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I’ve been really lucky since having my baby. I have this great personal trainer who’s helping me get back into shape, and it’s only cost me about a tenner to use her as many times as I like. In fact, you might even have heard of her – her name is Davina and she’s got this funky kickboxing-type routine that she does with the odd wry aside and cynical wink to let you know she’s finding it a little bit tricky too.

When I’m fed up with Davina, I could always turn to Nell, one of the Stricly Come Dancing presenters or even a C-list actress who used to be on Emmerdale if I’m feeling desperate. There’s just a couple of downsides. I have no motivation whatsoever, my living room isn’t big enough to swing a pygmy kitten in (which means I end up crashing into the wall or sofa every time I do a half-hearted high kick), plus I also get lost following any exercise instructions more complicated than ‘now touch your toes’.

However, if you’ve had a baby and like me, your partner gets home at gone 8pm, you have little hope of ever getting to the gym again, exercise DVDs are still your best bet. They’re also mercifully cheap, often less than £10 – the going rate for the average London fitness class these days. And, of course, you don’t have to pay for them on direct debit for the rest of infinity. (Why don’t more gyms operate modest pay-as-you-go schemes? Obviously something to do with the fact that while most of us are great at signing on the dotted line, usually in the bleak winter light of January, we’re not so good at the actually ‘going’ bit.)

Since having my baby, I have bought no less than seven exercise DVDs. Two of them still have the shrinkwrap on. They vary in quality, but while cruising on Amazon one sleep-starved evening, I stumbled upon a particularly brilliant series of 10 minute workouts – surely even I could find a pitiful window of ten minutes a day to do a few crunches and squats? Um, try a bit fat (literally) no. It’s just far more tempting to sit down with a plate of digestives and the latest episode of Mad Men. I’m not completely giving up though. For one thing, my baby boy finds it far too hilarious watching me make an idiot of myself in front of the TV. Who needs Teletubbies when he can watch mummy attempt and fail to perform a downwards dog?

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You swore you would never, ever become that woman. You said you would rather die. You were convinced that this was the action only of awful, mumsy women with no regard for basic social conventions. The type who thought that the fact that their darling son or daughter had snot on their chin, and seven different types of dried puree plastered to their cheeks, was actually somehow cute rather than merely disgusting.

Yet somehow, without warning, you have become her. You are the woman who holds their baby aloft and sniffs their bottom. In front of other people. Possibly people without children. Possibly people without children who have no intention of ever having children, and possibly people without children who are also eating or drinking at the same time.

‘I think Jasper has pooed’ you then announce loudly to anyone present, and with no shame, as if anyone else gives two hoots. Because either they haven’t noticed the smell of fresh number twos wafting across the table. Or they have noticed, but are just too polite and British to do anything other than hold their faces very slightly at an obtuse angle.

Either way you are now engaging in activity that pretty much puts you on a par with the average chimpanzee. I guess that’s what having babies does to you though.


I never bought a scratchcard until I became a mother. Or subscribed to the Lottery website for that matter. It probably had something to do with the fact that I had cleverly timed my pregnancy to coincide with the worst global recession in living memory. Have you seen how much a pack of Aptamil costs these days? £8! That’s way more than I usually spend on a bottle of wine. As well as worrying about how to afford the basics – heating, shelter, childcare, sufficient Jaffa Cakes – there’s always the university fund to think about. (Though faced with the end of money, certain doom for our planet and total breakdown of civilisation as we know it, I’m not sure having gone to university will have quite the same cachet in the future. Our cherished offspring will be too busy building mudhuts and munching earthworms to fret about what subject to write their dissertation on.)

But it was the Rich For Life scratchcard telly advert that really hooked me in. A guaranteed £40,000 a year for the rest of my life! I wouldn’t have to worry about paying my overdue library fines ever again! Unless we end up in a situation of Zimbabwe style hyper-inflation, of course. In which case £40,000 will probably just about buy you 20 Marlboro Lights and a bag of Hulahoops. The ‘Moderately well-off for the next couple of years’ scratchcard doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, though does it?’ I’m still going to be buying them though. I’ll take what I can get.

OK, it’s possible that this is just me along with that category of adult males who never learned how to use the oven.

But when you’ve just had a baby, you often find yourself eating foods alone that once used to be a mere component of a nutritionally balanced meal. A solitary chunk of cheese, say. Or half a tomato. Possibly a lone finger of KitKat (admittedly this was never actually part of a balanced meal, but you probably would have managed two fingers in one sitting).

Getting it together to find a bowl, put the cornflakes in it, pour milk on top and find a spoon? You must be joking. Plus you’d have to go out and actually buy a pint of milk. You’re still in your dressing gown, for heaven’s sake, and it’s 4pm.

Lunch, once taken somewhere between 1pm and 2pm, is a hurried, disjointed affair at half-past three, enjoyed during that brief window of time when your baby isn’t hungry, tired, needing to be changed, suffering from ennui/existential angst/separation anxiety (‘Mummy has left the room! I’m pretty sure she’s gone forever this time!’) or just being difficult for no good reason. That’s on a good day. On a bad one, it’s half-past five.

Other strange things you may find yourself eating in lieu of a proper meal include: chocolate digestives (for breakfast), cold toast (without butter; see also cold tea and, worst of all, cold soup). Possibly some unhappy shredded lettuce on its own if you’re having a fat day. Tuna, straight out of the can, wolfed down unceremoniously like dogfood. A Nutrigrain, whose vaguely food-a-ceutical packaging and blurb makes you feel virtuous even if it is basically a Jammy Dodger in disguise.

It goes without saying, you will also eat the remains of whatever disgusting goo your baby is eating today. (Remember girls it only takes an extra 100 calories a day to add up to an extra 10lb of weight a year.) Though you positively draw the line at pureed parsnip. You may no longer be able to participate in all the major food groups, but you still have your standards.

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This blog is currently dedicated to stuff new mummies like. As opposed to stuff mummies of teenagers like. That's because we don't have teenagers yet. Give us a few years though. We're told it goes pretty quickly...

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