Tired and Tested social media star Sophie McCartney opens up to HELLO! about life as a mum influencer and comedian – read the exclusive chat
She’s the hilarious Liverpool-born mum-of-three who keeps us mums laughing on social media, and HELLO! got to chat parenting realities with the brilliant Sophie McCartney in an exclusive interview.
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‘Comedimum’ Sophie shot to fame when her video parody of: Ed Sheeran‘s Shape of You went viral in 2017 – since then she’s been keeping us up to date with all her funny mum goings on and has over one million Facebook: followers and counting.
Sophie shares baby boy Nate, Evelyn, seven, and Jack, nine, with her husband Steve. Her: Sunday Times bestselling book, Tired and Tested. The Wild Ride into Parenthood is out now in paperback, published by Harper North.
Read our chat with Sophie below…
Hi Sophie, congratulations on the success of your book and on social media…
It’s all a bit bonkers! I sometimes look at what I do and what I call my job and I go, ‘How did THAT happen?’
The kids say, ‘Mummy, what do you do for your job?’ and I go, ‘Sit down, it’s complicated’. I go with the general ‘Mummy tries to make people laugh, she makes funny videos then she writes silly books.’
You became well known after your funny cover of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You:…
Yes, many moons ago now. It was a fluke I ended up doing it. It’s like a: Sliding Doors moment in my life – that sounds so dramatic. I almost didn’t put it up.
At the time I had about 200 Facebook followers. I thought worst case scenario, those followers – which mainly comprised of people I know, my mum and dad and their neighbors – they’ll see it. So I put it up and I didn’t think about it.
Then I had people texting me and calling going, ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh – this video is all over my social media’. I sat panic eating crumpets in a dark room while the figures went up and up.
I had journalists calling me and all these things happening. No one really prepares you for that kind of exposure.
I used to work in PR so I’d always been on the other side of things. That probably helped me in terms of what I needed to do. I guess that’s how I started really – I’ve always been quite creative in my job.
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Do you know if Ed Sheeran watched your video?
Sources have told me that he has – but this is before he had kids, so I’m wondering whether now he might relate to it a little bit more. If he went back and rewatched, he might see it in a different light potentially. We need to know whether Ed’s seen it!
Sophie McCartney with baby Nate
Did you have a goal with your social media videos?
If I’m being honest, I thought, if I get 500 followers someone might send me something for free!! I never anticipated it going from something I did for fun into work.
There was only so long I wanted to be in the online space – I knew I wanted to do more with my writing, take it to books which I’ve now done, and then moving it more into the stand up.
I was meant to be going on tour this September-October but then I got pregnant and that threw a spanner in the works, so we’re doing it next September-October. On the plus side I’ll have more content to work with!
Was it nerve-racking putting yourself out there on social media and doing stand up?
I think when you become a mum, you lose your identity – it’s a natural progression, it’s what’s meant to happen. You’ve had your baby and you put everything into them. You don’t go out as much and see as many people and it’s hard.
Once you get past those first few months, you start thinking who am I?! For me, I couldn’t go back into PR. I could not justify the childcare costs. It felt pointless.
I decided to be a stay-at-home mom. It was actually from being a mum and doing the things I do on a day-to-day basis, that every other mum does, that’s what propelled me to do something different and really stepping outside of my comfort zone massively. It’s not something I thought would ever happen to me. It all just kind of happened.
You’re very honest about motherhood – what reaction do you get from your followers?
One of the comments I get the most from my videos is ‘I feel seen’.
There’s a lot of comedy in there with parenting. A lot of the time, if you removed yourself from a situation that at the time you thought was awful, and you looked at it as if it wasn’t you and it was on a comedy program, you’d probably find it hilarious.
That’s where I take inspiration for all my stuff – I try and remove myself from the situation. I think a lot of people see themselves in that. I always joke that it’s the “mumdane” that I take and switch.
Sophie’s children meet baby Nate
You’re back in the baby stage with little Nate – how are you coping with the sleep deprivation?
I call it ‘babynesia’ in my book. You have your kids and you forget how awful it is! Now I remember EVERYTHING. Babies are so hard!
But babies… they smell so good!
Yes, it’s something about the head – although retrospectively I can’t help but think it’s what your insides smell of.
When people go, ‘Oh I love that new baby smell’ and you’re like, ‘Actually that’s just what I smell like’. People come and kiss the baby’s head straight away after you’ve had them and you’re like, ‘Erm OK, you crack on!’
