lifestyle · parenting · Reviews

A Review of ‘Mum Boss: The Honest Mum’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home’ by Vicki Psarias.

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Disclaimers: There may be spoilers in this post and I may also use affiliate links.

Twitter is a marvelous thing. Not only does it allow a level of procrastination that lengthens my already substantial list of chores significantly, (it’s fine, I blame the toddler) it also connects me with other parents who often enough have very similar problems and triumphs to myself. Vicki just happened to pop up on my news feed one day and I went for a little click over to her profile, being the nosey sod that I am. What I found was a woman that was perfectly happy to not sugar coat all of the ‘glories’ that come with raising children. Her tweets amused me and when I took a little ‘excuse for a mug of coffee’ tour of her blog, my already positive opinion increased rapidly with every post that I read through. I saw her book being advertised on her site and basically thought, ‘hey, why not?’

I have given ‘Mum Boss’ two good read-throughs and think it is high time that I give it an honest (and in true Alex style) slightly rambling review. I can quite happily rate this book at a solid 9/10 due to it’s informative, yet chatty tone and for it being both supportive and encouraging. I think that this is a must read for any person (not just the mummies and daddies) who want to move forward in business, as it has a strong emphasis on two of the most important factors. 1) Taking care of yourself and 2) balancing your workload with your family life.

What’s the book about?

This book is both a detailed and earnest overview of how Vicki came to be in the notable position that she is now, aka rocking it as the ‘Mum Boss.’ It also serves as a very detailed and practical guide to help encourage other ladies to attempt to reach those same heights, without having to sacrifice or diminish all of the wonderful things that come with the job title of ‘mummy.’ Such as snot fuelled kisses and tantrum-filled, “I love you’s” that come with a side order of creative fun and huggy mischief. The mum life can be hard work (and coffee-fuelled much of the time) but ultimately something that we wouldn’t miss for the world, even if sometimes we wish that we could have a few hours away from it all to remember who we were before we became ‘mummy.’

‘Mum Boss’ starts with a brief look at the events that lead up to Vicki’s change of career. A vast difference in direction; away from the directing of films and TV Shows and into the realms of blogging and working from home. Within the first few chapters, we learn about her difficult first pregnancy and traumatic birth in great detail and how these events had a lasting effect on her. This helps to make her more relatable as a mother and shows us that regardless of how much of a difficult time we are having (or have had), we can overcome it and succeed. Ultimately becoming a better version of ourselves, for both us and our loved ones.

Long story short, like many of us mothers she wanted to spend more time with her babies than her previous job could have possibly allowed. So in order to find a balance that works for her, she chose to move in a whole new direction. This really spoke to me because when I returned to work after having my eldest daughter, I cried every time I missed a milestone or even a particularly cute smile. It felt like her life was just passing me by and it seemed like I would miss everything, both important and mundane. Being away from my daughter felt like a constant ache in my heart even though I knew she was in my partner’s very capable hands and was perfectly happy with the arrangement (being the little daddy’s girl that she is.)

I’m due to go back to work at the end of next month, after having my second child, Lily and on some levels, I’m dreading it. Even though I miss the adult conversation when I’m off work, I miss my babies more when I am working. (On a very loosely related side note: not looking forward to the transition back into talking normally again either. Last time I spent the first month talking to customers in a sing-song voice like I would with a baby. Please tell me that’s not just me!) This seems to be the main ‘problem’ with being a mother, you can either have your cake (mummy time) or eat it (a career). Not both.

‘Mum boss’ aims to change that mindset and help all woman have the family lives they want AND the success that they crave. Hopefully without the stereotype of the ‘selfish working mother’ who dares to dream about bettering herself instead of always being the dutiful wife and mum, which seems to be the general opinion that people have of any woman who chooses to work and support their families. Within this book is the hope that more mums might realise that it is perfectly possible to succeed at being a parent without constantly toeing the line of social convention and what is deemed acceptable within a traditional community’s values.

psariasvicki author4795661300216358800..jpgI find this change of message refreshing, and I welcome the movement towards a more balanced view of the roles of men and woman in the household. Obviously, if the traditional roles work for you and your loved ones then that’s great, but in a modern world they just don’t work for everyone – and that’s kind of the whole point of this book.

