6th May 2019

It’s a boy! 8 things Meghan needs to know about being a mum in the UK

It’s a boy! The as yet unnamed bundle of regal joy was born at 5.26am on Monday 6th May, weighing in at 7lb 3oz.

Welcome to the club, Meghan. You probably know by now that diapers are nappies and pacifiers are dummies, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg… so here are the really important things you need to know about becoming a mum (or a mom…) in the UK.

The NHS are awesome

On the one hand, we haven’t yet come across any obstetrics staff who look like they’re the new love interest in Grey’s Anatomy, but on the other…. our lot also don’t come with a bill for several thousand dollars. Well, unless you go private, of course.

You get actual maternity leave

We’ve heard that in America, the whole maternity leave thing is not so hot. Our admittedly TV-inspired impression of American mums is basically lots of glamorous but exhausted women kicking corporate ass with breast pumps attached to them. And that’s great. But if you’d prefer your first few months of motherhood to be a bit more coffee, cake and Netflix orientated, we’ve got your back – you’re entitled to 9 months of paid time off work. So clear the royal diary at once.

Bad news: We are lacking in drive-thrus

There’s something else important you should know about being a mum here, Meghan, and it might be a smidge disappointing. If you’re desperate for a hot drink, or some kind of sugary sustenance, which you will be, always, and your baby is asleep in the car, which they will be, sometimes (when they’re not screaming), you’re basically screwed. We’ve only seen a drive-thru Starbucks once IRL, and it was on a motorway on the way to the airport. If you want caffeine on the go, it’s basically just a toss-up between McDonalds and KFC. And we can’t really see you hanging out there… but maybe your driver could pop in?

The weather is pretty unremarkable

California has its perks, but we’re not sure we’d want to bring a newborn into the world there at the start of summer. Well, unless we had air con, anyway. Here in the UK, the weather is a bit more reliably nothingy. This does of course mean you need to leave the house on a theoretically summery day armed with sunglasses, an umbrella AND a jumper – not to mention all the baby paraphernalia, of course – but chances are it will just be kind of… grey.

We have amazing parks (and you can get gin in a tin anywhere)

Sure, where you’re from you have the Pacific Ocean, but what’s that compared to our wonderful green spaces? We’ve got parks with cafes in them, parks with lidos in them, parks with tramps (“bums”) in them, parks with graffiti in them, parks with statues of your ancestors-in-law in them, parks with dogs and squirrels and rats in them, but most of all we’ve got parks with mums in them; hundreds of mums, parading up and down and round and round, just to get their baby to nap. And there’s no better place to be on one of those suncream-umbrella-jumper days, so see you there. Pop by M&S on the way for some gin in a tin, yeah?

There is a state-issued mum uniform

On giving birth, all British mums are issued with a pair of skinny but not too skinny jeans, some vaguely jazzy trainers and, most importantly of all, up to 10 interchangeable Breton-striped tops. If you haven’t received yours yet, take it up with the Queen.

The British reserve goes totally out of the window when it comes to babies

You might think us Brits are a polite bunch, stiff upper lip and all that… and perhaps that’s true sometimes. But when it comes to having babies, as you might well have noticed from all the speculation about where and how you’ll give birth, we all become public property. There are in laws with opinions about how we’re holding our baby, charming randoms in supermarkets who say lovely things like “ooh, your little one will catch their death” and all sorts of people who are unnecessarily concerned with our milk-dispensing methods. Nodding and smiling is the best policy, and we think you’re pretty well trained in that by now.

But we can offer you the best mum friends ever   

Sure, your old gal pals back home are great. And your sister in law can provide loads of parenting advice too and give you some pretty smooth hand-me-downs. But what you really need when motherhood has just hit you like a lorry (that’s a truck to you) are local friends with kids the same age. So why not join Mush and meet mums a stone’s throw from Kensington Palace who are in the same boat as you? Well, maybe not the exact same boat. Yours is probably a ship bearing your name and theirs is more of a pedalo. But that doesn’t really matter – whether you’re a podiatrist, pathologist, payroll assistant, postwoman or princess, motherhood can be challenging, overwhelming and knackering – but it’s always a lot more fun with friends.

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