Playing kids' music in the car is a slippery slope to hell

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

One of the best pieces of advice I got when I had my first child was to not play kids' music in the car. 

I was warned that once I started doing it, I'd be stuck listening to the Wiggles' Toot Toot, Chugga Chugga over and over again.

"It's your haven, keep it that way," they advised. And I've been grateful ever since.

I ended up going on to have two more kids and the temptation to pop nursery rhymes on while driving was strong, but I resisted. 

My home had already been taken over by children's music, television, movies and toys - I didn't need it in my car as well.

It's not to say my kids didn't have a say or weren't allowed to listen to music they loved. They were more than encouraged. Just not in the car.

We regularly went to our local library's Baby Time and sang songs. We also held daily discos in our kitchen while I prepared dinner, complete with costumes and silly dancing. 

I know all the words, and the accompanying actions, to Justine Clarke's first kids' album I Like to Sing. For the record, my favourite song was, and still is, Dancing Face. I'm no kids' music slouch. 

But I firmly believe by keeping our car free from the ABCs it gave me some reprieve from the constant barrage of all things kids. It let me have a space to enjoy things I liked. And when you're a mum to young children, clinging on to something of your own is really important. It might be the only thing you have during that time in the trenches.

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I thanked my lucky stars I didn't have to endure repeated demands to listen to Hot Potato when all I wanted to do was cry from the relentlessness of motherhood.

Sobbing along to 80s power ballads were much more therapeutic.

Sometimes a good dose of the Beastie Boys, Guns N' Roses or Lily Allen was all I needed to help me survive those totally shitty days. Playing music that mattered to me was a lifeline, when I thought I'd all but disappeared. 

And I knew I could always take the kids for a drive if I wanted a break from Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer and the Teletubbies. Except for that one time my youngest child's headphones broke on our drive from Melbourne to Adelaide and we were stuck listening to back-to-back-to-back Peppa Pig episodes. I nearly got out and walked the eight hours home - it was excruciating. 

That nightmare aside, playing 'adult' music in the car has shown my kids that I too have interests and a sense of identity. It's also helped them understand that there are times in the day when the world doesn't revolve around them, all the while widening their musical repertoire. 

And now they're older we can all sing along to the songs.