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The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality
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The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  346 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
In an era of mommy blogs, Pinterest, and Facebook, The Good Mother Myth dismantles the social media-fed notion of what it means to be a good mother. This collection of essays takes a realistic look at motherhood and provides a platform for real voices and raw stories, each adding to the narrative of motherhood we don't tend to see in the headlines or on the news.

From tales
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 31st 2013 by Seal Press (first published October 8th 2013)
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The Girl on the Train by Paula HawkinsGone Girl by Gillian FlynnPippi Longstocking by Astrid LindgrenAmerican on Purpose by Craig FergusonThe Good Mother Myth by Avital Norman Nathman
So Much to Read and Say
5th out of 6 books — 2 voters
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Rubber Ducky
20th out of 20 books — 2 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,494)
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Oct 15, 2013 Hilary rated it liked it
This collection of essays sets out and deconstructs the myth of the Good Mother. You know the one: it's the image of motherhood that is seen in every magazine, every newspaper, every mommy blog, and replicated by carefully-edited and airbrushed days posted on Facebook and Pinterest. It's so hard to escape, and so insidious, that mother find themselves always comparing themselves to others, and it's never enough. (As if they didn't have enough pressure already, right?) And no matter what choice i ...more
Dec 28, 2013 Lyn rated it it was amazing
Encouraging & Thought Provoking
This is an anthology of mothering ideas from lots of different types of Moms. Some Mothers tell a story that you can relate to on how we aren’t perfect. Other stories offer advice and some just reassure you that in spite of what we do – our children will survive and most likely thrive. The collection is a nice variety. This is an easy to read book – but pace yourself. Read a story and wait to think about it for a few days before embarking on the next journey.
May 18, 2014 Marisa rated it liked it
I wanted to like this a lot more. There were a few real standouts (and yes, those include essays by Carla Naumburg and Liz Henry, both of whom I know), and the standouts made the book worth reading. That said, I'm wondering if it turns out I really have shed a lot of my own early-parenting Good Mother Myth baggage by this point, because many of the essays read like people vehemently defending decisions that seemed pretty run-of-the-mill in the parenting circles I run in.
May 16, 2014 jess rated it did not like it
Shelves: ladyish, 2014, nonfiction, mama
Maybe I need to revisit this later, but probably not. The inconsistency of writing in anthologies really irritates me. I should stop reading them. In fact, I have stopped reading them, but then a book like this comes out and everyone says it's so special, so I give it a shot. This book gets points for the diversity of mothers it includes, especially mothers of color and a trans mama and a lesbian mama, although it sometimes feels a little tokenizing. But, hey, there are different kinds of moms i ...more
a compendium of essays by various women on how they fail to live up to the cultural figment of the "good mother". there are a lot of essay books by moms out there, & i have read almost all of them. i honestly feel this one is a cut above. at the risk of sounding like a pretentious snob, most of the contributors are real writers, meaning they have actually credentials in real, edited publications, & are not just bloggers. mostly everything is spelled correctly. i'm setting the bar pretty ...more
Aussie bookworm
Dec 21, 2013 Aussie bookworm rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This novel is a must for any expectant Mothers!

This book really hit hard for me, as a young mother of Two autistic children, you are constantly told how to raise them, what you need to do everyday so you don’t screw them up. My son as a newborn would not breast feed the guilt and anguish that I felt as a new mother was horrible, the nurses wouldn’t let me give up and it wasn’t happening, after a week in hospital and a stint in Neonatal ward I told them I was leaving and I was bottle feeding him
Jena Thorp
Oct 18, 2013 Jena Thorp rated it really liked it
This book is not your typical one-sided story of motherhood. Each story is presented by a different mother and highlights an area of her parenting that she felt was not like the typical “good mother.” Through this collection of stories the authors tear down that “good mother” myth. They help other moms open their eyes and see that no one is perfect. If it appears that way on the outside, know that they are likely fighting their own demons on the inside. As mothers the best thing we can do for ou ...more
May 10, 2014 KeAnne rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2014
I wanted to love this book, but it was just OK. I kept wanting more diverse voices and geographies. I didn't feel like most of the essays did anything to dispel the myth
May 11, 2014 Holly rated it it was ok
Okay, most of the mothers were fairly well off and living on the East coast, so trying to identify with their struggles was a bit of a stretch.
Literary Mama
Jan 14, 2014 Literary Mama added it
Shelves: essays
These essays reveal the way in which the “good mother myth” is paradoxically both the product of our culture but also a product of each mother’s own mind.

