Monday, September 24, 2007

Mother Talk Review: What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen

When I chose to review What Mothers Do: Especially When It Looks Like Nothing by Naomi Stadlen for Mother Talk, I presumed it was a book talking about all the things we mothers do that nobody ever seems to notice. Maybe it talked about all the household things we do or the emotion that we put into our loved ones that they might not notice. I figured it was a book validating us as mothers and letting us know that we are valued.

Well not only did the book do that but much more. So much more that I will tell you now that What Mothers Do is going to be the book I give to expecting and new mothers from here on out. I wish someone had given me this book before or after any of my births!

What I enjoyed about this book is that you can tell Ms. Stadlen honestly believes in what she's written because it's not just a compilation of research that done over just a year or two. This is a book of thoughts, views, and time spent with mothers who are actually living in and have lived in those trying moment. Ms. Stadlen has taken fifteen years worth of working with women through her counseling, psychotherapy practice specializing in parenting, and time spent with her Mothers Talking group then put it into the pages of this book. This subject isn't just an interest for her but a deep part of who she is and what she believes as well.

I love how this book shares excerpts from new mothers talking about how overwelming and hard motherhood is with no sugar coating and no bull. It's real women admitting that sometimes being a mother is pure hell and just plain sucks. That is what soon to be mothers need to read about. They need to know that you're not always going to think your baby is wonderful because sometimes they are a little non-stop crying ball of rage that makes you cry for hours with them.

We prepare women to give birth but we never prepare them for what comes afterwards. Our society has a habit of abandoning the new mother and saying "Have fun doing it alone" while she is wondering just what it is she's suppose to do! Instead of giving support when it truly is needed the most, new mothers are left to fend for themselves and figure things out on their own. Sadly, our society is one of the very few in the world that does this going against nature in so many ways.

In my opinion, What Mothers Do: Especially When It Looks Like Nothing is primarily written for the expecting and new mother but those of us with older children can still enjoy the book as well because it is so very real. It's the kind of book that will make you say, "Oh yeah, I remember feeling that way" or "So it was okay for me to think that!" and no longer feel the need to apologize to ourselves or anyone else for those feelings.

Being a parent is the hardest job in the world and unfortunately it is made harder by the current attitude of our society towards raising children. Preparing people to be good parents doesn't rank as high as financial gain. Having support systems for new parents is considered a waste of time yet getting ahead in the corporate world is the be all end all. We are always ready to tell other parents what they are doing wrong or what we would do yet it's rare that we will compliment what they are doing right and encourage them.

Thankfully there is a book like this that new parents can read and learn from. A book that tells them it's okay to not be perfect because in truth none of us are. A book that shares the stories of other parents who felt and did the same things, made the same mistakes, and learned the same lessons. I feel that What Mothers Do is one of the best kept secrets of our era and now is the time to share that secret with those who need it.

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