My mom always had a plaque hanging on the wall with the last lines of the poem “Song for a Fifth Child” by Ruth Hurlburt Hamilton. You probably know it as the “Babies Don’t Keep” poem. Knowing that our Pearl Girl is probably my last baby has given me a new appreciation for the sentiment behind Hamilton’s poem. Rocking her fifth child became more important than all that other busy work of keeping house.
I’ve struggled lately with the workload I’ve taken on from my two part time jobs and volunteer commitments taking priority over the job I feel most called to – motherhood. I’ve been frustrated and angry with my kids for being in the way when I’m trying to check off the to do list. This won’t change over night, but I want to be better. They deserve parents who love them and aren’t frustrated with their MANY questions, needs, and wants.
Though my distractions are different from Hamilton’s, the struggle is still the same. I was inspired to write a version of the last stanza of the poem for the modern parent. I’ve included a link to download a free printable version for you as well. This poem wasn’t written as a judgement or a reprimand, but a gentle reminder for myself about what is most important. I hope you enjoy it, because it came from my heart.
The Bear told me at nap time today, “Mom, I need your help every day.” It was a sweet reminder of this stage we are in, that he still does need AND want my help. He wants me to build block towers and read books and get off my stupid phone. And I want that, too. Before I know it they will be grown and gone and I will hold on to memories as I rock and remember. But tonight, tonight I’m rocking my babies, singing them songs, praying over them as they sleep, and soaking up every moment.
Head over to my FREE PRINTABLES page to download your favorite version of this poem to print, for personal use only. Feel free to share this on social media as long as you link back here.