52 Songs to Play for Mom on Mother's Day That'll Make You the Favorite Child
Mother's Day is approaching soon, but there isn't a day your mom stops being your mother. Whether it's reminding on Facebook of the birthdays of distant relatives or working long hours to put food on the table, a mother's work is never done. Candy, cards, and that $60 Bath and Body Works gift certificate are cute, but you'll be your mother's favorite child if you share a playlist of the 52 best songs about moms.
Your mother will get a complete fix of emotional ballads about a child's undying love for their mother on this playlist and songs that empathize with the unseen battles mothers have to conquer to give their children a better life simply. Surviving divorce, poverty, and domestic abuse aren't the sweetest topics, but chances are your mother has overcome more than you'll ever know. These songs will be beautiful reminders that she's not alone in any of her struggles. And you can't go wrong with a playlist full of songs from Beyonce (twice), Adele, Reba McEntire, and the Spice Girls.
Turn on a playlist with these 52 songs about moms, and have a tissue paper box nearby because the tears of joy won't take long to flow.
“Hey Mama” by Kanye West
If you watched the three-part Netflix documentary Jeen-Yuhs, you’d see there would be no Kanye West, the man or the artist, without the unconditional love of his mother, the late Donda West. This classic hip-hop ballad features stories of a 7-year-old West telling his mother, “I'ma love you 'til you don't hurt no more,” and shows how a mother’s love can inspire an egomaniac to make someone else the center of his world.
“Ring Off” by Beyonce
Being a mother sometimes means choosing your happiness over a failing marriage, and Beyonce celebrates her mother, Tina Knowles, for having the strength to do so on “Ring Off.” Beyonce showers her mother with affirmations (“You’re so sexy!”) that’ll make you call your mom and remind her of her greatness.
“Dear Mama” by Tupac
Tupac’s tender ode to his mother, Afeni Shakur, in the song “Dear Mama” is arguably the greatest hip-hop song dedicated to a mother ever. The frank honesty of seeing his mother’s beauty through her addiction and how she made something out of nothing to provide for her son exemplifies the complex difficulties of motherhood in a way that still resonates decades after its release.
"Mom" by Earth, Wind & Fire
Sounding like angelic spirits of Mother's Day past, the legendary funk band devotes their signature layered orchestration to extolling their mothers' influence on them on an elemental level. From introducing them to thoughts of love to the unconditional love their mothers showed them, Earth, Wind & Fire crafted the quintessential song for the child that wants to make their mother feel like the goddess she is in their life.
"Mama & Me" by Nellie McKay
Irreverent singer-songwriter Nellie McKay employs all her talents in singing, rapping, and piano to paint a somber yet earnest picture on “Mama & Me” of the sacrifices her mother made that made her trust her opinion over anyone else's.
"A Song for Mama" by Boyz II Men
Warning: Boyz II Men songs are made with harmonies proven to rip tears from your eyes. In “A Song For Mama,” Boyz II Men creates a timeless ballad dedicated to reminding their mothers how no one will ever replace them because no one can ever replace the love and dedication of a mother who’s been there for you from the start.
“Superwoman” by Alicia Keys
Being a mom is a near-superhuman feat, and Alicia Keys reminds herself and other mothers about the strength they possess to persevere on “Superwoman.”
"Ode to My Mother" by Kat Pearson
For so many, Mother's Day is a sad reminder for children who lost the women who gave them life. Kat Pearson conveys the importance of her late mother's love by describing how she "felt the Earth would open up and swallow me whole" after losing her. A mother's love is everlasting, and this song is a perfect way to remind your mother that you understand that immutable fact of life.
“Dance” by Nas
Nas’ mother died of cancer in his arms in 2002, and he not only dedicated his album God’s Son to his late mother, but he also yearned for one more dance with his mother on the tearful “Dance.” But, unfortunately, Nas is stuck between his mother's joy of finally basking in heaven and the regret of not doing more while she was alive that should make you call your mom if you can and make the most of your time with them while they’re alive.
