What I Thought My Life As A Mum Would Be Like / What Life As A Mum Is Actually Like

Did you have any pre-conceptions of motherhood before your children were born? I certainly did, and mine were of baby powder scented babes wrapped in soft, fluffy white towels, home baking in my lovingly decorated country kitchen and nature walks in the sunshine.  Imagine my surprise when I found myself scrubbing poo out of my bedroom carpet;  it seems that motherhood is not a lot like that vision of family life you’re fed by Hollywood.

Unless you watch those films where the mum’s lives are unorganized and chaotic. Then yep, that’s about right… that’s my life.


How I Thought My Life As A Mum Would Be


 7 am awake to the soundof birdsong. Apply minimal makeup to glowing skin whilst a bluebird ties a ribbon in my hair, much like Cinderella. Potter in pristine garden/kitchen with a steaming mug (Cath Kidston) of tea whilst chatting about the day with husband and waiting for cherubs to awake.

8am darling children stir and make their way downstairs for a filling and heathy breakfast: either porridge (organic) or toast with jam (both homemade). Smile fondly at family over kitchen table as we enjoy our first meal of the day together.

9am leave house for educational and stimulating toddler group with lots of other mothers dressed impeccably yet fashionably. Marvel at toddler’s ability to identify all colours/count to 20/recite the periodic table. Create beautiful crafts for daddy to hang in his office.

10.30am meet perfect Zara clad friends for coffee. Impeccably behaved toddler sips babyccinos and reads a book. Baby snoozes peacefully in pram. Natter happily about exciting things like school intake and interior design. Stroll home, pointing out leaves, doggies and friendly passers-by to children.

12pm lunchtime. Eat fresh soup made with vegetables from the local farmer’s market. Discuss with toddler where butternut squash comes from, include educational drawings. Put ingredients for lamb curry in slow cooker for when husband gets home from work, knock up dough for 911c38c06fab11e2ac5022000a9f18b3_7 homemade naan bread. Kitchen somehow remains clean.

1pm children go down for nap together. Sleep for two hours leaving ample time for catching up on housework, a quiet read of the latest Vogue and a cup of tea. Congratulate self on chic yet affordable interior design choices and lack of mum tum/jelly belly. Mark pages in Vogue of things want to buy: obviously can’t afford them but will spend evening scouring the internet for high street equivalents.

3pm children simultaneously wake up from nap. Prepare baking activity: Hummingbird Vanilla Cupcakes. Children observe with interest and don’t make any mess. Pop in the oven to eat later with a cup of tea.

4pm give kids colouring in books which they quietly amuse themselves with while cooking a a balanced and nutritious dinner: either homemade lasagne or chicken and vegetable pie (pastry from scratch, natch).

5pm eat dinner (chicken pie). Discuss where chickens come from, the circle of life and how to make your own pastry. Toddler takes it all in and asks if we can get chickens to rear in the back garden. 0bd0ef08898711e2aaec22000a1faf7c_7 What a delightful idea!

6pm it’s bathtime and children play happily together with boats, ducks and bath crayons. Clean pristine bathroom whilst watching the beauty of their sibling relationship.

6.45pm read stories to children as they happily drink their milk.

7pm children quietly go to bed and fall quickly to sleep after a busy and productive day. Pour a small glass of chilled white wine and open laptop to whizz through a day’s emails .

8pm husband returns home to feast of slow-cooked curry and naan bread. Have an intelligent and thoughtful conversation over the dinner table about work, children and politics before snuggling up on sofa to watch Homeland, The Good Wife or similar.

10pm cleanse, exfoliate, tone and moisturise. Brush and floss. Read three chapters of book (not chick lit) before drifting off to sleep, looking forward to the next day.


What Life As A Mum Is Actually Like

6am toddler wakes by shouting “mummy me no want to be in bed. Me no like bed!!”. By the time you force yourself up they are stark naked and have woken the baby. Put kids in own bed, find Peppa Pig videos on the YouTube iPhone app and attempt a 30 min snooze. Quickly give up. 2f7da024889f11e29a0922000a1f8c1a_7

6.30am put toddler’s pyjamas back on and point both in the direction of CBeebies. Try to find a clean bottle and teat in the war zone that used to be kitchen. Find one, wonder how it managed to get blocked up with a sprig of rosemary. Feed baby. Offer toddler last nights leftover poppadoms. She’s so excited she jumps up and down.

