Friday, September 14, 2007

What Mothers Do: Especially When It Looks Like Nothing

I've decided not to rate this book because it isn't the type of book that fits within my established ratings system. Would I recommend this to an expectant mother, yes. But if it came down to buying your own copy or getting one from the local library, hit the library and put the money you would have spent on it into your kid's college fund.

Psychotherapist Naomi Stadlen explores the unsentimental reactions to motherhood in various conversations with new moms. The never-ending fatigue, the sense of ineptitude, the emptiness that comes from leaving the workforce. Some mothers find themselves feeling tremendously guilty for doing "nothing" when they've spent the entire day doting on their little ones. It seems like nothing when we consider the daily tasks a mother might face - feeding the child, laundry, preparing a family meal, bathing the child, showering, washing the dishes, cleaning the house. (Anyone who performs these functions knows that they are not "nothing".) But Stadlen delves deeper to show that a mother's menial tasks don't begin to touch upon the more important acts she completes in a day - learning her child, responding to the child's every need, comforting her child, being instantly interruptible.

Is there a touch of the hippie in this book? Yeah. Did I buy every argument made on how a mother should be a mother? No. But it was a worthy read if only to learn that other mothers feel inadequate and unprepared to meet the challenges motherhood presents.

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