Read Literary Mama's full review here:
Apr 28, 2014 Amy rated it it was amazing
I found The Good Mother Myth to be informative, eye opening, funny, and at times brought me to tears. No matter what type of mother you are, you will find yourself within this book. Whether you are a stay at home mom, working mom, lesbian mom, postpartum depressed mom, or a mom with physical or mental health issues.
I definitely found many essays of the book that I could relate to. My favorite essay was by Amber Dusick. Oh my goodness! It was SO funny!
I think this book is a must read for ALL mo
May 17, 2015 Stephanie rated it liked it
This book was just OK for me. It got off to a great start, with a woman questioning the way schools are structured in a way that requires a lot of volunteering from parents just to function. And who does this volunteering? Almost exclusively mothers, who pay the price career-wise. However, after that essay there wasn't anything that felt revolutionary or even particularly new to me.

It was interesting to read the essay by the non-custodial mother, whose experience demonstrates how much we (socie
Morgan Schulman
Jan 06, 2014 Morgan Schulman rated it it was amazing
Easily my favorite book on the subject, and I read a lot of these books. What's nice is that it includes a lot of different perspectives (SAHM, working moms, AP moms, hands-off moms, single moms, non-custodial moms, not rich moms) which is really refereshing since most books tend to focus on affluent moms who freelance in creative fields exclusively.
Pam Camel
Nov 27, 2013 Pam Camel rated it liked it
The good mother does not exist. Well not the image of the good mother society portrays anyways. This is a group of short stories from real moms who face real issues and make real mistakes. They are the good mothers. Mothers today need to let go of the perfect myth. The stories in this book deal with food allergies, autism, losing custody, and adoption to name a few. This would be the book to buy the expecting mother since it shows real life and real people.
Mar 19, 2014 Norrisjackie rated it liked it
A book of short essays by mothers from all walks of life. As with any book like this, there were some essays I identified more with than others. I appreciate any writing that highlights that there are many different ways to be a good mother.
Ashley Lauren
Jul 11, 2014 Ashley Lauren rated it really liked it
I am woefully late to the party on this review, especially considering (and full disclosure) that Avi is a dear friend of mine, as are some of the contributors to this anthology. In my defense, I knew pregnancy wasn't too far off for me when the book was released, and I didn't want to over-inundate myself with mommyhood before it was time. Then, I had every intention of reading this right away when we got pregnant, but my first trimester had a few other ideas. Long story short, I'm finally feel ...more
Jan 27, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved it! Every story from the heart and hits you in different ways. We are all good mothers - in our own way and on our own terms.
Katie Klabusich
Mar 07, 2016 Katie Klabusich rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. A must-read for, well, everyone. I'm not a mom (nor do I ever want to be); this book breaks down the myths that affect all of us, regardless of our chosen roles. Captivating, honest, intersectional and especially well edited/compiled for busy people.
Feb 22, 2015 alwz rated it it was amazing
This collection of essays was real and jagged and sometimes a little over the top. Made me think a lot about motherhood and our culture and the futility of defining what is good and bad about a role with millions of individuals living it.
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
From the synopsis: “…the honesty of the essays creates a community of mothers who refuse to feel like they’re in competition with others, or with the notion of the ideal mom.” So the central theme is sort of a negation of this ideal mom, but not much time is spent expanding on what this ideal mom is. We just know we’re rejecting her.

I keep thinking about Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, which I assume provided inspiration for this book’s title; Wolf spent a lot of time explaining the history and na
Mar 03, 2014 Roxanne rated it really liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book.

Not really sure how to review an anthology. I can't really review each individual story, but I guess I can start by saying how the book as a whole made me feel.

