Mum of four Natalie Brown takes part in Female First's 'seven things' series following the release of her telling-it-how-it-is parenting memoir Confessions of a Crummy Mummy - The Baby Years.

Natalie Brown

Natalie Brown

An antidote to the traditional parenting manual, Confessions of a Crummy Mummy – The Baby Years lifts the lid on a subject the hugely successful genre of telling-it-how-it-is parenting memoirs has yet to touch on: giving birth during a global pandemic. And let's just say giving birth during a global pandemic was not in the birth plan!

An easy-to-digest and quick-paced list-style format offers a collection of witty and brutally honest confessions time-poor mums can dip in and out of and back into again. Starting with the birth and what really happens to your lady bits after pushing a human being out of your foo-foo, chapters are split into confessions on subjects including breastfeeding, weaning, homeschooling and washing – and what happens when you find yourself doing it all in the middle of a global pandemic.

Here’s what she had to confess…

I always wanted to be a writer. I used to sit in front of my grandpa’s electric typewriter in my grandparents’ summer house in East Sussex dreaming about the amazing story I was going to write, even though I didn’t know what it was going to be about yet. I can still smell that typewriter. And the summer house. Seven-year-old me assumed the amazing story I was going to write was going to be a work of fiction. I never dreamed that, in fact, the amazing story I was going to write would be a work of non-fiction and about 40-year-old four times mum me. Of course, it's up to my readers to decide if my amazing story really is amazing or not! didn't know was missing.

The truth is my book wrote itself. Like many writers I slaved away for hours writing, editing and re-writing, but at the same time each chapter came easily. With nine years of blog content already under my belt from my parenting blog, accidentally having a fourth baby in the middle of a global pandemic was the hook I needed to transform the virtual pages of my blog into the pages of a book. My blog acted as a skeleton, and I added the meat - and during lockdown there was lots of meat to add!

I never imagined having four children. In fact, as I say in my book, after my daughter Bluebell was born in 2011 I vowed I was never, ever, going to do that again. But fast forward 10 years and it feels like each of my children was meant to be here, and they're all a little part of me I

Living in a two-bedroom flat with four kids and no garden isn't as bonkers as it sounds. People say they don't know how we do it, and admittedly I did start to question our living arrangements during lockdown, but we live on the seafront in East Sussex with a panoramic view of the English Channel. We might only have two bedrooms but they’re big, the beach is our garden, and we can lie in bed listening to the waves. Until I write a best seller, or we win the lottery, we could never afford a four- or five-bedroom house on the seafront, so we'll make it work while we can.

I wrote most of my book on my phone. When I was writing the synopsis and planning the chapters for The Baby Years, I imagined sitting at my desk in our sun lounge with a bunch of fresh flowers in a vase and the sea view for inspiration. But in reality, I wrote the bulk of the first draft of my book on my phone while breastfeeding my youngest daughter Violet and homeschooling during lockdown. It wasn't ideal, but it was the only way to get it written.

I'm afraid of the dark. Luckily, it's light where we live as there are streetlights all along the seafront but even so I routinely sleep with the light on. If we're away and it's too dark I have to sleep with the curtains open and a light on somewhere.

One day I will write a novel. My publishing deal for The Baby Years is a three-book deal with The Toddler Years and The School Gate Years still to come, but after that I'd like to have a go at fiction. It's a daunting prospect, but watch this space!


Confessions of a Crummy Mummy - The Baby Years by Natalie Brown is published by Filament Publishing and is out now in Paperback (RRP £14.99) and Kindle (RRP £7.99).