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The essence of my father’s life in 10 country songs

Music is different when you’re a father.

Sad and decadent country songs begin to appear lullabies. Drinking Anthem begins to sound like the soundtrack to a bygone era that will never come back.

The stories behind the lyrics begin to take on new meanings in the midst of the crying and screaming all around you.

Dad’s life is great, don’t get me wrong. But when you’re a dad, you need country music more than ever to help keep your sanity.

Here are ten choices that will walk your side as you grow into an epic dad you never thought you’d be mature enough.

There Goes My Life – Kenny Chesney

“There goes my life
There goes my future, everything
May he accept it all, goodbye
There goes my life…”

Don’t tell your kids, but perhaps the chorus in Kenny Chesney’s solo was your initial reaction to becoming a father. Priorities, activities, and perhaps even your life path change as children enter the scene.

In the music video for this, Baby turns into Amber HeardSo, you never really know where the path to parenthood might lead you one day. Thoughts and prayers oh boy

Where the green grass grows – Tim McGraw

At a certain point, you settle into the reality of parenthood. And the first thing you have to start putting food on the table for all those extra mouths.

Here Tim paints an all-too-familiar picture of the squeaky working man. You may have impossible dreams of raising your children on a quiet farm. But you bet that green lawn also grows in your meticulously maintained front yard.

Dad’s life isn’t too bad after a few beers mowing the lawn, so you can probably get used to this.

Every light in the house is on – Adkins tracking

When you are a father, you develop an uncanny ability to sense the waste of electricity.

While Trace Adkins’ demeanor would never fly in my house, the chorus rings with the perfect kind of exaggeration to scream at your kids:

Every light in the house is lit
The backyard is as bright as the crack of dawn
Front walk is like runway lights
It’s kind of like noon in the dead of night.”

Turn off the damn lights when you leave the room…

Things Went to Pieces – George Jones

Oh great, now the house is falling apart. And who can fix a leaking faucet, re-hang the fallen picture, and replace the light bulb in the hallway?

Dad of course, as if he had nothing better to do! Someone bring me a light bulb-changing beer, right?

“The Housewife’s Prayer” – The Pistol

“I was thinking of
I set my house on fire…”

I’m losing it here. This song may be about housewives, but men are taking on more and more household and childcare responsibilities these days.

This song is pretty real, so I’m just flushing those sticks down the toilet, just in case…

Here’s a Quarter (Call someone who cares) – Travis Treat

Now here’s an anthem I can really miss. These kids keep ordering snacks and more from Blippi, “Where’s My iPad” and…. I cant take that anymore.

“Here’s a quarter, son….” If it made any sense for this kid whose cell phone bill I’m paying….

When You Say Nothing At All – Keith Whiteley

It’s too noisy in this house right now… If only those kids had shut the gates of hell for me to think…

Parents know that asking for calm from a screaming child only calls for screaming louder than him and raises his blood pressure for you. Maybe if you can channel Keith Whitley, you’ll finally get some peace of mind. Kids, “The best thing you say is when you say nothing at all.”

Unlikely, but it is worth a try.

I think I’ll stay here and drink – Merle Haggard

Speaking of shots, you don’t go to bars anymore, Dad. She pours any shots you get and slams after the kids are in bed.

In case anyone asks if you’re free for a night on the town, Merle tells you how to answer: “I guess I’ll just stay here and drink.”

They Might Be Stoned – Chris Stapleton

While you’re at it, if it’s legal in your state, why not? The kids are frustrated, the wife is here to deal with emergencies (thanks, dear), and the whiskey is gone thanks to all those shots she listened to Merle.

Engine (For Daddy Gene) – Alan Jackson

Now that you’re drunk and loud, it’s time to pull your heart strings. It’s hard being a father. But every year, she builds a brand new memory just like the one AJ describes in his classic song for his dad.

By the way, is this the goat for dad songs? The 20-year-old brother who was crying next to me on The Alan Jackson Show in 2015 certainly thought so.

Now excuse me while I flip through pictures of my kids and cry in my Busch Light night cap.