The Academy of Country Music Awards recently brought the best stars in country music to the stage, and it might have you feeling a little more country than usual. The ACM Awards show may have opened up with a song about hunting and fishing, and some might associate the genre with guns, girls, and whiskey — but if you tune in, you'll realize there's a lot of country songs out there with deeper themes. Some even tackle the highs and lows of parenting. As proof, I've rounded up a few of the best country song lyrics about children and parenthood for the country-loving moms and dads out there.
If you're looking for songs that apply country's depth of emotion to raising children, you're in luck. Some of country's best singers have had children of their own, and they're definitely writing and singing about the experience. Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Martina McBride are all moms who have rocked baby bumps on the red carpet, and fathers Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, and Ronnie Dunn have actually brought their kids into their work, whether on music videos or joining in on their songs.
For those who don't actually record their own music, though, never fear: there's plenty of options out there to help you celebrate your child. Whether you're pregnant with your first child or waving your last off to college, these are for you.
"I Hope You Dance" By Lee Ann Womack
You know all those things you wish for your child? Lee Ann Womack wants the same things for her two daughters, which comes through in the lyrics for "I Hope You Dance":
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance. Never settle for the path of least resistance. ... When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider. Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.
"My Little Girl" By Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw has three daughters of his own with Faith Hill, so he's no stranger to raising children. Yes, your son or daughter will grow up and have an amazing life of their own, but, first and foremost, they'll always be your kid.
Chase your dreams, but always know the road that'll lead you home again. Go on, take on this whole world, but to me you know you'll always be my little girl.
"You Can't Lose Me" By Faith Hill
Speaking of Faith Hill... If this song was never played on Gilmore Girls, it should have been. Faith Hill's "You Can't Lose Me" is an ode to the love and support a mom has for her children. Enjoy the very '90s video, but take in some of the lyrics as well:
You did just fine, honey, that's okay, sometimes life's just that way. You're gonna lose the race from time to time, but you're always gonna find: you can't lose me, you bet your life I am here, and I will always be just a wish away. Wherever you go, no matter how far, my love is where you are. You won't be lost if you believe: you can't lose me.
"Godspeed" By The Dixie Chicks
The Dixie Chicks made the perfect lullaby with "Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)." It's a sweet, simple tune that sums up life with a wee one — from matchbox cars to pirate ships to rocket racers. If your son or daughter's all grown up, this one might make you miss the early years:
Dragon tales and the "water is wide." Pirate's sail and lost boys fly. Fish bite moonbeams every night. And I love you.
"Then They Do" By Trace Adkins
Kids can be a handful, especially in the early years, but you'll miss it later. Trace Adkins says it best in "Then They Do":
Then they're fightin' in the backseat, and I'm playing referee. Now someone's gotta go, the moment that we leave. And everybody's late... I swear that I can't wait till they grow up. Then they do, and that's how it is. It's just quiet in the mornin', can't believe how much you miss all they do and all they did.
"In My Daughter's Eyes" By Martina McBride
While children will worship their parents no matter what when they're young, Martina McBride sings about how her daughter's admiration pushes her to be a better person.
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.
Country's not all guns and beer, folks — the genre's got plenty to offer on growing up, letting your child run free, and the magic of childhood. Whether you're feeling overwhelmed, grateful, or just particularly parental, there's a country ballad out there for every moment of parenthood.