Why Mom Says “It’s Me, I’m the Swiftie, It’s Me.”

I’m not exactly certain how the idea—take your tween daughter to the Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour—formed. Pop radio was our driving soundtrack, and we were into Shake it Off. I did not want to be an old boring mom…while it seemed ambitious and a little over the top, things evolved.

Despite my being very anxious about the crowds, the driving, the parking, the losing the children amongst sixty thousand people (the crowds), the drive home, plans fell into place. We hitched a ride there with my friend, Sarah, and her daughter Hazel, then 17, who had attended three other Taylor Swift concerts.

Hazel explained, “They were the three best nights of my life…so far.” O-kay, I thought, as we listened to the Hazel-curated Taylor Swift soundtrack the entire, long, trafficked ride. Excited—and nervous, we walked toward the stadium to meet up with other friends.

The night of the Taylor Swift concert was one of the best of my life

Just outside the teeming Gillette Stadium fried food and sweets wafted along with music. Inside the stadium, images on giant screens, glow in the dark bracelets, plenty of joy-from-the-depths screams when Taylor appeared for her first three-night stadium sellout. Again and again, I was up on my feet, shaking it all off. Moved by the sad songs. Digging the narrative songs.

Awed by the flashiness. Besotted by the bigger kids—teens, twenties—who lived this soundtrack with their besties. My tween, with her BFF, was excited and happy; she wasn’t entirely IN the way she would obviously become with a little more time and more songs.

With Taylor, I felt as if her future was bright. So, weirdly, was mine, even though I didn’t exactly have a BFF for this, even though it wasn’t a soundtrack to anywhere or anything in my life. That didn’t matter. I floated in the Swiftverse sea until way past any of our bedtimes. Most obviously, Hazel was correct; this was one of the best nights of my life.

That spirit, Swifties loving one another and the sweet vibe of sharing the music with your BFFs, was so strong it was contagious. (Photo credit: Screenshot from YouTube video)

I myself became a Swiftie

Two years later, I was poised at my computer at the exact right minute to get tickets for the Lover Fest tour. Now a teen, my daughter was ready. But we all know how 2020 and 2021 went. In a seemingly endless stream of big losses, unfathomable grief, and smaller disappointments, this qualified as tiny. Except it didn’t feel small. It felt, given everything else, CRUSHING. My daughter cried and I was brave and held her. Later, I cried.

The whole Scooter Braun debacle, the triumph that was Taylor’s version, the release of the totally to my taste Folklore and Evermore ensured my devotion, not as mom of a Swiftie, but improbably as a very old one herself. For The Eras Tour, of course I was Verified Fan, laptop open, schedule cleared at the appointed time ready.

Like practically everyone else, I failed to procure tickets in the heartbreak Ticketmaster debacle. A little bit later the apology second-chance lottery email to get two, not four, tickets somewhere in the stadium for some price—you get what you get, and you don’t get upset—arrived. Of course, I jumped in. Two tickets on the floor (and not zillions of dollars)!

By the time we went to The Eras Tour, my daughter and I completely got the Swiftie spirit

By now, the fifteen-year-olds were seasoned enough to obtain their matching dresses, apply glitter in the bathtub so it washed away rather than exploded across the hotel room and carry extra charge for their phones in their see-through backpacks. As we crawled toward Gillette that afternoon, set to arrive hours before the doors opened, car windows down, so many people called to our kids, “You look so pretty!”

That spirit, Swifties loving one another and the sweet vibe of sharing the music with your BFFs, was so strong it was contagious. Arguably, the community around Taylor Swift IS the magic. She knows how to reflect this right back to her fans.

The moment we saw our daughters disappear into the stadium, I felt like we’d given them keys to a kingdom of their not-so-distant freedom and of the joy that sharing extremely special experiences brings.

Even from outside, though, amongst the dancing, singing “tailgaters” I was with it for every song and somehow, I knew almost all of them. What happened to me? I danced and sang to my heart’s content. It was another of the best nights of my life.

Taylor’s songs create memory

Awaiting this spring’s release of the Tortured Poets Department (TTPD), I asked a friend, who is 32, what her favorite Swift album is. “It’s not so much about my favorites,” she said, and then went on to describe how songs returned her to high school and college and her twenties. I nodded.

A few weeks earlier, an old friend died of cancer and the next day, I played music that transported me to our teen years and brought me to tears, which I wanted and needed. When I see videos of people at Taylor’s concerts, I love the look on those faces, carrying their younger selves along into their adulthoods, still free to share this glee—and able to splurge on seeing her live, not with your mom.

I can see a future concert without my daughter

I can envision a future concert I attend without my teen. In fact, she was away the day TTPD was released and the next day, I texted her to ask whether she’d listened to the entire album. Mom, she replied, who even are you?

I was the person, a day in, who’d listened twice through and counting. The music might not be the soundtrack to my formative years, I might not have any peers who feel as ardently about her music as I do, I might never dress for a favorite era, but somewhere between trying to be a cooler mom than I ever would be, all that time sequestered when I could just listen to Evermore and Folklore and everything else, now, it’s me. I’m the Swiftie, it’s me. 

More Great Reading:

Real Reason Why We’re Swooning Over Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce

A writer and community organizer, Sarah Buttenwieser’s work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Motherwell Magazine, the New York Times and Washington Post on Parenting amongst others. She’s continually wondering how much is too much to pay for Eras Tour tickets.

About Sarah Buttenwieser

A writer and community organizer, Sarah Buttenwieser's work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Motherwell Magazine, the New York Times and Washington Post on Parenting amongst others. She's continually wondering how much is too much to pay for Eras Tour tickets.

Read more posts by Sarah

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates about parenting teens and young adults straight to your inbox.