Why Mummy Swears is the sequel to Why Mummy Drinks, by the number one, Sunday Times bestselling author, Gill Sims. Gill’s journey into writing began with the hugely popular ‘mummy’ blog Peter and Jane. Initially Gill thought she would be solely entertaining her family and friends, however, her hilarious observations on parenting, and living with a recalcitrant rescue dog have been so well received the first book was born. It is a great testament to Gill how the stories have evolved from the blog to the page turners, which led to her much deserved accolade as a best selling author.
Why Mummy Swears ‘the struggles of an exasperated mum’ trying to balance family life with a career, as well as wrestle with her own inadequacies based on what is perceived to be the ‘perfect’ mother.
The book is jam packed with cultural references bringing an old story of the stereotypical, hapless, (child hating) parent, into the 21st century. New battles are taking place, parents fighting against the onslaught of technology and social media, as they try to rear their little ‘moppets’ while prizing tablets from their tight grip, and comparing themselves against the perfect Instafamilies.
Gill tells the story with the most side-achingly funny observational comedy for those who have ever parented can relate to. Most excitingly, Ellen our anti-hero voices her honest opinion in ways I’m sure we all have dreamed of doing. Daring to swear in inappropriate situations encourages the reader to spur her on and do her worst.
With the children getting older, Ellen decides to make the break from part-time working mummy to full-time career woman. This decision changes the family dynamic dramatically and causes a series of events which spiral out of control, mostly by denying, or as she would tell it, not admitting to having children at all. Here follows an interesting dialogue as to how mothers are treated in the workplace. Raising questions, and perceptions, possibly not having been explored in current literature, and attacked with the same humour as the rest of Gill’s writing.
The story isn’t just a comical parenting journey, it raises many questions about modern parenting, how things have changed since raising a family was no longer the responsibility of the extended family. How we are now left to draw on the conflicting and judgemental advice from other sources, mum and nan no longer know best and lead us on our merry way.
Among the life changes the family experience as Ellen starts to focus on her career, are also some ‘asides’. A trip to stay with the in-laws in France introduces us to a sister in law who lives an alternative lifestyle, Ellen is forced to join in some rather suspect escapades during a poetry recital and being British, stiff upper lip and all that, this makes for some hilarious dialogue between them. Ellen doesn’t just swear, she is the Mistress of the comebacks, and Queen of effective brush offs. With poems entitled Mammaries Are Not For Men, and My Yoni, the comedic possibilities are endless, and they delivered every time.
Gill has succeeded in updating a fairly familiar subject that has been done well by others before her and is now in a class of her own. It is quite popular on social media to pretend you can’t stand your kids, and fake being the worst mum in the world, while others also faking being the best. But, to do it well, be 100% accurately observational and allow readers to recognise themselves and laugh as a result of that, takes a writing skill Gill hasn’t just mastered but excelled at to the nth degree.
Other authors to add to your list if you enjoy Why Mummy Swears, Sophie Kinsella (My Not So Perfect Life), The Umumsy Mum (The Unmumsy Mum) Mojo Joyes (The Peacock Emporium), Fiona Gibson (The Mum Who Got Her Life Back), Kathryn Wallace (Absolutely Smashing It: When # fml means family).