They’ll tell you you’re BRILLIANT and AMAZING.
They’ll remind you that you made a whole human person out of the thinnest of air
out of misted dreams you didn’t know were there
out of back-ache and heart-ache and nausea
out of oh-so-little sleep
This human person, this bag of bones, this snuggly bundle of dependence
quietly full of snapping synapses
and so much poo
You made this miracle.
You are BRILLIANT and AMAZING.
That’s what they’ll tell you when you’re lost and befuddled.
You are doing a marvellous job.
You are all this baby needs.
You are enough and everything.
They are the cheerleaders and the noticers.
They are delighted – DELIGHTED! – to witness the first smiles, steps, claps, somersaults,
and the seventy-first.
Their clever ears hear between the lines
when you summon your last speck of patience
use your words
to remind a small person
to use their words.
You are such a good mother, they’ll say.
On a day when even on the third attempt,
your parallel parking is shit
and your eye is stuck shut from some gross virus
brought home from kindy
and you left your wallet at home
and you cry in the crooked carpark and complain on Twitter.
They’ll tweet back and say, you poor thing, o Brilliant and Amazing one.
They’ll bring dinner over,
carefully complying with your kids’ food rules of the week
– only beige, and nothing touching –
and look after the kids so you can go to bed and watch Queer Eye.
One day or year you’ll grip their hands as you creep out of the fog
and try to remember
another kind of Brilliance in a foreign galaxy
where people are well-dressed and eat sushi
and they’ve actually set an alarm to wake up for the gym
and there’s a lot of mansplaining and childphobia
and they all know each other
and you’ve been ‘out of the workforce’
doing the hardest bloody job of your life
which, by the way, you’re still doing,
and ‘after work’
means 9.15pm when the last kid is asleep and you can check Facebook for an hour in peace.
And they’ll say You are BRILLIANT and AMAZING
and you need to double your fees.
They’ll say They’d be lucky to have you
and quote research about the high-performing brains of mothers.
Channel the confidence of a mediocre white man
We’ve got your back
Imagine we’re right with you in the room
YOU ARE BRILLIANT AND AMAZING
And you will believe them, eventually
because they are clearly
Brilliant and Flipping Amazing
and they seem to think you are
so why the hell not believe them?
I wrote this poem for Emily Writes’ (girl)Friends LitCrawl event, and read it tonight to a bookshop full of lovely people who laughed in the right places.
Thank, Brilliant and Amazing ones, everywhere.