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How to Really Be a Mother

M is for Maternal, Meticulous, and Making the best of it

O is for On the other hand, scrap that, I thought this would be more fun

T is for This is not what I expected, Tearing hair out, and Think again

H is for Help, I must be doing this wrong, because…

E is for Everyone else seems to be better at it than me

R is for a Resounding Really? Read on…

There are many books on How to be a Mother. But do they ever tell us how it really is? Thankfully, Emily Hourican is about to, via a series of hilarious reminiscences and profound observations. At last, modern mothers everywhere can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Now on baby number 3, Emily has started to wise up to the prettily packaged ideals of perfection that mothers are drip-fed on a daily basis – a rose-tinted concoction of Cath Kidston aprons and freshly baked buns.

So get ready to reclaim motherhood in all its messiness. Buy this book and say goodbye to guilt. Perfection is so over (thank God).


"A refreshingly honest book which gives an insight into the truth about real motherhood. This book is a must-read for those who want to have a better understanding of the obstacles that mothers face today."
The Irish Independent, Reader’s Corner

"An honest account of being a mother, and a rejection of the kinds of endless pressures that mother’s find themselves subject to these days. A funny, witty and relatable must-read."
Mums and Tots magazine

"How To Really Be A Mother is hilarious. I identified with a lot. Wish you’d written it 14 years ago!
Rachel Allen

"This is really excellent … A splendid book." Oliver James, psychologist and author of They F*** You Up and Affluenza


’This is the kind of parenting guide you want to be reading. Hourican’s book is a fairly no holds barred account of what it’s like to be a parent. It doesn’t preach, or try to sell a particular brand of parenting. She’s honest about how hard it can all be, and reading it reassures you that you’re not doing such a bad job. It’s also on the side of trusting your own instincts, rare amongst parenting manuals, and actually probably the best parenting advice you could receive.’

Aiden Lawlor, Sunday Independent.


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Publication Date

September 2013




Paperback, 256 pages

Country of Origin



Gill Books


215 x 134 mm


By Emily Hourican

Availability Status


Emily Hourican is a journalist and editor. She writes regularly for the Sunday Independent and Image magazine and contributes to Conde Nast Traveller and Woman & Home in the UK. She was founding editor of The Dubliner magazine. She has three children and lives in Dublin.

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