Our book review this month is The Unmumsy Mum A-Z – An Inexpert Guide to Parenting – a hilarious and insightful read by bestselling author, Sarah Turner…
This review is written by Bump & Baby Club’s book expert, Sam Eades.
I am on holiday and I feel guilty. The baby is sleeping soundly downstairs and I’m sitting on a lounger not doing anything. I’m not tidying, cleaning or organising. I’m not reading a book, binging on a boxset or listening to a podcast. I’m not writing a book, going to the gym or starting a new business. Instead I’m spending the time my baby sleeps feeling guilty about doing none of the above.
Before I had a baby I never felt guilty about doing nothing. I think this particular brand of mum-guilt kicks in around the time someone tells you to rest when the baby rests. It is a truth universally acknowledged that you won’t rest when the baby rests. You’ll rush about trying to keep the pre-baby and post-baby plates spinning, rinsed and stacked in the dishwasher. Social media adds to this guilt, as everyone is busy documenting their busy lives. If these other mums can have a perfect house, perfect career, perfect children and a side hustle, why can’t you?
Thankfully there are a number of parenting bloggers out there who are not afraid to share their imperfections. A Baby & Bump Club favourite is Sarah Turner – AKA The Unmumsy Mum – who recently featured in the Sunday Times top 100 UK influencers list. She has written three non-fiction books, and her latest, A-Z An Inexpert Guide to Parenting, is out this month. Reading this book is like going down the pub with your best friend and sharing the good, the bad, and the hilarious sides of parenting over a couple of glasses of wine. Or more like a couple of bottles. She covers everything from A & E, to Jumperoos to Vaginas!
One of my favourite entries is the one on Guilt in which Sarah talks about an afternoon where she went to pick up her son Jude from nursery. The friendly keyworker told her that Jude had a lovely time making scones for the Mother’s Day party tea. The party tea that Sarah had rsvped to. And the party tea that she had completely forgotten to attend. Sarah explains that she wasn’t even busy working, her afternoon was spent ‘sitting on the sofa eating custard creams and browsing ‘People I May Know’ on facebook.’ As the entry closes she says ‘the image of Jude’s face when he must have realised I wasn’t coming will haunt me forever.’
Sarah’s experience of guilt not only made me laugh (sorry Jude!) but also made me realise that you can’t just stop feeling guilty. Guilt, like stretchmarks, is one of the badges of motherhood. But reading Sarah’s book taught me that when guilt appears you can change how you react to it by thinking about how you would advise a friend in a similar situation. If a friend told me she felt guilty about doing nothing I’d tell her deserves to put her feet up. If a friend told me about scone-gate I’d say well you won’t forget the Mother’s Day tea again. So next time I feel guilty about doing nothing, I’m going to be kinder to myself and enjoy that moment of calm for as long as I can.
Check out my interview with Sarah here.
What else have I read this month:
You can follow Sam on Twitter and Instagram for more book (and baby) chat and she’d love to hear about your own recommendations too.