"Scummy Mummies get a bad rap. It's time to take back being a Hot Mess Mum."

What kind of person are you?

Maybe you’re messy. Maybe you’re a little bit lazy. Maybe you like to sleep ’til 11 on the weekend, binge watching TV ’til the early hours.

Perhaps you’re always late. Not chronically late, but a solid 15-minuter. Always rushing. Always the one who can’t find your keys/has lost your phone/forgot to get cash out before dinner.

Maybe you generally exist in a cloud of dry shampoo and coffee fumes. Perhaps you’re the person who always has a very faint stain on your clean skirt, whose eyeliner is just ever-so uneven and whose hair never quite loses its frizz no matter how much product you squirt into it.

The Scummy Mummies
Helen Thorn is one half of comedy duo The Scummy Mummies. Together they're the UK's Number 1 Parenting Podcast. Image: Instagram @scummymummies

Perhaps you sometimes forget to take the green bags to the supermarket, and let the dishes pile up until you literally can't find a fork. Maybe you live for six months with a cracked phone screen and there's a recycling mountain next to the kitchen bin that might just swallow your breakfast.

Before you have a child, all of the above is perfectly acceptable behaviour. A collection of traits beloved of A-types everywhere - because you're their Hot Mess friend.

You're the one whose charming flakiness causes affectionate eye-rolling among your family, but rarely serious disapproval because, heck, it's not like you're on drugs or anything. It's not like you voted for One Nation or something.

But once you reproduce, the acceptable options for your personality shrink, seemingly overnight, to one-size-fits-all.

Comedian Helen Thorn shares her scummiest mummy moment.

The minute your cervix has stopped dilating, you are apparently reborn as the kind of organised person who has no problem blending organic carrots with one hand while gently jiggling a sweet-smelling bundle of organic-cotton-swaddled joy with the other.


Inherently knowing how long it's been between feeds and poos while still managing to wear lipstick and smile and remember your family members' names is the low bar of what's expected of you - shambolic you who could barely get yourself out of bed just a few short months before - in this new incarnation as Mother.

And as your child grows, the organisational demands only increase. You are meant to know all of their little friends' names, memorise their food allergies, their parents' professions, their birthdays. You are expected to constantly have a bag full of healthy snacks and chilled water to dole out on demand. To bake Instagram-worthy birthday cakes and host class playdates that don't risk injury and buy the teacher a thoughtful end-of-year gift and always have one eye on who might be a bad influence on little Joy Bundle.

It's all so very... hard.

Suddenly it's not okay to be the one who forgot to put a clean nappy in the backpack. "What are you? A dad?" the raised eybrows seem to whisper.

Suddenly, being the one who has more than one drink at the mothers' group Christmas party doesn't make you fun, it makes you irresponsible. "But aren't you breast-feeding?" asks Spritzer lady. Your explanation that prosecco is too bubbly to penetrate boob milk isn't amusing anyone.

Suddenly, not being able to cook - once a source of Carrie-Bradshaw-esque pride - is not funny. "We live on take-away," is no longer a humble brag when Joy's eating her playground snack out of a yellowing noodle box.

Suddenly it's frowned upon to be the person who's always sprinting to pick-up, hot-sweat on, 10 minutes after the bell went. "Poor Joy," they whisper. "She must be so anxious, never knowing if her mum's going to turn up."

Suddenly, not having been together enough to buy the other kid's birthday present and wrap it up marks you out as selfish rather than kooky and creative for your recycled newspaper gift-paper solution.


No. The Hot Mess Mum is a pariah. Even in 2018, the mum ideal is a domestic goddess with a colour-coded wall calendar and a pantry full of size-ordered Tupperware containers.

Even if she works. Especially if she works. So much to prove.

People, it's time to take her back. It's time to reclaim Scummy Mummy status as something to be proud of. Because, let's face it, Scummy Mummies kids are just... better.

Think about it.

Our kids know the joy of leaping into muddy puddles without their parents squealing and squirting the Napisan at them from 100 paces.

Their social skills are highly evolved from learning how to charm snacks out of the other kids at the playground.

They get really "resilient", making small talk with the teacher at all those late pick-ups.

They are the savvy tech billionaires of the future, having been able to track down a bogus Peppa Pig video on an iPhone since before they could walk.

They know crocodile tears won't touch us. We're too busy watching Friday Night Lights. For the fourth time.

They can cook. They have to.

And they can rock a bed-head and sauce-splattered T-shirt with the attitude of a young Harry Styles.

Play to your strengths, kids.

Are you a 'hot mess mum'? What's one of your messiest mum moments? 

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