The Song That Transformed My Parenting

I have fond childhood memories of watching midday reruns of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I recall sitting on gold shag carpet in front of the big tube TV which was encased in dark wood, eagerly anticipating where Mister Rogers would go that day. I always loved when it was to the crayon factory.

From time to time I try to recreate that piece of my childhood for my own children. I go online and pull up old Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood episodes and play them for my kids. They are as captivated by them as I was. 

As I watch along with them as an adult, I see the layers of the show that I didn’t notice before. Fred Rogers was incredibly intentional with everything he did. When I watch the show now, it’s like seeing all the episodes for the first time.

During one particular episode we were watching together, Mister Rogers fed the fish and sang them a simple, 10-word song. This song stuck with me, and later that day when I was trying to soothe my infant daughter, I started singing the song to her. “I like to take care of you, yes I do, yes I do. I like to take care of you, yes I do, yes I do.” I can’t remember the effect it had on her, but I remember the effect it had on me. It transformed my heart. No longer was I trying to get this child to stop crying because for goodness sakes I have 100 other things I’m supposed to be doing, but I stared lovingly in her eyes and reassured her that I liked to take care of her. 

The Mr. Rogers Song That Transformed My Parenting | Twin Cities Moms Blog

It’s so simple, yet so profound. I began to carry this song with me to the middle of the night wake-ups. I sang it while changing diapers. I sang it while sopping up spit-up. I even sang it during the cleanup from the dreaded diaper blowouts.

Now, let me be completely honest – during diaper blowout situations, I often started out singing it sarcastically, but by the time I had sung it through a few times and the mess was getting better, I did mean it. If I’m being honest about that, I also need to share that a few times I started the song off by singing it through clenched teeth with lots of eye rolls. But again, by the end, I did sincerely mean it. 

I love using this song in the context of parenting because there are lessons for both my kids and me. For me, it puts my focus where it should be – on caring for my children. It gently reminds me that I am the adult in the room. It is MY job to take care of my kids. It also reassures my children that I like to take care of them. I don’t want them to feel like they’re a burden; I always want them to know they are a blessing to me. 

When your next trial comes, try singing this song out loud. There’s something soothing and reassuring in it. It calms me and transforms my heart each time I sing it. I hope it ends up being a powerful tool for you too!

Amber Harder
Amber has lived in Minnesota her whole life, with a 4-year stint in Iowa for college (Go Norse!). She and her husband met while both trying to kayak for the first time. The kayaking didn’t go well, but their relationship did! They’ve been married for over 10 years and have four incredible children. Amber describes herself as a recovering perfectionist, unashamed introvert, and extremely empathetic. Her favorite moments are those rare ones during the day when time stands still and she can see with fresh eyes the amazing little people who call her mom.

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