Mum Hacks: How to juggle your career and children

Workaholic mother Tanith Carey with Lily and Clio. Picture: Tanith Carey

Workaholic mother Tanith Carey with Lily and Clio. Picture: Tanith Carey - Credit: Archant

Tanith Carey was working long hours as a journalist while she was pregnant with her second child.

In the hope of spending more time with her first daughter, she would sometimes stay up until 3am to finish her work.

It was realising that this was a never-ending process, that made her stop and reassess her life.

Now mum to 14-year-old-Lily and 11-year-old Clio, Carey writes on parenting issues and her latest book aims to help mums and dads improve time management when juggling career and kids.

Packed with top tips, Mum Hacks (Crimson Publishing £9.99) aims to help parents find quick solutions to spending as much time as possible with their children – and enjoy it.

“I was in a very lucky situation. In my job I am always speaking to people with lots of expertise – top people in childcare for my features about making time easier. I tried out all of the tips and I asked other mothers to try them too.”

The book covers advice on stress-free mealtimes, avoiding morning mayhem and time saving housework hacks, like avoiding the daily frantic search for a clean shirt in the morning by having yours and the kids’ clothes ready the night before.

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“It’s not just mums, both parents are often working and trying to find money for childcare, and may not have the family support we had a generation ago.

“Because of technology, bosses think they can ring whenever, so time that should be spent with our kids is interrupted by people ringing with work queries.”

One tip advises parents to get their children involved in helping out at home.

“We treat our children as little lords and ladies. You have to see the whole family as a team. If you act like a servant your children will treat you like one.”

When dealing with fussy eaters, Tanith recommends letting children add an ingredient to the pot and stirring it; their curiosity might make them more eager to try the finished result.

Although she admits that some issues are unavoidable for a working parent, her book offers a new parenting model that addresses working life without allowing it to dominate.

“Children really spell TIME as LOVE, so if we don’t spend time with them they think we don’t love them very much.

“All my books look at the emotional wellbeing of children,” she adds.

Mum Hacks acknowledges that children are in competition with mobile phones and emails for their parents’ attention, but suggests ways of cutting back so that children don’t feel their parents’ stress.

“Stress is contagious” Carey warns.

“You are their role model, you are their world. They’re picking up every single smile and facial expression, the way you talk and breathe.”

But the book is not just about children, one chapter is dedicated to prioritising and de-stressing so that you can be a good parent.

“We have to claw back some time and be aware of our own stress level. It’s a warning sign to step back and ask for help. Prioritise your life.”

Written in short, clear paragraphs, the book itself is designed to be quickly digested by busy parents.

“I don’t think parents have a lot of time to read so this is the kind of book you can put in your handbag,” adds Carey.

Ultimately she aims to give parents back more time with their families and more stress-free moments for themselves

“We’d hate our children to look back and remember their parents being rushed, constantly stressed, always on their iPhones.”