Do you ever feel overwhelmed by how much you have to do? Why we have to do less

Too much to do as parent? How to work smarter, not harder so you can enjoy your kids more.

As a working mum, I wish that my brain hadn’t often felt like a computer with too many tabs open.

Or that it had not got to the point where an essential visit to my GP seemed self-indulgent.

Mum Hacks


I wish that when my children were growing up, I hadn’t often bitterly observed how ‘having it all’ had actually come to mean having to do absolutely everything. Simultaneously.

But this is not another mummy rant about lack of me-time.

This is about how we need to find more uninterrupted moments for our children if anyone is ever going to feel good about this escalating state of affairs.

Because as it stands, economic uncertainty, the long hours culture and the creeping tendrils of technology means British parents work some of the longest working hours in Europe – and our children are also counting the cost.

The number of families who now need two wage earners to own a home and keep up with the cost of living in the UK has now hit a record high, with 2.25 million women back in work by the time their children are four.

As much as dads have valiantly tried to step up and share the load, experimenting with Jamie Oliver and sharing school pick-ups, the workplace just keeps demanding more from ALL of us.

The reality of having both a job and kids is that both suffer.

But it’s not just about us. As much as think we are doing the best for our kids, we need to remember that anxiety is as catching as a cold.

Imagine how scary is must be for a child, who relies on his parents for everything, to see them so overwhelmed.

Furthermore despite all best good intentions about being the best parents, stress is the greatest enemy of good parenting there is.

It makes us reactive and panicky, especially when all does not go to plan.

Our parenting becomes more impatient. We are so busy keeping ourselves afloat that all we want is our kids to comply without question. We jump to label our children ‘difficult’ when they don’t.

Our standards slip. We become inconsistent in applying them. We opt for ‘anything for a quiet life’ parenting and in our stressed state, we leave children be babysat by technology.

Often, when mothers in particular get overwhelmed, they are the last to see it.

When asked however, one in four working mothers report feeling close to burn-out, often tearful and fearful, but holding it together as much as they can.

Working mum juggling

That what’s why I wrote Mum Hacks. Because until we get to point where it’s OK to be seen to doing less, or there is more family support for raising children, many of us urgently need to edit the tasks which are making the tough job even tougher

Because as corny as it sounds, children spend L.O.V.E as T.I.M.E. And a slower day is not coming. We only have 5,840 day with them before they turn 16.

However busy or demanding life gets for us, those days will always be the emotional bedrocks of their lives.

Tick fewer boxes, use the auto-reply function on your email at weekends, ask for support and spell out why.

Even if you don’t work, adopt short-cuts that mean you spend less time cooking and cleaning up after kids and more time having fun.

Don’t iron underwear. Buy second hand cars and take cheaper holidays if it means you are less worried about money and job security.

Be brutal about cutting out those time-drains and irritations that are making our lives more stressful.

The time has now come to stand up to the too-much-to-do culture. Let’s start saying no to it stealing away the best moments of being both a parent and a child.

Mum Hacks: Time-saving tips to calm the chaos of family life, by Tanith Carey is published by Crimson, price £9.99.


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