Book Reviews

Mumboss by Vicki Psarias

Welcome to my first book review!

I think I might be a bit late to the party with this one but what a great party to be at – late or not! And if you are currently worried about how the Coronavirus crisis is affecting your work situation this book might be able to help you to think outside the box with regards to looking for other avenues to pursue.

I purchased this book because, as a new mum, one of the things that I am really struggling with is my work situation. I’m back part-time, three days a week. I like my job; however, it only pays me if I’m there (although we are currently getting paid for the Irish lockdown). It is also term time only which is not ideal in a country with very long summer holidays – I get 2-3 months off unpaid in the summer alone. Not only that I want to be working as a writer, I want to be able to work around my little boy, I want a portfolio career that includes my current job whilst allowing me to follow my writing dreams.

Enter Mumboss, Vicki Psarias’ wonderful book on making it work as a working mum. I first saw Vickie on BBC Breakfast one morning and, seeing that she was working as a parent blogger, something (alongside pursuing a career as a children’s writer) I’m trying to make work for myself as a living, I decided to look her up and I’m so glad that I did.

Mumboss is a practical guide to finding that balance between parenting and working. Something that so many of us are constantly striving towards. The chatty, warm, relaxed style makes you feel as though you are having a conversation with an old friend, a friend who is full of wise advice born from experience. Having watched Vicki on TV, her writing style reflects the way she comes across in person. It’s a clear, concise and comfortable read, making the reader feel that it is possible to achieve the balance that can so often feel impossible. The main emphasis is on building your own online business but she also writes about finding that balance for those who are working in employment too. To be honest, although the title suggests that this is a book just for mums or parents, I think it applies to anyone who wants to find that work/homelife balance, children or not.

In terms of what I want to do this book has made me think, then think some more and then made me think again! Although I’m constantly working towards becoming a children’s author, which is my main aim, I didn’t realise that there were so many other opportunities out there! In addition to her own experience Vicki also includes examples of so many other people who have successfully navigated their own path, in a variety of different fields. She also explains the different aspects of starting and maintaining an online business in such a clear way as well as having a whole section on SEO (search-engine optimisation), something that I have always been a bit flummoxed by! If you want to build a social media presence (which seems to be crucial in setting up an online business) Vicki takes the reader through the various handles and how they work. It’s thanks to Vicki that I now have an active Twitter account (with only 11 followers to date but I’m optimistic – it’s @ColetteMBrooks if anyone wants to join the 11!). 

But it’s not all about work. Vicki also writes a chapter about “Becoming a Mum”. I felt especially connected to this chapter because there was so much I could relate to, especially with regards to all the emotions and feelings which I feel are not talked or written about enough. My own birth story had a difficult ending which has definitely had an emotional effect on me – wishing that things could have been different when in reality I couldn’t have changed anything. Although Vicki’s experiences were different to mine, it was comforting to read that the feelings and emotions I’d experienced were not unique to me. 

As a new mum trying to think outside the box in terms of my working life I really do feel that this book has it all. It has heart, whilst being practical and informative, with Vicki summing it up in one beautiful quote: 

“…motherhood feels liberating. It allows me to chase my dreams because my biggest dream – becoming a mum – has already been met.” 

I couldn’t agree more, my life has never felt so full of possibilities since the birth of my little man, and in my pursuit of them I know that this is a book that I’ll be referring to time and time again. 

Colette x