Five new skills I’ve developed since becoming a mum

Back when I was a cocky student, my friend Catherine and I used to sigh dramatically when a mum-pushing-a-buggy blocked the way as we tried to shop for things we couldn’t afford in Fenwicks, Tunbridge Wells. “You know, I think when you have a baby, a part of your brain actually drops out,” Catherine would say, while I sniggered. “Why else would you ram your buggy into people, take forever to get out of a lift, or stare into space when people are trying to edge past you in a café?”

But rather than part of your brain dropping out, I now know, of course, that when you become a mum, your brain is crammed with so much extra information that it actually swells in size* (*this might not be a medical fact). And 16 months after having a child, I can boast many new skills that my sneering 19-year-old self could only dream of having. (My 19-year-old self, by the way, had a really terrible haircut. My flatmates called me “Alan” for a whole year, thanks to the over eager scissor skills of one Toni & Guy stylist.)

5 skills I’ve developed since becoming  a mum:

  1. Functioning – nay being bloody brilliant – through extreme tiredness. Unlike when I was in my mid 20s (when a 2am wine-fuelled session meant all I’d be fit for the following day would be watching Hollyoaks from the sofa, eating Birdseye Potato Waffles) I can now get through the day with a smile on my face, powered by adrenalin and the thought of a 7.05pm glass of wine.
  2. Knowing all the words to the Chuggington theme tune. Don’t laugh – it’s a proper skill. The CBeebies animation about the activities of trainee chuggers Wilson, Brewster and Koko, is on every day (more than once if you count Badge Quest) and I’m proud that I can sing along, word for word, to the delight of the little ‘un.
  3. Starting conversations with strangers. Take today, for example. In the checkout queue at Sainsbury’s, my child was having a whine in the trolley, so as a means of distraction, I pointed to the child-in-trolley at the neighbouring checkout and said, “Look how well behaved that little boy is being!” The result was a successful distraction (my child proceeded to stare and wave at the well behaved boy) while the mother chatted to me about how she usually has two sons with her, so today was a relatively easy supermarket trip.
  4. Creating meals out of nowhere. Been too busy to go to the supermarket? Don’t stress. I can magic up a toddler meal from just baked beans, cooked ham, mini breadsticks and frozen peas. Yep, all the major food groups, right there. Take that, Annabel Karmel.
  5. Being nonjudgmental. (Hmm, OK, you got me, what I actually mean is not sharing my judgmental thoughts.) Parenting is probably the first time in most people’s lives that there are a gazillion ways of doing everything, and everyone thinks their way is the best way. I’ve become brilliant at nodding and smiling, when a fellow mum says something like, “Yes, so Chloe was playing with some wires by the TV when the cat jumped on her!” (Inside, I’m screaming silently, ‘You let your child play with wires?! What’s wrong with you? Somebody lock you up!’)

Chuggington, CBeebies, new mum, Sainsburys, baby



  1. January 29, 2012 / 7:57 pm

    Great list! Definitely agree with you – we should big ourselves up more for such accomplishments (esp the creating meals one). xx

    • January 30, 2012 / 1:11 pm

      Thanks Louise! You’re so right, let’s big up the mummies! x

  2. January 29, 2012 / 9:32 pm

    ALL of these apply to me! Every time I go to a train station these days I get the Chuggington theme tune song in my head and my favourite ditty to whistle in the car is the I Can Cook wash your hands song. Who am I??!

    • January 30, 2012 / 1:32 pm

      I often find myself singing Postman Pat in my head, on the way to work, and humming the Birthday Song to myself as I sit at my desk. I’m going to make an effort to listen to some “cool” music today. If only I knew what cool music was…

  3. January 30, 2012 / 1:25 pm

    Hey Alan, nice post! I’m with you on number five, trying ever so, ever so hard. I am more Waybuloo than Chuggington though – at least with Waybuloo I can tell my husband that I’ve got off my ass and done some yoga during the day, sort of.

    • January 30, 2012 / 1:31 pm

      heh heh! Your comment made me have a little LOL. I’ve got a lot of love for Waybuloo too, but the theme tune isn’t as “singalongable” (that’s a word.)

  4. May 1, 2012 / 12:04 am

    Hahaha! Can I just write Hahahaha to most of your blogs please? It’s much easier than razzing on about how you keep hitting the nail on the head and how I wish I had more time to read everything on here and how on EARTH did we not cross paths at More! mag and all that malarkey. Seriously, my friend Catherine (not copying yours, I do actually have a bezzie called Catherine, aka The Wife) and I always used to moan, pre-mummy times, at mothers pramming us out of the way on the pavement – and now we’re doing it! Oh, and I also give myself an imaginary (ok, real) pat on the back for functioning on minimal sleep thanks to the tinkling call of wine o’clock.

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