Mom's epic 'Dance Monkey' parody nails COVID-19 quarantining with kids

"Oh my god, I've been locked up inside for 18 days now and I'm gonna lose my mind."

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By Terri Peters

For quarantined parents, Jenie Borders' parody of the Tones and I hit "Dance Monkey" has everything: kids saying "mommy" over and over, laments about constantly having to clean up after your family, dread over going out to the grocery store and fear of running out of wine during the pandemic.

The mom of three from Thermopolis, Wyoming, says she wrote the lyrics to her now viral tune after a particularly tough day being stuck inside with her kids, who range in age from 9 months to 6.

"My daughters were yelling at me from the bathtub and it seemed like every time I walked out the door, they were hollering 'Mom!' for me again," Borders told TODAY Parents. "My kids had been fighting much of the day, my kindergartner was fighting me on doing schoolwork and they had all been clingier than normal. I was actually thinking to myself, 'Oh my god, if someone says mom one more time, I'm changing my name and moving to Madagascar.'"

Borders had been singing the catchy hit tune in her head all day, so she put pen to paper and wrote the parody, titled "Hey Mommy." After her husband, Nick, encouraged her to post it on Facebook, Borders recorded herself singing it using the Smule karaoke app, uploaded the video and went to sleep.

She woke up to views, comments and support from around the world. To date, more than 2 million people have viewed the video, in which Borders belts out relatable lyrics about life at home with kids during the coronavirus crisis.

"Oh my god, I've been locked up inside for 18 days and now I'm gonna lose my mind," she sings. "Kids yelling 'mom, oh mom, hey mom' 6,000 times, and I'm begging them just for some quiet time."

Instead of Tones and I's popular "dance for me, dance for me, dance for me" chorus, Borders belts out a different repetitive phrase.

"They say 'hey mommy, hey mommy, hey mommy, hey hey hey, can we please just go and play with friends today?'" Borders sings. "And I say, 'no babies, no babies, no babies, not today, because we're stuck inside 'til corona goes away.'"

Borders says her words are "100% based off of real life."

"My children are constantly telling me how bored they are and asking me to go play with their friends," said Borders. "As a matter of fact, the very last few seconds of the song, you can actually hear one of my daughters barging in saying 'mom' as she's tapping on my hip."

Jenie Borders with her husband, Nick, and their kids, Emerie, 6, Mieka, 5, and Lincoln, 9 months.Nick Borders

Still, Borders says there have been good things to come from her family's social isolation.

"I am able to spend a lot of time with my kiddos and to watch them grow and blossom into these wonderful humans that they are," said Borders. "As a mother, it has made me realize that it's OK sometimes for me to not be the perfect mom and wife ... it has also taught me that I am absolutely not cut out to be a teacher, and made me realize how thankful I am that there are people who take the time to teach our kids."

In the days since her video went viral, representatives of the Smule app reached out to Borders, who grew up singing on stage and in choirs, asking her to create a "duet" version of her video so other parents could sing along with her.

"To spread some light and laughter during uncertain times and to connect with people all around the world on a personal level has been an incredible experience," she said, adding that she's been recognized in public a few times from the car while practicing social distancing. "My kids think it's hilarious ... they ask, 'Who was that? How do they know you?' and when I remind them about the song, they say, 'Oh, so you're like important now or something?'"

"Leave it to kids to humble you down a few notches when needed, am I right?"

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