‘I get trolled because I hate playing with my kids – and admit it!’

She’s been criticised by other parents but Becca Maberley, 45, refuses to pretend she doesn’t find certain aspects of parenting outright boring. Here she tells Closer why she feels the need to speak up...


by closer |
Updated on

"When I first fell pregnant 13 years ago, my rose-tinted spectacles were firmly on. I pictured myself in a pristine white nightie, gazing lovingly at my son as he contentedly slept in my arms. And I thought all the next steps would be equally blissful. I imagined sitting with my children as they created handmade cards for family and friends, baking delicious cakes together in a floury mess and celebrating every new step they took on the climbing frame.

“The reality was very different. In fact, the only part that came true is that I loved my two boys – now aged 12 and 10 – fiercely and unconditionally. But most of the rest of it left me gritting my teeth or tearing my hair out.

“My biggest bug bear is crafting. I should have realised it wouldn’t be my thing – I’m a control freak and I like my house to look like a house I want to live in, not a glitter and glue covered nursery. I did try once – we got out some paints, I covered the table in plastic, they splodged some paint on a piece of paper, mixed up the colours and somehow still got paint on the table. The resulting ‘picture’ looked horrific! After that I swore never again. What’s the point – they never produce anything worth keeping, it makes a mess and I hate it.

As a new mum
As a new mum ©Closer

“I have to admit I wasn’t exactly thrilled when they went to nursery and would bring home their ‘art’ at the end of the week either. I remember their key worker thrusting armfuls of bits of paper at me and thinking it was pointless. They would look the same as everything else they bought home – splodges of an indeterminate colour and glitter that would dry and fall off on to my carpets. I’d pick out a couple of the best ones and stick them on the fridge and the rest would go in the recycling.

“Baking was a no-go zone too. They’d always get over enthusiastic and start tipping in the whole bag of sugar or knocking the bowl over. Playing make believe was another one that had me rolling my eyes – no I don’t want to get down on the floor and pretend to be a dog, it feels silly.

“Instead, I’d choose the lesser of the two evils and we’d go to the playground or to play football. I joke that I have a love/hate relationship with the playground – I hate it, they love it. Thankfully, there are only two years between my boys so they can play together.

Becca and sons
Becca with her boys when they were younger ©Closer

“But even so, my scrolling or working on my phone was regularly interrupted by a piercing shriek of ‘look Mummy’ so I could admire them going down the slide for the umpteenth time – which irritated me a lot. Life got easier as they grew up and could really interact with each other, then there was much less pressure on me to ‘entertain’ as they could just kick the football to each other.

“And I have to admit screens helped too from an early age, be it TV or a tablet. When my eldest was three and dropped his nap, but his brother still had one, I’d give him my iPad to go on while I did some work on my parenting advice website.

“I’m sure some mothers will be shocked by my admitting to all of this and think I should enjoy every second of my time with the boys. I’ve even been trolled for videos I’ve put on my Instagram profile @amotherplace. People say I should be sterilised or shouldn’t have been allowed kids in the first place. But I think that’s ridiculous – you can love any job while still hating aspects of it. I’m sure artists hate doing their accounts or accountants hate schmoozing new clients.

“I’m very honest about my feelings and luckily I’ve found a tribe of mothers who think like me and my husband, Tom, 44, who runs a creative agency. He has always been supportive and never criticised, he wouldn’t like the house covered in sticky glue and paint splodges either. And I think it’s important to speak out about it as there’s so much pressure on mothers from social media to be ‘perfect’ and love every second. But for me, it was an unrealistic expectation.

Becca Real Life

“The early years were difficult, lonely and I hated a lot of it. Baby groups didn’t help – they were full of other equally depressed women wishing the time away, or over enthusiastic earth mothers who’d have been shocked if I’d been open.

“I’m a great mother in many ways – I love hanging out with them, swapping stories and hearing their opinions, it’s exciting watching them develop into the people they will become. Now they’re older, I enjoy teaching them how to cook and thankfully they’re both sporty like me, so I enjoy watching them play in matches.

Closer magazine
Get the best celeb interviews in Closer mag each week ©Closer magazine

“I worry about some mothers whose every moment is consumed by their children as they’ll really struggle when they eventually leave home. Which is why I think it’s important to have some time away from your children – I go to Ireland at least once a year to see friends I made while I was at university there. And I go away more often if I can; last year I went hiking round the Isle of Wight with my sister for a week.

“People have asked whether I’ll be different once I’m a grandmother, but I don’t see why that would change me into a glitter-loving playground enthusiast.”

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