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Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson on how to deal with tantrums, sleep deprivation + judgy parents...

Podcasters and Scummy Mummies authors Helen Thorne and Ellie Gibson offer their parenting advice, Scummy-style...


Comedy duo and podcasters extraordinaires Helen Thorn and Ellie Gibson, AKA the Scummy Mummies have a book out! Scummy Mummies is full of funny stuff about being a parent, some tongue-in-cheek advice, and a load of Scummy confessions from their friends, famous people and fans. And though the be-jumpsuited ones declare that they’re not parenting experts, we could resist asking for their Scummy advice on some pressing parenting issues. This is what they had to say...

What to do when you to breastfeed or bottlefeed a baby around judgy people...

Ellie: Obviously we do not pick a side. I think it’s ridiculous that there are sides. We all know how hard it is being mummies anyway without being judged for how you are feeding your baby and for us the important thing is that the baby gets fed. Just do what’s right for you and have confidence in that decision and try not to let the bastards get you down.

Helen: Yeah, and just squirt breast milk in their eyes. Or formula! Squirt it however you can! But yeah it is really hard, especially in cafes and things like that. You get the judgy faces whichever way you are doing it.

How to deal with nappy explosions…

Ellie: Buy cheap clothes! We’ve all done it: we all go to the White Company and see this beautiful set of white and grey coordinates, and you think that would be lovely. But at some point in the next six months you will be cutting that babygro off with a pair of pinking shears. They will shit all over the nice clothes.

Helen: That’s right, I bought my lovely GAP coordinates and, by the end of it, it was just ASDA five packs the whole way.

How to deal with sleep deprivation…

Ellie: I really struggled with both my children. They are good eaters but they don’t sleep. It’s not for them!

Helen: They like tits too much!

Ellie: Yeah they like the boob. I spent a hundred pounds on books and magic tummy warmers, and none of it worked. So I would say, ask for help. Don’t feel guilty about saying to a friend or a relative, ‘Can you just come and hold the baby so I can sleep or have a bath?’

Helen: Yeah, that’s right. I think I always was ‘I can do this, I can cope by myself’. My children didn’t sleep either. I lived on Hobnobs and instant coffee. And I think the second time around we didn’t do all the baby classes. Because what I wanted to do was just lie down with my baby and catch up with some sleep.

How to deal with toddler tantrums…

Helen: I think it’s best to try to be calm, but in your head do all the swears. Saying, ‘No, we are not going to eat that thing off the floor’, and in you head going, ‘For fuck’s sake!’ And know that when they go to sleep, you are gonna down a mug of wine.

Ellie: I think just try not to worry too much, especially if the tantrum is in public, because there is nothing you can do about it. Just deal with what’s happening and worry about you and your child. 

Helen: I just usually give parents a smile to say, ‘It’s alright.’

Ellie: When I had the whole smile thing, it made me wanna give that person a smack.

How to deal with judgy parents, and are we all judgy parents if we’re being honest?...

Ellie: Let’s be honest, we’ve all judged each other. That’s not just a parent thing. That’s nature to look at other people and judge what they are doing because it makes us feel better about ourselves!

Helen: Surely does!

Ellie: But doing it publicly doesn’t help anyone.

Helen: It’s good to have a friend you can be really honest with, who you can ring up and say ‘Can you believe what that woman said to me?!’ Sometimes the most confident parents who are a bit judgy might be really insecure with themselves and you just don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors.

Ellie: You can’t control people judging you. But who cares? If your child is happy and relatively normal then who cares what people think of how you are achieving it?

:: The Scummy Mummies book Scummy Mummies is out now!