Title: Confessions of a First-Time Mum
Author Name: Poppy Dolan
Previous Books: The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp, There’s More to Life than Cupcakes, The Bluebell Bunting Society, The Woolly Hat Knitting Club
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: 25th June 2018
Stevie’s life has changed beyond recognition since having her first baby.
Stevie loves being a mum, but between the isolation and being vomited on five times a day, she really wishes she had someone to talk to.
With husband Ted working hard to keep the family afloat, Stevie really doesn’t want to burden him with her feelings. Turning to the internet, Stevie starts the anonymous First-Time Mum blog and blasts the rose-tinted glasses of parenthood right off her readers.
In the real world, Stevie meets the formidable Nelle and gorgeous Will, along with their own little treasures, and starts to realise that being a ‘perfect mum’ isn’t everything. But when the secret blog goes viral, Stevie must make some tough choices about who she wants to be, and whether she’s ready for the world to know the truth…
I’d like to thank Poppy Dolan and Canelo for allowing me to take part in this Blog tour.
I’m so excited to have an extract from Confessions Of A First Time Mum on my blog today. Enjoy …
Blog Post 3.15pm
‘Fine’: the real F word.
‘Fine’ used to be a fun word, when I was younger and before I had a kid.
‘How’s your food?’ a stylish tattooed waiter in a London gastro pub would ask. ‘Fine!’ I’d chirrup back, tucking into my perfectly cooked rack of lamb served on a slab of tree trunk, getting to eat my food warm and just the way the chef intended, not stone-cold and with solidified fat marbling the meat, because I’d had to rush to change a nappy or awkwardly bring out a boob in front of gawking drinkers.
I might look at myself in a mirror of a changing room with a new, low-cut, slinky top on, turning this way and that, holding in my few extra centimetres of flesh with a deep breath. When I liked what I saw, I might cheekily think, ‘Girl, you look fine in this. Buy it and wear it out tonight!’ And just like that, I’d bought a new outfit and decided my evening plans without having to consult sleeping and feeding patterns like a star map, for weeks in advance. Without having to worry that even if I did beat the odds and make it out for a night, I might fall asleep next to a speaker in a night club at 10.23pm because I’d been awake 20 hours that day.
When friends would ask, ‘So, how are you?’ I would say, ‘Yeah, I’m fine’ and I would really mean that. I would mean everything in my life is good and easy and right. Because I never thought that much about what went into achieving that kind of natural happiness. Because I took it for granted.
And now fine is a totally different word, and laden with so much more meaning than ever before. It’s actually a pretty heavy word, now I think about it. ‘Fine’ means ‘acceptable’, ‘I can live with it’ and ‘This will do’. It’s not pub lunches or new tops or friendly chats. It’s pushing a pram around and around in circles even though my legs are so tired I think they might crumple underneath me, and then a sweet old lady at a bus stop will ask about the baby and I’ll say with a fake smile: ‘Fine.’ It’s about deciding that a jumper to pull on for the day is ‘fine’ because there are no major stains on it and it doesn’t smell all that bad. It’s muttering that the baby onesie is ‘Probably fine’ because you managed to wipe up the sick sharpish with a baby wipe and the thought of putting the washing machine on yet again today makes you want to scream. It’s the ‘Hey, it’s fine’ you hear down the line when you call to cancel a plan with your pre-baby friends because of a worrying temperature or a night before of only 45-minutes’ sleep. And in their tone you can almost hear yourself getting crossed off a mental list of people to socialise with.
It’s scraping by.
And when people ask, ‘So, how are you?’ I still say, ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’ Because to let it all out, all the resentments and complaints and hardships, sound like ingratitude. For being given a beautiful child. For having a baby. For doing what so many couples desperately want to do, and can’t. For having an extended maternity leave when some mums have no choice but to go back to work at three months to pay the bills.
I’m honestly not ungrateful, I swear. Sometimes the impossible perfection of my daughter’s round cheeks actually takes my breath away. And she’ll look at me with her quick, sharp eyes and pull a face and inside I feel like The Wizard of Oz when it goes Technicolor.
I love her, sweet Jesus, I love her to bits, but that doesn’t make everything ‘fine’.
So, my OH is going away, at the last minute, on a work trip. And he tells me, ‘You’ll be fine’ and I think that tells me everything I need to know about our different experiences of parenthood. He believes it. But I know the reality.
My thumb is starting to cramp up as I hit ‘Publish’. Cherry fell asleep after her mid-afternoon feed, like a warm Doberman on my lap, and I didn’t want to risk that by moving her. Besides, the warm heft of her on my lap, the sweet smell of her freshly washed babygro, the slow lift and fall of her chest as she snoozed, was so comforting. A little bubble of sofa love. So I shoved my boob back into my nursing bra and poured all my frustrations with Ted into a blog post.
All About Poppy
Poppy Dolan is in her mid thirties and lives in Berkshire with her husband. She’s a near-obsessive baker and a keen crafter, so on a typical weekend can be found moving between the haberdashery and kitchenware floors of a department store, adding to her birthday wish list. She has written three novels: The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp, There’s More to Life than Cupcakes and most recently The Bluebell Bunting Society. The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp made it into the Amazon top 100 bestseller chart, so clearly someone other than her mum must have read it. She’s currently working on her fourth novel – it’s about friends, siblings and crafty things – and drinking far too much tea.
Where To Find Poppy