Regardless of whether it’s close to Mother’s Day or not, every day of the year is the perfect chance to take a few minutes and reflect on the joy of moms. And to aid in that, these 36
incredible and heartwarming songs about being a mom or having a mom should be added to your playlist right now (and, TBH, you may also want to grab a box of tissues). Some of these songs about motherhood are ballads, some are pop bops, and all are sweet explorations into how being a mom, or having a mom, changes your life forever.
Artists ranging from BTS and Taylor Swift to the Chicks and Bruce Springsteen have taken time in their successful and booming careers to
put the spotlight on the women who gave them their lives and raised them. While many of the singers on this list below chose to celebrate their own mother, a few artists have put to music what it feels like to become a parent: see Halsey, Beyoncé, and Brandi Carlile.
So without further ado, have a look at these musical choices, make a playlist on your favorite streaming service to listen to during your commute or downtime at home (and, hey, send it to your mom while you're at it!), and just let these motherhood songs play on repeat.
1 "I Hope You Dance" By LeeAnn Womack
Written back in 2000, "I Hope You Dance" is perhaps every mom’s wish for her children. This timeless classic is full of optimism, romantic wonder of the world, and hope, making it the perfect soundtrack addition for any mother. Plus, it’s a throwback song that you probably listened to when you were younger, so chances are you already know all the words.
Best Lyric: “I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance / Never settle for the path of least resistance / Livin' might mean takin' chances / but they're worth takin' / Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'.”
2 "Lullaby" By The Dixie Chicks
This acoustic song is a simple reminder to a child that a mother’s love will never disappear, no matter how much time passes or what happens along the way. Its emotional lyrics will hit home for any mother and child who live far apart or haven’t seen one another in awhile. Even if you get to tuck your child into bed every single night, you’ll relate to these words.
Best Lyric: “How long do you want to be loved / Is forever enough, is forever enough / How long do you want to be loved / Is forever enough / 'Cause I'm never, never giving you up.”
3 "This Angel" By Jennifer Nettles
"This Angel" is an elegy to the part a mother plays in the creation of the very thing that ends up saving her. Nettles sings of holy water flowing out of a woman’s own veins being the very grace that brings her new life. She never knew her child was exactly what she needed until now, and there is no looking back from this point forward.
Best Lyric: “Who is this angel, sent here to change me / Sent here to take me where I've never been / Long I have wandered, weary and waiting / For something to shake me and laugh to begin.”
4 "To Zion" By Lauryn Hill
This layered song is every bit as complex as the subject matter that spawned it. Writing "To Zion" about her young son, Lauryn Hill tells of the people who encouraged her to end her pregnancy, while claiming to be looking out for her career. Instead, she followed her heart and decided to have the child, going with her gut feeling rather than what people were telling her. "Now the joy of my world is in Zion," she sings, playing on her son’s name.
Best Lyric: “Now let me pray to keep you from / The perils that will surely come / See life for you, my prince, has just begun.”
5 "The One Thing" By Shakira
In "The One Thing,"
Shakira perfectly captures the feeling in every mother’s heart that life became so much richer and more colorful the moment they became a mom. Any mother can relate to this message that no matter what else goes wrong, you definitely got one thing right: your beloved baby. And no matter what life throws at you moving forward, you know you and your child will be in this together for the long haul.
Best Lyric: “You are that little dream I had since I was a child / My fairy tale comes true when I look at your face.”
6 “Mama” By BTS
Sung solo by BTS member J-Hope, this song is an homage to his mother and the sacrifices she made to raise him to become the successful and groundbreaking performing artist he is today. It’s a song made of pure joy, and any video of
J-Hope performing it is basically like watching the human version of sunshine. This one is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, no matter what kind of day you’ve been having.
Best Lyric: “Hey mama, now you can lean on me / I'll always be by your side / Hey mama, because you gave selflessly to me / Because you were my support.”
