Elizabeth's Reviews > What Mothers Do: especially when it looks like nothing

What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen
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Feb 21, 08

bookshelves: family, favorite-nonfiction
Recommended for: Everyone
Read in May, 2006

this is the best "parenting" book i have ever read. it is unique in that the author doesn't tell you what you should do. instead the book is all about the things mothers do that frequently do not even have an adequate vocabulary to describe them. it is more: you are probably already doing this to some degree and i am just writing it down.

this book not only hit upon many thoughts i had been having, it hit on upon thoughts i hadn't even begun to think. it was like she looked inside me and wrote a book about everything i have felt and thought since my son was born. i have even been keeping a list of some of the passages that "speak" to me. it has chapter titles like "nothing prepares you" and "So tired i could die".

the basic premise of the book is that mothers do all these things that we don't even really have words to express. she makes a point in the first chapter that we have a litany of words to describe the things mothers do wrong, but very few for what moms do right. the example she gives is we have the words, "negligent" and "over-protective" but no word for "protecting her child in the right amount".

she goes on to have chapters about "being instantly interruptible" and motherly love and the power of comfort and the feeling that you didn't do anything all day... but you did. the book wraps up with chapters on a new mom's relationship with her husband and another about her relationship with her own mother.

the woman who wrote it is english so the vocabulary is a little different, but you get used to it. (nappies=diapers, mum=mom, cot=crib, chemist=pharmacist, etc...)

not only do i highly recommend this book for all moms, this is the kind of book i think young men and women should be reading in highschool and college. it was so good, as soon as i finished it i a) cried and b) wanted to re read it again, right then.
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