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Doing It All: The 10 biggest lies that mums tell non-mums

September 25th 2014 / Emma Bartley / 12 comments

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Frighteningly, the next generation of children is being raised by a bunch of barefaced liars. Here are just a few of the whoppers we tell women who haven’t had kids yet

Following her hilarious take on the 50 things no mum has time to do once the baby arrives, Emma Bartley reveals all the lies they tell to those who are yet to experience motherhood...

1. “Childbirth is fine - just like bad period pain.”

Along with others in the same family of falsehoods, such as women wouldn’t do it again if it was so awful, and it’s only one day of your life – “After two days of labouring I knew that one was total BS,” says my friend Veronica – this is a white lie that we tell pregnant women to make them feel better. Because the baby’s got to come out somehow, and what good will it do her to know that it will quite likely take 36 hours of blood, sweat and second-degree tears?

“My labour was great,” I tell people. “The whole thing took about 14 hours start to finish, and the baby was born in the birthing pool.” You’ll notice that I’ve left out the part where I was screaming I’M GOING TO DIE I CAN’T DO IT I’M GOING TO DIE.

2. “You can have it all, as long as you’re organised.”

Sorry, have you organised a way to be in two places at once? If not: bullsh*t.

MORE GLOSS: 50 things you don't have time for now that you're a mother

3. “Breastfeeding doesn’t hurt.”

I breastfed for a whole year, and I can exclusively reveal that IT KILLS. Maybe not for everyone all the time, but certainly for most people at some point.

“If you feel any pain, that’s a sign that something’s wrong,” the breastfeeding counsellor told my antenatal group. As it turns out, though, there’s quite a lot that can go wrong when you’re attaching a hungry child’s mouth on to your tit 8 to 12 times per day.

Bad latch? Mastitis? Tiny teeth? “Strong suck” – my GP’s cheerful analysis when I showed him my white, bloodless nipples around the four-month mark? All fairly common. Yet you’ll never hear about this, because the propaganda operation around breastfeeding is like something out of Putin’s Russia.

4. “I can’t believe you spent that much on a handbag/shoes/a holiday!”

Yeah, you can. You used to as well, before you had kids.

5. "I don't actually mind the nappies."

Nappies have to be dealt with, but let's not kid ourselves: we're getting up close and personal with actual human faeces, multiple times a day. Sometimes it leaks out of the sides. Sometimes they wriggle around in it while you're reaching for a baby wipe. Sometimes they've been eating sweetcorn *gags*.

MORE GLOSS: 10 things they don't tell you about pregnancy

6. “It’s brought us closer as a couple.”

Come off it! Having a baby is like that psychological experiment where they take a group of people and make one half prisoners and the other half prison guards.

As a woman, having a baby smashes your identity into a million pieces. Everyone treats you differently; your body is wrecked; your hormones go nuts; your career is in the toilet; even getting out of the house is a challenge.

Meanwhile your partner swans about living his normal life, coming and going as he pleases, earning his own money, all his body parts exactly where they always were – and occasionally offers up a comment on the state of the living room.

Obviously, you hate his living guts. Obviously.

7. "It's amazing how quickly you adapt."

"It is ridiculously hard to adapt to never seeing the outside world after 6.30pm without a military-style plan," says Clare.

8. "Maternity leave is amazing, I never get bored."

This lie is typically told by the kind of mother who manages her baby's schedule as if it were an employee.

"Penelope has baby singing on a Monday, baby yoga on Tuesday, baby massage on Wednesday, baby swimming on Thursday and baby sensory on Friday," one mum in our local cafe told me. I looked at Penelope, a chubby little eight-week-old, to see if she was showing any signs of being exceptionally advanced as a result of all this - but she just looked at me with a blank expression and spewed up everywhere.

I took this to be her way of saying, "Mum's hypercompetitive scheduling is fooling no one. She's miserable as sin being away from her work BlackBerry and may actually go insane if she has to sing The Wheels on the Bus one more time."

9. “Sleep deprivation? You get used to it.”

For a brief, gruesome period when my baby was waking at 3am, 4am, 5am and 5.30am, I’d tell myself I was fine. “A shower is as good as a rest,” I’d think, if I’d managed to make it into the shower – or “A glass of water is as good as a rest,” if I hadn’t.

Meanwhile, I suffered appalling memory lapses, would burst into tears at the slightest thing and passed out every time I so much as got near the sofa. If you call that getting used to it…

10. “You’re so lucky.”

Alright, this one is sort of true. Non-mums enjoy a lot of luxuries that mums can't expect to see again for the best part of 18 years: stuff like spontaneity, time alone, and a socially acceptable relationship with alcohol. But you know the most messed-up thing of all about mothers? While we know our lives are a living hell... the alternative is unthinkable.

Follow Emma on Twitter @Barters and Get The Gloss @GetTheGloss

facebook.com/doingitallmums

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  • Hayley Johnson
  • January 15th 2015

Just read this article at 2.15am while breastfeeding my 8week old baby for the second time tonight propped bolt up right by pillows so I don't fall asleep, one eye open, one shut, banging headache & just heard my toddler get out of his bed, husband gone to sleep on the settee as he. 'Cant sleep' (gggrrrr) and through gritted teeth a massive smile came across my worn out face knowing that all the above is happening to the other million mummy's out there. I adore my boys so much but people are definitely telling porkies if they say it's a breeze. Thanks Emma for making me laugh :) xxxx

  • Dan Edge
  • January 8th 2015

"Meanwhile your partner swans about living his normal life, coming and going as he pleases, earning his own money, all his body parts exactly where they always were – and occasionally offers up a comment on the state of the living room."

Fuck off do I still have my normal life and earn my own money and come and go as I please. What kind of man is the author's partner for her to have that opinion?

  • LAura bevan
  • December 12th 2014

Have a 3 day old (2nd child) and forgot all these things. ..Ooh how it comes flooding back! Gear article x

  • Catherine Clark
  • December 7th 2014

Ha ha all so true. Made me smile this morning. Perfectly put.

  • sian wilson
  • October 11th 2014

Brilliant Emma

  • Sarah Cozens
  • October 8th 2014

Emma you are a genius.
Bless you for making us all feel normal.

  • Kate Mayers
  • September 28th 2014

I never want to meet Penelope's mum

  • riaz waireri
  • September 25th 2014

Read this at 07:15 this morning. Thought, right brilliant... I'm in love with Emma Bartley because obviously.... Obviously she understands :)

  • Emma Bartley
  • September 25th 2014

Ahhh thanks guys. @Sharon - did you say Prada? #joke #sortof

  • sharon benning-prince
  • September 25th 2014

Emma that was too funny and yet notwithstanding all of the above, I would not trade my two monkeys for all the Prada shoes in the world... well maybe sometimes! Probably this morning actually!

  • Charlotte Hughes
  • September 25th 2014

As a Mum of 2, I chuckled my way through this nodding in agreement. Brilliantly written ! Thank you Emma, for brightening up my morning.

  • Louise Pearson
  • September 25th 2014

Oh my goodness how hysterical. Brilliantly observed and so true. Love it Emma Bartley!!

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