Included are stories of many woman becoming their own boss. Their reasons range from losing their original job, wanting to spend more time with their children, seeing a gap in the market and taking a big chance on it and simply having the drive to succeed. The stories are inspirational and heartfelt and make you realise that these are people who are just like you and I. They want to succeed whilst also staying a present and positive force in their children’s day-to-day life, this is something that we could all possibly strive towards and that in itself is inspiring.

What did I like about this book?

My favourite aspect of this book was the helpful and encouraging tone it had towards the reader while keeping the general vibe humorous yet informative (for the most part). We are spoken too as equals, who have asked for advice from a more experienced but like-minded individual. Rather than (as is the case with quite a few self-help books) a clueless puppy, sat at our master’s feet; begging for any scraps of honest information or useful advice that they can possibly provide.

Don’t expect to be told that you will succeed quickly and don’t expect to be given the secrets to an easy and fast fortune. This isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It’s good, solid advice and information that will set you on the road to success. IF, (and its a big if) your’re willing to work hard and find time to do it. Being organised is key and as is a serious amount of hard work. There are loads of helpful hints and tips that will assist you in becoming more efficient in your life to enable you to achieve the life/ work balance that you need in order to succeed as both a parent and a businessman/woman.

There is a strong focus on mental health and looking after yourself which is often an area that many mums neglect. I know from personal experience that I constantly put myself last and my moods often suffer because of it. We are often too busy taking care of everyone else to truly take care of ourselves. There is a lot of solid advice to help improve your mindset and help you to become a healthier and happier person. Remember: if you don’t take care of yourself then you won’t be as good at taking care of others. Another way to put it: ‘happy mummy/ daddy, equals happier children.’ Well. In between tantrums anyway!

Another major bonus are that the short chapters make it very easy to pick up and read for ten seconds, (when you finally get to drink that cold coffee you’ve been eyeing up for the best part of two hours) and put back down until later without forgetting everything that you have been reading. This is obviously an ideal format for busy mums and dads who barely have enough time to pee, let alone get a quiet and lengthy read in.

Pro tip: provided the subject matter of a book is appropriate (and it’s something you desperately want to read) read it to your kids. My toddler really enjoys me reading to her so it was a win-win. I did what I wanted to do and she got the attention she needed and wanted without her turning into a tiny little Terror-Saurus Rex. Happy mummy and happy toddle….. Unfortunately, she now expects me to read everything out to her. Oh well… That’s the price you pay for a quiet life, I guess.

What didn’t I like about this book?

While it’s great to see the high level of support Vicki has for other ladies in business I found all of the website links (I have the ebook) to be a little distracting while trying to read through the book in its entirety. Saying that, the websites that I did visit were excellent and very informative for the most part. The other downside is the length of the book, at only 240 pages it was quite a rapid read and I tend to be someone who loves long and more ‘meaty’ books, which suck me into pages for days. Admittedly this is a pipe dream with two small children but I can dream (and wait) until those days come again.

A more minor negative is for people who have very little knowledge of pop culture (like myself.) Mum Boss is filled with many references, a fair few I had to look up, (being the uncool mama that I am) this is worth noting for those who spend too much time on Twitter and next to no time watching TV or doing that weird socialising-outdoors thing, which people keep mentioning…….I should probably start doing soon….oh well! I would much rather read, drink Gin and do girl-geek stuff… Simple things for a happy Alex 🙂

Would I recommend this book?

As you have probably guessed by this point, I do in fact recommend this book whole-heartedly. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy to figure that out, right? It’s fun and light-hearted with a whole lot of honesty that’s relatable to almost every mum imaginable. No hiding behind glamour here, ladies. If you would like to buy ‘Mum Boss’ then here is the link.
It provides easy to follow advice and instructions based upon how the average mummy can succeed while improving her physical, emotional and mental wellbeing without being patronizing or preachy in the process. It does have a few minor negatives but they are more to do with my own personal taste than any problems with the writing style. You can buy ‘Mum Boss’ here. Here are the links to Vicki’s site and Twitter page if you would like to give her a follow.

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