7 "Mama's Song" By Carrie Underwood
"Mama's Song" is a ballad of thanks to
Carrie Underwood’s mom for praying all across the years for the man that will become her daughter’s husband. She reminds her mom that she’ll never lose her and that “giving me away is not goodbye,” but just the start of a new chapter. Underwood also assures her mother that her new husband treats her well and will stick by her side.
Best Lyric: Mama, you taught me to do the right things / So, now you have to let your baby fly / You've given me everything that I will need / To make it through this crazy thing called life.”
8 "Promise To Try" By Madonna Like A Prayer was the album that bridged Madonna’s transition from bubble-gum pop star to serious musical artist, including this tribute to her mother. "Promise To Try" was never released as a single, but it is a powerful meditation on her feelings about her mom, who passed away from breast cancer when Madonna was young. It’s an emotional promise that she will always hold her mother in memory, even when it’s not always easy to hold onto her “faded smile frozen in time.”
Best Lyric: “I fought to be so strong / I guess you knew / I was afraid you'd go away, too.”
9 "The Wish" By Bruce Springsteen
A sweet tribute to moms and their sacrificial love from The Boss, "The Wish" is about Bruce Springsteen’s relationship with his mother, Adele. Despite being a confessional songwriter, Springsteen has reportedly said this song is as real as his lyrics have ever been. So, that is obviously saying a lot about this track and what it means to him.
Best Lyric: “Well tonight I'm taking requests here in the kitchen / This one's for you, Ma, let me come right out and say it / It's overdue, but baby, if you're looking for a sad song, well I ain't gonna play it.”
10 "The Sweetest Gift" By Sade
A song from a mom to her young one while she watches them sleep, “The Sweetest Gift” is thought to have been written about the singer’s baby daughter. It’s a reminder of the way children light up our lives and carry their joy into even the darkest of days (or nights). If you’ve ever watched your child peacefully sleeping and thought “I’m so lucky,” you’ll know how this feels.
Best Lyric: “Quietly while you were asleep / The moon and I were talking / I asked that she'd always keep you protected / She promised you her light / That you so gracefully carry / You bring your light and shine like morning.”
11 "You Can’t Lose Me" By Faith Hill
"You Can't Lose Me" is a reminder that we won’t always win in life (a lesson we often learn early), but the one thing we can never lose is a mother’s love. In turn, when we grow old enough to understand and return that love, we give her that same dedication and stick by her side through thick and thin. It’s a reciprocal relationship forged from a child’s very first days.
Best Lyric: “You're gonna lose the race from time to time / But you're always gonna find / You can't lose me / Bet your life, I am here and I will always be.”
12 "Mama Liked The Roses" By Elvis Presley
First released on Presley’s 1970 Christmas album, "Mama Liked the Roses" is a look back at the way a mom always puts her children’s futures ahead of her own interests (in this case, growing roses and decorating the house with them). Presley uses the rose metaphor multiple times throughout the song, including details like a pressed rose that is still kept in his family Bible. It ends with a somber reminder that all life ends, and we have to say goodbye someday.
Best Lyric: “Mama liked the roses / But most of all she cared / About the way we learned to live / And if we said our prayers.”
13 "A Song For Mama" By Boyz 2 Men
Just like the title says, "A Song For Mama" is an expression of gratitude for all that a mom does for her children and everything she teaches them. It includes sweet phrases like “queen of my heart” and “the girl in my life for all times.” You’ll want to queue it up for all the moms in your life whenever they are reminiscing about old times with their little ones.
Best Lyric: “And no one else can be / What you have been to me you will always be / You will always be the girl in my life for all times."
14 "Mom" By Meghan Trainor
"Mom" is a catchy pop song, but also one that digs into the feeling that every child has that their mom is really the best one around. Sure, lots of people love their mom, but no one else’s mother will ever compare to yours. Meghan Trainor recorded a call with her mom (“I love you to the moon and back”) and included snippets in the chorus.
