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The 7 Stages of Motherhood: Making the Most of Your Life as a Mom

3.17  ·  Rating details ·  179 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Motherhood is the ultimate transformation, a powerful and thrilling metamorphosis. Yet the vast majority of parenting books focus on the how-tos of baby and child care, not on the care or development of mothers. Ann Pleshette Murphy—the former editor of Parents magazine, current parenting contributor to Good Morning America, and herself the mother of two—looks at the emoti ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 7th 2004 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.17  · 
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I didn't rate this book because I didn't finish reading it. It didn't seem to have anything new or revealing to say. I keep hoping to find a book that reflects more of how I feel about motherhood, or encourages me to see it in a valuable new way. Not having much luck. The reason I quit reading this book is the same reason I hate going to baby showers. We don't seem to have the right vocabulary to talk about being mothers. Instead, we reduce it to awful cliches that either fail to do it justice o ...more
May 26, 2009 rated it liked it
The last stage of the book is when the kids are about to leave the house. I really have to disagree with that thought. I would at least say that for me there is at least a stage 8 or 9 stage. The 8th stage being relying on my mom to help me through college and being there to support me in deciding a career path. The 9th stage being becoming a grandmother I rely more on my mom now for advice with my daughter than I ever have. In my opinion this book just stopped too early in the stages of motherh ...more
I was looking forward to advice like clear cut checklist form when I started this book.

That being said As the early stages of Motherhood are passing and I’m finding myself further in my journey I find myself wishing I read this earlier . It’s one that will show you aren’t alone in your Journey, there is someone else going thru similar experiences as you.

As I got to the stages I would be entering it made me consider where I’ll stand on certain issues and questions I haven’t even thought of yet.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Picked this one up at the library randomly. Overall, I enjoyed the book but I was will looking for a certain "something" to round out the book. There was one perfect paragraph in the conclusion that nailed motherhood and made this book worth it to read, so I like how it ended on a perfect note. I also nodded along to stages 1 & 2 (which I've already passed) and enjoyed getting a preview of the stages I'm in (3) and the future ones. Motherhood's a complicated beast, and I'm glad there was a book ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the mother of a 1 year old I enjoyed this book because it gave me a "sneak peak" into the stages I have ahead. And there were several practical bits of advice that I know I will find helpful. It was also nice to hear honest stories of other Mom's struggles so I don't feel like I'm the only one facing certain issues. My only complaint is that nothing in the book felt particularly profound or enlightening - a lot of it was sort of common sense. ...more
Aug 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
I couldn’t finish this book. Her heteronormative, pair bonded assumptions dated this book and made the first section hard to get through.

I also found that with a 1yr old the sections are too broad and there isn’t a lot of relevant information for my particular phase. I wanted more of a how to for this particular phase and that’s not what she wrote.

I gave a second star because I actually found myself quoting the book randomly in a discussion about separation and babies moving away at 1yr.
Kristy Ledford
Jul 30, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not what I was expecting or looking for. The audiobook was particularly boring and didn’t offer anything new. I should stick to audiobooks written and read by comedians.
The best thing about this book is that the idea of writing it is what enabled Murphy's children to have a parent around more of the time. That's not me being snippy - towards the end of the book she talks about how we are judged on our parenting and yes I'd agree that is mostly a bad thing with an overfocus on outcomes rather than process. But I do believe there is a lot in the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis quotation that if you bungle raising your children nothing else you do well really matters v ...more
Jul 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grabbed this book on a whim at the library, and I am very glad I did. Although I could only personally relate to stages 1-3 (I am currently in stage three of motherhood: Letting Go: The Toddler Years, One and Two), I very much enjoyed Murphy's insights into the stages that I will eventually be entering. The forecast is greatly appreciated, since, upon first learning that my husband and I had conceived, I really had no idea what I was in for.

I could definitely relate to stage 1 - Altered State
Dec 02, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ann Pleshette Murphy turns her vast skills as a mother (of two) and writer (former editor of Parenting magazine) into this filled-to-the-brim book. In a refreshing take on parenting tomes, Murphy focuses on the mother instead of on the child.

I found the early sections to be full of "oh my gosh, I can relate" moments as I laughed and nodded along with Murphy's personal tales as well as the anecdotes from hundreds of women, and I made mental notes of her suggestions in the sections for parents of
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although I didn't necessarily agree with everything the mother who wrote this book said, I truly appreciated this book for all that it was. Her honesty was exactly what I needed. It was so rewarding to share her experiences because as the mother of a toddler and one on the way, I felt like I wasn't alone in my struggles. Not only did I receive assurance for the past and encouragement for the present, but I also got a glimpse of my future with my own children and some of the struggles we may or m ...more
Jan 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
As a not-yet-mother, I have been reading "mom" books voraciously to get a glimpse of what to expect. Most fall into 3 categories: the uber-mom, the anti-mom, or the feminist-mom. The 7 Stages of Motherhood is better than all 3: it's like having a conversation with a wise and down to earth friend that's been there, done that.

