SWEET MOTHER OF POD!
Outrageous catsuit-clad comedy duo and presenters of the hit Scummy Mummies podcast Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn explain to MARION McMULLEN why they refuse to be shamed by Instagram parents
Your Scummy Mummies podcast has been downloaded two and a half million times in more than 150 countries and there is also a charttopping book, but what is a scummy mummy?
Helen: (Laughs) A scummy mummy is the opposite of a yummy mummy. A yummy mummy will feed their children quinoa and mung beans. A scummy mummy will feed her children fish fingers most days. That’s the essence of a scummy mummy, you don’t have to be perfect.
The world will not stop if you let your kids watch a DVD. Things are changing. Mothercare have been showing models with stretch marks in their adverts and they were not skinny or wearing flowing white dresses.
Jenny Eclair, Dara Ó Briain and Sandi Toksvig have all appeared on the podcast. Who would be your dream guest stars?
Ellie: The podcast is recorded in my house and you often get someone famous turning up and just sitting down. It’s just absolutely brilliant. We’ve made many really good friends.
We would love to have Nigella Lawson on, she would be a scream, and Oprah Winfrey – (laughs) I’m sure she’s not too busy – and Michelle Obama, Dawn French... the list goes on.
Helen: We put up photos on Instagram and our houses look a mess, but I think we are providing a public service. I’m never going to clean my house again for the good of the free world.
You both met on the stand-up circuit six years ago, but didn’t you later discover you had a midwife connection?
Ellie: We didn’t know when we met. We were both doing comedy and became friends and months later we discovered our sons had been born 11 days apart and were both delivered by the same midwife. My son Charlie is now seven and I also have a four-year-old, Joe.
Helen: We created the podcast for the less than perfect parent and we now get emails from around the world. My children Hugo and Matilda are seven and 10 now, but when they are teenagers there may be a breakdown. I’m in sweet denial.
You’re embarking on a nationwide tour after the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Have you any new stage outfits planned?
Ellie: The other day we did a 10k around London in our bra and pants. Others doing it were saying it was really empowering, but we’ve been going on stage in bra and pants and gold catsuits for years now. (Laughs) It’s down to a lack of shame. You can’t embarrass us. I don’t think anything makes us blush. Eyecatching is a word for the catsuits. We used to buy them online from a joke shop, but now they are custom-made for us.
We are having something special made for Edinburgh... better than anything anyone could imagine.
People who come along to your show often reveal their own parenting stories. Do any of them ever surprise you?
Ellie: We can’t read out some of them because they are too sexist ... or unnerving. But there are few things that surprise us. People being in a car with kids and having to wee in a nappy happens quite a lot, or going to a festival and putting vodka in their kid’s bottle and then the kid accidentally drinks it. Or there is the feeling of being humiliated by our children like if they have a big poo in the showroom of B&Q.
Our audience is not all women either. We have had a few dads and partners who have come along and find it great fun.
There is a now a new royal baby. What is the best advice you would give new mum Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex?
Helen: Just relax and don’t take yourself too seriously. Do what I do – line the house with wet wipes and wine and have a lot of nappies to hand. You can never have enough nappies.
Some day you just won’t like being a parent, and that’s ok. Whatever happens just remember every stage will pass. I think there is so much pressure to be the perfect mum sometimes. Just be honest about it.
The Scummy Mummies Show tours the country from September 21. Go to scummymummies.com for tour and ticket details.
Helen Thorn, left and Eliie Gibson model one of their stage outfits Relax: The duo has tips on motherhood for Meghan and Harry
Dream guest: Michelle Obama