Best Lyric: “You might have a mom, she might be the bomb / But ain't nobody got a mom like mine / Her love's 'til the end, she's my best friend / Ain't nobody got a mom like mine.”
15 "In My Daughter’s Eyes" By Martina McBride
"In My Daughter's Eyes" is a mom’s take on how different life looks through the eyes of our children. Both our perspective on the world and on what’s important become clearer through the gift of motherhood. Even though your child might see you as their own personal superhero, the truth is that they are just as much of a hero to you.
Best Lyric: “In my daughter's eyes / I am a hero / I am strong and wise / And I know no fear / But the truth is plain to see / She was sent to rescue me / I see who I want to be / In my daughter's eyes.”
16 "Speechless" By Alicia Keys
"I’m just speechless baby / Don’t know what to say," are the lyrics Alicia Keys wrote in this song about becoming a parent for the first time. But she managed to find her words long enough to pen a sweet song about how meeting "true love" — her infant — taught her about real love.
Best Lyric: “In the mornings when I rise up / Go to the window and I smile with my eyes up / Stare in the clouds like wow look at my luck / Everyday I'm feelin' better 'cause I know I got the best I can be proud of.”
17 "Don’t Forget To Remember Me" By Carrie Underwood
"Don't Forget To Remember Me" is a mother’s prayer that a child not forget her as they launch on their own out into the world, which then turns into a child’s prayer as they make their way into the world. If you remember the feeling of leaving your own mom to go out on your own, you’ll hear truth in this song.
Best Lyric: “Then she took my hand and said / Baby don't forget / Before you hit the highway / You better stop for gas / There's a 50 in the ashtray / In case you run short on cash / Here's a map and here's a Bible / If you ever lose your way / Just one more thing before you leave / Don't forget to remember me.”
18 "The Baby" By Blake Shelton
This song is based not on Shelton’s experience, but on the life of another country music singer who co-wrote the piece with him, Michael White. Still, you can feel the emotion in the song’s beautiful storyline regardless. "The Baby" is a tribute to every mom who always sees the best in her children, and who will always see her children as her babies (no matter how old and independent they get).
Best Lyric: “I called home to mom and daddy, I said your boy is now a man / She said I don't care if you're 80, you'll always be my baby.”
19 "The Best Day" By Taylor Swift
With a music video showing home movies of Swift’s childhood, "The Best Day (Taylor’s Version)" reminisces on all the great days spent
with her mother, from when she was tiny and hugging her mom’s legs to growing up and succeeding in her own career. It shows off the way that moms really are our best friends throughout life, and the days we get to spend with them make some of the best memories.
Best Lyric: “I know you were on my side / Even when I was wrong / And I love you for giving me your eyes / Staying back and watching me shine.”
20 "Coat of Many Colors" By Dolly Parton
Singing about a coat that her mother made for her, Parton’s "Coat of Many Colors" was the inspiration for a TV movie of the same name. It’s a reminder of all the ways that we are very rich when we are loved unconditionally by someone — that’s where the sweet stuff really is in life.
Best Lyric: “My coat of many colors / That my momma made for me / Made only from rags / But I wore it so proudly / Although we had no money / I was rich as I could be / In my coat of many colors / My momma made for me.”
21 "Hey Ma" By Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper uses his platform to express love to the many women in his life who have been like mothers to him, including his own. Throughout "Hey Ma," he shares his wish to give them all the life they deserve now that he can afford to do so. He hopes they’ll never have to worry about anything again, recalling how they’ve done so much for him during the most challenging phases of his life.
Best Lyric: “Go on get ya nails polished, stylist for your eyelids / And a pilot for your mileage for them frequent flights to your island.”