7am go a bit mental at the sight of Postman Pat AGAIN. Boil kettle for third time that morning, must remember to make tea this time round. Kids have found set of musical instruments that were present from well-meaning relative and had been hidden under sofa by well-meaning parent. Wonder how husband can sleep through such racket

8am darling children still creating ‘music’. Make toast and jam for own breakfast, dropping it jam-side down on the carpet in the process. Remember all the washing that needs doing: when you get to the machine there are three day old wet clothes that were forgotten about. Put washing machine on again. Forget about washing again. No clean pants for husband.

9am realise the kids are probably going a bit mental as they’ve had nothing but poppadoms for breakfast. Throw clothes on (them and you),pretend nobody will notice last nights spag Bol stains (they will). Leave house late with kids eating an over-ripe, mushy banana. More mess.

9.30am late for toddler group. Remember on arrival that you haven’t yet brushed your teeth, washed your face or combed hair. Toddler has an altercation with another kid about sharing a plastic phone before pooing in her pants (you’ve forgotten a spare pair). Baby wails.


10.30am bribe toddler into silence at coffee shop with massive brownie (it must have some nutritional value..?). Stop baby wailing by jiggling up and down on knee. Stop jiggling… wailing is preferable over vomit. Walk home as quickly as possible as it’s bloody cold and raining again: have forgotten the buggy’s rain cover. Children cry. Not far away from that myself.

12pm feed overtired kids a lunch of toast and scrambled eggs. Feel guilty at lack of nutritional value so quickly chop up some cucumber, which they don’t eat.

1.30pm baby finally asleep but toddler doesn’t like bed again. Leave her with a couple of books, return 15 minutes to find pages ripped out of book and naked toddler. Put clothes back on and put her back to bed.

2pm toddler now asleep (on bedroom floor) but bed protestations have woken baby. Sit with baby on sofa, zone out in front of Jeremy Kyle. Feel slightly better about life as at least husband is not getting sister’s cousin’s sister pregnant.

3.30pm toddler awake. Is it wine time yet? Put CBeebies on for the kids and hide in the kitchen eating HobNobs.

4.30pm decide to do a lovely crafting activity: drawing pictures for daddy. Make a very promising start but return from loo to find pen all over the baby’s face. She was apparently “making him a lion, mummy”.

5.30pm remember it’s supposed to be dinner time about now. Baby tucks into an organic lasagne from a jar, toddler gets Peppa Pig pasta with sausages. She is thrilled with the ‘treat dinner’ and the tin says it contains one of their 5 a day. Bonus. Pour large glass of wine.


6.30pm throw kids in bath. Narrowly manage to stop toddler tipping bucket of water over baby’s head… she tips it on the floor instead. He cries. She cries.

7pm milk. Treat of a snuggle on the sofa watching ‘mummy’s programme’ (Come Dine With Me). 5 minutes of quiet.

7.30pm  bedtime. Crawl around on floor with glass of wine, picking bits of jigsaw up. Call husband and beg him to collect fish and chips on the way home… can’t face cooking, or unloading the dishwasher for that matter.

8.30pm stuff face with fish and chips before falling asleep on sofa. Wake up, give emails a cursory glance on phone, resolve to read and reply tomorrow. Crawl to bed, realising face remains unwashed.

10pm go to sleep vowing tomorrow will be better, house will be cleaner and tummy flatter. Regret HobNobs and fish and chips.

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110 thoughts on “What I Thought My Life As A Mum Would Be Like / What Life As A Mum Is Actually Like

  1. Jemma

    Love it! I’m sure this is on a good day haha i always aim for the mama would be but theres no such thing unless you have a few nannies, cleaner and a cook. i must admit before having my daughter I would super criticise my sister about how she would bring up her children. It’s only now I totally understand there is no right way and another rule I learnt was never never tell a mother how to raise their children – I’m surprised she didn’t kill me Xx

  2. Helen

    Yes yes and yes…..that is exactly how I perceived motherhood to be, and yes, your portrayal is much closer to reality. It is about survival not achievements. Yet each day there are glimmers of pure joy and rays of unconditional love, that make it all bearable.

  3. Dawnie

    Hahaaaaa. I loved this post. I’m actually tempted to try & ‘do’ the first day plan. Just for the sheer absurdity and giggles!

