Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum taps into the rarely spoken angst, anxiety and humour of new motherhood. Raw, real and painstakingly accurate, author Georgia Madden perfectly captures the dark humour, unexpected friendships and parental pressure new mums can face. We binge-read Confessions like a family-sized block of chocolate – it’s unputdownable, sharply funny and sooo relatable, some of the characters could have come from our own experience.


We caught up with author, Georgia Madden, for the low-down on getting her first book published, and how she nailed the new mum experience in print.


Georgia Madden b&wYou carved a career as an interiors journalist and magazine contributor – what inspired you to make the leap to writing this novel, and how did you get it off the ground?

It’s something I’d always secretly dreamed of doing, but never quite found the courage. I wasn’t sure I had it in me. Then I hit the big 4-0 and it suddenly felt like now or never. They say to write what you know, and motherhood being the one thing I knew well, it seemed like the natural place to start.

The character of Ally – a successful working woman who’s used to being in absolute control of every aspect of her life suddenly finding herself undone by motherhood – hit a nerve, made me laugh. I started writing her story after the kids had gone down for the night – a page here, a paragraph there. Before I knew it, I was writing a book.


Confessions perfectly captures the mummy angst – career v baby, professional identity v romantic ideals of motherhood. How much of the book was based on your personal experience?

Quite a bit. Like Ally, I’d always wanted children, but the process of actually having them and rearing them came as quite a shock. And no-one had told me how tough it could be on your relationship. I’d worked in magazines pre-kids, and before my son came along, my closest experience to motherhood was flicking through Practical Parenting magazine. It all looked so easy . . . and clean! It took us a while to adjust to the realities of family life, but thankfully we got there in the end. Looking back now, a lot of it was actually pretty funny. At the time, not so much.


COAOFM (print)How long did Confessions take to write and how was the process for you?

All up, about a year. It was a wonderful time – from discovering how much I enjoyed telling stories and signing a real, live publishing deal to working alongside my brilliant editor. The whole thing felt like a dream come true. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. Still can’t.


You flirt with some tricky subjects in Confessions ­ – mother-in-law, relationships, adultery. Were you ever nervous about publishing such a warts-and-all account of motherhood?

It only dawned on me as publication date loomed that I might seriously p*ss some people off with this book. There were a few sleepless nights, I have to admit. While none of the characters or scenes in the book were lifted entirely from real life, they certainly inspired it. Thankfully, my friends have all seen the funny side and been incredibly supportive, likewise my lovely mother-in-law. Convincing my husband that I really did need to include the infamous ‘skundies’ scene in the book was a little tougher, but he came around eventually.


What do you know now about publishing a novel that you wish you knew before you started?

How utterly wonderful it can be. I wish I’d found the courage to try my hand at it years ago.


What about parenthood – what do you wish you knew before you embarked on the motherhood experience?

I wish I’d been more relaxed about the whole thing when my kids were young. I wrote a lot of lists, was diligent about things like sterilising bottles and recording bowel movements. But I wish I’d given myself more time to just enjoy them – let the dishes pile up in the sink and just sit back and soak them both in. My son is about to begin high school – he’s started wearing deodorant! Where did the time go? It just about kills me that I’ll never be able to snuggle him up on my lap again.


What’s next – will we hear more from Ally Bloom?

Absolutely! I’d love to revisit Ally five years’ down the track when she’s done with nappies and playgroup and is preparing for life as a school mum. I’ve just signed a two-book deal with Nero, so watch this space!


Don’t miss our September issue, out next week, featuring our Review of Confessions of a Once Fashionable Mum ($29.99 from Nero Books).


Courtney Robinson

Courtney Robinson  

Courtney Robinson is a Gold Coast mum, passionate foodie, whole foods recipe creator and personal trainer certified in holistic digestive health and nutrition. Follow @athletist_ or visit athletist.com.au for recipes, workout tips and training hacks.