22 "Mother" By Kacey Musgraves
"Mother" is a simple but profound song that probably everyone can relate to at some point. If you ever sit around thinking about your mom and missing her, whether she’s still in the world or not, you’ll know this feeling. Life always feels a little more complete when she is close by, and it can be lonely trying to navigate the everyday challenges without her. If only we could stop time!
Best Lyric: “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.”
23 "The Mother" By Brandi Carlile
In this beautiful tribute to her baby girl, Evangeline, Brandi Carlile celebrates the way that she’ll get to see the world all over again through her daughter’s eyes. Even though her daughter took away her sleep schedule and sense of normalcy (relatable), she has brought endless sunshine and color to her life as well. Carlile muses how she’d rather be a mom than have all the material successes of modern life.
Best Lyric: “You're nothing short of magical and beautiful to me / I would 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.”
24 "Mama Said" By The Shirelles
"Mama Said" is an ode to the best advice-giver on the planet and all the times Mom got us through tough moments with a wise word. Let’s face it — you can probably recall instances when your mom gave you a random piece of advice you thought you’d never use, but then it unexpectedly came in handy years later. How does she just know everything? And more importantly, how can you take her endless wisdom and pass it on to your own children?
Best Lyric: “Mama said there'll be days like this / There'll be days like this, my mama said.”
25 "The Perfect Fan" By The Backstreet Boys
Everything we learn in early life comes through our parental figures, and the Backstreet Boys thank their moms in "The Perfect Fan" for the way they guided them throughout life. Of their legion of adoring fans, only their moms have impacted their lives in these numerous ways, and they hope they can give the love back by being “the perfect son.”
Best Lyric: “You showed me / When I was young just how to grow / You showed me / Everything that I should know / You showed me / Just how to walk without your hands / 'Cause mom you always were / The perfect fan.”
26 "Like My Mother" By Does Lauren Alaina
Whether you’re your mother’s spitting image or take completely after another parent, there are always things about you that will resemble your mother. That's what Lauren Alaina’s "Like My Mother" touches on. Even if it’s simply the way she taught you to put your head down and muscle through the tough times, you can thank her for giving you the grit to keep going. If only we all saw ourselves how our moms see us, the world would be a kinder and better place.
Best Lyric: “When I'm weak and unpretty / I know I'm beautiful and strong / Because I see myself like my mother does / Like my mother does.”
27 "Forever Young" By Rod Stewart
Co-written with Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart's "Forever Young" is a classic prayer of the ages from all parents to their children. Every child will be young eternally in their mother’s eyes. Your baby won’t stay tiny forever, but you’ll always remember the days you kept them cradled in your arms and wiped their tears when they cried. Who says memories can’t last a lifetime?
Best Lyric: “May good fortune be with you, may your guiding light be strong, / Build a stairway to heaven with a prince or a vagabond. / And may you never love in vain. / And in my heart you will remain / Forever young.”
28 "Somebody’s Hero" By Jamie O’Neal
From Australian country singer Jamie O'Neal, "Somebody's Hero" celebrates the magnanimous achievement of raising kids, even when it can sometimes feel like nothing special is taking place. The mundane days of parenting are filled with pretty boring stuff, but one day you’ll look back and feel amazed that you helped raise a human being.
Best Lyric: “She's somebody's hero / A hero to her baby with a skinned up knee / A little kiss is all she needs / The keeper of the Cheerios / The voice that brings Snow White to life / Bedtime stories every night / And that smile lets her know / She's somebody's hero.”
29 "Two Of Us" By Louis Tomlinson
Written in memory of his late mother, who passed away in 2016, the former One Direction member said that "Two Of Us" became part of therapy for him. He hoped it was something other people who've lost their mom could relate to, as they continue to carry their mom’s legacy with them throughout life.
Best Lyric: “Even when I'm on my own / I know I won't be alone / Tattooed on my heart are the words of your favourite song / I know you'll be looking down / Swear I'm gonna make you proud / I'll be living one life for the two of us.”