“The Best Day” by Taylor Swift
Regardless of her age, Swift’s best days were with her mother, and she let her know on the warm and loving ode “The Best Day” by taking us through different ages of her life when her mom was there to comfort and reassure her. The song plays like an endearing audio scrapbook showing her mother’s love is indelible in her memories and heart.
“To Zion” by Lauryn Hill
In 1998, Lauryn Hill spoke to her one-year-old son Zion through the song “To Zion” about how she chose to give birth to him and ignored people’s advice to choose her career over motherhood. She sings with the warrior-like defiance of a mother doing all she can to protect her child while also softly reminding him of how he’s still a blessing in a way only a mother could.
"Mother" by UMI
R&B songstress Umi may be singing to Mother Earth in this beautiful dedication to all that it provides us, but the idea of mothers getting recognition for all they provide when it's not always readily apparent can apply to the trees that help us breathe as much as it can to the mothers who are the reason we can appreciate those breaths.
“My Little Love” by Adele
Adele is the current queen of treating listeners’ heartstrings like puppet strings, making us feel whatever the song calls for, and “My Little Love” is the type of honest speech from a mother to a son that could make the coldest heart melt. She apologizes to her son Angelo for putting him in the middle of a divorce for more than six minutes but reassures him he’s still the center of her happiness.
“Sing to Me” by Jhene Aiko
Jhene Aiko and her daughter Namiko Love do precisely as the song title suggests and sing to each other about their unbreakable bond and undying love.
"Blue" by Beyonce
I know Beyonce already has an entry on this list, but Beyonce’s first tribute to her first child is too historical to leave off and too good of a representation of the joy motherhood brings many women not to include.
"Mama Hold My Hand" by Aloe Blacc
Over the course of four heartfelt verses, Aloe Blacc pours his soul over soft piano chimes to trace the love story of a son and his mother from the days when he needed her help to cross the streets to the days when he made a family for himself to when his mother needed his help to get through life. It's a beautiful reminder that no matter how old you get, you are always your mother's child.
“Julia” by The Beatles
Written by John Lennon in dedication to his late mother Julia, he sings a song of love for the woman whom he had a complicated yet loving relationship with over the years.
“Stay at Home Mother” by Sheryl Crow
A mother’s work is never done, and Crow’s “Stay at Home Mother” is a touching tribute to the single moms who have to sacrifice time with their children to work and provide a life for them.
“Mother” by Ashanti
Ashanti remembers how her mother assuaged her fears and instilled strength in her growing up, and her beautiful song “Mother” is her way of making sure her mother knows.
"I’ll Be There" by Mac Miller
Before the late Mac Miller had a generation of kids cheering his name, he had a mother who gave him the confidence to pursue his dreams and was there when a delivery truck almost ran him over while riding his bike in the street. The purity in Mac's voice and the sincerity in his words pierce your heart and will make you call your mother immediately.
“Mothers Pride” by George Michael
Sometimes, a mother's strongest thing is letting their son grow to be the man they’re meant to be, and George Michael’s “Mother’s Pride” is a heartfelt example. In four minutes, the legendary singer sings about a mother watching her son grow into the soldier his father once was and supporting him no matter what.
“I’ll Always Love My Mama” by The Intruders
Soul group The Intruders make a funky party out of making it known their favorite girl will always be their mama on their hit 1973 song.
“I Love My Momma” by Snoop Dogg
There are only a few things Snoop Dogg loves more than cannabis, and by the sounds of his track “I Love My Momma,” his mother is at the top of the list. For three minutes of G-Funk goodness, he lists all the ways his mother has helped him, from diapers to mansions, so there is no confusion about why he loves the person he considers “my homie, my daddy, and my best friend.”
"Mother Like Mine" by The Band Perry
Over soft rock guitars and drums, Kimberly Perry gives her mother her flowers as "the sky that holds the clouds" and the one who would prevent all wars by raising us all as friends. The inability to quantify levels of love leads to exaggerations, and The Band Perry wants their mothers to know the world would be better if everyone had a mother like theirs.
