Book Club: Crazy Busy Guilty

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Author: Lauren Sams
ISBN: 9781863958943
RRP: $29.99

I saw some fabulous reviews of She’s Having Her Baby when it was released in 2015 and it certainly caught my attention but I never quite got around to adding it to my reading pile. Crazy Busy Guilty is the follow up to that story but it convincingly stands on its own merits. I don’t feel I have lost anything by not having read the debut of Lauren Sams. I must say though, knowing that this was the second book gives me hope that we may get to have a later look in at Georgie’s life.

Let me preface this review by saying that there are spoilers for She’s Having Her Baby in this review!

Crazy Busy Guilty is a look at life for single mother Georgie Henderson, prefaced by a little look at the world of Mums and which mum you think you might be. Personally I read through the labels and still can’t decide which box I fit into… I think it has to be the ‘Just Trying to Keep It All Together Mum’.

Early on the book has a kind of stream-of-consciousness writing style where the mind of a new mother is at the helm and you just kind of read it how it’s all going on for her. This took a little getting used to but it certainly did set the tone and was absolutely relatable for any first time mum I think.

Georgie had never planned on having children and I think sometimes that plays a large part in how much you second guess yourself in the early days. If you weren’t sure before the baby joined the family it adds to all the insecurities once you bring them home, and you look around at all the other mums thinking they all have it so much more together than you do…. but here’s a tip – most of them don’t, not all the time anyway.

Every mother is different, the same way every child is different and every home situation is different. I think Sams does a great job of demonstrating this, Georgie comes in contact with lots of different mothers between her friends and the mothers group she was convinced to join and they all take their own personal motherhood journey.

Georgie is a mum who loves her daughter, worries she is doing a terrible job and really wants to get back to work; partly for financial reasons but also because she feels she needs the adult time, the career that always defined her and what sounds like her dream job is offered to her.

Crazy Busy Guilty is an insightful look at what it can be like for working mothers; trying to find the balance, trying to fit it all in, justifying your decision on an almost daily basis and working through the guilt. The guilt is as different for every mother as every mother is different; whether it’s that you don’t feel worse to be leaving them at daycare or the guilt is because you are leaving them at daycare, the guilt of having to finish off work at night when you should be having family time, the angst about whether they’re developing ok, whether they watch too much TV, whether they are being socialised with other children enough. In every motherhood situation there is guilt and we all feel it, we all feel it differently and specific to our own situations. Let me also add that it doesn’t change with subsequent children either, it changes and there are different things to feel guilty about but you’ll still feel it.

It isn’t all just about Georgie’s motherhood angst though because she is also navigating friendships, single parenthood, the involvement of the father, new relationships and the work/life balance that definitely depends very much on your employer.

Georgie and Nina have moved in together and are planning to raise Pippa in partnership, this confused me in the beginning because I wasn’t aware of the back story from She’s Having Her Baby. I actually thought they were together in the very beginning. This seems like a fabulous idea, and I guess in theory it could have been perfect but you have to take real people and real emotions into consideration so things often don’t work out quite the way you planned.

Nina is coming out of some huge life changes and makes some even bigger ones, enough to have Georgie concerned that Nina is having an early mid-life crisis. Georgie is so wrapped up in everything that’s going on with her, which is pretty understandable as a new mother, that she takes quite a selfish view of the situation and doesn’t take the time to try and empathise with what Nina is going through.

Crazy Busy Guilty is a fantastic read that definitely takes you inside that new mother veil, it is highly relatable, insightful and filled with moments of humour as well as of horror.

Sams has done a fantastic job of highlighting some of the issues faced by working mothers and included quite the surprise twist in the last couple of chapters.

It is possible to do it all but in the end you really need to work out what’s best for you and how the balance works best for you, things don’t always work out the way you think they will and it’s okay to change your mind.

Crazy Busy Guilty should definitely be on the reading list of new mums.

Crazy Busy Guilty is book #65 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2016.

Lauren Sams can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and her Website.

Crazy Busy Guilty is published by Nero Books and is available January 3rd from Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Nero Books 10 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading Crazy Busy Guilty so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “Book Club: Crazy Busy Guilty

  1. It’s always a fresh canvas feeling when you receive your books for review. I thank Beauty and Lace and Black inc Books for the chance to review ‘Crazy Busy Guilty’ by Lauren Sams.

    Few books instill an instant emotion in me but this one surely did. I gnawed through the Prologue, giving us a recount of differing types of mother figures out there. Hmmm. Then Chapter 1 began an almost ADD rant of quick, static emotions and questions. Every thought the author possessed was painstakingly put down on paper, I felt like I was in a whirly wind of thoughts and wondered if the book was like this all the way through I would die.