  4. Serena Welch

    lov it!! thanku for posting such an honest blog on a day as a REAL mum, I too forget to cook dinner! feel better knowing other mums do it :o) very amusing article, made hubby and I laugh.

  5. Annie

    So true, thanks for making me feel normal. Also remember programme on telltale about a very posh lady who had her pregnancy/birth plan and life after totally planned out. She was going to have a home water birth with private midwife, a night nurse at home so the baby would not alter routine, and go back to work with a nanny- reality was nhs hospital as complications, no sleep and working(?) From home, amazing how life doesn’t go to plan!
    I am now the mum of 2 teenage boys, who I think have been brought up reasonably well. However both my birthday and mothers day, no card, no presents, they don’t communicate, just grunt, and treat me like s*it. The only time they get animated is when the internet goes down!

  6. aloted

    totally feeling this post…until you become a mum you tend to judge other mums and how they run their homes… just wait to you become one…lol…

    like someone said motherhood is usually about surviving then perfection.

  7. Shortwife

    I think you have a hidden camera in my house…. All so familiar and I have only one baby. Just started back at work and now it’s even more chaotic. I’m sure one day I will have a clean house again. 2025 looks promising….

      1. Chantel Haynes

        Good luck with that! Young adults, teens, hormones, bladder, etc. Either up late, up early, up multiple times, and still tired!

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  9. Stephbo

    Hmmm did you really think that parenthood would be like your first scenario??? I don’t, which is why I don’t want to be a parent. Too much domestic drudgery for me. Don’t really fancy having my life ruled by an ungrateful baby shaped tyrant. Thank god women can now choose!!!

    1. Kerry

      @Stephbo – so why are you reading Mama UK then. Personal research? Being a parent is one of the most demanding and yet the most rewarding privileges that life affords. Hats off to the author that she can do all that and find the energy to write such an amusing and succinct account of a day in her life. Thank you for an entertaining and insightful read.

  10. Stephbo

    Thanks for your comment Kerry, I just clicked on a link to this on Twitter in an idle moment and appreciated the good writing, however it just reinforces that parenthood is not for me. I don’t see child rearing as a privilege I’m afraid and actually I think the ‘privilege’ belief is a modern phenomenon brought on by the availability of birth control. Before that, motherhood was something that just happened to you if you wanted it to or not, nothing privileged about that!
    I’m just happy that we have a choice, but I was surprised that people still think about parenthood the way described in the first scenario, especially as all the parents I see are bog eyed from exhaustion and covered in baby sick aren’t shy in telling everyone all about it.

    1. Alice Harold Post author

      I think that parenthood is so bloody hard that so many people like to pretend their life is like the first scenario… the parenting equivalent of having their shit together I suppose. I’ve seen lots of it (even/especially in blogs online), women living out these perfect, charming lives. Its an unobtainable reality and I wish more parents I know were more open about being covered in baby sick and bog eyed like you said, I think it would ease the pressure to live the perfect parenting life!

  11. Mrs O

    Hahah my husband and I enjoyed this! I like the waking before the kids to relax and chat! Ahahah as well as the cucumber- all I can say its a great thing that little miss likes cherry tomatoes! I think all mothers have days like this and for some reason everyone is trying to pretend that they’re just sailing through! There should be a course of ‘what to expect after you expected’ ; ) at least it won’t come as such a surprise!

  12. Angelmouse75

    Thank you so much for being brave enough to admit that you’re not perfect when I’m still trying to convince people that I can work and raise three kids (luckily two of them are tweenagers now) without any adverse effect on my home or my career, despite wearing odd socks to work every day for the last two weeks, forgetting that it’s my turn to cook on a far too regular basis and cant remember the last time I marked an essay all the way though in one sitting. Perhaps now I can be a bit braver too!
    Btw, my younger sister has always been on of those people who wants to give you advice despite not having kids of her own. However she’s now pregnant with her first child and I can’t wait!!!

  13. Kelly Innes

    #this #is #my #life *passes Gin* *consoles self with the fact that they won’t remember this when they are older so save ‘good parenting’ for when they will remember it*

  14. Kelly Innes

    #this #is #my #life *passes Gin* *consoles self with the fact that they won’t remember this when they are older so save ‘good parenting’ for when they will remember it*

  15. Claire

    LOVE this article!

