Usually, when someone writes a song about their mom, it’s showing their love and gratitude. That’s also what most listeners expect since we’re used to moms being the force for good in our lives.
However, moms are people too, and people can be terrible.
Compiling this list of songs about bad mothers was no easy feat. It became emotionally exhausting. Trigger alert for the story that’s yet to come and for the rest of this piece as well.
I remember the time a friend started coming to school with fresh cigarette burn marks. After a while, they confided in us and told us where they really came from.
Fast forward a few months, and we were all over at their place for a birthday party. Things are going well, so one idiot from our group yells, “What were you talking about? Your mom is actually nice!”
We didn’t see our friend in school for the following two weeks. When they finally came back, they never talked to anyone ever again. The second they turned 18, they packed and left. I don’t know where they are now, but I hope they could heal.
And I hope that’s not the reason you’re here today. I hope it’s simple curiosity or because you need some lyrics to post after your mom took away your Nintendo switch or something.
8 Most Popular Songs About Bad Mothers
1. Kelly Clarkson – Because of You.
Kelly Clarkson is well known for singing about growing up in a broken home. Though many people think Because of You is yet another song about her father, it’s actually about her mother.
It’s difficult to say exactly how it started, but we see young Kelly exposed to many unhealthy emotions and behaviors. In the bridge, we get a clear picture of who this woman is with the line “You only saw your pain.”
Kelly’s mom not only allowed her to grow up in that environment but also used her as an emotional crutch. She piled enough emotional baggage on her that she would have to carry for life. This makes her a bad mother.
2. The Rolling Stones – Mother’s Little Helper.
A joyful tune that covers everything but a joyful little topic.
This song was released in 1966, and it seems that little has changed since then. Still, mothers prefer to blame their children and overall lot in life and use them as an excuse to medicate.
The yellow pill they are singing about is called Miltown. It used to be prescribed for a long list of common issues, from stress to anxiety. It mostly had a tranquilizing effect.
It’s not as bad as heroin but not as good as a parent wanting to be in a child’s life.
3. Metallica – Dyers Eve.
James Hatfield wrote this song not only in honor of his Christian Scientist mother but the entire religion in general.
For those lucky enough not to know, Christian Scientists choose prayer over medicine every single time. Parents front his community regularly end up in court after their children die from easily treatable illnesses.
James’ mother herself died after refusing to get treatment for breast cancer.
4. Pink Floyd – Mother.
All songs from the Wall album are connected and tell a story of a character named Pink. He has an “overprotective” mother, and he’s building a wall.
Here, the mother seems to be there for narrative purposes. Reportedly, none of the band members had terrible relationships with their mothers.
However, anyone with an overprotective mother who lost the plot will see themselves as Pink in this song.
5. Guttermouth – Lipstick.
Everyone sucks here. Both the mother and the narrator are abusive towards each other, and we don’t know how it started.
We probably do. This level of hatred and abuse doesn’t come from a well-adjusted, happy, and loving household.
This is the only song on this list where I can’t confirm if this is about an actual mother or if it is just lots of angst and profanity put together for shock value. In any case, I hope no one can relate.
6. Richard Thompson – Mother Knows Best.
Can we have an amen for controlling mothers that refuse to cut off the apron strings? First saying that you don’t know how to do anything right so they will take care of it, just to follow up with a barrage of insults because you don’t know how to do this thing they just did for you.
There is a whole host of psychological issues at play, but mainly narcissism. Best-case scenario, they need to be always right. Worst case, these mothers want us to be useless, so we need them forever.
Recommended: 15 Best Songs About Good Riddance.
7. John Lennon – Mother.
I was not sure if I should include this song. John Lennon’s mother was not as bad as some other on this list, just absent. In her defense, John belongs to that generation of British children that were sent away by their parents to the countryside to escape the consistent bombardments of cities in WW2.
Things become even more dicey when you consider he was also an absentee father to his eldest son Julian (named after John’s mother, Julia). He was absolutely loving to Sean, the son he had with Yoko Ono, going as far as becoming a stay-at-home dad in his early years.
At least if the song speaks to you, it will be worth putting it on the list.
8. Disturbed – Down with the Sickness.
For about two decades now, people have debated if this song is only an allegory or if there is more to that violent interlude.
I don’t know exactly of this discussion I stand, but I don’t believe for a second that at least a few abused kids didn’t recognize what was coming out of David Draiman’s mouth. Some may have been thankful to have someone else scream it out instead.
Whatever the truth may be, it’s still a great song when you need to scream out your pain.
4 Most Popular Rap Songs About Bad Mothers
1. Eminem – My Mom.
When a rapper can fill up albums with songs about how terrible you are, you know you’re a piece of work. Mrs. Matters definitely was that, and some more.
You’ll find references to Eminem’s mother in most of his music, enough they can create a separate list of rap songs about bad mothers. However, My Mom gets down to the point and doesn’t let go.
Marshall gives it straight to us and tells us a story of her sprinkling Valium over his food. That’s the way to set the child up for success. Not. And those are just the early years.
I guess the saddest part is him comparing himself to his birth giver. Not because of the substance abuse, but because she’s the person he hates the most.
2. Eminem – Cleaning Out My Closet.
Actually, I will add another song by Eminem. This song was huge in 2002, and the video made so many people uncomfortable. It also came after his mother sued him and walked away with the whopping $1600 in “damages”.
However, there are a couple of things that make this song even more visceral. One, Eminem addresses accusations he makes songs about his mother just to sell records. Two, he shows the desire to be a better parent to his daughter and never expose her to that type of toxicity.
And three, the title of the song. He’s dealing with all the skeletons in his closet.
3. DMX – Slippin.
One of the most tragic figures in rap music has to be DMX. So much talent for music, yet not enough talent for life.
When DMX found himself in legal trouble over tax evasion, his lawyers played this song in court to illustrate how his upbringing created a person who was obviously struggling to navigate life.
There are a few snippets in other songs that help us put pieces together, and we know that his mother was neglectful at best, and downright abusive at times.
I suppose that Mr. Earl Simmons was a gentle soul (no matter what that growly voice would suggest). Whatever exactly happened in his childhood led him to self-medicate. It’s a substantial loss, but I hope that, wherever he is right now, he’s not in pain anymore.
Recommended: Top 10 Rap Songs About Fake Friends.
4. 50 Cent – Problem Child.
We all loved hearing stories about Fitty’s grandma, especially the ones where she doesn’t care that he is now a big rap star and still expects him to take out the garbage.
However, what most people don’t know is that his mother was a drug dealer that exposed him to a terrible environment while growing up.
Unlike Eminem, Fitty never addresses directly what his mother did to him, neither in music nor in the media. But, if you want to have a taste of it, listen to the Problem Child.
Okay, that got heavy on more than one occasion. I don’t know about you, but I need a stiff drink after this.
I don’t know why you were searching for songs about bad mothers, but if this topic has affected you, there are people you can talk to.
If you live in the States and you’re still trapped in an abusive household, you can call the National Abuse Hotline at +1 800-799-7233. If thing are getting too dark to bear, please call 1-800-273TALK. You don’t have to be suicidal for them to help you.
And when therapy is out of your budget or you simply need a place to vent, you can try Discord. Discord has hundreds of servers that are dedicated to mental health and are filled with people who would gladly listen and help.