantly. We enjoy creating and listening to playlists. This shared interest led me to think about the significance of playlists. For our family, there are memories connected to each of the playlists that we share. Listening to them reminds us of moments in our lives that we treasure.

Just for fun, I decided to create a new playlist of songs that represent our children’s stages of development and what it was/is like parenting through them. As a member of Generation X, I grew up watching MTV. The following is my playlist based on some of my favorite 70’s-80’s hit songs.

Newborn through Infant

Heaven Is a Place on Earth by Belinda Carlisle. The song title and this line in the lyrics: “In this world, we’re just beginnin’ to understand the miracle of livin'” perfectly describe the moment and feeling I had the first time I laid eyes on my newborns just after their birth. All three times. Absolutely heavenly!

No Sleep Till Brooklyn by The Beastie Boys. On the other end of the spectrum from the previous song on the playlist, is this Gen X rap/metal hit. There’s no denying that as adorable as my babies were, there were times when it felt like this song was their official anthem. There were so many sleepless nights spent feeding, changing, rocking and soothing them at all hours of the night.

Toddler through Preschool 

Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac. The title speaks for itself when I think about the toddler shadows that were my constant companions. They were everywhere that I was, including places that I wished they weren’t (e.g., the bathroom). The song lyrics take on a whole new meaning when considered during this period: “can you hear me calling out your name” (Mommy?) and “I’ll speak a little louder, I’ll even shout” (MOMMEEEEEEEE!!).

Early through Middle Childhood

Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. I included this song as I thought about the innocence of this age group. They believed in the magic of their world: Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Oh, the sweet memory of my then 6-year-old pulling me aside at a swim party and asking me in the most hushed tone: “should I tell everyone my secret?” Her secret: she’s a mermaid. For about a year she truly believed she was. I savor the memories of the worlds that they created in their imaginations. I wish they could have believed in those things forever. The lyrics say it all: “Don’t stop believin’, Hold on to that feelin.'”

Tween through Early Teen

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. Perhaps this song is too ‘on the nose?’ Pun intended! During the tween years the smell of the oncoming teenage years is both figurative and literal. Who would have thought that the stinkiest sports duffle bag in the house wouldn’t be that of the boy’s high school basketball player but that of the tween/early teen ballerinas?

And remember that preschooler who asked “why” 25 times a day? Gone. This line from the lyrics of this song sums up tween/early teen communication: “Oh well, whatever, never mind.” But there are definitely more moments during this stage when I’ve thought about this portion of the lyrics: “And for this gift, I feel blessed. Our little group has always been. And always will until the end.” It’s a gift to watch them start to figure out who they are and their place in this world. I do feel blessed to have them and always will.

Middle through Late Teen

Land of Confusion by Genesis. Although this Gen X hit was about the confusing state of the world in the late 1980’s, a household with teenagers can easily feel like you’re living in a land of confusion. One moment they’re opening up to you with meaningful conversation, then the next minute, they’re slamming their door because you asked them a question. Huh?

They also have more responsibilities, including driving, jobs and time management. They are making decisions about their future. These lines are appropriate: “Stand up and let’s start showing, just where our lives are going to.” It is an honor to shepherd my teenagers through this treacherous land. My hope is that we [and those in our community who love them] have done enough to launch these strong, kind and compassionate people into society. I hope they will proclaim to this still confusing world this part of the lyrics: “And these are the hands we’re given. Use them and let’s start trying to make it a place worth fighting for.”

What songs would be included on your parenting playlist?


Christina Mushi-Brunt is a former professor turned freelance writer and public health research consultant. She and her family transplanted from Indiana to Oklahoma in 2015. They reside in the Moore community. Among the various hats Christina wears, her favorite is basketball/dance mom to her and her husband’s three middle & high school-aged kids.

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