    My baby is now 10 weeks today, and I must say my own vision of motherhood whilst pregnant was very similar, we all want the perfect life for our family. I’d read gina ford and was convinced my baby would be in a routine, I’d even written down my routine and when I told friends/family/colleagues etc they would find it hysterical, I became quite defensive ‘why wouldn’t my routine work’ even my husband believed me and had faith that super organised, OCD me would pull this off…

  16. Kimberley Jackson

    Apart from haing perfect make up. I can see why my friends call.me an ‘earth mummy’ i am the top artical. The bottom one made me laugh and i do feel for people!! Good routine helps everything :) the top is my life .. perhaps to much routine :/

  17. Laura

    I’m actually crying reading this, you have described my day to a T! Was feeling like the worst mother in the world and although I still do, at least I know I’m not alone. Thank you

  18. emily

    I don’t understand why the man isn’t doing all this..I’d never do it I’ve given birth to the thing that’s my job done!

  19. Nina - Spencersarc.com

    same in this house except Here its Toddler twins not baby & Toddler.
    Its good to know were all in the same boat! x

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  22. Francesca Richards-Spiller

    Yes, this sums up my day with toddler girl and baby boy beautifully…except now the washing machine has broken with 3 day old wet washing TRAPPED INSIDE! This definitely helps to work out where the day went and why the house is completely trashed when other half returns home…

  23. Lili Blume

    Not to be too up tight, but this statement says something completely different from what I’m pretty sure you meant: “Did you have any pre-conceptions of motherhood before your children were born? I certainly did, and mine were of baby powder scented babes wrapped in soft, fluffy white towels, home baking in my lovingly decorated country kitchen and nature walks in the sunshine.” Right now, it says that before your children were born, you fantasized about wrapping your babies in towels and baking them in your kitchen.

  24. Elena Hogg

    Alice, this is hilarious and brilliantly written! I edit a magazine called Seeds & Saplings, which is the St Albans & District’s NCT publication. May I have your permission to run this article in our magazine? You’d be fully cited as the author and give the name of, and the link to, your blog. The magazine is not-for-profit, I’m afraid, and is paid for by the adverts in it, so no money. All my articles are donated (or scrounged for by me, who am also not paid) and I would be happy to send you a copy either electronically or by post. Thanks!

      1. Elena Hogg

        Great, thanks Alice! Would you like a hard copy or electronic version? Can you e.mail me the e.mail address or postal address you’d like me to send to? Thanks!

  25. Elena Hogg

    Hi again, Alice! Sorry to keep leaving comments here – I have no e.mail address to use for you. By all means, e.mail me directly – you have my e.mail address! Just wanted to ask if I can use your images to accompany the article? Thanks!

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  27. Carolyne Carrie Doran

    Brilliant article! Thankfully I was a late starter with the baby thing, compared to my friends, so I had absolutely no illusions at all that it would be like the first scenario :-D My life has been somewhere in the middle of the two, which I think is about as perfect as it can get :-)

  28. Helen Kitto

    I’m sitting in my kitchen stealing five minutes peace while #4 does two precious hours at pre-school. Two hours where I once envisaged getting on with some work and/or walking the dog, after feeding our chickens and collecting eggs. In reality of course, the chickens got lobbed some dodgy grapes from the fridge, eggs remain uncollected, dog has given up asking and gone to sleep, and I’m escaping on the computer trying hard not to notice that there are still two crates of camping gear in the corner of the kitchen I haven’t put away yet. We last camped a month ago.
    We took our bedroom carpet up rather than keep cleaning up poo and wee from both kids and animals, and I’m considering a time-lock on the youngest’s bedroom door, set to open only after 7am (after soundproofing the door of course). I can’t remember what the kitchen surfaces look like it’s so long since I’ve seen them (my lovely retro toaster is hidden by chemist bags, broken toys awaiting surgery, half-made junk models and a broken torch).
    Long live real life!

  29. Jason Dilworth

    I’d love to read your husbands version:

    How I Thought It’d Be- Wake Up. Go to work. Come home to curry. Snuggle. Might get lucky.
    How It Turned Out – Wake up (slight kids noise from downstairs). Go to work. Come home with fish and chips. Snuggle. Might get lucky.

  30. Marcia Campbell

    I so love this. I was exactly the same as you. Dreamed so long to have a child, it would be perfect, new baby, new clothes, new lifestyle. Instead had all of those and no partner, who became incredibly jealous of new baby. Keep going you get better at organising yourself and 21 years down the line it really isn’t any better. I’m still clearing up after my ‘BABY’ !

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