“Mom Got Back” by Dawn Weber
This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Mom.”
I have been strongly encouraged not to sing. Ever. And I’m not sure why. I’m a great singer.
Who do I sound like, you ask? Carrie Underwood? Katy Perry? Lady Gaga?
Nope. Someone more famous, more legendary than any of those ladies. My voice has been compared to that of the incomparable, the irrepressible, the unforgettable . . . Neil Young.
I know, I know—all of you are turning green with musical envy. And I understand, really I do. Why sing like a soft, pretty woman when you can croon like a caterwauling hillbilly?
Most folks don’t say anything when I sing, no doubt struck speechless by my incredible vocal skills. My daughter is the only one who says she doesn’t want to hear me. And I’m not sure why. When she was younger, I bought her a karaoke machine, and we sat on her bedroom floor, taking turns belting out songs by Sheryl Crow. Eventually, I bought her another microphone for the machine, and we sang songs together.
“You’re a really good singer, Mommy,” she said. Such a sweet little Neil Young fan.
Now a teenager, my daughter rolls her eyes and inserts earbuds at my slightest hum. And I have been instructed to NEVER sing in front of her friends.
Recently, I found myself driving my girl and her crew in our Honda SUV. I kept my mouth shut, trying not to do or say anything embarrassing, such as breathing.
She plugged her phone into the car stereo and began playing music from people with first names like “Lil” and last names like “Thug.”
I willed myself deaf.
Although she’s not allowed to listen to music with lots of bad words, I still hear shreds of phrases that gray my hair. Words that rhyme with “sick” and “duck.” Words she shouldn’t understand yet. Or ever.
It’s a losing battle, because as she always says, “Mom, I ride the school bus. I know things.”
Kill me now.
I certainly don’t want to learn the lyrics to any of her music, and I’m just able to grasp words here and there. After a few minutes of listening to Lil Thug, I felt the need to shower, go to confession, maybe get a prescription for antibiotics.
But in the interest of peace, I remained quiet and willed my brain to its happy place. My inner jukebox played 70s soft rock, something long ago made into Muzak, something smacking of daisies and white gauzy dresses and orange sunsets.
What? You’ve never been mellow?
Right in the middle of my silent Olivia Newton-John reverie, I almost didn’t notice that Lil Thug abruptly stopped singing, and my girl queued up something different. Something kind of . . . awesome.
“I like big butts . . .”
My hips started wiggling, my head began bobbing. My daughter was playing Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot, circa 1992, and she was enjoying it. From the corner of my eye, I saw her smile, saw her head-bob which was so much like mine.
But I dared not comment, and I knew I had better not sing. My role was the Silent Chauffeur. It was hard to contain myself, but I knew her rules. Thus, I had to be content with covert wiggle-dancing in my seat.
I looked in my rearview mirror at the girls in the backseat. They were loving the 20-plus-year-old song, all three of them bobbing, wiggling, singing. My daughter cranked the volume to speaker-blowing levels, and I bit my tongue as our Honda thumped and bounced down the road like a pimped-out Detroit Caddy.
And then, all of a sudden, it happened. The unthinkable. The unbelievable.
“Sing it, Mom! C’mon! You know every word!” said my daughter, excitement in her voice.
Glancing over to the passenger seat, I wondered: Who was this child? Am I in the right car? Am I dreaming? Am I high?
I couldn’t quite believe my luck. Not only was I unbanned from singing, I was encouraged to sing. That hadn’t happened in years. And she was right. Bad-ass gangsta that I am, I knew every word to the song.
As I began rapping, it struck me that the song had some teachable moments. “She gotta pack much back!” It was clear that Mr. Mix-A-Lot appreciated a, um, round female form. I hoped the girls were catching this. Apparently sexy women do eat food.
Though obviously chock-full of sage wisdom, Mr. Mix is no saint, as evidenced by some of the song’s words. And I wasn’t sure whether to sing one particular line, a sentence with questionable imagery. You know, the one where he compares a part of his anatomy to that of an anaconda. Then I remembered: They listen to Lil Thug. They ride the school bus. They know things. Kill me now.
So I belted out the line, loud and proud, followed by the second line, where the rapper wanted buns for his anaconda.
Laughter, smiles and giggles erupted. From girls. From teenagers. From my daughter. Hell hath surely frozen over in our Honda.
Clearly, I had made the right decision, throwing down that line. Maybe not a teachable moment, but a moment, nonetheless.
Not only that, but, for me, it was a lesson learned. As a mom of a teenage girl, I’ll take that, any day.
Thank you, Sir Mix-A-Lot.
Dawn Weber’s essays have been published in several humor anthologies. She won a National Society of Newspaper Columnists humor award for her newspaper column. She’s finishing her first book of essays and resides in Ohio with her family and an ever-changing series of ill-mannered pets. Visit Dawn at lightenupweber.blogspot.com.
Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being a Mom.” The book is filled with 64 hilarious stories by moms raising their families. Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (
To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.