Friday, 13 July 2018

Why Mummy Swears - Gill Sims Review

Why Mummy Drinks was one of my favourite books of last year. I spent the whole time laughing and relating to the story of Ellen and her delightful children Peter and Jane so much that I essentially forced all my friends to read it! So when I found out that the July Mumsnet Book Club book was going to be the follow up, Why Mummy Swears, I couldn't wait to get stuck in! And stuck in I did, in fact, I barely even put it down. 

Written in a diary style format, Why Mummy Swears follows the life of Ellen and her rather dysfunctional family as she charts the highs and lows of parenthood. From the woes of the PFA to the possible perks of new jobs, it is truly an insight into parenting in the 21st century that every mum must read. 

I knew this was going to be the book for me from the opening diary entry. Ellen is reading Peter the Famous Five books in the hop to spark his imagination, whilst also hoping it's an excuse to use the National Trust passes that her husband says she hasn't used enough. If that isn't a complete replica of my life at the moment, I don't know what is! 

Ellen is pretty much me and some of my mum friends in book form. She struggles to juggle the expectations of work, whilst trying to keep a family running and pleasing the school PFA. The sarcasm and swears that she utters could have come from my mouth on several occasions and in all honesty she's just trying to appear like she's got her shit together on the surface in the hopes that the rest will sort itself out at some point. 

The story is such a true representation of parenting that I think every mum can relate to some part of the story. Whether it's the flustered husband that refuses to help out with the house work as it's not his turn, to the children that bait and taunt each other until screams of "MUUUUUUUUMMMMM" are heard. You just want to laugh and nod along at what a slight cliche your life has become. 

 I loved that the book felt like a conversation I was reading between my mum friends over coffee or wine. The brutal honesty of how things can get tough, but you just have to push through them to finish the day and move onto the next. The relevant references that left me nodding including workplace sexism and the role of women in the home. It really struck a chord and left me booing and cheering as if I was watching it play out in front of me. 

It felt like a pat on the back for parenthood. That no matter how hard we try, in someone else's eyes we are never going to be perfect, and that's okay. We are all bossing motherhood the best way we can. Whether that's with a glass of wine, a swear under the breath or just locking yourself in the bathroom for five minutes peace, we are all winging it and doing fine.

All I can hope is that this isn't the end of Ellen's tales and there are more to come. It's probably been my favourite book of the Mumsnet Book Club books I have read and I found myself rolling on the sofa crying with laughter at some of the events. It's a read that will have you cheering for your own support network, wanting to fight the patriarchy and leave you trying not to swear in front of your kids, but let's face it. That's never going to happen!



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