Skip to content

Song for a Mommy

6 November 2013

So last week I decided it would be fun to sit down and update Song for a Fifth Child. You know the one:

” … I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.”

It’s a beautiful poem that has given mommies peace and assurance for decades. It’s wonderful.

It was published in the ’50s, though, so I thought some references to blogs and email would be fun.

I realized as I sat down with it, though, that I also might have had a bone to pick. I thought I was going to not only update it, but add to it. Because so many mommies are not ’50s housewives anymore. So many mommies work outside the home these days, and then come home to be be mommies.

Somewhere deep in my heart I think I was holding a little sneer that whispered, “You think you had it bad? You think you had pressure? You didn’t have Pinterest!”

Photo Credit: Pat Kight

Photo Credit: Pat Kight

And while I will continue to flirt my love/hate relationship with Pinterest, I was surprised, as I read through the opening stanzas that no one has ever posted on my timeline or left in a comment, at how little there was to add or update.

Dishes, grocery shopping, bills, yard work, sewing, cleaning … Pretty much

At first I was disappointed. Why isn’t this fixed? How have we not gotten over this? Why are wives and mothers still expected to work every waking minute? Why haven’t we collectively said, “Enough is enough,” and somehow lowered the expectations to a reasonable level?

Photo Credit: Classic Film

Photo Credit: Classic Film

And then I got mad. (I’m not sure what the stages of grieving are, but I think blew through them as I sat on my bed. Grieving my sanity.) Why are we still surrendering to the marketing executives who are still trying to sell women products to make their whites brighter and their arms sexier and their homes cleaner and their gardens prettier and their hair silkier?

‘Cause I’m not the one trying to up the ante. And as far as I can tell, neither are my neighbors. Or the ladies at church, or the ladies online. It seems to me that we’re all trying to keep up, so who is leading the charge? And why are we still charging?

And then, suddenly, I felt comforted. (“Acceptance” – That’s the last stage of grief, right?)

Wives and mommies have been doing this since the dawn of time. Pinterest has probably made it worse, but come on – Proverbs 31 reads a little bit like an ancient Martha Stewart magazine: She’s a good wife, she works with her hands, she’s up before dawn, she’s an entrepreneur and a philanthropist, her Etsy store is killing it, she’s everyone’s BFF, and her children love her. That’s more than enough for me to try to keep up with, and she’s thousands of years old.

There’s comfort here, though, I promise.

Wives and mommies have been doing this since the dawn of time. We are designed to be nurturers, and there’s just a lot that goes into that – from food to clothing to homemaking.

Even Proverbs doesn’t pretend it’s a picnic. Verse 25 (emphasis mine):

Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.

It’s a big, tough job, but if centuries of wives and mommies can do it, then I can do it too. If this is what I was made for, then I’m well able to accomplish it.

I will have my “babies don’t keep” moments (days?), and I will have them on purpose. But on the whole, I find some – perhaps strange – comfort in the idea that the dance my life has become – from homemaking to working to mommy-ing to wife-ing to any number of other things – is one I actually can learn to do.

No comments yet

Well?! Don't just SIT there! SAY something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: