What kind of mum are you?

Why not take this overly-simplified, horribly stereotyped test to tell you what you already know?

I know, I’m selling it HARD.

When you open the curtains to find the weather is grey and drizzly with that fine rain that apparently gets you really wet, you know, wetter than other water falling from the sky, do you:

(a) Fist pump the air, skip into the kitchen and gleefully set up a craft activity? Wet weather is to be celebrated with paint, glitter and glue!

(b) Cry into your coffee, scan the weather forecast on your phone for any glimmer of hope, and then set up “camp” on the sofa with the kids duvets, some popcorn and stick on Frozen for the eleven-thousandth time?

2. When you arrange to hold playdate at a friend’s house do you:

(a) Worry because there might be access to toys/ food/ tv that you don’t approve of?

(b) Fist pump the air because 1. You don’t have to cook 2. You don’t have to tidy up 3. you don’t have to cook 4. You don’t have to tidy up?

3. When your kid begs to bake some cakes do you:

(a) Break out the food processor, pastel hued Joseph&Joseph mixing bowls – one per child – and matching silicone baking tins?

(b) Buy a Peppa Pig packet mix from the Co-op and precariously balance the paper cases in a roasting tin. Referee between children who ALL want to stir the cake mix AT THE SAME TIME IT’SMYTURNMUMMEEEEEMYTURNMINE!

4. On a trip to the playground, do you:

(a) Lead a game of hunt the Gruffalo/ bear/ witch in amongst the trees with your kids and any others who want to join in?

(b) Send them to hide, count loudly to ten, and then pretend to look for them while you sit on a bench and shout, “Are you behind the swings? Are you under this leaf? Nooooooo… I wonder where you could be…”?

5. When you’re at soft-play do you:

(a) Throw yourself with wild abandon up and around the curiously sticky plastic surfaces, without wondering why they are quite so tacky?

(b) Send them into the melee alone – they’ll be fine, the REALLY big kids are at school?

6. Do you cook up elaborate plans for day-trips because:

(a) It’s important to show them the world outside their little bubble?

(b) The more time spent out of the house, the less mess there is for you to tidy up?

7. Do you look at friends without children and:

(a) Pity them the fun and laughter they’re missing out on?

(b) Envy the lack of contact with bodily fluids that they make on a daily basis, and the adult conversations that they get to finish without requests to be accompanied to the toilet for a poo?

8. When negotiating with a two-year-old about whether its reasonable to use kitchen scissors do you:

(a) Get on their level, look them in the eye and explain calmly that scissors are dangerous, are not toys, and offer a hug in exchange?

(b) Swap them for a KitKat?

9. When you want to shower/ wash hair/ defuzz do you:

(a)bribe the kids with snacks and sit them on your bed with Paw Patrol?

(b) Get up early and do it before they wake up?

10. When off on a childfree overnight jaunt do you post on social media:

(a) How much you are going to miss the kids (

b) How much you are going to miss the kids but also now much you’re looking forward to guilt-free drinking/ bacon you don’t have to share/ reading newspapers/ maybe a bonk?

Now, in true 1990s Smash Hits fashion, count up the number of As and Bs that you chose:

If you answered mostly A: congratulations! You are a mum and you love your children unconditionally. You are doing your best to keep them alive and happy, while hoping they don’t turn out absolute arseholes, and that really is all that matters!

If you answered a mixture of As and Bs: congratulations! You are a mum and you love your children unconditionally. You are doing your best to keep them alive and happy, while hoping they don’t turn out absolute arseholes, and that really is all that matters!

If you answered mostly B: congratulations! You are a mum and you love your children unconditionally. You are doing your best to keep them alive and happy, while hoping they don’t turn out absolute arseholes, and that really is all that matters!

Dress like a mum? Wear leggings.

I bent over in the park the other day while wearing dungarees. The straps had been sliding off my shoulders so I had shortened them earlier in the day. I imagine the experience when I bent to rescue Blaze is akin to how cheddar feels when faced with the cheese wire…

The truth is, I like fashion. But in my life fashion and offspring go together like pineapple on pizza – I don’t think it works, but I know others disagree.

I like wearing nice clothes, feeling good and not looking like a woman who showered in super-glue then tripped over in a charity shop. But aside from the issues with finding time to shop,  I also find it difficult to find anything that survives the rigours that parenthood present me with better than <drum roll please> leggings…

I know, I know, they are a sartorial co-conspiritor with Crocs in their screams of “I have given up, dress me in Cath Kidston and consign me to the crochet corner” (put down the needles people, it’s just not my bag) but other forms of outfit offer up too-too many challenges.

First up, crack. Don’t like it. Whitney did and look what happened to her. OK, the kind of crack I’m talking about is unlikely to end your life, but just like the kind of crack that can, no one wants it shoved in their face at baby sign.

Unfortunately however, sitting on the floor singing nursery rhymes, or crawling up the slide at soft-play because the small person has been losing her shit for the last fifteen minutes about the “wind” (air conditioning), mean that the opportunities to share some crack would have Whitney and Bobbie beating down my door. For this reason, most pairs of jeans are simply not duty-appropriate.

And that includes Mum jeans.

I mean, they look friendly enough, they’re even named for us. Surely they are designed to withstand the demands of modern motherhood and are totally down with smears of bodily fluids and food.

But Mums beware. These jeans are not your friend.

Never, in fact, has an item of clothing been so misleadingingly named. I sometimes imagine that the childfree 20somethings who decided these things should be the epitome of cool are sitting somewhere in Shoreditch drinking a chai latte, and having a secret snigger at all the mums who have fallen for the hype. They smirk as we wincingly lunge to perform the kneeling-nappy-change while our jeans act as a sadistic yardstick of where our bodies used to be.

The harsh truth is that we need to be down with our own kids so if Mum jeans are cutting nothing except our poor beleaguered lady bits, then that’s no fun for anyone.

Worried about the cheese-wire-mum-tum-flat-bum effect of the Mum jeans therefore, you may reach for the other middle-class mum sartorial stalwart, dungarees. I am in fact a fan of their multi-pocketed, waistband-less offer, and they are very kind to those of us still breastfeeding, but even though their boob access is great there is another kind of access on which they’re not so slick – the toilet.

There is nothing more annoying than needing to remove layers of clothing before you can wee. It’s just about manageable if you’re accompanied only by your phone, or if you’re nicely ensconced at home, but add to the game two children battling to see who can escape from the public cubicle first, a non-existent weakened pelvic floor, followed by the soggy realisation that at some point during the strip and struggle your strap has fallen down the loo, and it becomes clear that dungarees are not our answer.

And so we seek. We cast our gaze wide (or at least as far as filling up the shopping bag at ASOS, but never pulling the trigger) for an item of clothing that will salvage a smidgeon of cool while avoiding crack, cheese-wire and wringing out the bog-water. And we land on the tube skirt.

We’ve done it, we declare! We’ve found the perfectly-practical-parenting-clothing-conundrum solution! Sod Gok, we mamas have got this.

Forgiving waistband? Check. Crack coverage? Check. Can be worn a multitude of ways… Can be thrown in the washing machine…Doesn’t need ironing? Check, check, CHECK!

I paired it with some opaques and Stan Smiths and that day I stepped out proud that this mum ain’t gonna be consigned to the sartorial scrapheap after all. I wandered down the road all blissful in that bubble until the small-small sniffed out my happiness and legged it for the South Circular. That’ll learn ‘er.

All my instincts screamed RUUUUNN before he reached the snarling, yarling traffic but all my legs could do is match his stumpy-legged-little-stride-length perfectly, as the tube skirt took on unwelcome multi-tasking properties as a resistance band around my knees. The only thing for it was to hitch that bad boy up and lunge to grab his hood, getting a grip of it just in time while losing my grasp on anything resembling my dignity.

So the tube skirt is done, and the search continues.

Or does it? Because lurking there in your wardrobe from a time when exercise was a thing you dreaded rather than dreamed about, are leggings. Can I, you wonder, just wear them?

Well, let’s look at the evidence…

Sleep-deprivation has been proven to greatly diminish one’s ability to make decisions and choosing an outfit means time spent in front of the wardrobe/ mirror deliberating, which is time that could have been spent sleeping. So, throw on some leggings with a tee and sweatshirt and you’ve achieved an act of self-care and charity for the average parent’s addled mind.

This outfit also comes with a get-out-of-fashion-free-card as even if you look like a sack of shizz, people will assume that either (a) you are on you way to do some exercise, therefore you deserve props for being “on it” OR (2) you have just finished exercising, therefore you deserve props for being “on it”. Win win.

No one looks at a lady in leggings and thinks she’s simply fed up of being diced up by her denim.

In fact the only significant downside to succumbing to the dulcet tones of lycra whispering on lycra, and a waistband that no amount of cake can defeat, is the fact that there are no pockets and this can be problematic.

So my final piece of advice should you choose the stretch rather than slice, elastic rather than crack-fantastic option, is to make sure you have pockets elsewhere. Otherwise you *might* find yourself rummaging around in your pants in the playground because that *might* be where you have stashed your phone.

Just saying.