Lockdown getting to you? If, like us, you're reaching for the wine and struggling to cope during these tough times, Gill Sims' brand new novel, 'Why Mummy's Sloshed: The Bigger the Kids, the Bigger the Drink' needs to be on your must-read list.
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Mummy's kids are now navigating the trials and tribulations of reaching A-level age. She's feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated… and the only thing that Mummy knows for sure is that the bigger the kids, the bigger the drink.
To celebrate the launch, Gill has penned an exclusive short story for HELLO!. Read on for an ultra relatable snapshot of life as a mum...
Sadie stirred at the sound of the alarm. It couldn’t be morning yet, could it? She was deep in a lovely dream, where she had randomly bumped into Tom Hardy in the street and he had invited her to go for a cocktail with him and now she was sipping a Cosmopolitan (her subconscious seemed stuck in the early noughties) and gazing soulfully into his eyes while he talked about his rescue dogs. Tom (he'd told Sadie to call him Tom) was just suggesting that she must come over to his fabulous film star house sometime and meet his dogs when the alarm started blaring and shattered this lovely illusion. Ugh. Sadie rolled over and groped for her phone.
She had set her alarm to play Adele, crooning soothingly as she woke up, but one of her darling children had borrowed her phone yesterday because theirs was out of battery (why were her children’s phones perpetually either out of battery or out of credit?) and had changed it to something loud and modern and shouty. This, no doubt, was her precious moppets' idea of a hilarious joke, due to their insistence that as far as Sadie was concerned, music had ended in 1999, which was plainly ridiculous because she had downloaded (DOWNLOADED, not bought the CDs) at least three of Adele’s albums, not to mention Michael Bublé's Christmas album!
Sadie kicked her husband, Luke, a man who seemed able to sleep soundly through any noises relating to their family, whether it was alarms, crying babies needing night feeds, toddlers projectile vomiting, or teenagers coming home from parties at ungodly hours of the morning. Luke grunted and continued to sleep, no doubt dreaming blissfully of cocktails with Keeley Hawes while she showed him photos of her rescue cats. Did Keeley Hawes even have cats? Maybe sleek, elegant disdainful cats, rather than moggies?
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Sadie suddenly realised that she did not actually have time to lie here wondering about Keeley Hawes’s hypothetical cats, and leapt out of bed, pulling the covers off Luke in the process, who sat up mumbling something indignant as Sadie raced through to get the children out of bed.
An hour followed of shouting and threats (Sadie); lost art projects (Ella); missing PE kits (Toby); complaints about the lack of his favourite brand of orange juice, and enquiries whether Sadie had remembered to renew his car insurance (Luke), and a small puddle on the floor because despite Sadie's repeated requests for someone to please let the dog out for his morning ablutions, no one had bothered to open the door for poor Timmy the Border Terrier to do what he needed to (the children had been in a Famous Five phase when they begged and pleaded with Sadie to let them get a dog, insisting that of course they would take care of a dog, and feed it and walk it, and brush it and clear up if necessary and Sadie would definitely not be stuck with looking after it. Obviously, these promises lasted for precisely one day after Timmy joined the family, and then he was Sadie’s responsibility, along with the guinea pigs the children had made similar promises about, and which Timmy was very keen to snack on).
Finally, after Sadie had attempted to have a shower while answering shouts through the door about "Darling, have you seen my car keys? I really need to leave NOW, and I can’t find them anywhere?" and had logged onto ParentPay while trying to get dressed because Toby was shouting through the door that he had just remembered that today was "like, the LAST DAY, Mum, to sign up for the school trip and you need to pay the deposit, NOW"- this being the very first that Sadie had heard of the trip, and read the riot act to Ella until she grudgingly returned the posh and ludicrously expensive mascara Sadie had treated herself to last week after reading an article about the importance of self-care, which was all very well, but clearly the author of the article did not live with teenagers, or she would know that they are why you cannot have nice things, while Ella whined that it wasn’t fair and she needed it for a make-up video for TikTok, everyone was out the door.
There had been a last minute panic when Toby suddenly remembered he needed his football boots, and he, like, couldn't remember where he'd last had them, and Ella revealed that once again her phone was out of charge, but Sadie unearthed the boots from the Pile Of Doom under the coat rack and flung a battery pack at Ella and waved her cherubs off with a cheery smile. "Bye darlings!" Sadie said brightly "Love you! Have a good day!" The children set off down the path without so much as a backwards look or a "Bye Mum!"
