Poetry Friday – Mother’s Day


It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday, and in honour of all the wonderful, unconventional mothers out there who fill their children’s lives with love and laughter, I’m sharing an excerpt from one of my favourite mother-themed poems.

This wonderful poem comes from a collection of children’s poetry that has had a home in my personal collection for decades. The poems in Mary Blakeslee’s It’s Still Tough to Be a Kid, first published in 1988, really capture the spirit of childhood in all its craziness, warts and all, and as a child I remember being enthralled by, and connecting with, so many of these little wonders. Sadly the collection is very hard to find – few libraries carry a copy, and it’s even difficult to find a copy on Amazon, which is a shame, because these poems are so very memorable! I’ve shared an excerpt from this collection before, and might well do again, because I really do love this collection!

Of course, my mother is absolutely nothing like the mother in this poem – true story (sorry, mum!), when my parents brought in a realtor to help them sell their apartment, he thought they’d already had someone in to stage it, because it was so neat and so stylish that it looked just like a show home. A place for everything, and everything in it’s place. I know they love me, but I’m sure my parents breathed a sigh of relief when their somewhat…less organised daughter finally flew the nest!

Wishing a very happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers and other important women in our lives, whether they’re tidy or, well, not quite so much!

MOTHER’S DAY by Mary Blakeslee

My mother is hopeless at housework

Our rug resembles a beach.

There’s cracker crumbs and someone’s gum,

And bottle caps and sewing scraps,

And peanut shells and caramels,

And a stone from a very old peach.


My mother is always too busy

To keep our house really neat.

She has to show me how to throw

A spitball right, and fly a kite,

And catch a frog, and teach the dog

To bring back sticks, and do card tricks,

And play ping-pong, and write a song,

And go riding without hands or feet.

She’s a bit of a mess at the cleaning, I guess.

But at mothering she just can’t be beat!

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  • Reply Brenda Davis Harsham

    Great poem about mothers. I suspect my kids would put me somewhere in between this mother and yours. 🙂 Anyone who can keep their house spotless with kids and animals in it is working at it all the time. I have too many hobbies!

    May 12, 2017 at 11:45 am
  • Reply lindabaie

    Truly there are priorities, and teaching how to throw a spitball definitely should be at the top of the list, Jane. Happy Mother’s Day! And thanks for featuring this older book!

    May 12, 2017 at 1:37 pm
  • Reply Kay McGriff (@kaymcgriff)

    I can see why you enjoy this collection if the rest of the poems are this much fun. I can certainly relate to this mother and the state of her household! I’d much rather be out playing the cleaning!

    May 12, 2017 at 1:54 pm
  • Reply Michelle Heidenrich Barnes

    Alas, the clean house gene never made it to me, either… I expect my daughter will be the same. But no gum or peach stones thankfully!

    May 12, 2017 at 5:40 pm
  • Reply jama

    Great poem — Mary Blakeslee’s totally new to me. I concur with the sentiment — about keeping priorities straight. I wouldn’t have minded a messier house if my mom had played with us more. :

    May 12, 2017 at 9:33 pm
  • Reply Wondering and Wandering

    My mother introduced me to the world of poetry as a child. Thank you for this new poem and reminding me of my poetic roots!

    May 12, 2017 at 9:48 pm
  • Reply katswhiskers

    I always hope I’m a better mother than housewife. 😉

    May 12, 2017 at 10:01 pm
  • Reply Monica

    So glad you rescued this from the out-of-print pile!

    May 12, 2017 at 11:59 pm
  • Reply Matt Forrest Esenwine

    Sounds like the house of a writer with toddlers – trust me, I know!!

    May 13, 2017 at 1:12 am
  • Reply Violet Nesdoly

    What a fabulous mother poem! (I wish I would have been a bit more like her when my kids were little!)

    May 13, 2017 at 3:04 am
  • Reply macrush53

    This is perfect! Mother’s Day and everyday.

    May 13, 2017 at 3:07 am
  • Reply maryleehahn

    Huzzah! Here’s to mothers who forsake housecleaning to be MOTHERS!!

    May 13, 2017 at 10:40 am
  • Reply Kortney Garrison

    Oh, the look on that mama’s face!

    May 13, 2017 at 2:52 pm
  • Reply haitiruth

    Yay for mothering! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    May 13, 2017 at 9:50 pm
  • Reply Alice Nine

    Love it! It’s so much more fun mothering than it is cleaning… just look at that poor mother on her knees by the scrub bucket.

    May 14, 2017 at 3:50 am
  • Reply mrsmerrillsbookbreak

    Thanks for sharing this poet with me! I love this poem! What fun – a poetry treasure hunt! I’ll now be looking for this one! Adding it to my TBR list in my reading notebook!

    May 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm
  • Reply Laura Shovan

    She sounds like a glorious mother who’s enjoying reliving childhood with her kids. Thanks for sharing!

    May 14, 2017 at 7:00 pm
  • Reply cvarsalona

    Jane, this poem is great. Some days, I feel like my house is topsy-turvy. Today, I decided to start the massive cleaning of closets. Your mum sounds just the lady I need to help me organize.

    May 15, 2017 at 6:02 pm
  • Reply Bridget Magee

    Hee-hee! Your description of your mother, “it was so neat and so stylish that it looked just like a show home” sounds exactly like my mom – and she had 10 kids in the house! Being the youngest, she was happy when my less than organized self went to college. This poem collection is a gem. =)

    May 15, 2017 at 9:51 pm
  • Reply Michelle Kogan Illustration, Painting & Writing

    Oh I love this poem Jane, by Mary Blakeslee, it’s perfect! I am a very busy mom to, and often don’t have much time left for cleaning, this hit home, thanks! The illustration is wonderful too.

    May 17, 2017 at 3:00 am
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