You had a gap between your older two children and Nate…
It’s that thing of there’s never a good time. I wonder if I should have had them closer together, but actually it’s good that the older two are at school and I don’t have a little one running around the house needing my attention all the time. I can just sit with Nate, so it worked out really well.
The only problem is that the older two were very aware of me being pregnant and Jack, who’s in year four at school had ‘the talk’. He came home from school one day and unknown to me he’d had his birds and the bees chat and there’s me about seven months pregnant.
He looked at me and went. ‘Mummy. You know the baby…’ and then what proceeded was the most uncomfortable conversation I’ve ever had. I didn’t want to shut him down, I wanted to be open and honest.
He said: ‘Mummy. You know daddy’s swarms… how did they get through his trousers?’ Then it was a process of elimination where he said, ‘Ah! Did that mean daddy had to take his trousers off?’ He knows neither of us sleep naked, so then he looked at me really knowingly and went, ‘I know how this happened. In the shower!’
At this point, Evelyn piped up. ‘No Jack, don’t be silly, the swarms would have just fallen down the drain.’ I’m like, ‘OK shall we put Netflix on?!!’
But yes, having the age gap is good. When Nate’s sick on me one of them will get me something to sort it out.
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Evelyn’s always been a middle child. She had a middle child personality before she was a middle child. She was hysterical – and not in a good way – when I told her I was pregnant. She was so angry. She sat under our kitchen table and cried for about three hours, screaming ‘But I didn’t want this!’
We were so worried throughout the entire pregnancy because she would not come around to it at all. She didn’t want to touch the bump when he was moving around. But then when he came out, a little switch went inside her – she’s like a different child.
She comes home from school and says, ‘Mummy I love Nate so much’ and she cuddles him. I asked her why she didn’t like it when I was pregnant. She said, ‘I didn’t like that he was inside of you and I couldn’t see him.’
So it was such a relief. She’s the best big sister. She’s very overbearing as a big sister… she puts her hands in his face directly on his mouth after coming home from school. I’m sitting there, my eye twitching, knowing full well that norovirus is doing the rounds. Nooooooo! ‘Wash your hands, wash your hands!’
Sophie and her husband Steve
Would you like more children?
There are no more! My husband Steve is very invested in getting the snip – but there’s an 18 month NHS waiting list.
There’s a bit of a backlog with the old vasectomies and I can only imagine that maybe it came off the back of the lockdown. There was nothing else to do! Lots of lockdown babies then people want the snip afterwards. No more babies for us.
Although my husband does keep saying ‘Oh maybe we should just round it up to four, an even number’. Um no, there will just be three.
Is it hard to find time for your social media work with three kids?
Yeah, I guess that’s because Nate’s come onto the scene and I’ve totally forgotten how difficult babies are as well.
It’s hard with social media because there are so many people who do what you do, especially in the parenting comedy sector, and maybe they are in different situations in their life – maybe they have time to churn out a video every day.
It’s difficult sometimes to watch people churning out the content and getting loads of views. I have to go, ‘No it’s fine, I’m doing something different now and that’s ok.’ It’s ok to take a break away from it and concentrate on my kids.
Everything to do with social media is smoke and mirrors. It cracks me up, all the perfect pumpkin patch photos. I can’t think of anything worse than dragging my kids to a muddy field. I just go to Co-Op and get three pumpkins like normal people do. There are no kids looking longingly out onto a field of pumpkins!
Sophie’s book: Tired & Tested, £7.69, Amazon
Christmas is coming…do you do Elf on the Shelf?
I refuse point blank to do Elf on the Shelf. I hate him. I don’t understand why parents would do this. I do my own ‘take one from the top shelf’ instead of Elf on the Shelf which is like a shot of all the good spirits at this time of year.
I can’t imagine anything worse than lying in bed and then at 2am realizing that you haven’t moved the elves from the toaster into the oven. Having to get up and do some kind of hostage scene with Barbie terrified, tied to the chair – they seem like an absolute menace to society. No, no.
We do actually have an elf because someone sent me one but we put him in the Christmas tree and he watches them and reports back. The kids say all their friends do it and go, ‘But our elf doesn’t move mummy’. I’m like, ‘Well he’s a watching elf’.
It’s Nate’s first Christmas!
It is Nate’s first Christmas. And he will know nothing about it. He’ll probably get hand-me-downs wrapped up, and sit there chewing on the paper looking vaguely unimpressed while throwing up on himself!
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