I share a bed with my husband and four kids and drink while I work.

ANY mom will tell you that parenting expectations rarely match reality, and most of them resort to methods they never dreamed of to keep things running smoothly.

And no one knows this better than mother-of-four Natalie Brown.

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Natalie Brown is a self-proclaimed “lousy mom”Credit: Natalie Brown
She Is The Mother Of Bluebell, 11, Maxi, Eight, Marigold, Five, And Violet, 22 Months Old.

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She is the mother of Bluebell, 11, Maxi, eight, Marigold, five, and Violet, 22 months old.Credit: Natalie Brown

The self-proclaimed “lousy mommy” openly admits that motherhood didn’t come naturally and she found herself doing things she never dreamed of.

“I never thought I would have four kids,” Natalie says exclusively to Fabulous Digital.

“After my first child, Bluebell, was born, I swore I would never have children again, and now we have four children.”

While working as a newspaper editor in 2011, Natalie, who lives in Hove, East Sussex, found herself transitioning from a full-time job to being a full-time mom.

Home alone every day with her new daughter Bluebell, Natalie was desperate to share her experiences with other moms and started blogging in 2013 under a pseudonym Confessions of a lousy mom.

She says: “I was well aware of the ‘perfect’ parenting featured on Facebook, but of course reality is completely imperfect.”

After two devastating miscarriages, 41-year-old Natalie and her 43-year-old husband Rob, known on his blog as “Misery Guts”, welcomed eight-year-old Maxi, five-year-old Marigold, and in April 2020, their youngest Violet was born.

And while Natalie may have begun to follow the rules, she quickly found herself slipping into alternative parenting practices from the laid-back breastfeeding of her children after experts recommended weaning.

“I never thought I was breastfeeding for as long as I thought,” she says.

“Honestly, it was easier to continue than to give up and there is no advice on how to stop breastfeeding a two year old.

“For me, it’s just a case of, ‘I don’t know how to stop, so I’ll just keep going.’

Natalie also found herself giving in to her children when it came to sleeping, and the couple were often joined by all four of their children in the bedroom.

“I never planned to sleep with my kids, but that just means we’re all getting enough sleep,” she admits.

“With Bell, I went up and down like a yo-yo back and forth to her crib, so it was exhaustion more than anything else that got me into it.

“They made their way into our bed one at a time, and before we had a chance to recover, all six of us were in bed.

“It’s easier to let them stay, and I’m not ashamed to refuse it.

“I even bought a long cushion to fit all six of our sleeping heads.”

While some parenting experts may balk at the idea, Natalie is convinced that co-sleeping has done nothing but benefit her children.

“The idea that every child has their own bedroom is a real Western idea,” she continues.

I no longer care about drinking alcohol on a school evening (or afternoon)

Natalie Brown

“None of my children have a special teddy bear, comfort blanket or anything that they are attached to, and that is because all their needs have been met.

“They didn’t have to cling to something because they had me, it seems unnatural to put them in another room while they are small.

“I wouldn’t judge those who do this, but it’s safer and more natural for us to be together.”

Natalie’s biggest test was Violet’s arrival in April 2020, in the middle of quarantine, when the couple threw their parenting code out the window.

She says: “We did everything we could to survive every day, and all kinds of rules flew out the window – the kids were eating chips at 10 in the morning, and I didn’t blink an eye.

“Before the pandemic, I had a strict screen time rule where kids were only allowed to spend an hour or so per day on a laptop.

“But now I think looking at the screen won’t kill them – they won’t get square eyes, so I let them have it.”

Natalie remembers “self-medicating” with a large glass of something refrigerated as a means of survival, as she recalls in her new book, Confessions of a Naughty Mommy, Childhood.

Natalie, who now works as a freelancer, writes: “I shudder thinking about how many units of alcohol we rolled between lock 1 and lock 3.

“I knew it was bad when I asked a Deliveroo driver delivering an emergency bottle of wine on Tuesday afternoon if he needed my date of birth as proof of identification and he said no because he already knew it.

“I no longer care about drinking alcohol on a school evening (or afternoon) and I don’t care about the increasingly frequent walks of shame midweek to the trash can.

“I didn’t even care about drinking at work because who was going to fire me? You can’t fire yourself.”

But while some may judge Natalie, the mom says the only thing she cares about is the well-being of her children.

“Despite all my fears, I have four wonderful children who have flourished in spite of me,” she says.

“Every day I get texts from moms thanking me for being honest and open about the uglier side of motherhood.

“So I know I’m not the only Lousy Mommy.”

Confessions of a Crummy Mummy – The Baby Years (Filament, £14.99) is out now.

Natalie And Her Husband Rob Regularly Share A Bed With All Four Children.

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Natalie and her husband Rob regularly share a bed with all four children.
Natalie'S Book Is Now Available For Purchase.

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Natalie’s book is now available for purchase.Credit: Natalie Brown

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