Monthly Parenting Magazine

Cat Sims (aka Not So Smug Now) on motherhood, sobr...

Cat Sims (aka Not So Smug Now) on motherhood, sobriety and her new book

Cs Smaller

Cat Sims is the founder of parenting blog Not So Smug Now. Here she talks to us about motherhood and mental health, her journey to sobriety, and the launch of her new book The First Time You Smiled (or was it just wind?)

Hi Cat, congratulations on the launch of your book, The First Time You Smiled (or was it just wind?). Can you tell us a little bit about it and what it’s all about? 

First of all, I wanted to create a baby record journal that was inclusive. So many baby record journals make the assumption that a man and a woman have sex and have a baby, but there are so many different iterations of what a family looks like and I wanted to create a book that ALL parents felt made room for their own experience. Of course, you can record all those important memories and milestones but I also hope that it makes new parents feel seen and understood. When I had my first baby, I really struggled to admit I was finding things hard so I hope it also acts as a safe space to empower parents to ask for help if they need it. Obviously I hope that it makes them laugh too!

Your blog, Not So Smug Now, was one of the very first honest accounts of parenting. How has it evolved as your daughters have gotten a little bit older?

I think it’s evolved more as a result of me getting older rather than them to be honest! I look back at the woman who gave birth to her first child and I realise just how naive I was and how unrealistic my expectations of myself and my baby were. I still try to be searingly honest but I’ve also learned to take everything – especially myself! – a lot less seriously. I’ve also been able to process and recover from a lot of stuff that really screwed me up for a while and having that perspective has really helped me understand what’s important and what’s not. I just hope that my content helps other parents who are struggling to do that too. 

How did you get into writing and what do you love about making content?

I have always loved writing. I wrote stories as a kid and then went through a really pretentious stage during my teen years where I’d go off to the woods and write poetry for days on end! It’s so embarrassing now but I loved typing them up on my dad’s typewriter when I came home and filing them away. There were literally thousands! More recently, my writing opportunities have come about as a result of my blog ( and I love the various kind of writing that social media allows me to do. Obviously I’ve been able to write the book, but I love short-form blogs too, captions and scripts for comedy sketches. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living.

You’ve recently opened up about your sobriety journey on social media. What made you want to share what you have been going through? 

I grew up around alcoholic drinking and the shame that was attached to the words ‘alcoholic’ and ‘alcoholism’ meant that lots of people I knew and loved never got the help they would have really benefited from. Especially women and especially mothers. I think I willingly bought into this caricature of what an alcoholic is to make it easier for me to make believe that I didn’t have a problem. I wanted to believe that you only qualified as an alcoholic when you’d lost your job, family, driving licence etc. and I wasn’t at that place. I wasn’t drinking in the morning, I didn’t hide bottles around the house, I was functioning but on the inside I was broken and struggling and knew I couldn’t stop drinking. I’d tried before and I hadn’t been able to. I realised that there isn’t a checklist of ‘symptoms’ that you have to tick off to identify as an alcoholic and if you can accept that even the littlest bit, then asking for help is easier.

Cs Smaller

You’ve also been very open about your relationship and spoken about the realities of marriage counselling. What’s the response from your followers been like?

I really wish couples counselling was more accessible for everyone because I truly believe every relationship would benefit from being able to do it. I recognise that we were incredibly privileged to be able to do it for a long time. I was terrible at communicating effectively, being vulnerable and accepting responsibility. Therapy really helped me find the words to say why I was really feeling resentful, the confidence to be vulnerable and the tools to identify my part in any conflict. Putting issues such as infidelity aside, I know loads of my followers are all struggling with the same thing which, in the end boils down to resentment, and many of them find it really difficult to convince their male partners to go to therapy. As they say, ‘An expectation is a resentment waiting to happen,’ and I think we’ve all been sold this myth of Hollywood marriage that has launched our expectations of what a life long relationship is, into the land of fantasy! 

We love how honest you are about motherhood and mental health. How do you deal with the pressures of social media?

It just gets easier the more you do it. You grow a thick skin and you learn that you can only be who you are and if people don’t like it then that’s ok. It’s also my job, so that makes it easier to compartmentalise it as ‘work’ so I don’t take it so personally. 

What would you say are the best bits and worst bits about motherhood? 

The best bits are the small things like when you’re walking along and suddenly a little hand slips into yours. I also am eternally grateful for motherhood because it humbled me when I really needed it. It broke me down completely, but it also allowed me to build myself back up because I wanted to be the best human possible for my kids and husband. In terms of the worst bits – I obviously love my kids, but it’s the ‘job’ of motherhood that I struggle with. I don’t love the relentless requests for snacks, the dirty socks that are constantly stashed all around the house, the sleepless nights, the endless laundry, the whining, the fighting – that’s the stuff that I’m guaranteed to lose my shit over if I’m tired and at the end of a long day. 

And finally, proudest moment since launching your book? 

Realising that it went to #1 in three categories and broke into the top 100 books on Amazon. Also, signing the first book was incredible.

The First Timed You Smiled (or was it just wind?). A baby record journal with attitude is out now.

Not So Smug Now 

Photography: Charlotte Gray