In Honor of Mother’s Day…Babies Don’t Keep

As moms, we often become caught up with the overwhelming menial tasks of mothering. Could it be that when the stacks of dirty dishes, mounds of laundry, and corners full of dust scream at us the loudest, our children need us most? Perhaps, when we see urgent work that we think must be taken care of today, the more pressing matter is actually that fragile heart crying out for the Lord. The child who is yearning to be shown truth, to be guided in finding their eternal value as one loved, chosen, and sacrificed for by the Holy One.


The following poem reminds me to quiet all of the “to-dos” that are calling to me, distracting me from the greater purpose that is sometimes loving on my child with an extra few lullabies, cuddles, or just sitting together.


Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth 
empty the dustpan, poison the moth, 
hang out the washing and butter the bread, 
sew on a button and make up a bed. 
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking? 
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking. 

Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue 
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo). 
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due 
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo). 
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew 
and out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo 
but I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo. 
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue? 
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo). 

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow, 
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow. 
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep. 
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep. 

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton


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