The Unmumsy Mum writes candidly about motherhood like it really is: the messy, maddening, hilarious reality, how there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and how it is sometimes absolutely fine to not know what you are doing. The lessons she’s learnt while grappling with two small boys – from birth to teething, 3am night feeds to toddler tantrums, soft play to toilet training – will have you roaring with laughter and taking great comfort in the fact that it’s definitely not just you…
The Unmumsy Mum Review
It’s not a Book, it’s a Night in with your Mate
If you are already a follower of blogger extraordinaire, The Unmumsy Mum, then you may well feel like you already know her. Sarah (we’ll just call her that for now because, well, that’s her name) is not actually my real friend, she’s not even my Facebook friend, she just has the remarkable skill of writing in such a manner that as I read, I nod, smile ruefully and feel like I’ve known her forever.
She is one of us. She’s the mum who loves her kids but isn’t defined by them. The mum who had a life she loved before becoming a mother and has battled through the ‘What the fuck? What’s going on? How did I get here?’ post-baby fog that most of us – at least the mums I hang out with – can relate to. And hurrah, she came out slightly bewildered but with her sense of humour still very much intact.
When I first started to read her blogs I laughed so hard that I seriously considered whether my post-baby pelvic floor was going to force me to finally visit the Tenna Lady aisle. Her quips on life – from soft play hell to Peppa Fucking Pig (which is how every mother I know fondly refers to that precocious priggish porcine prat) – are brutally honest and ridiculously hilarious.
Not for Sarah is there a pregnancy glow, a life of motherly spiritual fulfillment or impeccably behaved children. The Unmumsy Mum muddles through, gives it her best shot and just gets on with it. Then laughs and writes about it.
So when I heard that my mate Sarah (yep, still calling her my mate) had written a book, a whole real-life book full of her wonderful words, I did a ridiculous jiggle of glee. I also crossed my fingers that I would get an advanced copy because I’m a very important writer, don’t you know, and I’m also a mummy so I just had to tell the world about how amazing this lady is. Fortunately her publisher Penguin heard my prayers and last week I got my mitts on her lovely bright pink hard-backed book. Exciting!
After a long hard day of working and dealing with kids and sighing at my annoying husband, I got an early night and settled into bed to crack open my new book about… errr… working hard, dealing with kids and annoying husbands. But much like a vaccination, a dose of Unmumsy every evening didn’t add to my life’s ailments but actually made me feel miles better.
I hadn’t even got to the first chapter and I was already in tears (it was Sarah’s letter to her boys… oh my God), then by the time I got to the end of the first chapter and the most pointless strike of her life (refusing to push her baby out, take my word for it, it’s the best chapter ever) I was in a hysterical sobbing mess of hilarity. Ever tried reading a book with your legs crossed, hoping the next page won’t be so funny because you really don’t want to pee yourself? Again?
With every chapter of the book – neatly laid out in a FML order from conceiving and birthing and feeding to sex-after-kids and the dangerously pathetic attempt that is a Mum’s Night Out – Sarah gives us a glimpse of not only her own life but the life of every other Unmumsy Mum out there. With empathy, understanding, humour and emotion she helps us feel normal, supported, capable and like maybe we aren’t completely failing at this motherhood lark after all.
The amount of times I picked up the phone to call Sarah and say ‘Oh my God, that’s how I felt when breastfeeding; I can’t believe it, I was like that with my second child too; that’s so funny, my husband says that all the time too’ until I realised I have never met Sarah before and she isn’t my real life friend. Bollocks!
But I don’t think I’m alone, because I would bet that the 367,000 other mums that follow her on Facebook think she is their friend too. Over three hundred thousand women (yes, I think she’s pretty amazed by that number too) who are in the same boat as Sarah. It’s a big boat. And they too feel that she is writing just for them and about them. That they aren’t sitting in bed reading a book about the ups and downs of motherhood, but having a chat with their best friend over a glass of Pinot Grigio – laughing, crying, whispering and moaning about their kids. Knowing that their mate has their backs, that she’s feeling it too and that they are not alone.
So who needs to read this book?
Well mothers, of course. And those who want to be a mum one day and those that are about to be a mum in a few month’s time. It’s for anyone who doesn’t take herself too seriously, who has the balls to say ‘I love my children, but being a mum is bloody shit sometimes’. This book is for wine lovers and Peppa haters. For those who like lie-ins and miss them, and for those who intended to give their child that organic lentil and kale bake they read about in the baby magazine the other day but forgot… so crisps and a sandwich will have to do. Again.
Sarah is a mum like me. Probably doing wonderfully, but the first to say she isn’t. And her first book (I say first because I don’t want it to be her last) is a breath of fresh air for those of us crushed beneath the weight of our Gina Ford, Supernanny and Sanctomummy manuals, our ‘oh motherhood is glorious’ magazine articles and our pointless ‘this is what life as a mummy should feel like’ Google searches.
So come and join me, pick up a copy and declare proudly ‘We are Unmumsy Mums. We are trying, for fuck’s sake, we ARE trying – but sometimes we just need a bit of a break and a glass of wine. Okay?!’
Oh and Sarah, if you are reading this, me and my mummy mates are meeting at the local soft play area to slag off Peppa and her irritating brother, George, next week. Want to join us? I kind of told them you were my best mate… sorry about that.
The Unmumsy Mum is published by Bantam Press