If – For Mums


If you can keep your head when all about you

Are screaming theirs off and baying for milk,

If you can trust yourself when health visitors doubt you,

But make allowance for their well meaning too;

If you can get up for the ninth time and not moan about waking,

Or being weed upon, don’t make a fuss,

Or having sick in your bra, don’t give way to quaking,

And still try to look good, though your can’t do your jeans up:


If you can dream— hurray, you’re getting more sleep!;

If you can think— after one or more children;

If you can meet with Triumph and Tantrums

And treat those inevitabilities just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve uttered

Twisted by your kids to make a trap for you,

Or watch the child you gave life to, stutter,

And stoop and pick ’em up with worn-out arms:


If you can talk with mums and compare pelvic floors,

Or walk with kids — nor forget the changing bag,

If neither forks nor thrown food can hurt you,

If you can hug someone, when things feel too bad;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of laundry folded,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Mum, my friend!


With thanks and apologies to Rudyard Kipling.



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