Who has earned the slightly creepy status of "imaginary mum friend" this year? For Isabel Mohan, it's this lot...
We don't want to come over all "Celebs! They're just like us!" but it turns out that, despite being richer, thinner and more styish than the vast majority of us, some high-profile mums are vaguely relateable. Here's what we've learned from a few famouser than average mums* this year.
* And a mum-to-be, and a dad. Sorry for the desperately misleading headline.
1. Pregnancy can be private – no matter how famous you are
Let’s not beat around the blatantly fertilised bush – Cheryl Tweedy Cole Fernandez-Versini Thingy (we can’t just call her Cheryl, you might think we mean Baker) is really quite pregnant. And yet, in a move that is simultaneously surprising, classy and, if we’re honest, kind of frustrating, has chosen not to say a single damned thing about it.
We don’t know why Cheryl has avoided the usual perfectly timed social media reveal – maybe she struggled to get pregnant and doesn’t want to tempt fate, maybe she quite rightly believes the population of her womb is nobody’s business but her and Liam’s or maybe (this is our favourite option) she actually has no fricking idea she’s pregnant and will nip to the loo in a few weeks with crippling stomach cramps, emerging half an hour later with a newborn and a ready-made Take A Break cover story (write your own pain/Payne pun).
But we do know we like her style – mainly because there’s no way we could ever be so tantalisingly covert ourselves, since we started planning our social media announcement before we’d even had unprotected sex.
Now we just need to coax Cheryl into signing up for Mush so we can hook up with her for some hardcore newborn poo banter. Cheryl...? Cheryl...? Come back! We thought we had something!
2. Even multiple award-winning international treasures sometimes find this whole thing hard
We almost wept with gratitude when Adele spoke on behalf of a zillion exhausted mums in her Vanity Fair interview.
“I love my son more than anything, but on a daily basis, if I have a minute or two, I wish I could do whatever the fuck I wanted, whenever I want. Every single day I feel like that,” she admitted. “My boyfriend said I should talk to other women who were pregnant, and I said, ‘Fuck that, I ain’t hanging around with a fuckin’ bunch of mothers.’ Then, without realising it, I was gravitating towards pregnant women and other women with children, because I found they’re a bit more patient. I knew I could just sit there and chat absolute mush with my friends who had children, and we wouldn’t judge each other.”
Mush, you say? Great name for an app to solve EXACTLY THIS PROBLEM...
3. We should stop with the competitive tiredness
When tiny babies are around, tiredness is practically a competitive sport, causing unspoken resentment between friends (“OK, so her baby wakes up for the day at 5am but at least he sleeps through! MINE is still up every three hours”), colleagues (“how dare my 21 year old single co-worker moan that they’re tired because they stayed up 'til 2am binge-watching Gilmore Girls? I WORK FULL TIME AND I HAVE A 9 MONTH OLD!”), family (“No, well-meaning mother in law, putting a rusk in a bottle of formula would NOT make my 12 week old baby sleep more”) and couples (“I’m more tired than you”, “I’m more tired than you”, “I’m more tired than you”, “Zzzzz I win”).
Jamie Oliver summed it up pretty well on Radio 5 Live when he was asked about becoming a dad for the fifth time: “Sleep deprivation makes the most wonderful people just unreasonable. Any parent out there knows the drill, I mean they use sleep deprivation as the most incredible form of torture...”.
He did go on to say that he and Jools had hired a night nanny for the first time which, while beyond the means of most families, is ABSOLUTELY FINE and we don’t resent it at all. Nope. Not one bit. Because judging other parents is not a good look. We all have our own reasons for being knackered and our own scale of knackeredness – let’s just be nice to each other.
4. Breastfeeding support can come from unlikely sources
No matter how liberated you are, getting your whammers out in public for the first time to feed your newborn can be scary. So, if you breastfed for the first time this year, you will have found an unlikely ally in TOWIE’s Sam Faiers, who's spent most of 2016 happily feeding her little boy in multiple locations, on multiple social media platforms. Publicity-hungry? Maybe. But baby Paul was clearly hungry too, so kudos to Sam for doing her bit to normalise breastfeeding. And indeed re-normalising the name Paul.
5. You can dress your kid however the hell you like
Our very own Susie Verrill – awesome blogger, prolific Instagrammer and writer of some our funniest Mush guides – unwittingly became something of a celebrity mum this year, as her partner Greg Rutherford took part in Strictly Come Dancing. Sure, he was arguably already pretty famous for winning SHEDLOADS OF OLYMPIC MEDALS but Strictly trumps all, obvs.
After the couple’s super-cool toddler Milo appeared briefly on the show, idiots on the internet accused them of “dressing him like a girl”. Susie responded with a most excellent blog post which made all those below-the-liners look like total twats. Hurrah. Oh and btw, Milo is a total style icon.
6. All toddlers are a right royal pain in the arse
Prince George: adorable. Sometimes. It’s not often we relate to Kate Middleton, but when her precious firstborn decided to kick off, toddler style, in a very, very public place, we felt her pain. Next time we get tantrummed at in the rice aisle at Sainsbury’s, we’ll be grateful that we’re not wearing nude heels at the Royal International Air Tattoo (sounds dull, we don’t blame George for showing his disdain) while under the watchful gaze of the international media and crowds of real humans. We’d love to know what Kate said to George to calm him down – do royal bribes involve Peppa Pig marathons too?
7. We should all be nicer to our post-baby bodies
A lot of famous types seem to effortlessly regain their abs of steel within seconds of giving birth, so it was reassuring to hear the truth from Anne Hathaway. Anne admitted that she cried when, just seven weeks after giving birth to baby Jonathan (another dead normal name, is he mates with Paul?), she was shamed at the gym by a trainer who asked if she needed pointers to lose her baby weight.
Anne also revealed on her Instagram that she'd had to cut a pair of jeans into shorts because her old ones no longer fit. "There is no shame if it takes longer than you think it will to lose the weight (if you want to lose it at all)," she wrote. "There is no shame in finally breaking down and making your own jean shorts because last summer's are just too dang short for this summer's thighs." But Anne, is there any shame in still wearing maternity knickers when you have an 18 month old? Asking for a friend.