Digital Mums Mums Keeping It Real: The Scummy Mummies

Mums Keeping It Real: The Scummy Mummies

These two ladies bring a whole new meaning to the term 'Keeping It Real' so of course we had to interview them for our series of kick ass mums. Helen Thorn, 37, and Ellie Gibson, 38, are comedians, bloggers and hosts of the UK's number one parenting podcast. Their sons, Hugo and Charlie, are both five years old, and were born 11 days apart with the help of the same midwife! Helen also has Matilda, who is seven, and Ellie has baby Joe, 18 months. They both live near each other in Forest Hill, South East London. They tell Digital Mums about catsuits, imperfect parenting and obviously wine!

Tell us more about how the Scummy Mummies came about?

"We met on the stand-up comedy circuit in 2013. There aren't that many mum comedians out there, so it was great to have someone backstage to whinge to about tiredness and dirty nappies. The whinging was often quite funny, so we thought we'd record it as a podcast. It proved really popular, and we started performing The Scummy Mummies Show for live audiences.

We also produce a blog and write for various parenting publications. Our aim is to be honest about parenting, to make people laugh, and to make mums feel like they're not alone - parenting can be hard and nobody's perfect!

*Digital Mums trains mums in social media management to find flexible jobs – was launching the Scummy Mummies your answer to working after kids?

Yes! We gig mostly at night when the kids are in bed, and plan the rest of our work around school runs and nap times. Helen often jiggles baby Joe while Ellie types, and sometimes we rehearse with him strapped to Ellie in the Baby Bjorn. Ellie's mum also helps out a lot.

To be totally honest, there have been times when we've stuck the kids in front of a Disney movie so we can finish an article or a script. It's often a bit of a struggle, but both being mums, we really understand and support each other.

So the gold catsuits clearly ROCK! Tell us the thinking behind it…

We are HUGE fans of costumes. We try to have as many costume changes in our live show as Madonna.

Initially, we chose the gold catsuits because they seemed so ridiculous and hilarious. But the more we wore them, the more empowered and stronger on stage we felt in them. They don't hide any post-pregnancy lumps or bumps and we aren't ashamed of that. We love coming out on stage proud of our bodies, proud to be mothers and proud to laugh at ourselves.

We love your recent podcast with Dress Like a Mum, Zoe De Pass. You talk about the word 'Mum' being seen as a diss. You know like 'Mum hair' or 'Mum coat'; what's with that?

This chat was inspired by an article written by Lauren Laverne on The Pool, where she wrote about Mum being used a derogatory term. It is such a shame that a 'Mum' thing has to mean unsexy or practical.

That's why we love what Zoe de Pass is doing with her Dress Like a Mum campaign. You don't have to replace your wardrobe just because you give birth. Although you do have to be prepared for it to be covered in Weetabix and snot.

Digital Mums Mums Keeping It Real: The Scummy Mummies

You've always said there is no such thing as a perfect parent (we agree!) - tell us more...

In the past decade we have seen a rise in so-called perfect parenting. Parenthood sure does look idyllic if you only ever publish photos of your kids smiling, wearing stain-free Gap co-ordinates, sitting next to a bowl of freshly steamed kale.

Realistically, we ALL have tough days - those times when the kid's screaming because you gave her the wrong coloured spoon, the baby will only eat Peppa Pig spaghetti, the washing machine's leaking, the bin's overflowing, everyone's exhausted and all you want to do is drink wine out of a mug. Funny how you don't see this kind of thing on Instagram so much...

What does as an average day look like for you guys?

We both have kids in primary school, so our day starts with chasing small children with a toothbrush while trying to fill out 17 different forms and sew a World Book Day costume.

On work days, we meet up after drop-off and drink many cups of tea as we try to write our book, compose an article, rehearse for an upcoming live show and dick about on Facebook. If the day is particularly productive and it's past noon, one of us will at some point suggest switching from tea to wine.

When we rehearse we use fake microphones and prance around Ellie's kitchen, telling our jokes to the wall and singing REALLY loudly. Ellie's neighbours have recently moved to Australia. We can't help thinking we may have had something to do with this decision.

Digital Mums Mums Keeping It Real: The Scummy Mummies

You two are just hilarious but you can’t feel like that all the time…how do you turn on the comedy?

It doesn't take much for us to have a laugh! We are both big show-offs and like cracking each other up. Our job takes us out of the house, usually to a pub or venue that serves wine and is full of mothers on a night out, so what's not to love?

When we have felt a bit serious or nervous before a gig, we usually just turn to each other, dressed in gold catsuits, wearing our orange hats covered in fish fingers, and say, "What the f*ck are we doing with our lives?" That usually lifts the mood.

Tell us how you feel about social media (obvs we're big fans at Digital Mums)- love it or hate it?!

We love it (most of the time). It is great for connecting mothers and providing support, as well as a means to share pictures of cats in buckets and dogs with shoes.

Digital Mums Mums Keeping It Real: The Scummy Mummies

So what does the next 12 months looks like for the Scummy Mummies...

Our big news is that we are writing a book. So we are very busy doing that at the moment and drinking a LOT of tea. The book will be out in time for Mothers' Day 2017.

We are also performing our Scummy Mummies Show next week in Hackney - it's an event we are putting on with Mothers Meetings. It will be our Greatest Hits Show, with all our favourite sketches, stand-up and songs.

In the summer we are returning to Camp Bestival for a third year. We will be performing our live show, as well as hosting The Secret Mummies Wine Club, with DJ Sara Cox and Helen McGinn from the Knackered Mothers' Wine Club. A big night of wine and laughs for sure!

And finally, what keeps you awake at night?


A new episode of The Scummy Mummies Podcast is released every fortnight. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Their next gig is on Thursday 23 June, 8pm at The Moth Club, Hackney. Buy tickets and find out more details here.


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