About The Song


Released in 1959, “Mommy For A Day” by Kitty Wells became a landmark song in country music. It tells the story of a heartbroken woman forced to visit her daughter only on Sundays due to a separation or divorce. Written by Harlan Howard and Buck Owens, the song resonated deeply with female listeners who identified with the themes of lost love, shared custody, and the pain of being a mother on the margins of her child’s life.

Musical Style

“Mommy For A Day” is a classic country ballad. The tempo is slow and melancholic, reflecting the protagonist’s emotional state. The instrumentation features a prominent steel guitar, a staple of country music, that adds a layer of twangy sadness. Acoustic guitars provide a gentle rhythm, while the fiddle adds a touch of mournful beauty. Kitty Wells’ vocals are clear and powerful, conveying the heartache and longing in the lyrics.


The song opens with the narrator visiting her daughter every Sunday afternoon. The child asks “when I’m coming home,” and the mother offers a vague promise of “pretty soon,” knowing it’s not true. The heart of the song lies in the repeated line, “She’s much too young to realize why mommy can’t come home / And that her daddy wanted things this way.” This heartbreaking refrain highlights the mother’s powerlessness in the situation and the child’s innocence.

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The second verse reveals the cause of the separation: “I love her dad with all my heart / They lied and ruined our home.” The blame is placed on unnamed “they,” suggesting gossip or interference that led to the breakup. The line “Oh why did he believe the things they’d say” expresses the mother’s confusion and hurt.

The chorus emphasizes the pain of being a “mommy for a day.” The stolen moments with her daughter are bittersweet, and the goodbyes are excruciating. The final verse offers a glimmer of hope with the line, “I pray in time he’ll change his mind and take me back once more.” However, the song ends on a note of resignation with the repeated refrain, leaving the listener to ponder the uncertain future of this fractured family.

Cultural Impact

“Mommy For A Day” was a groundbreaking song for several reasons. In the late 1950s, country music was a male-dominated genre. Kitty Wells, often referred to as the “Queen of Country Music,” challenged these norms with strong female characters who sang about their own desires and experiences. “Mommy For A Day” tackled the sensitive subject of divorce from a woman’s perspective, something rarely seen in country music at the time.

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The song resonated with women who were navigating the complexities of separation and shared custody. It offered a voice to their pain and frustration, and it challenged the prevailing idea that mothers should always have primary custody.

“Mommy For A Day” also sparked debate about the portrayal of men in country music. The song’s portrayal of a deceitful and unsympathetic husband contrasted with the typical image of the hardworking and devoted country man. This challenged traditional gender roles and resonated with women who had experienced similar situations.

The song’s impact continues to be felt today. It remains a popular choice for country artists to cover, and its themes of heartbreak, parental love, and resilience are timeless.


“Mommy For A Day” is a powerful and poignant song that captures the emotional turmoil of a woman navigating the aftermath of a separation. Kitty Wells’ masterful vocals and the relatable lyrics made the song a cultural touchstone. It challenged gender norms in country music, offered a voice to women experiencing divorce, and continues to resonate with listeners today.

Additional Notes

  • The song reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1959.
  • Kitty Wells is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • “Mommy For A Day” is considered one of her signature songs.
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🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤 I go to see my little girlIt’s Sunday afternoonAnd how I dread the words I know she’ll sayShe’ll ask me when I’m coming homeI’ll answer pretty soonBut I know I’m just her Mommy for a dayShe’s much too young to realizeWhy Mommy can’t come homeAnd that her daddy wanted things this wayWe kiss goodbye and my heart breaksTo walk away aloneTo have to be a Mommy for a dayI love her dad with all my heartThey lied and ruined our homeOh why did he believe the things they sayI pray in time he’ll change his mindAnd take me back once moreThen I’ll not have to be a Mommy for a dayShe’s much too young to realizeWhy Mommy can’t come homeAnd that her daddy wanted things this wayWe kiss goodbye and my heart breaksTo walk away aloneTo have to be a Mommy for a day

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