Author: Lauren Sams
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.