Mom's Lockdown Version of 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' Is the Laugh We've All Been Needing

Cover of
Marti MW/Facebook

Chances are, you've read The Very Hungry Caterpillar cover-to-cover more times than you can count. The beloved picture book was published by Eric Carle back in 1969, and has become something of a children's classic ever since, due in part to its eye-catching illustrations. Ask most parents with young kids, and they can likely recite most of it by memory. But few have loved the book quite as much as one mom, who recently created her own version of the book that's taken the internet by storm. It's called F---ing Tired Lock-Down Mommy -- and if you've been hanging on by a thread since the pandemic began, this book FEELS YOU.

  • In case you need a refresher on the original, the book tells the tale of -- spoiler alert -- a tiny caterpillar with a very big appetite.

    He pops out of an egg one morning as the sun comes up, and as readers follow the little critter throughout the week, he eats his way through things like strawberries, apples, plums and pears.

    Each day, he still finds himself famished for more -- until one day, he eats his way through so many things that he goes to bed with a stomachache.

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  • The next day, he begins to feel better, and wraps himself in a cocoon where he stays for more than two weeks ...

    Until he finally emerges again -- as a great, big, beautiful butterfly.

    The book is, at its heart, about the life cycle of one of the world's smallest creatures -- and its transformation into one of the world's most mesmerizing ones. But it does so using educational themes like counting and colors, and with cut-outs and differently shaped pages.

  • London-based illustrator Marti MW knows the story well. 

    She's read it to her daughter Maya so many times that it recently became stuck in her head -- especially now that she's been quarantined at home for months, because of the pandemic.

    "One day, while brushing my teeth after another long, quarantine day I thought that I can relate to the caterpillar on the cover, as I'm now a very hungry mommy all the time," she wrote in a Facebook post on June 6. "That was the first idea of the book."

  • And so, over the next month, she sat down and began rewriting (and redrawing) the story, one colorful page at a time.

    It begins with the image of an exhausted mother, waking up to start her day before the sun even has a chance to come up. 

    "In the light of [the] spring moon, a tired mom [lay] on the bed, not looking forward to another week in lock-down with kids," reads the opening page.

    (Sound familiar??)

  • Instead of the caterpillar waking up to the morning sun, the tired mommy awakes to the sight of her child -- staring directly at her.

    "On Sunday morning, a little girl started wreaking havoc around the house," the book continues. "So with a heavy heart, from the bed there emerged a tired, lock-down Mommy."

  • Just like the very hungry caterpillar, Tired Lock-Down Mommy also finds herself snacking excessively throughout the week.

    But it's not because she's preparing to become a butterfly. It's because the monotony of lockdown, combined with the inability to go anywhere and the pressures of caring for kids 24/7is literally driving her to stress eat. (Which, let's be honest, is every parent right now.)

  • So, with each new day, we watch the mama fuel up on coffee to keep her droopy eyes open and battle to keep her sanity.

    Most of the days begin and end like the one before it, because Quarantine Life has basically become like one never-ending real-life showing of Groundhog's Day.

    "On Tuesday, [the] kids gave a spa treatment to their toys in the kitchen sink," one page reads. "[Mommy] had two chocolate bunnies with her coffee, it's not that bad, she thought. But she was still hungry, even though the bastards were 400 calories each."

    Oof. Been there.

  • Just like Carle, Marti folds in educational themes like counting into her story, adding on a new treat each day.

    "On Wednesday, she ate three ice lollies after breakfast, but still felt like eating something sweet," the story continues. "Homeschooling sux, she was tired."

    Marti's words are almost poetic, and serve a heavy dose of realism that feels like she's seriously speaking to us.

  • As the week drags on, more kid dramas ensue -- leading Tired Lock-Down Mommy to slowly unravel.

    "On Thursday she ate four cupcakes in 15 minutes, because [the] kids decided to cut their own hair,” her tale continues. "She added a glass of wine for good measure. It was a good idea, but she was still tired and hungry."

    Oh boy.

  • Like most of us, she hangs on by a thread to make it to Friday -- when the kids decide it's a great idea to shave the dog.

    At which point, Tired Lock-Down Mommy loses all self-control (and the desire to cook another rejected meal) and orders pizza.

    She hides in the bathroom and downs five slices, because QUARANTINE POUNDS DON'T COUNT, AMIRIGHT??

  • By the time Saturday comes, Mom has tossed all rules out of the window.

    As the kids run around sans pants, Lock-Down Mommy decides not to care and instead eats her way through a slice of cheese, a rotting banana, one chocolate Santa (from last Christmas, of course), the kids' leftover lunch, half a jar of jam, and a doggie treat (yes, really).

    Then, she washed it all down with some gin.

  • Finally, comes Sunday, which Lock-Down Mommy has reclaimed as a day of rest.

    As such, she removes all previously imposed screen time limits for the kids, tells them to "go ask Daddy" all their questions, and retires to her bedroom where she too wraps herself up into a cocoon inside her blanket. (Or a "Mommy Burrito," as Marti calls it.)

    "She stayed inside all day and night. ALONE," the story goes on. "She drank some wine, she watched some Netflix, talked to some friends. She slept without being kicked in the face."

    And it. felt. GOOD.

  • So good, in fact, that the next day the Tired Lock-Down Mommy emerged from her cocoon a new woman ... 

    OK, well not exactly. But she started the week all over again refreshed and ready to do better, after resting from a hard week of momming.


    "Because moms are awesome and they [get] s--- done," Marti writes. "And even though sometimes they stress out, overeat or sleep all day, it's okay. We all need a way to vent and cope, and self-care is as important as caring for others."


  • Since Marti first shared her parody in early June, it's been shared literally thousands of times.

    And no surprise, moms everywhere are loving it -- mostly because it's so highly relatable.

    "Absolutely brilliant!" wrote one mom. "So enjoyable and funny. I love the way you tell the story."

    "Mommies TRULY ARE AMAZING!!" wrote another. "We all seem to get s--- done and recoup for another week!! God bless all the moms out there!!"

    But most of all, a lot of moms thanked Marti for reminding them that they are not alone in this -- even if they feel like they're barely making it through each day, and are failing at this whole homeschooling thing.

    Somehow, some way, we'll all make it through.

    "I so needed this, thanks so much," wrote one mom. "Solidarity in lockdown."