I don’t have to run out the door every morning to be at work at a certain time. I don’t even have a Gymboree class that I need to get to. But mornings are still rough.
You feel me, Mama?
You see, even though my body wakes up early, my mind takes a while to catch up. That’s why I do my best to create a calm, yet energizing atmosphere when Bear and I are having “one of those mornings.” Tea helps. (I don’t like coffee.) Books and Daniel Tiger are lifesavers. But a nice soundtrack can help soften the edges on a rough morning and help me feel like I’m sipping my black currant tea on a Parisian patio rather than on my couch surrounded by board books.
That’s where Pandora radio comes in. (No, I’m not being paid to talk about them.)
I use Google Chromecast (another lifesaver!) to play a Pandora station through my TV, and Bear and I get to move and groove or just chill as we eat breakfast, play, and get ready for the day. Here are my favorite family-friendly Pandora stations.
Rockabye Baby – This station plays a mixture of Rockabye Baby! and Jammy Jamz albums, which—for the uninitiated—are regular “mom and dad” music played on the xylophone and other children’s musical toys. Whatever your artist of choice, there’s a Rockabye Baby version: Eminem, Bob Marley, The Beatles, Jon Bon Jovi…. This is good “pre-nap” listening, too!
Caspar Babypants – I don’t like kid music, but I’m a good mom, so I understand that sometimes, I need to give in my little girl’s need to shake what her momma gave her. Caspar Babypants is one artist that doesn’t drive me insane. This channel also plays Raffi, Jack Johnson, and even some “kid-friendly” Beatles classics (think Octopus’ Garden).
Charlie Hope – OMG have you heard The Train Song?!?!?!? Charlie Hope (and Elizabeth Mitchell, who you’ll also hear a lot of on this channel) manages to be fun and upbeat without being totally spaztastic (introverts, rejoice!). I don’t hear a lot of “grown up” music on this channel, but it’s so adult-friendly that I usually don’t care. And I can stomp my feet to the beat of the train, one-two! My toes are tapping right now.
Vitamin String Quartet – I listened to this station a lot leading up to Bear’s birthday party. We did a shabby chic tea party theme, and I put together a “Vitamin String Quartet” playlist to add a chic, yet modern feel to the day. Trust me, if you haven’t heard “Get Lucky” on string quartet, you haven’t really heard it. Plus, no lyrics, which means you can listen to any song you want without covering tiny ears.
Children’s Indie – Indie music is my go-to genre, but when I’m listening to AltNation in my car, I sometimes have to turn the channel to something more age-appropriate. But this station does all the censoring for me. This channel is a blend of 1) adult music you can play around your kids and 2) kid music played by your favorite bands (like that time Weezer showed up on Yo Gabba Gabba).
The Beatles – I’m a huge, huge, huge, fan (my parents raised me right), so I would be remiss if I didn’t introduce Bear to The Fab Four. There’s also a good mix of Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Rolling Stones, and other classic rock favorites. You might have to skip or thumbs down a few songs here and there, but overall, this is good, clean listening.
St. Patrick’s Day Radio – What can I say? Celtic jigs just put me in a good mood. Yeah, you’ll hear some Dropkick Murphys. You’ll also hear Gaelic Storm and The Young Dubliners. It’s just full of jolly energy that’ll make you wanna get up and dance. (Sometimes, when the stress of the morning has completely cracked my sanity, I even bust out my best Riverdance. Bear is never as impressed as she should be.)
Chinese Traditional – This started out with me wanting to introduce my baby to world music. But I realized something: it’s super calming! Stressful mornings straight-up require some zen breathing and a massage. But until I can get my daughter certified in massage therapy, the Chinese Traditional channel helps me find my center.
French Traditional – I visited Europe for the first time right out of college. My parents, my sister, and I took 3 weeks to tour France, Spain, and Austria and I just fell in love with Paris. There’s something so relaxed and romantic about eating baguettes and cheese under the Eiffel Tower while the Seine glides by…. But since I’m currently sitting in spilled milk with mashed banana in my hair, the French Traditional channel will have to do.
What does your family like to listen to? Let me know in the comments section! I’m always looking for more ideas.