“I Called Mama” by Tim McGraw
When in doubt, call your mother. On Tim McGraw’s Here On Earth track, the country star gets terrible news about a dear friend of his, and it inspires him to contact his mother and remind him of what’s most important in life: his mama.
“You Never Gave Up” On Me by Reba McEntire
Reba McEntire sounds reinvigorated and grateful in “You Never Gave Up On Me,” as she gives her mother her rightful flowers for being her biggest cheerleader when others gave her nothing but doubt. If anyone’s going to have your back, it’s your mom.
“Turn to You” by Justin Bieber
At 18 years old, Justin Bieber delivered one of the best Mother’s Day dedications of the 2010s when he sang about his appreciation for the strength his mother exhibited while raising him and his endearing pledge that his love for her will be there when she’s not at her best.
"Mother" by Kacey Musgraves
If you ever feel a pang of guilt for not calling or seeing your mother, Kacey Musgraves crafted a sonic balm for those pains with her own tales of missing her mother as time slips away.
“The Perfect Fan” by Backstreet Boys
The Backstreet Boys have tens of millions of fans, but they make it abundantly clear in “The Perfect Fan” that their mothers, the women who showed them how to love and grow, are unmatched.
"Mom" by Meghan Trainor and Kelli Trainor
On this Mother’s Day dedication to her mom, Meghan claims nobody’s mom is like hers and brought her mom in on the love fest by featuring a sweet phone conversation between them, professing their love for each other.
“Mama” by Spice Girls
We all had our rebellious phase as kids where our moms just didn’t understand us. In “Mama,” the Spice Girls apologize to their moms for not recognizing their mom’s love when they were young but being blessed to have it as they’ve grown.
"Happy Mother’s Day" by Gillian Welch
Gillian Welch proves no amount of distance can keep you from telling your mother "Happy Mother's Day" on their special day. A simple and wholesome Mother's Day song that gets to the point and keeps the message directly to the person it's meant for: her mother.
“Oh Mother” by Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera narrates her mother’s story of dealing with her emotionally abusive father while celebrating her mother’s strength in an empathetic way only a child who witnessed it all could. “Oh, Mother” is one of Aguilera’s best songs of her career and a great lesson in how kids can reaffirm their mothers of their worth.
“Mother's Intuition" by Carly Simon
If you ever wondered why your mother was always right when it matters, Carly Simon’s beautiful ode to a mother’s intuition lays it all out. Simon details how a mother’s intuition can lead her to the answers to your secrets in a caring way and not in a nosy way because moms are never nosey. Right?
"Proud" by 2 Chainz ft./ YG and Offset
A son will do anything to make his mother proud, and 2 Chainz, YG, and Migos’s Offset explain how everything they’ve done from the trap house to the stage has all been to have their mothers proud of them. The three rappers are willing to go to extreme lengths for the mothers and wait for it to be abundantly clear: “My momma ain’t raise no ho.”
"A Letter To My Mama" by Vince Gill
Country star Vince Gill pours his heart out in a letter to his mother apologizing for the selfishness of his youth that pushed his mother away in a sorrowful letter he placed over tender guitar strings. It's never too late to say you're sorry to your mother, and sometimes a quick phone call they can't revisit doesn't cut it the way a letter they can hold dear to their heart forever can.
“Wish U Were Here” by Jamie Foxx
Since he was seven months old, Estelle Marie Talley was Foxx’s adoptive mother and passed away in 2004, and Foxx spoke to her through songs on “Wish U Were Here.” He still hears his mother’s advice amidst the cacophony of praise and requests that come with fame and knows his mother is the first person he’s looking for when he finally reaches heaven.
"A Mother’s Love" by Aretha Franklin
Sunsets and rainbows are astounding feats of nature. Still, they paled in comparison to a mother’s love in Aretha Franklin’s angelic tribute to the genuinely unprecedented majesty of a mother loving a child.
“Two of Us” by Louis Tomilson
One Direction member Louis Tomilson was typically private about his mother’s December 2016 death until he penned a heartfelt song about his undying love for his mother. From wishing it was him who died instead of her to seeing his mother in every mirror he sees, the depth of Tomilson’s grief only shows how much his love for his mother is core to his being.