    Suffice it to say I was not a big fan of this book. The book deals with motherhood, the intricacies of your emotions – are you doing everything right, can I do better, what does the baby really want. The realism of lack of sleep, little help, sore boobs, forever dressing in PJs; a chaotic, messy household. Yes I felt I was reliving my own experiences and likewise of those thousands of other mums out there. So where was the spark in this book, the differing experiences, the new phenomenons. I felt like I was reading a day in the life of me. Same old, same old. The book was relentless is its rant of the main character Georgie Henderson, single mum, dealing with new motherhood, wondering why she doesn’t seem as bonded and perfect as others mums surrounding her, feeling the guilt of looking forward to returning to Editorial work and then dealing with the roller coaster chaos of juggling life and trying to be super employee and super mum. Yarder, yarder! I endured the first half of this book and the author had only just returned her character to work. The pace was sloooow.

    We were introduced to other less substantial characters. Her best friend Nina who was dealing with her own marriage breakup and realisation of never becoming a mother herself. We were also introduced to Anna’s boss, a Publisher of a new paper release – driven, unreasonable, almost bi-polar type who expected the impossible and wished for the stars. A potential love interest in Neil, a food critic working at the same firm. We never got any in depth look into these characters, only surface level stuff!!

    The second half of the book finally indicated somewhat of a story line but I was terribly disappointed. Nothing much really happens in this book. It took reading to the final pages to actually delve more deeply into the character of Meredith Parker, Publisher. I finally got some insight into another character. Yay, and then it was finished.

    I can praise somewhat what the author Lauren Sams was trying to portray but the story line and characters I found were mundane, the plot boring, the characters flat.

    Oh well, not all books will appeal to everyone. Others, I’m sure will love this book but unfortunately I’m not one of them.

  2. This was a fantastic read! Any Mum will relate regardless of being a working mother or not. I luckily only work one day a week, for now (mum of 3) but know how hard it is to juggle everything….and the need to be everything everywhere all at once without breaks or much help…well any really.

    We follow Georgie, single Mum full time worker through her struggle to find some sort of work life / home life balance without going crazy. Georgie’s baby Pip is a typical baby and doesn’t sleep great and does all the wonderful (eg; spit up, clingy) things babies do. We see Georgie through her typical days and what comes with it. Being a working Mum is… well Crazy, busy and you sure as hell feel guilty.
    Her boss however … well she is a um…character that’s for sure 🙂 sometimes hilarious other times ridiculous.
    I liked the characters surrounding Georgie, her best friend Nina pulled at the heart strings with her crisis and stage in life.
    This book was a page turner and easy read. I found myself getting annoyed when Georgie was annoyed and felt joy when she did too. Georgie is a real character, real Mum. It is a great read for, well Mums! 🙂

    Thank you Beauty & Lace + Nero Books.

  3. Thankyou for this opportunity to read this very enlightening book it was a fabulous fun ride with the utter most relatable frustrations making for a great journey.
    At least now I know I am normal, well I hope so anyway haha!
    This book was very well written and makes every woman that has had a baby feel better about themselves to know they are not alone and no one is perfect at all even if they look like they are in control.
    Georgie felt like a close friend and was so close to what people are thinking in the real world and that is what is captivating about this fantastic book..
    Loved the different type of mums she described as that was quite hilarious 🙂
    What an all round fun book, makes you remember some of my own experiences, good and bad.
    If people could read this before their birth of their baby I think it would put their minds at ease even though everyones experience can be different, I think it would help them not doubt themselves as much as we are all human.
    Highly recommended read as very entertaining.

  4. Crazy Busy Guilty is Lauren Sams’ second book following on from She’s Having a Baby. If I were to have one criticism of the book it is that it would have been less confusing for the reader if there had been a brief recap of the first book in the prologue to clarify the relationships between the characters.
    Instead in the prologue Sams asks what sort of mum are you? She then goes onto describe some different idealised options, Foodie Mum, Patient Mum, Martyr Mum, Stylish Mum, Organised Mum, Involved Mum, and Hipster Mum before suggesting that you are really Just Trying to Keep Everyone Happy Mum. It’s 30+ years since I was a new mum, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t fit into any of those boxes, Trying to Keep My Head Above Water and Pretend I’m Waving Not Drowning Mum was probably more my style!
    The story itself begins with the acknowledgement that “There’s life Before Baby and life After Baby; that’s pretty obvious. Any idiot knows that.” And then launches into the reality of life After Baby experienced by many modern parents. The main character Georgie has had her baby and is now facing the reality of life as a single parent. Her friend Nina, recently separated from her husband Matt, and dealing with her own reality that she will probably never have a biological child of her own, has been “encouraged” by Georgie to come and live with them and “co-parent”. Except Nina seems to be having a mid-life crisis and instead of being home to help with baby Pip she is out drinking and partying every night.