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Sadie sighed. "Bye Mum!" she muttered sarcastically to herself "Thanks Mum! Gosh, Mum, where would we be without you, Mum?"
Sadie glanced at her watch. Oh no. She was going to be late again She shooed Timmy into his basket with bribes of Dentastix and promises that the dog walker would be here for him very soon and shrugged on her coat and hurtled down the front path.
"Morning!" said Mrs Elliott next door, popping up from under her wall, where she had been… had she been hiding? thought Sadie in confusion. She looked more closely. No, Mrs Elliott had been weeding. Sadie looked sorrowfully at the shameful state of her own front garden, compared to Mrs Elliott's neat borders and glorious dahlias. She really must tackle it this weekend. Imagine a life in which you had time to do a little leisurely weeding at 8.30am! Oh God, Mrs Elliott was putting down her trowel, Sadie really didn’t have time to chat!
"You look fraught, dear!" said Mrs Elliott. "Gee, thanks!" thought Sadie ‘Surely that’s just a socially acceptable way of telling me I look dreadful!"
"I don’t know how you do it, juggling everything!" went on Mrs Elliott "A dog, a job, a husband and those children!"
Please, please, please don’t complain about the children, Sadie prayed silently to herself. Please don’t let them have been spitting or swearing or something even more antisocial.
"Yes, they're such lovely children" Mrs Elliott said, somewhat to Sadie’s surprise "Toby now, he met me on the way back from the shops when he was coming home from school, and carried my shopping home!"
"Toby!" said Sadie in surprise, given that the night before Toby had apparently been unable to carry a pile of his clean pants up the stairs and had merely left them at the bottom, on the basis that he could "just as easily get them there as if he put them away in a drawer".
"Yes, he's a sweet boy. And Ella's such a joy, isn't she! She often pops in after school before you're home from work and shows me those videos she makes on her phone! Clever girl."
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Sadie gaped open mouthed at Mrs Elliott. These delightful children did not sound like hers. Could Mrs Elliott have got confused with someone else's, nicer, better children?
Mrs Elliott saw the look of disbelief on Sadie’s face and laughed. "You’re wondering if I’ve got the right children, aren't you?" she said " remember that feeling. Everyone would tell me how nice my kids were, and I couldn’t believe we were talking about the same children. I'm sure they’re hard work for you right now, mine certainly were at that age, but I just thought you'd like to know that as far as everyone else is concerned, they are wonderful, and you’ll see that side too one day. You're doing a good job, you know!"
"Am I?" said Sadie in wonder, as most of the time she felt like she was running on the spot to keep up and never quite managing to meet everyone’s expectations, and slightly letting everyone down.
"Oh yes!" said Mrs Elliott firmly "But sometimes we need to hear it from someone else. But you really are."
"Thank you" said Sadie faintly "Thank you very much."
"Anyway, I'll let you go, I don’t want to make you late. But you looked like you needed to hear that today."
"I did" said Sadie "I really did. Thank you again"
As Sadie walked off, with her head a little higher and a spring in her step that hadn’t been there before, Mrs Elliott shouted after her "Also, I LOVE your shoes, they're fabulous!"
On the train to work, a woman got on a couple of stops after Sadie, wearing quite the nicest coat she had ever seen. As they both got off the train together, Sadie caught the woman’s eye - something she usually avoided doing on public transport at all costs. The woman frowned at her slightly, for breaking the rules of Train Etiquette.
"I just wanted to say" said Sadie in a rush "that I really really love your coat, you look amazing!"
The other woman looked slightly taken aback, then she smiled. "Thanks!" she said.
She was still smiling as she walked off down the platform, with a spring in her step that she hadn't had when she got on the train. Sadie was still smiling too.
Liked this story? Why not try Gill's fourth and final hilarious installment in the bestselling 'Why Mummy' series: 'Why Mummy's Sloshed: The Bigger the Kids, the Bigger the Drink', HarperCollins, £12.99.
'Why Mummy's Sloshed: The Bigger the Kids, the Bigger the Drink', currently £4.50, Amazon
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