Song for a Fifth Child
Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
(Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye 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 his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo)
The cleaning and scrubbing can 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.
Ruth Hulburt Hamilton, 1958
A reminder to mothers in our generation. Mothers who rush to ‘do it all’ and ‘have it all.’ Mothers who want to have a child and ‘have a life.’ Mothers who choose – to stay at home, to work, to work at home. There are always compromises and trade offs, whatever our personal choices. And whatever our choices or priorities, our babies grow up way to fast. So let’s make our babies, our children, our families, our choice.