    Georgie’s other friend Ellie seems to have this parenting bit down pat and encourages Georgie to join a Mothers group so she meets with other mums with similar aged babies. Georgie doesn’t find this to be a positive experience. She feels inferior and judged by the other mums who seem to have this parenting business under control, whereas she can barely work out what day it is. How, Georgie wonders, have they managed to crack the Motherhood Code. they had only been doing it for the same amount as time as her, how had they figured it out already.

    And then there’s the fact that with Pippa barely 6 months old Georgie is returning to work, but to a new job as editor of a newspaper supplement, ‘The Weekend’. Her friend Lee, who had been doing the job, was leaving and suggested this would be the perfect job for a woman with a new baby, a woman publisher, family friendly hours, a breast feeding room. For Georgie this seemed like a reprieve from being at home and trying to be a good mum to Pippa, something at which she felt she was failing.

    The new job of course brings challenges, the other mums at the mothers and babies group are shocked that she is going back to work so soon, or in fact at all; as is her own mum. Not only does she need to organise day care for Pippa, Nina seems to becoming less and less reliable in assisting her and the reality of the job isn’t quite what she expects, or has been led to believe.
    We watch as Georgie endeavours to be all things to all people and in doing so discovers her own limits. As she develops a new relationship she also discovers that the other mums haven’t actually cracked the Motherhood Code, they’ve just learnt to pretend really well and make their own compromises to appear competent and then there is the surprising twist at the end,

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book and consider it should be required reading for every new and prospective new parent. Although nothing will ever truly prepare you for life After Baby this book goes close. I loved Sams’ writing style which took you right inside Georgie’s head with all the confusion and emotion that she was feeling. Yet at the same time the book has a humorous edge.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review this book.

  5. Thank you Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read such an entertaining novel! I am not a mother as yet, but I am planning to be in the near future and I know I need to be READY for all the ups and downs!

    This was a great insight into what motherhood is really like – and believe me, from what my friends and family have told me, this is certainly what it can be like!

    I really enjoyed the main character Georgie’s personality and stance. She tries to cope with life as a single parent and full-time worker.. She is a strong mum and has a great and hilarious group of friends surrounding and supporting her.

    I laughed out loud when she describes all the different types of mums – and it is so true!!

    Crazy, Busy, Guilty is a well-written and easy to read novel. Sam has given us a great insight into some of the issues mum’s can experience. As crazy as motherhood and juggling life with it sounds, I am so ready!
    I think every mother and soon-to-be should read this.

    Thank you again B&L and Nero books!

  6. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Crazy,Busy, Guilty by Lauren Sam. There were many relatable moments in this book especially with the main character Georgie and her experiences as a first time mum. Forever second guessing and beating herself up about her child rearing choices. Although easy to read, I did not find this book engaging and struggled to get through it.

  7. Thanks for the opportunity to read Crazy Busy Guilty
    This book bought back so many memories for me though I wasn’t a single mum but had plenty of insecurities and doubts when I had my first baby
    I related to the different mums in the book think we have all met them in real life
    Readers will get a laugh out of some parts of this book
    I found this book easy to read and relate to
    Thanks

  8. thank you for the chance to read and review this book beauty and Lace.

    Crazy, Busy, Guilty is the story of Georgie Henderson, single, new mum and a worker, she must discover how to balance it all and still stay on top of her ex Jase whom gets all the credit.
    Meanwhile her mum wants her to find the perfect man, preferably the father of her child, the mothers at her mothers group think she’s crazy going back to work so soon and her friend Nina is having a mid- life crisis.

    This is the second book by Lauren Sams, following on from She’s having a baby, It’s a laugh out loud book and a must read for all those mums trying to balance it all.

  9. Crazy Busy Guilty

    Okay so my book review is late.. I have had a horrendous start to 2017, so please accept my apologies. Sorry sorry sorry.

    That out of the way, it made the book a little more apt for me lol.
    I totally get the main character Georgie. Georgie is dealing with the issues we all face.. our kids don’t come with manuals and sometimes we wonder if we are truly qualified to deal with the small people we made! Promise me it gets easier!

    An honest and at times hilarious book, I found this to be some light hearted escapism that was much needed right now. Georgie just needs to follow her own instincts and be a little nicer to herself. I think it was a lovely read and have passed it on to my bestie to have a giggle at. x

  10. I was keen to read this book because the title somehow summarises my life right Now. I am a busy full time working mum and always guilty of things like missing my kids school functions because of work.
    This book made me feel I was normal and lots of mums go through these situations and there is no need to beat myself about it.
    I enjoyed reading through the main character Georgie life experiences going through ups and downs as a single full time working mum.
    The story line is great and is relatable. It made me think about my life as a working mum and made me appreciate my life more. It also made me flashback through memories of being a first time mum.
    Lots of laughing out Loud moments through the book. Love that the book makes me relax and not stress about little things so much.
    It is a very easy read and I think all mothers whether working or not will appreciate this book.

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