What mummy really thinks about everyday family life

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Peter and Jane drawingImage source, Peter and Jane

When your social media news feeds are filled with images of your friends' smiling, perfectly-groomed children playing contentedly with their siblings in spotlessly clean Pinterest-worthy designer kitchens, it's easy to forget that these are the heavily edited highlights of family life.

Most people don't share the humdrum realities of parenthood and children on Facebook - the endless episodes of Paw Patrol on the "electronic babysitter", the fight over a long-neglected plastic toy from a Christmas cracker pulled in 2012, and the can't-be-bothered Sunday night teas of sugar-coated breakfast cereal.

But Gill Sims is not most people.

Her blog, Peter and Jane, is an honest, sweary, tongue-in-cheek account of a pretty normal, middle-class Scottish family. In less than a year, her daily Facebook posts about Mummy, Daddy, their two "precious moppets", and their pet "Judgy dog" has become a cult hit, attracting more than 250,000 followers.

They enjoy daily updates about mundane events which must happen in homes across the country - but they are recounted in a style which crosses Peppa Pig with Bridget Jones. In one popular recent post, she described a "major catastrophe" when her "busy and important" husband lost his car keys.

She wrote: "Mummy is sick to death of being expected to find things, and has told Daddy to find his own (expletive) keys.

"That's OK though, because Daddy has a special method of looking for things, which involves stamping around the house in a thunderous temper having a massive tantrum and shouting at everybody and blaming them for the missing car keys."

She eventually found the keys in the pocket of his jeans (obviously), along with £40 in cash - which she quietly pocketed as her "finders fee".

"Mummy is going to spend her £40 windfall on posh gin," she wrote. "Mummy is not going to share the posh gin with Daddy, but she may well brain him with the empty bottle when she has drunk it all."

Image source, Peter and Jane
Image caption,
Gill Sims' blog regularly features her beloved rescue dog, Buddy AKA "Judgy Dog"

Ms Sims, who has a background in engineering and works for a software company, told the BBC Scotland website that the blog was "a bit of light-hearted fun really, about the everyday, really dull bits of parenting - and marriage and family".

She said she started writing the posts after joking with her friend about how much she swears but she has been overwhelmed by the feedback she has received from other parents.

"It was never planned to turn into the something the size of what it's become," she said. "I suppose I do it because it's so nice to see that there are so many people are feeling the same, doing the same things, having the same experiences."

Her page really took off after she described a typical day keeping the family afloat during last year's school summer holidays. It was a post that was shared 67,000 times.

Struck a chord

"It was about the middle of July and it was just a post about a really long day in the school holidays and all the things you end up doing in the school holidays to entertain the children and keep everything going and everything else, and then your husband comes home and says "so what did you do today?"

"For some reason that, I don't know why, that was the one that kind of just took off. I wouldn't even say it was particularly good post or one of the best I've done. But for whatever reason that seemed to be the one the struck a chord."

Another post about post-natal depression, during which she recounts being approached by two police officers as she tearfully pushed the baby in its pram at 02:00 one morning, also provoked a strong reaction.

"It seemed to really make a difference to a lot of people who spoke about their own experiences, for the first time in a lot of cases," she said.

"A lot of people messaged as well to say 'that's how I felt but I've never really been able to put it into words'. So from that perspective, I think that was probably one of the ones that I think was a good one in that it seemed to help a lot of people."

Image source, Peter and Jane
Image caption,
Ms Sims signs off most of her posts with a picture of two of her favourite things

The camera-shy blogger generally illustrates her writing with two of the recurring elements of her musings - alcohol and her beloved Border Terrier, Buddy, who is known to readers as "Judgy Dog". Indeed, he has built up such a following he now has a Facebook page of his own.

"Some days I have no idea what I'm going to write about, it's just kind of let's see what happens today kind of thing," she said.

"Other days I've got a bit more of an idea. But sometimes it really is what silly thing are they going to do today, my darling children? Or indeed my darling husband?"

She added: "Sometimes I spend quite a lot of time on them and I think that's quite good and it's not that popular.

"Other times, I've got half an hour and I dash something off and everyone really likes it. I'm never able to tell what's going to resonate and what's not.

"I'm still very much winging it, I have to say."

'Mummy bloggers'

She said her school-age children don't really want to feature in the blog - they are only referred to as the Girl Child and the Boy Child - but she has received warm praise at the school gates.

"It seems to have gone down really, really well. People who have never really spoken to me before have come over to me and said 'oh, we really like it'," she said.

"Online feedback is pretty much all positive as well. People find it funny, people feel it reflects their own experiences.

"There's the odd negative bit usually from - and this sounds really bad - but usually from a grumpy man saying you should get a life or whatever else. But that's really the odd comment. It's by and large positive."

Her work has inevitably led to comparisons with other "mummy bloggers", like The Unmumsy Mum and Hurrah for Gin, who have both both been snapped up by publishers since starting blogs.

Ms Sims is coy about any plans for a Peter and Jane book, though she admits there are a few projects in offing. "We'll have to wait and see," she said.

So how would she describe their genre of writing? Are they writing "angry mum blogs"?

"We are sometimes angry, I think just real mums, honest mums, slightly frustrated mums."

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