It’s a surprise to no one that having a child means you don’t get much sleep. On TV and in films, the new parent characters are always complaining about tiredness. Despite the truth in it, it’s become a new parent cliché along with the fact babies poo a lot and cry as their primary means of communication. I understand showing the lovely time you get to spend sitting on your arse watching Netflix while the tiny bundle of a human you brought into the world lies on your chest as you drink tea at an odd angle so you won’t scold them isn’t exciting entertainment. Still, it gives childfree folk the idea that becoming a parent is miserable which is only the case, say 30% of the time? Actually my daughter was super hard work yesterday, let’s call it 35%.

Alongside my consumption of TV and film, conversations I had with anyone who had kids already and wanted me to know it was hard work and BabyCentre’s weekly pregnancy update emails all told me to expect tiredness and so I prepared for sleepless nights by trying to cram all the missed sleep in in advance during the last trimester. Not that you asked for advice but whether you are with child or not, I recommend sleeping as much as you can whenever you can to solve anything that’s up with you.

Unfortunately, when my daughter came along I was instantly exhausted with labouring through the night and then her being born first thing in the morning. All of my hard work was wiped out from the start. Which wasn’t ideal but was fine, I’d mentally prepared for exhaustion. I got through the days knowing at some unknown point, not that far away, she’d sleep most of the night and I’d be back to my old self again. Two years later she sleeps like a dream and I am no more refreshed than I was the morning she was born. I am permanently knackered. Some days are better than others but I am never refreshed, I rarely ever wake up and feel like I’ve slept as much as I’d like.

Of course, now I think about it, I was always something resembling knackered. I am the sort of person who could always enjoy a further hour or two in bed. I take my vitamins, I try and eat healthily, I exercise whenever I can fit it in. It’s starting to seem like cramming more into my life than before (as well as a child I am also trying to write freelance as much as I can) is not the solution to the tiredness which is now deep within my bones and will not shift.

Is this just me or does everyone else feel like this?

This was in the last edition of The Mum Plan. To read the next one sign up for the newsletter here.


The Mum Plan 1 – The Manifesto

This week I launched my newsletter, The Mum Plan. You can subscribe to receive next week’s one on this link and if you’d like to know what you’re going to be getting before you sign up here’s what the first one looked like:

The Mum Plan Part 1 – The Manifesto

The Mum Plan

You may not even remember you signed up for this newsletter from me, dear Samantha. I tweeted about it a month ago and then, well, I’ve done an abysmal job of promoting it since then. There’s also a good chance you have no idea what The Mum Plan is as my description of it thus far has been sparse to say the least.

Here, dear reader is an explanation.

The Mum Plan comes from something that only recently became clear. The reason this thing only  became clear recently is that the first eighteen months of being a mother were, for me, a haze. At my best friend’s hen do six weeks after my baby was born I thought, ‘oh the fog in my head is clearing, I think I feel normal now’. Cut to her wedding another four weeks after that, ‘I was an idiot at the hen do to think I had everything under control but now I do’. Cut to my birthday six weeks after that, ‘now I really am back to normal’. This cycle continued in a loop until about March this year when my daughter was older, I was back in the swing of attending my day job and generally felt like ‘WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME IT WOULD TAKE SO LONG TO FEEL LIKE MYSELF AGAIN?’

In the run up to having a child, especially a first one, all you’re getting spoken to about and educated on is how the baby will come out of you. People ask about your birth plan, you’re told to print it out, to tell your partner to make sure they help you stick to it, to think about it hard. There are loads of things wrong with this. Firstly, that you don’t have a huge amount of control over whether you kid comes out to plan or not. The baby is in there, it has to come out so hoping for the best is really all you can do no matter what the bullet pointed laminated list you dish out to the midwives like party favours says. Secondly, birth, compared to the time dedicated to raising the child, takes no time at all. It’s over in a blink of an eye compared to the next eighteen years of actual mothering you will be doing. We allow ourselves to be distracted by the painful day or two of labour and, most of us, fail to plan for ourselves past that point. Step to the front of the stage The Mum Plan which is about planning for the woman and mother you want to be for all that time afterwards (and some frivolous things too).
Box Set Binge

A hot topic on my NCT What’sApp group, even two years down the line when we’ve less kid stuff to check with one another about, is what’s good to watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I’ve just binged the third season of Jane the Virgin whilst my dear husband was in the extremities of this dear country filming people about to embark on diets (it’s his job, not a fetish, at least that’s what he says).

Jane went through pregnancy and then the first year of her child’s life at the same time on telly as I did in real life. Therefore I feel an affinity with her, despite her being a fictional character and her pregnancy being thanks to an accidental insemination.

Treat. Yo. Self.

This section will generally feature things I think look good and cool. However due to a Lulu Guinness sale habit I could only just afford I have cut myself off from internet shopping until pay day. For now enjoy this (free) clip

Good links (promise)

I’ve just sent in my next lot of Mush Guides for me to bother you all with soon. However this one about being ready for a second baby only went up the other week despite me writing it a while ago.

