Over the years I’ve interviewed quite a few high profile people. One of the most inspirational amongst their number was Sarah Turner, known to the world as The Unmumsy Mum.
Her realistic and hilarious approach to parenting drew me to her writing, I was glad to discover that in ‘real life’ she was just as good company as I’d imagined.
The morning we meet, Sarah Turner couldn’t have been more ‘on brand’ if she tried. Waiting in an Exeter coffee shop, I receive a message telling me she’s going to be late – one of her boys is unwell, causing problems with childcare. As someone who’s read Sarah’s laugh-out-loud blog ‘The Unmumsy Mum’, and the bestselling book of the same name, this is all too perfect. Of course she’s grappling with a very unglamorous parenting problem! In a parallel world, a branding consultant might suggest running significantly more than ‘fashionably late’ to reflect her brand. But Sarah is about as far from branding and spin as anyone I’ve ever met. What I experience is her reality – not a PR stunt. Sarah’s having a nightmare morning and I’m part of it – for real.
Sarah Turner’s, often startling honest, blog about raising her two sons, has resulted in a generation of parents (including me) religiously following her glamour-free escapades. When Sarah (finally) arrives, endearingly apologetic about her tardiness, she launches into an enthusiastic explanation of how, after her eldest son, Henry, was born, she became frustrated by the representations of parenting online. “None of it resonated with me at all. It was either really jokey, or it was just the glossy edit. The Instagram version – too aspirational. That’s what I thought parenting would look like and it just didn’t.”
It’s clear that Sarah passionately believes a rose-tinted image of parenting is damaging to new parents. “It’s really harmful because, when you’re feeling low, and you’re thinking ‘I’m not doing anything right! ‘My child is broken’, ‘Why won’t they sleep?’ ‘Why do they hate me?’ (…) You’re knackered and you’re scrolling online for stuff that might make you laugh or feel better, but it made me feel ten times worse. It was all: ‘You may be struggling, but don’t forget to cherish this moment, because you won’t get it again!’” Sarah continues: “If you’re feeling any level of guilt or inadequacy it’s just heightened by wall to wall images of moment cherishing where you think ‘Oh, I’m really screwed in comparison to this!’” These frustrations proved a catalyst for Sarah: “I thought: ‘I’m just going to write something’…”Chris McGuire ‘Mum’s the word…’ West Magazine, Western Morning News
To read the full piece, click here.