Posted by: littlebitofparadise | October 4, 2013

Babies Don’t Keep


I never imagined that sharing my story about playing with my toddler would garner such a heartfelt response from so many parents. I’ve received private emails from friends and from mothers I’ve never met telling me how my words compelled them to play with their children this week and how much their children loved it.

When something like that happens from reading a blog, there’s no other explanation than grace.

All is grace.

The time flies by so awfully FAST doesn’t it?

My little Rett turned 7 weeks old yesterday. How that’s possible my blurry brain does not even know.

(Warning: Mama love photo dump to follow): 





He’s getting so BIG. Last week I rather sorrowfully packed up the 0-3’s and washed all the 6 months clothes for his closet. Noooo….!!! It all changes way too quickly.

One of the things I’ve been wrestling with a LOT since Rett was born is how to find balance between all the chores that could literally consume the entire day for this choleric-perfectionist-kinda-OCD-loves-a-clean-house-can’t-stand-a-mess girl, and the need to go slow and enjoy these precious moments with my three little men.

The words of author Ann Voskamp have plagued me for weeks: “Tell the housewives of the world: cleanliness is not next to godliness…Love is.” 

While I want to provide a neat, clean, orderly environment for my husband and sons, I want to provide a happy, fun, life-filled home most of all, where they grow up feeling like the priority in my life that they are.

It’s hard for me to choose to put down the bottle of Windex before it’s sprayed and read one more story. It’s hard for me to choose a pile of dirty clothes on my laundry room floor or another layer of backyard dirt on my family room carpet so we can spend an extra hour on the swing set or hammock.

Granted, I don’t have to choose play time over cleaning/chore time every single day or every single moment. But there ARE key moments in my children’s lives that I need to have the courage to choose THEM over the stuff of life that’s always needing to be done.

My friend Kristen emailed me a poem by Ruth Hamilton that my last blog post inspired her to send. This poem sums up an age-old truth for all of us mothers so beautifully:

Song for A Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton
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 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,
But 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.
Beautiful isn’t it?

What  Kristen didn’t know is that this was one of the first poems I had memorized as a child. It was hanging up at my aunt and uncle’s house when I was a little girl, and I read it over and over again until I was able to recite it word for word to my mom and my aunt.

After my eldest was born, my mom found a framed print of the poem in a thrift store, and she got it for me. It’s now hanging in my baby’s nursery.


I’m so glad Kristen reminded me of this poem. I need to read this slow, and often. Because it’s very easy for someone as weak and flawed as myself to forget: these moments with my babies are fleeting. I’ll never get them back

My job as their Mama is to make sure I choose to use these moments wisely and learn that the rest? Yes, that never ending rest…

It will keep.



  1. How true! I am struggling with the same “balancing act” all the time. It is so helpful to know that other mommies are going through the exact thing too. I always enjoy your blog! It is so inspiring to this Catholic wife and mama!

  2. I also had a “come to Jesus, play with me mommy” moment after reading your post this week. So thank you, Steph. My 3 and 1.5 year olds thank you even more.

  3. […] When her newest CD featured the song "Cleaning and Scrubbing" which includes lyrics of the famed Ruth Hamilton poem I've talked about on my blog, I knew I had to invite Amanda to share the story behind her song with […]

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