Even not including mine, there’s literally hundreds of good guides on Mush so if you want to laugh and read about parenting stuff go to the main page and explore

A New Essex Girl was what led me to this newsletter, not really any time for doodling amongst writing and my day job at the minute but the archives are still worthy of a LOL even if I do say so myself


NEXT TIME: The Mum Plan 2 – Knackered

Happy birthday to me

A New Essex Girl is one! A year which has passed both madly fast and at a snail’s pace as seems to be the way when tiny children are involved. 

I always thought the concept of blogging was naff. Who the hell cares what I have to say? And then it filled a massive void of creativity when my baby was leaching all my energy and it didn’t seem so naff after all.

Dear reader thanks for sticking with me. I’ve plans to go beyond the blog which I’ll tell you about next Friday. For now let’s just marvel that I kept at this thing and that you stayed with me. 

Happy birthday to me and ta for reading. 

Sam x

Things have changed

My daughter is napping. In the few weeks I have been a mother I have learnt there is lots that can be achieved in these brief periods of rest. Like putting away a wash or making a cup of tea with ninja levels of precision so no rattling teaspoon wakes her or buying a strapless bra and some support knickers. It’s the last one I’m doing today.

I’m in Brent Cross, in the Marks and Spencer changing rooms. A saleswoman is asking me if I want her to leave so I can take off my top in private. As she’s going to see me without my t-shirt on, and in my manky maternity bra once she comes back, I tell her not to waste her time and to stay. Before giving birth I would never have felt comfortable doing this. Now, I don’t care who sees me naked. This body grew a person, this body is a fucking miracle.

After my boobs are measured with minimal fuss, the saleswoman drapes the measuring tape around her neck. Her elbow nudges the handle of the pram. We both startle, expecting screams which mercifully do not come. In a whisper she tells me my new, huge bra size and that this glut of bosom shall be short-lived. My soon-to-be shrivelled breasts are mentioned as a warning not to spend a lot of money on something I will get little use from. She leaves to get a selection of low priced bras and pants. Alone in the dressing room I wonder if she is a mother too. 

Tiptoeing back inside, the saleswoman hangs a selection of beige undergarments on a rail next to the mirror. I am handed a bra and a pair of size 16 support pants to try on. She turns her back whilst I put on the bra. In the interests of hygiene I have to force the pants over the ones I am already wearing. 

When they are on I look at my reflection, “These aren’t sucking me in at all.” My stomach is no flatter in appearance, it stays the same empty yet flabby belly it was before. “They’re too big. Maybe I should try the 12? I would have taken a 10 or a 12 before I had her.” 

“Well that was before, wasn’t it?” Her eyes slice into mine before drifting to my belly and back to my face. “Things have changed.”

The woman tuts to herself and clears the rail of too large pants. Her elbow whacks the side of the pram. Whimpers of waking folllow straight afterwards before turning into shrill screams. The woman is right, it’s not like before.

Why ARE so many women boasting they’re slummy mummies?

I wouldn’t recommend reading the Daily Mail for the obvious reasons. However, if you happened to stumble across this nonsense then I direct you to the doodle below.  A quick Google of ‘Daily Mail’ and ‘new mum’ revealed what the non-slummy, Daily Mail approved new mother should resemble.

Bye bye Standard Issue

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After 33 Doodlebugs for Sarah Millican’s Standard Issue magazine, the site (and therefore my column) are closing shop.

People I don’t know reading it and telling me they like it has been amazing but the very, very best thing about it all was this:


You can view my last one, alongside the other 32, here.



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If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (and you really should), you might have already seen I’ve been writing for Mush. Mush is an app which allows you to connect with fellow mums in your area. It’s an amazing idea, it’s like Tinder for making mum pals and without there being an expectation you’ll send nudes or pretend to find the fact someone once went travelling to be Earth-shatteringly profound. Anyway, alongside getting to meet the mum pal of your dreams, you’ll also be able to read the Mush guides which are interesting, funny, helpful articles tackling all things motherhood. There’s loads of them to keep you entertained while you have a quick cup of tea or are trapped under a sleeping newborn. Here are the ones I’ve written:

Ways I tried and failed to be a cool mum
How to avoid flexi-working guilt
Polite responses to impolite questions about giving birth
Key advice for your new mum wardrobe

I’d love you to read them. If you’re in need of some mum company while everyone else is at work or if you want to meet new people with children the same age as yours the app really is super duper. I hope you’ll download and meet your mum BFF (do people still say BFF or is that passé?)


It was my mother who heard it first. “She sounds English” she said of my daughter and I told her she was wrong. Children as young as my daughter have not yet developed accents I thought. And yet, after my mother had left I could hear it. Yes, there was an accent. No, it wasn’t the same as mine.

I am Scottish. My husband is English. My child was born and lives in London (sort of) and yet, now she speaks with an English accent I am shocked to have given birth to this person from another country. 

This is of course exactly how it should be and much better than the fear I had throughout my pregnancy that she would develop a hybrid of my Glaswegian tones mixed with my husband’s Essex ones. In my nightmares I heard echoes of Jimmy Krankie meets Danny Dyer and I was scared. That she is simply English is a blessing. Yet it presents new things to be worried about. Will she make fun of my accent for it being different to hers? If we move to Scotland will the hybrid accent become a reality? At airports will border control think I have kidnapped her from a nice English family?

This blog post is brought to you by ideas that weren’t strong enough to support a full-length piece people would pay me for.