If you've ever felt overwhelmed, unprepared, or inadequate in your role as a mother, then you should definitely pick up this book. Probably the most important thing (the take home message, if you will) I learned from this book is that I'm not a
Denise Morse
Apr 05, 2014 Denise Morse rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book and the collection of stories are really hit and miss for me, and i think for most people. For those stories with similar family structures, you will really identify.... but for those that are different you won't. The running theme throughout all is that there is no such thing as a perfect mother, and everyone you see who looks like they got it together is just masking all the same issues, fears, and worries that you are.

Unfortunately, even as I read the book, I found myself judging a
I think this book should be given out on the NHS.
Jan 29, 2014 Janet rated it really liked it
What a great gift for a young mother. This collection of essays is the kind of book you will want to read one piece at a time, and leave yourself time in between to digest the information and decide how it might apply to your life. It's basically a collection of essays from Mothers that are from all walks of life. Some are encouraging, some reassuring, some thought provoking and some controversial. I thought it was a good representation of the spectrum of Motherhood in this day and age. Well wri ...more
Mary Elizabeth Morton
Jun 06, 2015 Mary Elizabeth Morton rated it it was ok
The first four parts in this book I would rate 4 stars. Part 5 in this book I would rate 1 star. Average both ratings, for a rating of 2.5 stars. The first section is funny, truthful and I related to a lot of the mothers in the first four parts of the book. Part 5 had a sex trade worker mom, a woman who selfishly aborted her baby and pot smoking mother who did it so she could enjoy time with her three year old better. These stories were authentic, but I could not possibly relate or completely un ...more
Jun 17, 2015 Kristilyn rated it really liked it
I’ll start with this:

Pre-motherhood, this probably wouldn’t have been a book I’d pick up and read. Come to think of it, now that I am a mother, I probably still wouldn’t have thought to pick this one up, but since I managed to win it from Laura over at Reading In Bed, I dove in right away. I was interested to see what kind of stories other mothers out there could have since just 5 months into my little guy’s life, I already have some of my own!

Before I even started this book, though, I had no id
Michelle Cristiani
Jun 25, 2014 Michelle Cristiani rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm not sure what I expected this book to be. The premise is admirable: an edited volume of short memoirs by every type of mother you can imagine. The idea is that as each of these is 'mother,' there is no right way to parent, no golden ideal of identity to strive for.

But I have a couple of problems with the execution. First off, the book doesn't tell a new story. It seems solely for the purpose of getting the reader to nod and say, me too! As group therapy I guess it works, but don't we all ha
Alex Templeton
Jul 12, 2014 Alex Templeton rated it really liked it
I read these essays, two or three at a time, before diving into my four or five hours of sleep in my earliest days of motherhood. I would highly recommend this collection to all mothers and mothers-to-be. I have thankfully been aware that my parenting choices are some amongst billions of potentially fine ones, but during a time when I was struggling with some guilt over some of them, it was reassuring to read the thoughts of a diverse group of women whose kids have turned out just fine.
Lauren Langford
Nov 17, 2014 Lauren Langford rated it it was amazing
Pulled me in while simultaneously pushing me away

Soothed the worries of my own heart while simultaneously inspiring others only to sooth those fears as well just a few pages later

Reminded me that whatever my worries are regarding my own mothering practices and habits, there are other women out there with worries too and that none of us is "perfect" in the Stepford Wives sense of the word, but all of us are made perfect by the love we have for our children.

I did not enjoy all of the stories, per
Kimberly Hughes
Feb 27, 2014 Kimberly Hughes rated it liked it
I'm not the target audience for this book as I am not comparing myself to other mothers or feeling bad because other mom's have brilliant, talented kids or a perfect-looking family. The book comes off quite negative in some of the stories because of this sort of bent. The stories are all about how different moms come to terms with their lack of perfection. They are well-written and most of them come across as genuine.
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“Among the other things I’ve learned as a mother, is that women continue to explain way too much.” 2 likes
“While I plan to encourage my daughters to try new challenges and step outside their comfort zones, I might also gently suggest that they back away from a particularly solid brick wall, rather than repeatedly beating their heads against it. I’ve learned the hard way that you rarely break through, and more often than not, you just end up with a headache.” 1 likes
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