Ann Murphy manages to deftly move from one chapter to the next, weaving in her own experiences with those of the women she interviews. Her voice is warm and clear, elucidati
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I would say depending on where you are at in "motherhood" is definitely going to impact how much you will enjoy this book. I have an almost 3 year old and am pregnant with my second child. Having already gone through the newborn/toddler phase it was nice to be able to look back with my perspective and to be reminded of what is coming. The book has fabulous references to many other parenting books which I have marked to read. My favorite part of the book was the perspective it gave me for motherh ...more
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish this book. I listened through about ages 6-10. The main theme of the book is be a mom how you want to be a mom, don't stress about being perfect, and take care of yourself. These are good things to hear, but I also felt like there was a strong undercurrent of "this is how you be a perfect mom" that really undercut the message of the book. Additionally, the author is an editor of a major magazine and still has serious issues repeating words. If I heard the word "ambivalent" one ...more
Trish Boese
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
2* I started out enjoying this book, enjoying the ideas to make the most of the motherhood journey through each and every stage. However, it became obvious as the book progressed that the author and I have very different goals and completely different parenting styles when it comes to training our children through the adolescent and teen years. I recommend the first half of the book but not the second half!
Mar 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-audio-book
I liked this book. It didn't go beyond the teen years and that was the only thing I was surprised at. I thought 7 stages would include being parents of adult children and growing old as a mother also but I guess that would add way too many stages! She wrote with candor and I thought this book could be very helpful to new mothers of all ages whether you birth a child, adopt one or marry into a family with stepchildren and any other role I might have left out! :) ...more
Jul 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting, nonfiction
This is one of those books to read when you need some reassurance about how you're doing as a parent. The author offers practical advice, but also shares stories and anecdotes that help you relate to your own parenting joys, trials and tribulations. It's not a sit-down-and-read-all-the-way-through-in-one-sitting or read-it-once-and-stick-it-on-the-shelf-to-gather-dust book. You will find yourself gravitating toward this book at each of the defined stages. ...more
May 02, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book was neither inspirational nor helpful. Just a bunch of stories from the trenches of motherhood. The only thing I really got out of it is that the joys and frustrations of motherhood are universal, that we're all in it together, so to speak, and that there is usually somebody out there going through the same things you are. ...more
Jun 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Easy to read with great references. Great mix of expert research with case study examples. This gave me a neat framework for getting my head around what I'm getting myself into! (I'm currently in 2nd trimester of pregnancy for 1st child). Great to hear topics talked about that can be taboo. This will be a book I re-read over the next few years. ...more
Grace Smiley
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Best part of this book for me was the extensive bibliography. She had many wonderful quotes from other sources that were great. I related to the book until the middle when the chapters for older children were too far off in my future to garner empathy. I'll pick it up again in a few years when my baby is older. ...more
May 04, 2010 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this look at motherhood, which included both insight and advice on how to mother children of different ages. Felt like I was glimpsing at my future once I read the 6 other stages.
A great and inspiring look at motherhood that is grounded in reality and deals with all sorts of topics.
Jemma Z
Jul 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting, self-help
This is a ggod book to revisit when you are transitioning through different stages. You will be reminded of how far you have come, what you have accomplished, and that your expectations were not always realistic. Invest more time reading about being a mother than you do in reading about pregnancy & childbirth and toy will feel more grounded.
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it
I didn't finish it. I felt like she was saying the same things over and over. I never got to the chapters of the stages my kids are in... which is why I wanted to read this in the first place. But I did like how she wrote about the other stages. I would consider giving this to young/new mothers. ...more
Jun 01, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
While Murphy touches on several motherhood principles (guilt, guilt, with a layer of guilt on top), I didn't like her writing style at all. I would have expected the editor of Parents magazine to have a better, more accurate vocabulary. ...more
Dec 02, 2012 added it
Shelves: not-finished
The title of this book had me very excited/intrigued...but as I read it, I realized it wasn't what I was looking for. I'm not sure why, but it kind of annoyed me. Not finishing it. There's nothing fundamentally BAD about it. It just bugged. ...more
Feb 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Suzanquick by: Brie Jedlic
not unlike listening to a good friend who's 'been there before' ...more
Leigha Doerrer
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love, love, love the insights in this book. Author does a great job of describing the ups, downs, tears and laughs of being a mother, through each age-appropriate stage. Highly recommend.
Nicole DM
This book was helpful at the time. When you are the parent of a toddler you need to know that it does eventually end.
Jun 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only read to where it was applicable, toddler stage. Alywas nice to read that I am not alone on this motherhood ordeal. :-) Laughable moments.
Nov 11, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I didn't ever really get "into" this book. ...more
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