Amazing Mum

Writer Tanith Carey and daughter Lily

A recent survey really struck a chord with me.

It turned out that in a day of 24 hours, British mothers are managing to pack in 27 hours of work, housework and childcare.

Frankly, the only surprise was that we don’t pack in more.

The fact is that it’s time, not money that has become the most precious commodity of all, especially for mums.

I’m a working mother– and when I look at the others around me, I really believe that we’ve never been under so much pressure.

After all, the latest figures show that 59% of mothers with children under five now go out to work, and professional women are doing 18 different types of childcare and work tasks every week.

Ten years ago, going back to work after having a baby was often a choice women could afford to make.

We had the luxury of thinking it over and then deciding whether we wanted to stay at home with our children – or keep our career going as well.

For most women in 2009 there is little choice.

Difficult economic conditions and job uncertainty means many of us now feel we have simply no option.

The credit crunch means that many of us feel we have to cut short maternity leaves.

Those of us who are promised a flexible three or four day working week find that the reality is that we simply have to work flat out to do a full week in those hours.

What worries me is, that in the midst of all these building pressures, perhaps we are no longer the mothers we wanted to be?

We are so busy rushing around in a constant race against an invisible stop watch that we are not enjoying motherhood any more.

It’s for that simple reason that I wrote my book: “How to be an Amazing Mum _ When You Just Don’t Have the Time – The Ultimate Handbook for Hassled Mums.”

I should point out that there are inverted commas around Amazing.

That’s because this is not one of those books that puts even more stress on busy mums by telling them they have to be fabulous, or yummy.

The only problem is that these days, most mums don’t have time to check whether they’re heading out of the door wearing their coat the right way out – let alone to indulge in “candlelit spa baths to regain your sense of self.”

Instead it’s a new kind of parenting book, offering ideas on how mums can find more TIME to be mums in the first place.

That’s because in 2009, it’s not so much the credit-crunch that most of us are struggling with. It’s the time crunch. If they are anything like me, most working mothers wake up every morning feeling like they are in an un-winnable race with a stopwatch.

But let make it clear. “How to be an Amazing Mum – When You Just Don’t Have the Time” is NOT about rushing your children. Nothing, repeat nothing, could be more counterproductive.

Hurrying kids only makes them needier and more demanding.

It’s a book of short cuts that means you can spend MORE time concentrating on your children, making them feel once again they are the most important people in your life. There are no complicated lists to fill out or six-week action plans to add to your already loaded to-do list.

I wrote it because I was sick of having a laundry pile which stalked me around the house - and a to-do list so long it curled.

As a parenting journalist over the last four years, I have been lucky enough to be in the ideal position to talk to a range of experts and time-management gurus to gather ideas, cull them from other mums - and then try them all out myself.

Because we have so much to do as parents, the book covers everything from heading off kitchen disasters before they happen, to getting your kid to do what you ask the first time, not the twentieth.

When I set my mind to it, I found there are toys you can choose that make tidying up after the kids less of a headache. I also set out to buy kids clothes that would be easier to dress them in the mornings made of fabrics which didn’t need so much ironing.

I also worked out ways of decorating my house that headed off mess before it took hold – and made it easier to clean.

In other words, I aimed to make a conscious effort to find ways to cut out the irritating distractions, frustrations and lost minutes that make the hard job of being a mother even harder.

This book will show you, here and now, how you really can do everything quicker. But don’t feel it’s just for working mothers.

It’s for any parent who just wants to spend less time tidying, cleaning and washing, and have more time to enjoy their kids.

It applies just as much to the brand new mum – who can’t find a moment to wash her hair – as to the company director who’s struggling to get her three kids to school by 9 a.m.

Some ideas will apply to your life and others won’t.

Dip in and out and try a few at a time.

Keep this book in your handbag for the thirty seconds you snatch when the baby’s asleep in the back of the car, or the ten minutes when you finally get a seat on the train home.

The reason I wrote this book is because when I brought my first baby, Lily, home I promised her that I would be an amazing mother.

But, when other pressures started to steal away the hours I always meant to spend with her, I became less and less the parent I wanted to be.

This book is about trying to help myself – and other mothers – reclaim that promise. You have nothing to gain but time: for your kids, your partner and, ultimately, yourself.

Tanith Carey

For more information on Tanith's book visit