Lisa Barrett is The Inspiration Lab’s Community Manager and founder Stephanie Lanier’s executive assistant for Lanier Property Group. After spending roughly two years coordinating blog posts for this very blog, she decided to finally write one of her own. Below, Lisa shares the story of her infant daughter Elizabeth and her obsession with music superstar Taylor Swift.
It may seem strange dedicating a blog post to thanking Taylor Swift. But there are several reasons why I wanted to write this and put it out into the world.
I recently had a Facebook post (that was a bit tongue-in-cheek) about a proud parent moment with my 16-month-old daughter Elizabeth singing along to the chorus of “Oh-oh” in Taylor’s song “You Need to Calm Down.”
I then had an acquaintance reach out via private message and (I’m paraphrasing here) ask me why on earth would I want my daughter to be like Taylor Swift. It would have been so easy to respond (especially with something snarky), but I wasn’t sure where the ire was coming from; if it was in regard to her musical abilities or her business choices or her perceived image and rumors of ghosts of boyfriends past. So instead of replying, I took a deep breath, deleted the message, and walked away from the computer.
Still, part of me wondered why I was so bothered by the comment. In all fairness, I wasn’t a diehard Swiftie. I didn’t really listen to her music until the release of 1989, and that was only after prodding from friends and colleagues who knew I would like it (apparently I was the first person they thought of after watching the “Blank Space” video — is that a good thing?). After my introduction to the album, I was an official fan. But then I became more than that when I had my daughter.
My daughter LOVES Taylor Swift. Okay, well, how is that different from the other hundreds of thousands of daughters out there who are Swifties? Well, not only is she still in diapers, but she’s been a Taylor Swift fan since the day she was born. And I’m not being facetious when I say that.
Elizabeth Anne Barrett was born on January 27, 2020, via c-section. We stayed at New Hanover Regional Medical Center for four days while I recovered. My husband Steven, who works for Novant Health, was able to get four weeks of paid paternity leave, and trust me, I needed every second of help.
Coming from a background in politics, during an election cycle, there were months where I would work 20-hour days, seven days a week. And I was exhausted. Having a newborn is like working during an election cycle, except there’s no countdown calendar to when you will be able to sleep and take a vacation. It’s never-ending. The days and nights are long. But we were fortunate to have a (mostly) healthy child. We did experience some scary stomach issues, but I truly know how blessed we were for Elizabeth to be born healthy.
How did we make it through those especially tough early days, though? The first month, my husband and I watched all nine seasons of “Scrubs.” It was what we kept on in the background to help us stay awake and functioning. But for Elizabeth, it was all about Taylor Swift.
We’re honestly not sure how it happened. It could be that I listened to a fair amount of Taylor Swift while I was pregnant. But I think that every day since February 2020, we’ve watched Taylor Swift: Reputation Stadium Tour on Netflix. Every. Single. Day. Because it makes Elizabeth so happy. She shakes and smiles and dances. She will curl up next to us to watch in wonder and awe. She will try to mimic the expressions and jump when Taylor says jump.
Want an unpopular opinion? I believe Reputation is Swift’s best record to date simply because of this, and I will defend my position anytime, anywhere.
The Netflix concert film is Elizabeth’s number one favorite, followed by Taylor Swift videos on YouTube, and then the Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions special on Disney+, and then listening to Taylor’s music on the radio and through speakers. There is something so pure and honest and true about my daughter's love for Taylor Swift and I am privileged to experience it.
We have used Taylor to get Elizabeth to take her medicine, to eat/drink when she hasn’t been feeling well, to help her calm down (no pun intended), and to help her sleep. It’s like Taylor Swift is her comfort blanket.
Given the pandemic, and the releases of Folklore and Evermore, Taylor helped so many of her fans in 2020 (something I think Katherine Miller does an amazing job of explaining in this Buzzfeed article) — from giving fans something to look forward to, to giving them something to talk about and something to relate to. But she also helped preserve my sanity and make my child happy, and for that, I will be a grateful fan for life.
With my background, I’ve hoped that one day my daughter will get into politics and run for elected office, but I am sure that any oppo research team would have a field day with that. Maybe she’ll be a professional beach volleyball player instead, following in my own love of the sport.
Whatever my daughter decides, it makes me so happy that she is growing up in a world where she sees someone like Taylor Swift kicking ass and taking names; someone who is a strong, smart, successful businesswoman, one who is leading the way for others. She is an amazing role model for my daughter.
Say what you will about Taylor Swift… ? No. It’s not okay. I will defend her and continue to be a fan, an advocate, a supporter, and I will always love the joy she brings my daughter.
Here at The Inspiration Lab, one of our mottos is “You can sit with us.” We’re a nonjudgmental, inclusive community of strong women. I’m proud to be raising my daughter in the world of Taylor Swift and in the positive, pro-women environment of The Inspi Lab.