30 "Hey Mama" By Kanye West
Written for his mother, Donda West, Kanye West sings in "Hey Mama" about all he owes his mother for working so hard to raise him as a single mom in challenging situations, even when he wasn’t the easiest kid to live with. In 2017, on the 10-year anniversary of Donda’s passing away, the rapper's legions of fans declared it “Hey Mama Day” and streamed the song more than 700,000 times. Kanye’s 2021 album is also named after her, simply called
Best Lyric: “A livin' legend too, just look at what heaven do / Send us an angel, and I thank you.”
31 "Blue" By Beyonce
Written for her daughter Blue Ivy, Beyoncé uses "Blue" to express her eternal gratitude to be able to look upon
her daughter’s face. She sings about never feeling more alive than when her little girl is holding onto her, and feeling like she is on top of the world whenever they are together. It’s almost like the hard times disappear when your child is around — or at least get a lot easier to handle.
Best Lyric: “Won't you hold on to me / Hold on to me, Blue / Each day / I feel so blessed to be looking at you / 'Cause when you open your eyes / I feel alive.”
32 “My Mother & I” By Lucy Dacus
Indie singer-songwriter Lucy Dacus’ 2019 song “My Mother & I” is the ultimate Mother’s Day tribute, as it’s all about women and the month of May (it also doubles as an ode to Taurus season). But just because it’s about a specific month doesn’t mean it doesn’t hit home all year round. You’ll want this song on your playlist any time you think about your mom.
Best Lyric: “The stars have a lot to say / About babies born in the month of May / We are down to Earth / We see eye to eye / We dig our feet in / My mother and I.”
33 “Class of 2013” By Mitski
You can always count on Mitski to bring the emotionally heavy bangers. This song depicts the comfort you can always find in a mother, even in your most difficult times. Specifically, it tells the tale of Mitski returning home to live with her mom after graduating from college and not knowing what to do with her life. She promises she will support herself and find her footing eventually, but for now, she wants the familiarity of home for a little while.
Best Lyrics: “Mom, I'm tired / Can I sleep in your house tonight? / Mom, is it alright / If I stay for a year or two?”
34 “Mother” By Sugarland
This heartfelt song from Sugarland is all about the unconditional, open-ended kind of love mothers give to their children. The duo wanted to emphasize that even though the notion of motherly love is a similar feeling many will share, everyone experiences it in their own unique and special way. The memories you have with your mom (or your child) are different than anyone else’s, and they’ll always be yours.
Best Lyric: “She'll listen to you tell your story / Hold your fear and all your worries / Help you find the truth when they're all lying / Even when it's hopeless, she keeps trying.”
35 “Mama” By The Spice Girls
Looking for a fun, upbeat tribute to Mom? The Spice Girls’ 1997 song “Mama” is just the answer. As the girl group sings, “Back then I didn’t know why you were misunderstood, Mama / So now I see through your eyes all that you did was love.” Looking back, you know your mom was just trying her best to give you a great life.
Best Lyrics: “I didn't want to hear it then, but I'm not ashamed to say it now / Every little thing you said and did was right for me / I had a lot of time to think about / About the way I used to be / Never had a sense of my responsibility.”
36 “Darling” By Halsey
Written as a lullaby to her son, “Darling” is featured on Halsey’s 2021 album,
If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. It’s a warm acoustic ballad that will give any mom all of the feels, and it’s relatable for parents who have ever felt less than perfect (so… pretty much everyone). No matter what, you can count on your child to bring strength and purpose to your life, and you know you’d do anything for them.
Best Lyric: “Darling don't you cry / Head fast toward the light / Foolish men have tried / But only you have shown me how to love being alive.”
Whether they’re written by, for, or about moms, all of these songs have the ability to touch upon something largely universal: motherhood and motherly love. So the next time you’re deep in your feels about either being a mom or having a mom, queue up any of the songs above.
This article was originally published on
June 27, 2019