"Mother’s Day" by Kellie Pickler
Mother's Day is a hard day for Kellie Pickler who was estranged from her mother when she sang about yearning to have a relationship with her that would warrant buying her a card and spending quality time together. Mother's Day is a reminder to many of the fractured relationships they have with their mother, but as Kellie's song proves, estrangement doesn't always mean you stop hanging on to the hope of spending Mother's Day together.
“Letter 2 My Momma” by 21 Savage
When you’re older, you realize that your mother's seemingly small gestures for your happiness hugely impacted your life like 21 Savage does in “letter 2 my momma.” Everyone has their way of showing their dedication to their mother, and a gangster rapper like 21 Savage shows his love by buying her luxury cars and a house fully paid for and is willing to commit felonies if it means protecting his mama.
“All That I Got is You” by Ghostface Killah featuring Mary J Blige
“All That I Got Is You” is unquestionably one of the greatest songs in the illustrious discography of Wu-Tang Clan's founding member Ghostface Killah. With Mary J Blige comforting vocal stylings, Ghostface thanks his mother for doing the best she could with what she had and ensuring her kids had loved when they didn’t have much else.
“My Baby” by Britney Spears
Britney basks in the revelatory joy of being a mother by longingly extolling every one of her baby’s breaths, fingers, and smiles as helping her get through life. Sometimes mothers learn who they are from the children they birth, and “My Baby” is a sentimental example of that experience.
"Like My Mother Does" by Lauren Alaina
If you see your mother in your smile or your mannerisms, then Lauren Alaina's ode to those maternal influences is the perfect song to play for your mother to thank her for shaping you into the person you are today.
“Somebody’s Hero” by Jamie O’Neal
Superheroes don’t exist unless you’re talking about mothers. In “Somebody’s Hero,” Australian country singer Jamie O’Neal clarifies that even if your mom never pulled someone from a burning building or walked on the moon, she kissed away the pain of your skinned knees and made sure to remember to give you your favorite cereal. And that’s pretty heroic if you ask her.
“Oh Mother of Mine” by The Temptations
“Oh Mother of Mine” was The Temptations’ debut single on Motown Records. They started their 1960s run with the legendary label by begging for their mother’s advice after disregarding it in a futile quest for love. Moral of the story: Always listen to mama.
"I Got You" by Ciara
It’s hard to listen to Ciara’s dedication to her first child, Future, without the waterworks forming. After putting her spin on the classic “Hush, Little Baby” lullaby, Ciara goes full power ballad to pledge lifelong protection (including taking a bullet) for her young son.
"I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack
From the perspective of a mother, Lee Ann Womack pens a hopeful message to children expressing the lessons she hopes they take with them to live their best lives. She hopes they stay connected to their inner child, never settle for the path of least resistance, and, above all else, she hopes they enjoy life enough to dance in appreciation of being alive and well.
"Tell Mama" by Etta James
Etta James sounds like a mother on a mission in her song “Tell Mama,” where she vehemently offers a helping hand and ear to her child who embarrassingly lost a girlfriend.
"Mama Knew Love" by Anthony Hamilton
Anthony Hamilton has one of those soulful voices that can imbue anything he sings with an extra layer of emotional weight, and he lays it on thick to praise his mother for her sacrifices. Lines like “Mama knew love like the back roads” demonstrate a mother’s uncanny way of finding love in any situation, making this song a must-listen for anyone who loves their mother.
“Mama Liked the Roses” by Elvis Presley
The King of Rock N Roll audibly fights through while remembering his late mother Gladys, who died 12 years before he recorded the song in 1970. In the song, Presley remains a devoted son well after his mother's death, placing those roses she always loved on her grave every Mother’s Day. This is truly one of the sweetest songs in Presley’s illustrious catalog.
“In My Daughter’s Eyes” by Martina McBride
Over serene strings and soft piano chimes, Martina McBride takes time on “In My Daughter’s Eyes” to wax poetic about being a mother and the clarity, strength, and salvation she feels by simply looking in her daughter’s eyes.
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