Advertise here with Carbon Ads

This site is made possible by member support. ❤️

Big thanks to Arcustech for hosting the site and offering amazing tech support.

When you buy through links on, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thanks for supporting the site! home of fine hypertext products since 1998.

🍔  💀  📸  😭  🕳️  🤠  🎬  🥔

One Strange Side Effect of Parenting

The other day while singing to my daughter, I realized that I can, in fact, sing better than I used to. I think the sheer amount of “Wheels on the Bus” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” did the trick: I enjoy it more now and feel like I’m hitting more of the right notes. I’m still not “good,” but I’m not bad, and I’m less embarrassed to be caught singing in front of other people. It reminds me of the Terry Gross detail that she took voice lessons not to become a better singer but simply so she could sing along more pleasurably to music she loved.

Has anyone else been singing anything fun lately? For their kids, or in any other situation? I’ve been singing a lot of Carrie Anne, by The Hollies.

Discussion  14 comments

Mike D.

I've said this exact thing to my wife a few times since our 2 year old was born. Wouldn't be caught dead singing before. Now? I'm somewhere above terrible and below bad. A huge improvement.

Jason KottkeMOD

I never felt like I got good at singing or wanted to do more of it, but I do remember feeling really self-conscious when I started reading aloud to my son. It just felt so unnatural.

But I got over that pretty quickly and really grew to love reading to my kids. And I got pretty good at it too — I could do Seuss at pace without messing up the words. I really miss it. I think for Father's Day this year, I'm gonna make them sit down next to me on the sofa while I read Cars and Trucks and Things That Go or maybe Giant Jam Sandwich to them.

Mike D.

I've started recording myself reading to my daughter. Things like "Baby Beluga." I have no idea what I'll plan to do with them, but thought maybe someday it would be fun to share with her years from now.

Leanne Yanabu

Last night I went rollerskating at the local rink with my friends. The music was blasting and I sang along as loud as I could because I knew no one could hear me. Skating and singing simultaneously was something I didn't know I needed.

Reply in this thread


I started taking weekly voice lessons after singing in choirs for years. I wanted to have a better chance at getting solos and to get over my stage fright. It has been so immensely satisfying to work really hard at something as an adult with no plans to make money from it or do anything but get personal enjoyment and satisfaction out of it. Depending on your vocal range, my teacher actually said you get better *with age*. She was speaking specifically to alto voices, but I think sometimes you age into your voice and it just gets richer as time goes on.

Mac Brown

I'd even go so far as to say that I can spontaneously make up songs on the spot and riff around! It is a great improvement - all due to a couple of kids. Thanks for bringing this up - I've had it in the back of my mind for a long time but haven't ever expressed it.

Russell Briggs

My boy and I have been singing together since his Wheels on the Bus era. He's nine now and still loves to sing. I let him pick the songs he wants to learn lyrics to and we sing them over and my voice has gotten infinitely better. And he's in a couple choirs now, so I guess this all had a salutary effect.

He's really into David Bowie at the moment and knows all the lyrics to Space Oddity and Life on Mars. His friends think he's nuts because not a single person in his class has any idea who David Bowie is...

Lisa S.

Oh, thankfully my kid is in a school where lots of people know Bowie! (She's a bit older, though, and in an arts magnet school.)

But the best part is that she also has friends who are into Weird Al, whom she has loved since she was little. She's at the age now where she really gets it, and it's still fun connecting with her over it. He really transcends generations...much like Bowie, though I know it's a weird comparison. :)

Marc B. Edited

My son adores Weird Al as well and while he knows a lot of the lyrics by heart, instead of singing them he will play-act them all out mime-style. :)

Reply in this thread

Marc B.

When I was younger, I listened to a lot of Depeche Mode but haven't listened to them in a long time. On a road trip by myself recently, I decided to see if I could recall the lyrics to one of their albums so I put it on and sang loudly along while I drove up the winding coast. I actually remembered more than I thought! It felt amazing - perfect therapy!

Leslie A Leonard

Ohmygoodness, yes! I used to be soooo self-conscious about singing, now I sing constantly, with abandon, and make up random songs about everything!

Colter Mccorkindale

Most-requested songs for me to sing to my kids:
My Girl - The Temptations
(Sitting on) The Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding
Yellow Submarine - The Beatles
The Night Before - The Beatles
Penny Lane - The Beatles
Plus a song my grandmother wrote called "Where Did You Come From, Baby Dear?"


I studied operatic vocal performance, so I never felt self-conscious about my voice as a mother. However, I found a new joy in singing loudly and off-key while dancing badly around the kitchen, singing in a hoarse whisper at 2 am when E woke up, and rewriting Joni Mitchell songs (blasphemy!) to fit the moment. I had spent my entire adolescent and young adult life focused on vocal perfection. As a mother, I cut loose— and I even switched musical genres to reflect this shift. While parenting often can come with an unwelcome share of shame, it can also liberate us of so much of our self-consciousness and sense of propriety.

PS One of the funniest and sweetest things I ever overheard my daughter say about me was, "My mom is a famous singer, but she is the worst at cooking rice." Ahem, I'm not famous anywhere beyond the bar I used to sing at every week, but yeah, I was very bad at cooking rice until I got an instant pot.

Niklas B

Cohen, Anna ternheim, but mostly cohen.. lots of cohen. Every evening for the kids for a long time :)

Hello! In order to leave a comment, you need to be a current member. If you'd like to sign up for a membership to support the site and join the conversation, you can explore your options here.

Existing members can sign in here. If you're a former member, you can renew your membership.

Note: If you are a member and tried to log in, it didn't work, and now you're stuck in a neverending login loop of death, try disabling any ad blockers or extensions that you have installed on your browser...sometimes they can interfere with the Memberful links. Still having trouble? Email me!